2020 Collection: Short Stories
(Seven Women, Seven Secrets, Stories from the Shadows)

In the midst of a global pandemic, seven extraordinary characters emerged from the depths of the English countryside.

Starting with Jaxx, the infatuated, compulsive liar from ‘A Can of Worms’ – a young woman whose desire to see her therapist threatens to push her into unbridled acts of honesty.

And then there’s Denise with the Teas from ‘It’s The Landing That Hurts’. Denise spends her days at behind a tea trolley, squeaking her way around the wards, until she gets to one particular side door which she can’t just walk past.

How’s about Clea, from ‘Desperately Seeking Spinach’? A former student, tattooed party chick, Clea has come home to Oswestry, to her mum and dad, to watch YouTube videos and obsess about the TV chef who, miraculously, becomes her friend.

‘If This Were A Swedish Film, We’d Already Be In Love’: Fiona Weaver, Irish art student, kept a diary in the 1970s. If anyone read it, she’d die of embarrassment. But she writes in it, day after day, as she suspects and discovers more and more about herself, her sexuality and the world in which she lives, and she does this because – she’ll shred the pages and turn them into an exhibition piece. This is the diary – before Fiona destroyed it.

In ‘Love Letters to the General Public’, Joni writes love letters to total strangers in an effort to recover from a broken heart. Her best friend wouldn’t approve but perhaps only a stranger can really understand her…

Then there’s Charlie in ‘The Good in Goodbye’. As her mother seeks the public recognition of a reverse wedding reception – a big party with invitations, cake and speeches, to mark the end of a relationship – Charlie counts her fibroids and watches herself age in the mirror.

And, as a special bonus for this collection, there’s Esther from ‘The Desiccated Ingenue’. Esther Moody gives excellent advice. Whatever else is happening: Esther speaks the truth. Until, of course, a word in the right ear might actually make a difference, and save slow-witted charmer, Thingummy Bob, and the new barmaid, Rachael, from their fate. Then, Esther is surprisingly tight-lipped.

In a collection which has been described as “quirky, fun, and pleasantly disturbing”, “DELICIOUS”, and “beautifully written with some proper laugh out loud moments”, I hope you’ll enjoy The 2020 Collection: Short Stories, too.

Published, July 2020

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