Stories Aloud

Happy 3rd Birthday Short Stories Aloud

Tuesday 28th April sees the third Birthday of what has become one of the most successful, most joyful, regular literary event in Oxford, Short Stories Aloud. We at Blackwell’s have been a part of it from the start so have a fair idea of why it has become so successful but to get the real (short) story it is best to hear from the founder, the energy and the inspiration of SSA, Sarah Franklin. Here she shares with us three of the unusual, perhaps unique, features of this fabulous event:

Three things you won’t get from other literary events

SSA_Logo_400x400Short Stories Aloud, Oxford’s friendliest literary night, is turning three! To celebrate outgrowing our old venue, we’ve moved our monthly shows to our new home in Blackwell’s Broad Street. If you like hearing short stories read by professional actors, you’ll love Short Stories Aloud. If you’re keen for this to be followed up by a rambunctious Q&A session with award-winning authors (including Catherine O’Flynn, Charlotte Mendelson, Margaret Drabble and Jessie Burton), you’re in luck. And (as) if you need other reasons, here are three more. There’s a reason the Huffington Post billed us as ‘unlike any other literary event’:

Reunions. More than one person has been serendipitously reunited with a long-lost friend at Short Stories Aloud. Many, many more have made lasting new friendships at our monthly evenings. This makes me nearly as happy as the next point:

Marriage. We have our first Short Stories Aloud wedding in the offing! Their eyes met over a crowded room full of people telling stories. There is no better grounding for a long and happy life together.

Cake*. Bring a cake (yes, or other baked goods) and you get in for free. There is always a LOT of cake. This is good, if financially insane.

The guest authors for our birthday show on April 28th at 7pm are Daisy Johnson and Tim Clare, with stories read by wonderful Steve Hay and Shelley Harris. Our May 19th show features Lissa Evans and Stuart Evers. If you’re not cake-inclined, this cornucopia of delights is yours for only £5 (£3 for concessions). Hope to see you there!

*in fairness, you could get cake first from our friends at Windsor’s Firestation Bookswap, but they are alas no longer running.

Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook or join us tomorrow at 7pm at Blackwell’s, Broad Street – you will be most welcome

Why you don’t want to miss Short Stories Aloud this year

Readers of this blog are no doubt aware that one of our most enjoyable evenings each month is Short Stories Aloud. Sarah, who runs the show, wanted to say a few words about why you don’t want to miss SSA this year. My suggestion is simple – read this and then come along each month, it truly is one of the best literary nights in town!

SSA_LogoLast year was a pretty good year for Short Stories Aloud, our monthly literary grab bag of stories and authors. If you came along, you know that already. But in case you didn’t, here’s what you missed:

•    Listening to professional actors, including BBC Radio Four’s very own Julie Mayhew and Jenny Johns, reading world-class stories by authors such as Catherine O’Flynn, Jonathan Grimwood and Sophie Hannah. Hearing a room full of people gasp (yes, gasp) in unison at the end of a Jon McGregor story.

•    Being part of a frequently raucous Q&A session with the guest authors after the readings. Highlights last year included learning what Margaret Drabble thinks is the biggest problem currently facing creative women; and watching Oxford’s own Man Booker Prize nominee Charlotte Mendelson  demonstrate how she acquired a carpet burn whilst dancing to Bonnie Tyler,

•    Making friends. Yeah, I know this one sounds ridiculously cheesy, but the audience at Short Stories Aloud is a room full of people just like you, and the friendliest literary audience out there. (One author, Jonathan Pinnock, described the audience as ‘very friendly and exceptionally responsive’. You see?). It’s becoming a place where the bookish of Oxford come to meet and chat, and that just can’t be a bad thing.


This year looks set to be even better. I know, I know, how could it be? We have some amazing authors lined up: Helen Oyeyemi, Jenn Ashworth, Rachel Joyce, Sadie Jones; and some outstanding debut writers coming along so that you can say you saw them here first. There will be, as ever, a cash bar so that you can listen to the stories with a glass of wine and a slice of cake. And oh yeah, there’s cake…. If you bake a cake, you get in for free. That’s £0 to you. (or £5, if baking isn’t your thing). A fiver for an evening of exceptional stories, chat with award-winning authors,  cake and wine. Really. Why would you want to miss that?

The next show dates are Tuesday January 28th, when we’ll be welcoming  along Sophie Hardach and Eva Dolan, and Tuesday February 25th, with Helen Oyeyemi and Anna Hope. Short Stories Aloud is held upstairs at the Old Firestation, 40 George St, on the fourth Tuesday of every month. More info at @storiesaloud or on Facebook

Short Stories Aloud

Reading aloud is the new sexy according to this piece! We are blessed in Oxford to have a monthly event run by the ebullient Sarah Franklin. She explains all…

SSA_LogoHere’s a New Year’s Resolution that’s hard to beat and easy to keep. Come to the Old Firestation on the fourth Tuesday of every month for  Short Stories Aloud, Oxford’s friendliest literary night. Hear professional actors read stories by world-famous and up-and-coming authors.

 There’s wine, there’s cake, there’s a gorgeous softly-lit room where actors lift the stories off the page. There’s a chance to ask the authors questions in the Q&A afterwards, or just to scoff brownies whilst you listen to other people’s questions.

 Featured stories include those by bestselling novelists Ian McEwan, George Saunders, Catherine O’Flynn, Nikesh Shukla and Sophie Hannah, as well as exciting debut authors including Sarah Butler and Julie Mayhew.

 Tickets are a mere fiver on the door (£3 concessions): or free admission if you bring us a cake. See, told you we were friendly…

 The next Short Stories Aloud show is at 7:30pm on Tuesday, January 22nd at the Old Firestation, 40 George Street. Contact

shortstoriesaloud@gmail.com or @storiesaloud for more info. We’d love to see you there!