Last week, Kat Lund, Sophie Holland, and Vicki Lloyd of the Oxford Brookes MA in Creative Writing were selected to read at a literary reading event with a difference, with all the stories consisting of no more than 300 words.
“Success in literary competitions, great or small, is a fantastic way of a writer beefing up their CV before going out to look for an agent. It really does count. So we’re delighted that three of our current MA students were selected for this evening – no doubt against tough opposition from Oxford University’s own students.” Dr James Hawes, programme lead for MA Creative Writing
Authors of selected submissions were invited to read at the Quick Fictions event at Oxford University’s St Edmund Hall on 25 February at 8:00pm, and will soon have their work published on the Quick Fictions app. The app has been ranked in the top 10 of the Sunday Times app list of 2013, and ranked at #5 in the UK’s paid app chart.
Quick Fictions is the brainchild of Professor Nicholas Royle, beginning as a biannual short fiction event held at the University of Sussex. It grew out of his interest in experimental projects and new kinds of writing. In particular, he wanted to explore the question of how to write – inventively, thoughtfully, memorably – in the age of the short attention span. Quoted in Myriad, Royle describes Quick Fictions as “the writing of our time, quick means: alive, vigorous, sharp, agile, perceptive, swift, even impatient, but also sensitive and vulnerable… Quick fictions are funny, poignant, dark, sad, romantic, strange: they take us to the very quick of things.”
Kat Lund’s piece is called Raisin Bread and Elephants, and it is a love story that never was, told as a memory flash. The piece was developed from something Kat wrote in a seminar exercise for the ‘Voice’ module in the Creative Writing MA course. She commented that she liked the idea of memory being triggered by the strangest of things, and that memory has a physicality of its own; “like elephants we return to the places that have a pull on us; our a memory is a journey, even if the rest of us never moves”.
Sophie Holland’s submission is entitled Bird Box Camera and it is the true story of watching a great tit make her nest and lay her eggs, before observing their various fates once she watched them hatch. It begins with:
‘She sits. We watch. She pecks and plucks, trims, bobs, sleeps. We watch the twitch and pulse of her dreams. She waits, we wait. We name her Grace.’
Sophie writes that the bird box camera in question is actually installed in her 11 year old son, Luke’s, bedroom. He is a keen ornithologist and saved up £154 to buy it. Her story relates to last years’ bird family, and now that Luke has set it up again they hope that Grace will return!
Vicki Lloyd’s submission is called The Doctrine of Signatures. It is the tale of a bitter woman, thwarted in love and planning revenge. Vicki came up with the story through an interest in plant signatures – that is, how plants through their leaf shape, flower shape or colour indicate to us their medicinal virtues – or their poisonous nature. My character in this story aligns herself with the bitter and deadly sides of the plants that she sees around her.
If you’re feeling inspired about writing, why not take a look at our MA in Creative Writing?