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‘Still’ | Shortlisted for Saboteur Indy Lit Award

Still is shortlisted in the Saboteur Indy Lit Awards for Best Mixed Anthology. Congratulations to all the talented Still writers and many thanks to everyone who has been so supportive of the book.

Readers are invited to vote for the book, details at Saboteur Shortlist

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David Hebblethwaite’s story-by-story review of ‘Still’

DAVID HEBBLETHEWAITE is a renowned book blogger from Yorkshire, who reviews both novels and short fiction on his blog Follow the Thread. He also writes reviews for The Huffington PostStrange HorizonsWe Love This Book and Fiction Uncovered. He’s a big supporter of the short story format and since the end of September, he has reviewed every story that appears in Still – in chronological order. We’ve listed a brief excerpt from each individual review below, or you can read the full reviews here.

Foyles, Charing Cross Road, Still in Anthologies

‘Still’ on sale at Foyles

And the ending is a real shock to the system. ‘Midnight Hollow’ – Mark Piggott

But, for those four pages, the author convinces you it’s all true. ‘My Wife, The Hyena’ – Nina Killham

I also love the way Blackman transforms the imagery of dirt trailing down a wall; the ending of ‘Sanctuary’ becomes as much a tableau as one of Bakker’s photographs. ‘Sanctuary’ – Andrew Blackman

Wyld  keeps the atmosphere suitably unsettling, and any hope she offers comes with its own nagging doubt. ‘Corridor’ – Evie Wyld

There’s a neat reversal in this story, and I like Frey’s use of the staircase as an image and venue. ‘The Staircase Treatment’ – Myriam Frey

The choppy rhythms of van Mersbergen’s prose underline the sense of unease, up to a rather chilling end. ‘Pa-Dang’ – Jan van Mersbergen

The titular rose acts a symbol of the family’s hope – something to keep growing in the garden, and not to remove, for fear of angering the landlord. ‘A Rose For Raha’ – Ava Homa

Royle tops it off with a dark twist at the end. ‘The Blind Man’ – Nicholas Royle

It’’s amusing to read, but also leaves one with the nagging thought of just how easily that sort of thing could happen… ‘From the Archive’ – James Miller

Details of ‘real’ life are heightened through their transformation into Hershman’s science-fiction idiom, and the ending is especially poignant. ‘Switchgirls’ – Tania Hershman

Rechner makes good use of sensory detail to convey the stuffy and intense atmosphere of the theatre. ‘The Playwright Sits Next to Her Sister’ – Mary Rechner

Hussein reveals the full possibilities only gradually, and even then keeps the truth ambiguous. ‘The Tree at the Limit’ – Aamer Hussein

Just as Beard’s piece blurs the line between fact and fiction, so it effectively portrays lifts as simultaneously useful and threatening spaces. ‘Life Under Inspection, Do Not Touch’ – Richard Beard

This is a nicely paced story, with an effective sting in its ending. ‘Odd Job’ – Preeta Samarasan

What follows is a snappy, rhythmic jaunt through the cacophony of modern life. ‘Noise’ – James Higgerson

 ‘A Job Worth Doing’ is more a celebration of what has passed. ‘A Job Worth Doing’ – SJ Butler

Rose captures a certain stiff formality in the voice of his protagonist; and the range of details focused on creates an effective sense of diffuseness. ‘Sere’ – David Rose

This piece is both a portrait of the emotional value that books can have to someone; but it’s also a poignant tale of loss… ‘Morayo’ – Sarah Ladipo Manyika

A well-constructed mosaic of events from Justin Hill’s life, with recurring themes of memory and going through doors. ‘Waiting’ – Justin Hill

What gives this story its edge is a clear sense that this is a false hope, and that the protagonist can’t move on in life because she won’t let go of the idea. ‘Ten A Day’ – Jan Woolf

‘Opportunity’ provides an elegant and broad examination of its issues. ‘Opportunity’ – Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende

Its supernatural twist gives this tale a very effective chill. ‘In the Dressing Room Mirror’ – Claire Massey

I like the ambiguity in the ending of this piece, and especially how it illuminates the narrator’s character. ‘The Owl at the Gate’ – Nicholas Hogg

Definitely a story that carries greater force than its length might suggest. ‘Still’ – SL Grey

This absorbing read takes a shocking turn. ‘How to Make a Zombie’ – Deborah Klaassen

A fine note on which to end the anthology. ‘Winter Moon’ – Xu Xi

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Photographs from ‘Still’ launch event, 26 September 2012 at Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London

THANK YOU! Negative Press London says a BIG thanks to all the writers (reading/non-reading) who were at the Still launch event in the Gallery at Foyles, as well to all the people who came for what was a very lively entertaining literary evening.

The readings went down a storm and the audience really enjoyed the mix of writing and related photography. It was a special treat to hear the stories read out with such passion and panache. Q&As, discussions and mingling followed!

Thanks to the writers who were there: SJ Butler, Myriam Frey, Tania Hersham, James Higgerson, Justin Hill, Nicholas Hogg, Aamer Hussein, Nina Killham, Deborah Klaassen (thanks for setting up Facebook event), Claire Massey, James Miller, Jan Woolf and Evie Wyld.

And thanks to the writers who were there in spirit: Richard Beard, Andrew Blackman, SL Grey, Ava Homa, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Jan van Mersbergen, Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende, Mark Piggott, Mary Rechner, David Rose, Nicholas Royle, Preeta Samarasan and Xu Xi.

A big cheers to Paul Savage for a fantastic bar service and to David Owen at Foyles for five star help and organisation.

All photographs by Roman Skyva,

If anyone has any photographs they want to share, email to (max file width 1000px at 72dpi, if possible)

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‘Still’ exhibition at Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London – until 30 October

The Green Room

‘Still’: an exhibition of photographs and excerpts from related stories

An exhibition of photographs from Still by Roelof Bakker has opened at Foyles, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0EB.

Twenty large size photographs of vacated spaces at Hornsey Town Hall are exhibited in two separate spaces: the Café on the first floor and the Gallery on the third floor.

In line with the approach of the literary art book, each photograph is accompanied by a brief excerpt from the related story with the writer’s name and story’s title included.

With excerpts from stories by Andrew Blackman, SL Grey, Tania Hershman, Justin Hill, Ava Homa, Claire Massey, Jan van Mersbergen, James Miller and Evie Wyld.

With excerpts from stories by Richard Beard, SJ Butler, James Higgerson, Nicholas Hogg, Nina Killham, Deborah Klaassen, Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende, Mark Piggott, Preeta Samarasan and Jan Woolf.

Justin Hill, Waiting, from Still Negative Press London 2012

Excerpt from ‘Waiting’ by Justin Hill to accompany the print ‘The Green Room’

The book itself was launched at Foyles on 26 September in the Gallery with a literary event including readings by Tania Hershman, Justin Hill, Nicholas Hogg, Aamer Hussein, James Miller (with Jan Woolf) and Evie Wyld as well as a screening of the video film from the project with other visuals.


Negative Press London and Foyles have also launched a short story competition.


20 C-type prints from negative film with film information borders, size 50cm x 50cm, framed. 20 plagues with story excerpts mounted on foam board.

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Q&A | Tania Hershman

In the first of a series of interviews with writers from Still, Tania Hershman talks about her life as a writer and her approach to the story she wrote for Still.

Tania Hersham

TANIA HERSHMAN LIVES IN BRISTOL. Her first book, The White Road and Other Stories (Salt, 2008), was commended in the 2009 Orange Award for New Writers, and included in New Scientist’s Best Books of 2008. Her collection of short stories My Mother Was an Upright Piano: Fictions was published in 2012 (Tangent Books). For Still, she has contributed a strange, disturbing story called ‘Switchgirls’.

Did you always want to be a writer?
I began writing as a small child. I think it was Roald Dahl that started my love for stories. Then, after a slight detour via a BSc in Maths and Physics and a career as a science journalist, Ali Smith was one of those who returned me to my first love and it’s been short stories ever since.

You’ve published two volumes of short stories, the most recent My Mother Was an Upright Piano: Fictions (Tangent Books, 2012). The perfect form for you?
I love short stories. I am addicted to them. I read short stories voraciously, it’s all I talk about, I’m probably quite boring! I do write other things – some poetry, I’ve adapted a few of my stories into scripts for radio and film. I’m open to suggestion, but I do adore brevity

How do you generate ideas?
I tend to use words as inspiration – borrowing phrases from poetry etc… But I also always keep a look out when I’m out and about. I do think I’m more of a verbal person, not so visual, but whenever asked to take inspiration from a photo or video, I’ve loved doing that. I am tempted by Word Art or Text Art, doing something with my words in a visual way.

You live in Bristol. Is it a good place to live the writer’s life?
It’s lovely living here, we moved here from Jerusalem 3 years ago. I grew up in London, but lived in Israel for 15 years, so I don’t quite feel English any more. Bristol has lots of lovely cafés that are ideal for a writer to write in, in fact I am writing in one now.

The other great thing about Bristol for me, is the Bristol Short Story prize: now one of the world’s greatest prizes for a single short story. This year we held the second ShortStoryVille – a one-day celebration of the short story, so this really is the perfect city for me. I am also very lucky to be writer-in-residence here at Bristol University’s Science Faculty, headed by a Dean of Science who is very open to art-science collaborations.

And where do you write?
Sometimes in my writing shed at the end of the garden. Sometimes (often) in bed. Sometimes in cafes. A lot of the time – in my head.

Enquiry and General Offices (Lightswitch) by Roelof Bakker

Enquiry and General Offices (Lightswitch)
© 2012 Roelof Bakker

You picked the photograph of the light switch, why?
Because I’m contrary! Why else would you select a photograph of… four light switches. Four LIGHT SWITCHES. Hmm. I really think I picked that to challenge myself most. I think it worked!

Is ‘Switchgirls’ a new direction for you?
This is one of the most surreal stories I’ve written, and I do usually write quite surreal stories. It has a science-fiction-ish flavour, I think, but I do prefer to leave those kinds of things to the reader. I’ve learned that with very short stories it doesn’t matter so much what I think I’ve written, readers read them differently, I need to let that go.

Have you collaborated with artists before?
I have done one, it was the PhotoStories project organised by Notes From The Underground. Each writer picked a photo, wrote a story inspired by it, and then a designer incorporated the story into the image to produce a new entity: a typograph. I loved doing that! The typographs have been exhibited in several venues and there are plans for further exhibitions, I believe.

My Mother Was an Upright Piano by Tania HershmaWhat are you working on?
Ha, well, yes. No large overarching project, but I just sent an entry to the Wellcome Trust Screenwriting prize, an idea for a biomedicine-inspired feature film. I am also working on a sort of novella thingy, not ready to say any more about that. And stories, always more stories, many inspired by my residency in a biochemistry lab. I have a packed few months coming up, with readings from my new book, My Mother Was an Upright Piano: Fictions (Plymouth Book Festival, Cork Short Story Festival, Ragged Stone in Portishead, Stories Aloud in Oxford, Swansea University), workshops (Mr B’s in Bath, Cork Short Story Festival, Arvon Foundation) and as a judge for this year’s Royal Society Winton Prize for popular science books. Exhausts me just to write all that!


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