Art of the Short Story

Ep 34: The Art of the Short Story

There are the celebrated authors: Checkov, Joyce, Mansfield, Munro. There are the big questions: “what makes a truly great short story?”. “Where does the form originate?” “What can short stories do that other forms of literature can’t?”

But before any of this, there’s a question that’s not that easy to answer at all:

What is a short story?

This week I’m joined by Dr Paul March-Russell, Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the University of Kent, and author of The Short Story: An Introduction and Colin Walsh, an award-winning short story writer from Galway, Ireland, to discuss the art of the short story.


Colin Walsh is a writer from Galway whose fiction has been published internationally to great acclaim. He was named Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year 2019. He won the RTE Francis MacManus Short Story Prize in 2017 (listen to the winning story here) and the Doolin Flash Fiction Prize 2018 (listen to the story in this episode!)

You can follow him on Twitter here

Paul March-Russell is Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the University of Kent, and author of The Short Story: An Introduction

You can read his full bio here

He is a member of the European Network for Short Fiction Research. You can find out more about the group here

Works & Authors Mentioned

O. Westin: Micro SFF

Guy de Maupassant

Anton Chekhov

James Joyce

Katherine Mansfield

Jorge Luis Borges

Wendy Erskine: “77 Pop Facts (You Didn’t Know About Gil Courtney)”

Flannery O’Connor

Alice Munroe

Stinging Fly Press

Joy Williams

Claire Keegan

Mary Gaitskill: Bad Behaviour

Grace Paley

Thomas Morris: We Don’t Know What We’re Doing

Kevin Barry

Colin Barrett

Danielle McLaughlin

Mary Costello

Nicole Flaherty: Show Them a Good Time

Lucia Berlin

George Saunders


Music this week was by Saso, Cloud Castle Lake, and The Jimmy Cake

Track Listings

Saso (Mysterium) – High Speed

Saso (Mysterium) – Mysterium

Saso (Exitudes) – Silent Earth

The Jimmy Cake (Spectre & Crown) – Hugs For Buddy

Cloud Castle Lake (The Meeting OST) – Woolgathering

If you’re looking for more author interviews try this episode on weird fiction or this one on adapting novels for TV and film.

For more on fiction and how we consumer it, this episode is on the history of book clubs.

If you enjoy the episode and want to find out how to support the show then click here for more information.

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Join the WTTE community!

Do you somehow need more book recommendations!? Let me know in the comments below or check out the Words To That Effect Facebook Page or on Instagram too!

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