Stop patronising short stories

“The short story form is better suited to the demands of modern life than the novel.” (Simon Prosser Publishing Director Hamish Hamilton)

I don’t agree that short stories are “in keeping with the hurried times we live in” or densely compressed. They are not vitamin pills. The reading of short stories is no different to any other reading with respect to time. A reader will read for the same duration and in the same way regardless of which book is to hand. Neither is there any appeal in the notion of being force fed prose that is compressed like animal food pellets. The short story is in the premier league and just as likely to win as any of the other teams. We short story writers are just as hard as other writers but no harder, just as artful but no fuller. We can arm wrestle the poets or the novelists and outstare them, if necessary. Do not patronise us.

Defending the story’s place as a first class artistic medium is redundant and patronising. Would anyone ever think of saying that painting is more suited than sculpture to the demands of modern life because you can see all of a painting without having to walk around behind it? Painters would rightly spurn such an endorsement.

Author: Stephen Moran

I was born in Dublin and made my way to London on a bike in my mid-twenties. It’s where I can still be found though ever further out, most recently as far as Harrow. I no longer own a bicycle.

One thought on “Stop patronising short stories”

  1. I love the painting/sculpture analogy.People read for different reasons. Some people with apparently short attention spans ('modern' people) can satisfy themselves with a chapter of a novel as they speed through their lives. They like the long haul of the novel, so they read it one chunk at a time. Others like to digest a story in one go. I like both.


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