Win! Short Story Collections from Bloomsbury

18th Mar 2013

Short story competition Bloomsbury

This month sees the paperback release of two fab short story collections from Bloomsbury – Homesick, a brilliant group of tales from Roshi Fernando  and Diving Belles by Lucy Wood, which our own Jane Bradley raved about when it came out in hardback.

The short story is sometimes unfairly seen as the little sister to the novel – but here at For Books’ Sake, we reckon that bigger isn’t always better, and that some of the finest reads come in small packages.

Bloomsbury have long been champions of the short story, publishing stories by For Books’ Sake favourites like Margaret Atwood.

To show just how much they – and we – love short stories, they’re giving away copies of Homesick and Diving Belles, plus Unaccustomed Earth, a collection from Pulitzer Prize-winner, Jhumpa Lahiri that’s so impressive it not only won the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award, but saw the judges do away with a shortlist altogether. And for good measure, Bloomsbury will throw in Elizabeth Gilbert‘s classic collection, Pilgrims, too.

Want to win a copy of each of these four books? Of course you do! And it’s simple.

You’ve got till midnight on Sunday 24th March to get your entries in. Just leave a comment below this post telling us who your favourite woman short story writer of all time is – and why she’s so brilliant.

Good luck!


  • Jhumpa Lahiri, crisp prose and elegant writing, she’s my favourite. A well deserved Pulitzer Prize Winner!

  • Alexa Lewis says:

    Margaret Atwood, because I can pick up one of her short story collections and be transported to Canada.

  • Michael says:

    Alice Munro. Her insights are laser sharp in her short stories. They are like Chinese paintings. It is about what is unseen that is just as important as what is mentioned in the story.

  • Audrey says:

    I would go for Belgian Amélie Nothomb since you can laugh, travel, hate someone, think about life/society, get high, fall in love, cry, from one short story to another :-)

  • Shea says:

    Shirley Jackson. The Lottery chills me to the bone every single time.

  • jane orford says:

    Maeve Binchy ,heart warming stories

  • Sinabhfuil says:

    Has to be Flannery O’Connor: I love the way her stories wander in like a hound dog on a trail, stiffen up and start to follow, then race after the quarry, and at the end they lay it right out, there at your feet.

  • Nicola Baker. I’ve accidentally bought multiples of some of her short story collections because reading the back covers has enticed me all over again before I’ve realised it’s the same story with a different cover. But then they are a joy to pass on and let someone else discover them. Witty, intelligent and unlike anyone else out there. I think she is great!

  • Claire says:

    I love Joanne Harris – not only can she spin a great yarn but she really taps into how even the seemingly “normal” have their little oddities that often transcend into rather large, frightening oddities. Harris is dark and fascinating and I always finish her short stories feeling ever so slight uneasy…

  • Beth DiIorio says:

    I LOVE short stories! Some of my favorite female short story writers are Margaret Atwood, Shirley Jackson, Alice Munro, Edith Pearlman, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Marilyn Chin. Although their individual writing styles are very different, they all share an incredible gift for rich word choice and imagery. Thanks for such a great giveaway!
    Beth :-)

  • L says:

    Ali Smith, for distilling so much feeling into such ordinary moments

  • Alex says:

    Banana Yoshimoto 100%! After reading just one of her short stories in the newspaper I went straight out and bought everything she had written and wasn’t disappointed in a single story.

    They are wonderful portraits of modern Japanese youth mixed with a touch of magical realism in the Murakami style. Everyone must read her now!!!

  • Margaret Benson says:

    James Kelman on acid with a refreshing dash of the surreal. Simply one of the finest short story writers ever and shamefully underrated

  • Margaret Benson says:

    Sorry forgot to mention her name Agnes Owens , but then I think that may have been the story of her life.

  • Julia Bohanna says:

    Flannery O’Connor – always and forever. Strange, visceral and with enormous power….

  • Katie Griffiths says:

    Katherine Mansfield – clean prose and vivid colourful imagery. Love her style!

  • Imogen Hermes Gowar says:

    Jean Rhys. I read her collection ‘Sleep It Off Lady’ when I was about fourteen and it affected me profoundly. The saddest, tenderest humanity.

  • An Siebens says:

    Jhumpa Lahiri, for her unparallelled insight in the human psyche.

  • Bons says:

    Margaret Atwood because I’m her fan. Love her short stories and novels – her writing is just great!

  • Katherine De Riera says:

    I love Maeve binchy because her stories are always so heartwarming and enjoyable to read

  • Matt says:

    Jhumpa Lahiri. Reading Interpreter of Maladies is like reading a collection of tiny novels there’s so much depth to them.

    Plus, anyone who can come up with the line:

    “The rain came slapping across the roof like a boy in slippers too big for him”

    deserves my vote!

  • Sarah montague says:

    Katherine Mansfield . Beautiful, timeless short stories that have inspired female writers ever since .

  • Sarah Noakes says:

    Margaret Atwood. Her short stories always make you think. They are a very different art form to a novel, and to get your meaning across without compromising the protagonists, making them two dimensional or cliches is a skill indeed.

  • Carys Bray says:

    I think has to be Helen Simpson. Her use of language is astonishing and I love the way she writes about parents and children.

  • Anne Cater says:

    I recently read a couple of Emma Donoghue’s short story collections, they really are wonderful. She can transport the reader all over the world, and each one has a little twist

  • Carol Christie says:

    Jackie Kay and Shena McKay. Oh and Helen SImpson. And Michele Roberts.

  • Amanda says:

    Kjell Askilsden. His stories make my head spin with layers of heartbreaking nuances.

  • Annie Proulx is mightily impressive, if not always ‘easy’ or comfortable. And what I admire about her writing is that it seems ‘sexless’ – could be written by a man or a woman, because she is so adept at giving both sexes’ point of view.

  • Vic says:

    So many amazing female short story writers out there… but A.M. Homes has got to be near the top. Provocative, sublime and sharp writing that takes the everyday into uncanny realms. The Safety of Objects is an incredible collection.

  • Grace Paley. For writing that is crisp, humane, daunting, nourishing. She leaves me quite breathless. Best, cat

  • Valerie Trueblood – intimate, humane, intelligent, funny stories of family and married life. If you haven’t read her, go read.

  • Jennie says:

    Anyone who hasn’t should try Nadine Gordimer. Her stories are beautiful and engaging, as well as (often) a poignant insight into 20th century South African politics and society.

  • Emily Coon says:

    My favorite woman story writer of all time is Lorrie Moore. She’s brilliant because of her dense, articulate prose, risk-taking with story structure, and sudden wit. :)

  • Ali Smith. Most short stories wrap things up, nail them down, but Ali Smith’s hint at what’s underneath the surface. They suggest a life that goes on beyond the end of the story. There’s only one word I can think of to describe her stories – they shimmer!

  • Lexie says:

    Stevan Zweig is my favourite! Although his novel Beware of Pity is just amazing I love his short stories. Everyone of them packs an emotional punch. I always come away feeling a little drained!

    If you havent read any, you must and start with Letter from an Unknown Woman.

  • Dan Powell says:

    Amy Hempel – hands down the short story writer guaranteed to break your heart and then stitch it back together.

  • Carolyn says:

    Virginia Woolf – nothing to touch her.

  • Jennifer Nash says:

    Zadie Smith’s stories are fantastic, whether in long or short form. Her characters are people you know or even you. I start her books when I know I’ve the day and night to myself so I can burn through beginning to end which makes the short stories even more wonderful-they don’t need a day and night to finish. Smith’s “The Embassy of Cambodia” is currently readable at: with a companion interview.

  • M Lee says:

    Katherine Mansfield who conveys the voice of children so well. Virginia Woolf with her marvellous punctuation.

  • Laura says:

    Such an awesome prize. I can’t choose one author though, my favourites are Annie Proulx – because her stories are just so REAL and Miranda July – because she does amazing things with language that make phrases stick in your head long after you’ve finished.

  • Karyn Millar says:

    Angela Carter. Her short stories distil her bizarre, disconcerting, intensity into bitesize form. Reading them gives a short, sharp thrill – a bit like eating a pickled onion. (I mean that in the most flattering way possible!)

  • Nicola says:

    Lorrie Moore – for her rich, delicate and intricate prose. Always sad or about disappointments, but you always end up wanting more.

  • Gill Price says:

    It’s got to be Mavis Gallant. Her characters are incredibly real and she isn’t afraid to show human flaws in her protagonists. She uses her experiences of her unhappy boarding school childhood in French-speaking Canada and subsequent emigration to Europe to great effect creating a feeling of displacement in many of her stories. Stories to savour and treasure.

  • helen b says:

    Annie Proulx Wyoming Stories
    i love the landscapes and struggle and kindness. Then the macabre grizzlyness., never a dull moment. fantastic and delightful

  • Rachael says:

    Francoise Sagan. Because at 18 her writing was so poignant and relatable that I can return to Bonjour Tristesse again and again and be just as affected every time. But I am also always on the search for beautifully written short stories and new authors, so this list of comments is a treasure trove in itself!

  • Maria says:

    For me, that’s definitely Angela Carter. The atmosphere she creates in each and every one of her short stories is the perfect mix of the Romantic, the down-to-earth, the outlandish and the intimate. And always, at the end of her stories, I am left with that pleasant lump in my throat which means I don’t yet know whether I should laugh or cry. Her writing is joy in the purest form.

  • C.D. Hermelin says:

    Deb Olin Unferth is my favorite. She published a collection in a little McSweeney’s book and I love it to pieces. Literally, it’s fallen apart.

  • Pete says:

    Tania Hershman. Lovely short fictions, lyrical prose and surprising twists.

  • AMcI says:

    Muriel Spark – spare but satisfying

  • Kylie Grant says:

    Currently it is Carol Shields. Her short stories are small, sharp and beautifully crafted glimpses into both the lives of others, and more often than not, our own.

  • Leev says:

    Pauline Melville. She creates and masters so many fantastic and eclectic characters and voices.

  • Valerie O'Riordan says:

    Annie Proulx. Outstandingly innovative prose, wonderful explorations of family life and (often) male identity.

  • A Joseph Black says:

    Claire Keegan – just about the only Irish female author of note in a genre for which the Irish have a particular aptitude.
    Oh, and she’s quite brilliant.

  • martin conneely says:

    Mary Costello, because her stories flow with apparent effortlessness while giving insighrs into many different livra and experiences.

  • Bernice O'Reilly says:

    Charlotte Perkins Gilmore – sublime prose that uncovers the female psyche and leaves you wanting more. Fantastic!

  • paul hickey says:

    Stephanie vaughan, who unfolds a hidden and serious world with astounding lightness, depth and warmth

  • Sophie Clark says:

    Lyudmila Petrushevskaya. I love the gothic, sometimes shocking quality of her stories, as well as her grim, melancholic compassion for her characters.

  • elayne says:

    Ursula La Guin
    Not read so much nowadays (?) but an awe-inspiring writer and teacher of writing. I actually used her book about teaching writing to women at college as a way to learn how to write my PhD thesis…! She is also a feminist and encourager of women into writing. And she likes cats.. what more can you ask for?