With just a couple weeks left till the end of our annual Short Story Competition we spoke to the Judges to find out exactly what the short story means to them.  Today we spoke to award-winning novelist Susan Hill about writers, short stories and what to read to be inspired. 

What do you look for in a short story?

‘A little world, made cunningly.’

Which short story writers do you admire? 

In no order – Chekhov, Elizabeth Bowen, James Lasdun, Helen Simpson, Henry James, Katherine Mansfield… and many many more.

What possibilities does the form of short fiction present to a writer that the novel doesn’t offer? 

It doesn’t – it is just different.

How would you describe yourself as a reader? 

Omniverous – almost. I don’t read fantasy or sci-fi.

If you had to recommend one short story for contributors to read what would it be? 

I’m having 3 –

Katherine Mansfield, ‘The Doll’s House’.

James Lasdun ‘From the Minutes of the Honorary Secretary’.

Helen Simpson, ‘Burns Night’.

And about 1,000 more…

19.03.08 Picture shows Susan Hill (born February 5, 1942) is a British popular writer of fiction and non-fiction. Her novels have all been best sellers, and she remains best known for her ghost story The Woman in Black. Other notable novels have been I'm the King of the Castle and The Mist in the Mirror..Susan Hill's latest release is called The Battle for Gullywith. Picture Ben Graville
Photo: Ben Graville

Susan Hill has been a professional writer for over 50 years. Her books have won the Whitbread, and John Llewellyn Prizes, andthe W. Somerset Maugham Award and been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Her novels include Strange MeetingI’m the King of the Castle and A Kind Man, and she has also published autobiography and collections of short stories. Her ghost story, The Woman in Black, has been running in London’s West End since 1988.




Click here to submit your entry

Dearest reader! Our newsletter!

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest content, freebies, news and competition updates, right to your inbox. From the oldest literary periodical in the UK.

You can unsubscribe any time by clicking the link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or directly on info@thelondonmagazine.org. Find our privacy policies and terms of use at the bottom of our website.