I once saw a quote stating “We read to know that we are not alone”. I think this is a beautiful description of one of the elements that drives us to curl up, sit back or find a peaceful corner to tuck into our latest literally discovery or favourite worn out novel. This joy is not limited to 300 pages of intrigue, but can also be found in a few pages that take you on a journey so quickly you sometimes have to stop to catch your breath. The short story has crafted its own unique space in literary history and storytelling traditions alike and now we are also celebrating its special place in Africa.
On Wednesday 20 June 2012 Short Story Day is going global with the launch of International Short Story Day and Short Story Day Africa.
This concept, celebrating the short story on the shortest day of the year, is borrowed from the pilot project, National Short Story Day
, which launched in the UK in October 2010 and concluded on 21 December (their shortest day). The project grew organically using social networking tools and was a great success. Short Story Day South followed on 21 June 2011, culminating in a series of events around the country, including the popular Chain Gang Challenge.
This year, the organizers of National Short Story Day and Short Story Day South, decided to collaborate to create an international celebration. International Short Story Day was born, with Short Story Day Africa focusing on African writing and writers.
The beauty of this initiative is that your unique way of enjoying literature will determine the form of the celebration! The call is out to all readers and writers – all ages, teachers and students to join in highlighting the outstanding fiction Africa has to offer. Absolutely anybody can do something in honour of the short story. This could be anything, from running a creative workshop or class, a competition, making a short film or film adaptation of a short story, organizing a spoken word night, a reading, an author appearance, a literary salon, or simply picking up a short story and enjoying it, for maybe the first or the hundredth time.
There is even an exciting and interactive competition that you can join in. As part of the International Short Story Day celebrations, The Book Lounge
(South Africa) and Comma Press
(United Kingdom) challenge you to a chain story competition. At 8.00am GMT (9.00am UK and 10.00am SA) on Wednesday 20th June, the first literary legends will sit down around the globe and start writing. An hour later, the keyboard will be wrested from his/her hands and passed on.
As each segment of the story unravels, they will upload it to the Short Story Day Africa website
. Readers will be able to watch the stories unfold online and, at 2.00pm GMT, when the last writer adds the final full stop, the polls will open and readers can begin voting for their favourite story. Prizes will be sponsored by Comma Press.
So ultimately whatever it is you're doing to celebrate - they want to hear about it! Send the details of your event to email@example.com, a link to your website (if applicable), and any images you have, and they will put it on the brand new Short Story Day Africa website
, where you can also find short stories to read and enjoy, short story recommendations, competitions, giveaways and more.
For more information visit their website or follow them @shortstoryAFR. You can also join them on Facebook.