Welcome to Fairlight Shorts – the home of seriously good storytelling. All of the Short Stories on our website have been hand-picked for their originality, contemporary themes and superb writing. We aim to post a new story each week, so do subscribe to our newsletter or join us on twitter if you would like to be kept up to date.

All Short stories

  • The Brief Literary Career of Lewis Burgess

    Lewis Burgess was a literary genius, of that there can be no doubt.  It might strike you as odd, then, that his work is so little known.  You may not have read it yourself.  It is even possible that his name is unknown to you.  How should we account for this seeming paradox, for the total failure of Burgess’s work to connect with an audience or gain so much as a glimmer of critical recognition?  Read more [...]

  • The Clock of Real Time

    The Hour My job is simple. I have to embroider the flag. Every day I come here from the village to earn our ethnic improvement grant. I sit here in the dust and sew the tiny threads which will make up, one day, the glory of the new flag. Paco, my husband, says it is like laying hairs over the ocean, because the threads are so tiny and the flag is so big. It began Read more [...]

  • Dry County

    Frustrating times. Glenn had worked as a junior caretaker at Whittaker Park since he was twenty. That meant lawn-mower or leaf-raker, depending on the season. After ten years he’d persuaded his boss to promote him to caretaker. That meant lawn-mower or leaf-raker, depending on the season. Frustrating times. Frustrating in all ways. It was no surprise when the most eventful month of Glenn’s life started with other people having sex. Even better, while he was Read more [...]

  • Candlelight

    I can hear my brothers, my uncles, my great-uncles hammering away in the mines twenty floors beneath us. Candlelight toys with the dining room and for a second my world becomes dark. Grandpa begins, spewing out the same rhetoric he does every time the three of us are together. His hands are stained from years tending to the oils; candlewax hangs like dew from the hairs on his arms. ‘Today is a great day, a Read more [...]

  • The View of the Garden in Summer

    I met him in the Marais. For me, Paris was a passing place on route to the South, but he was working on a series of commissioned landscapes. I was struck by his thick sandy hair, broad shoulders and that he was covered in paint. The cuffs of his grey linen jacket were speckled with azure and primrose; his lapels smeared with scarlet slashes. Brilliant white accentuated the creases around his eyes, and I noticed Read more [...]

  • A Tiding of Magpies

    One for Sorrow, Two for Joy, Three for a Girl and Four for a Boy, Five for Silver, Six for Gold, Seven for a Secret never to be told, Eight’s a Wedding, Nine’s a Birth, Ten, you must walk to the Ends of the Earth. Traditional counting-rhyme   One for Sorrow. The young girl sits at the bedroom window, watching the snow sleeting down. A magpie sits outside on a bare branch of the Crabtree, Read more [...]

  • The Ghosts from Kathmandu

    Leena had to starve herself for three months, but eventually her figure is boyish as his. She exercises in secret, locking her fingers over the beam above the kitchen doorframe and hauling herself up until her arms burn and her stomach muscles shake. As Anuj wastes slowly into bone and mattress, she grows lean and wiry and capable. In the evenings, when they eat together, she observes her husband closely, and marks the rhythm of Read more [...]

  • The New York Cuckoos

    The mournful wail of the cop sirens is drawing ever closer, but I feel an explanation is necessary. From the first time I read the book, I was not satisfied with their account of the accident. I was inclined to believe a collusion had been perpetrated on the reader. A collusion in which Fitzgerald had taken part. Nick’s portrayal of himself as an innocent recipient of unwanted confidences; his position as an unwitting observer of Read more [...]