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 20 Minutes+

  • 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 [...]

  • The Locust Theorem

    ‘It is probably best if we start with your body. I’d like you to touch yourself – on the arm, the face – somewhere where your hand can make contact with your skin. Feel it. Soft. Malleable. Our bodies are fantastically adaptable – fantastically adaptable – to external conditions. Well now, let’s think about that for a minute. Let’s think about external conditions. Where do external conditions start?’ A drop of sweat runs down my Read more [...]

  • The Glow Worm

    Two of the younger monks came out of the little gate at dawn, running for their lives. The soldiers caught them. They ripped their woollen habits from them and put them on the fire, stripping them naked. ‘Pray to Saint Francis to get you a new shirt!’ the soldiers shouted, and then they laughed. The monks ran from them, crying and praying into the woods. Later the monastery was a quiet place, and only the Read more [...]

  • The Miner who would be a Gannet

    Gannet: Sula bassana. Very large seabird, cigar shaped with a six-foot wingspan. Narrow, black-tipped wings and a white body with ochre head. A superb, graceful flyer, prefers open sea except when breeding. Dives from a great height to catch fish.   ‘When tha’ going to get ‘itched then Tommy?’ one of his lippy mates asked him as they entered the cage for the day-shift. It was a question on many of the men’s minds but Read more [...]

  • After Hope & Fear

    Fame had never felt as seductive or as life-affirming as it had been when Luella was still dreaming of it, her eyes tight shut and her heart murmuring with the possibilities it held. Now that she had it, all she wanted was to set it aside like a childhood relic that had lost its sentimental value. What had been the appeal in the first place? She took a drag on her cigarette as she struggled 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 [...]

  • The Amazing Chen

    When Mrs Chen decided to get a divorce, she fretted for a couple of weeks on how best to tell her husband. She knew he would object and she also knew that he would throw things. He would be a rooster in an infinite dawn and she might have to escape to a hotel. She had settled on I want a divorce, until she pictured him ranting and stropping around their apartment. Wanting sounded too Read more [...]