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 [...]

  • Stocktaking

    Shops that sell antiquarian books might get broken into occasionally, but twice at once seems excessive. At least, it does to me, and I was one of the people breaking in. Although I’m usually punctilious – and only someone punctilious would use that word – I didn’t extend myself over this one. After all, I was stealing a single book, not the Alexandrian Library. The shop stood in a quiet street in Bath. Amongst the Read more [...]

  • Ever Decreasing Circles

    Winter snow deadens sound. Not the persistent ringing in my head though, the volume of which has gradually increased with age. That sound is always with me. My perverse comfort blanket. Today it accompanies me as I walk, alone, through the park. The grass lawn surrounding the duck pond lies like a soft baby’s blanket, in gentle undulations of pure white. For now, at least. Once the toddlers have been down with their wellies, and 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 [...]

  • Something Understood

    Toby Jefferies awoke to the sound of ululation. The BBC World Service was reporting on some dreadful crisis. The mouth of the presenter was taped with sticky flypaper. The women and children were howling through sponge and soldiers fired rounds of ammunition in a soft-room. Toby’s downstairs neighbour was playing Radio Four at high volume and the alternating trill and bray punched through the new-build plaster that separated their bedrooms. The hangover Toby had cultivated 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 [...]