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Sunday, May 29, 2011


On June 21, revel in a celebration of fiction’s short- yet-perfectly-crafted form, the short story.

Short Story Day South is a participation-driven initiative and will culminate in a series of events all over southern Africa, offering a variety of stories, old and new, to be read, listened to and enjoyed. The idea is to create a platform for writers, readers, booksellers, teachers, school children and publishers to come together to submit, read, workshop and discuss the short story, especially as it applies to writing in southern Africa, and in so doing promote southern African writing locally and globally.

Short Story Day South was conceived when Rachel Zadok and Isla Haddow-Flood were contacted by one of the coordinators of National Short Story Day in the United Kingdom, Daneet Stephens. The idea grew and Rachel then recruited fellow writer, poet and publisher, Colleen Higgs.

Cape Town-based Rachel Zadok is the author of Gem Squash Tokoloshe (shortlisted for The Whitbread First Novel Award 2005 and The John Llewellyn Rhys Prize 2005). Isla Haddow-Flood is a writer, editor and marketing specialist who currently works for the Africa Centre, advising on and implementing marketing strategies across their 10 projects. Colleen Higgs launched Modjaji Books, the first publishing house for southern African women writers, in 2007. Her first collection of poetry, Halfborn Woman, was published in 2004, and her second volume, Lava Lamp Poems (2011).

The concept of Short Story Day South, 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 December 21 (their shortest day). The project grew organically using social networking tools (Facebook and Twitter) and was a great success. A similar event is being created in the southern Hemisphere, starting in southern Africa and moving beyond in the years to come.

The initiative is open to readers and writers of all ages as well as teachers and students.

“We are in the process of doing some vigorous marketing to ensure as much participation as possible. We would like to see schools, libraries, bookstores, readers, writers, publishers and booksellers all take part - the more the better!” say the organisers. “Satellite events on the day, be it a workshop or reading can be hosted by any passionate party at any available location. We will supply them with some basic marketing materials and all the information and support they will need. We think the community aspect of this event is very important and hope to create some local heroes!

“The reality is that the current group of successful authors is small and needs to be grown if South Africa is going to have a vibrant and competitive literary industry,” the press release continues. “The short story sector – possibly the easiest access point for aspiring authors – does not receive enough support and has very few consistent and regular initiatives aimed solely at generating new authors and celebrating established ones. Short Story Day South will give writers, including young aspiring writers, a voice and platform, and successful local events could encourage regular reader’s groups and workshops.”

Contact Rachel Zadok on email: More information at or Facebook Page : Short Story Day South - Twitter: shortstorydays