Short stories seem to be dominating the literary world at the moment. Enter Curtis Sittenfeld, established author, with her first collection of short stories. Her stories are linked by the theme of how we misread one another, and how much we deceive ourselves. Although it has been criticised for not having a hugely diverse range of characters, the writing is inevitably of a particularly high standard, and it is great to see well-known authors dipping their toe in such a creative and often overlooked genre.
Emma Gannon is everywhere: she has two podcasts, Get It Off Your Breasts and Ctrl Alt Delete, the latter of which she started to coincide with her first book of the same title. She’s been roped in to do major interviews and events across the country, and her writing is popping up everywhere. Her second book, The Multi-Hyphen Method, explores the concept of a “side hustle” (millennial speak for a portfolio career). It’s a business book for the modern, digital age and focuses on how to navigate the changing world of work and how to design your own career.
Bryony Gordon has swiftly become my new favourite person of recent months after discovering her podcast Mad World, which headed straight for podcast success after its pilot episode featured a guest unlike any other, Prince Harry. Bryony is a wonderful interviewer and I cannot recommend the podcast enough. Her writing is no different – her weekly column in the Sunday Telegraph is worth buying the paper for in itself.
Eat, Drink, Run is Bryony’s most recent novel, telling the story of how she defied what she initially thought her body was capable of, and ran the London Marathon. She draws on topics of mental illness, a subject she has become very much linked to in her writing and broadcasting, and I have no doubt that this book will become a staple of people’s shelves.
This is the completely ridiculous, comical memoir of Patricia Lockwood, whose father is a Catholic priest and her mother is eternally fearful of the world. I realise this doesn’t sound immediately humorous, but Lockwood laughs at the contradictions of life and the comedy of a Catholic upbringing to great effect. It’s a fun coming-of-age story and judging from its reception when it was released in hardback last year, it’s one with mass appeal.
You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone that hasn’t heard of Cat Person, the short story released in the New Yorker at the end of last year. It became a viral sensation overnight and is the most read and shared short story in the magazine’s website history. To no-one’s surprise, Kristen Roupenian swung a book deal shortly after, and her debut collection is being released in February 2019. For now, she has released the short story in book form, alongside photographs by Elinor Carucci, which compliment the story incredibly well, sometimes in ironic and humorous ways.
Cat Person is the story of a bad date, and the clash of how someone can seem in written form on text and the creation of narratives in our own heads vs. how they appear and communicate in real life. It is a trailblazing piece of writing, and will undoubtedly trigger the rise in the short story form.