31 Days of Stories turns five

April 30, 2012 by · 3 Comments 

It’s a bit daunting to think that this marks the fifth year I’ve launched into a month of short-story posts. The first, in 2008, was held in August, to coincide with the Canadian Notes & Queries/The New Quarterly Salon des Refus├ęs of writers excluded from The Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories.

The idea was straightforward: each day of the month, I would select and write about one short story. By month’s end, I would cover as close to thirty-one stories as possible. (One story per day is always the goal, but it’s also important to be realistic about time pressures, other commitments, etc.) In the initial conception, I wanted to focus on the breadth of short fiction since the turn of the 20th century; subsequent iterations of this project have reached back even further, and have covered stories from Canada, the United States, Britain, Russia, Argentina, Japan, Israel, and elsewhere.

If the idea was straightforward, it became clear quite quickly that the execution would be anything but. Selecting stories, reading (or rereading) them, and trying to come up with something somewhat cogent and (hopefully) engaging to say about them on a tight timeframe proved challenging, but people seemed to enjoy the results of this process. (Indeed, the annual 31 Days of Stories is one of the most trafficked sections of TSR.)

So, once again charging in where angels fear to tread, I’m going to pledge to post on one story per day during May 2012. (The story month moved from August to May in 2010 as a means of piggybacking on Dan Wickett’s annual online celebration.)

Inevitably, there will be some overlap in authors, because it’s my damn site, and I’m the one doing the choosing. Flannery O’Connor, Alice Munro, and James Joyce, all 31 Days of Stories alumni, will no doubt be making repeat appearances over the coming weeks. (I’ve often thought I could devote the middle two weeks of this annual endeavour to each of the fifteen stories in Dubliners to obviate the need to choose from among them: they’re all that good.) But, we’ll try to mix it up a bit, to include a healthy serving of stories in translation, and hopefully to spotlight some surprising or overlooked stories that deserve a wider audience.

Things kick off tomorrow, and continue throughout the month. Join me?

(The Short Story Month banner is by designer Steven Seighman.)


3 Responses to “31 Days of Stories turns five”
  1. Alex says:

    I’m still waiting for your 31 Days of Victorian Novels. Next year?

  2. Steven W. Beattie says:

    Maybe. Do they have to be thirty-one consecutive days?

  3. Finn Harvor says:

    Short tale vs. long tail.