John Holland writes.

Short fiction writer, events organiser and obsessive

Fabulous Incendiary! Event at Stroud Short Stories!

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Our 18th event and the first at the sold out 150-seater Cotswold Playhouse in Stroud was a considerable success. One of the best SSS events ever. Great stories and great performances by (in this order) Steve Wheeler, Louise Elliman, Michael Hurst, Alwin Wiederhold, Emma Kernahan, Chloe Turner, Robin Booth, Jason Jackson, Joanna Campbell and Geoff Mead. Congratulations to them all.

Snaps of the authors are on the website -

Stroud Short Stories May 2019 event 'Incendiary!' has SOLD OUT

Our new venue The Cotswold Theatre has SOLD OUT of tickets for the Stroud Short Stories event Incendiary! to be held on 19 May 2019. The venue holds 150 people - more than twice as many as our former venue. It will also will be record number for an event, beating the 140 who were at the SSS Fifth Birthday Greatest Hits event at Cheltenham Lit Fest in 2016.

That’s 13 events in a row which have sold out.

Hawkesbury Upton LitFest 27 April 2019

HULF just gets better and better each year. The short story session in this, the fifth year, was a triumph with stories by Chloe Turner, Steve Wheeler, Mark Rutterford, Katie Witcombe, Nastasya Parker, Kate O’Grady and me. I read ‘The River’. The HU Methodist Hall was pretty much full.

Stroud Short Stories event 'Incendiary!' Sunday 19 May at the Cotswold Playhouse

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Our 18th event, Incendiary!, takes place on Sunday 19 May at 8pm (doors 7,30) at our new venue, the spacious and comfortable Cotswold Playhouse, Parliament Street, Stroud GL5 1LW. Ten authors (Robin Booth, Joanna Campbell, Louise Elliman, Michael Hurst, Jason Jackson, Emma Kernahan, Geoff Mead, Chloe Turner, Steve Wheeler and Alwin Wiederhold) will be reading their remarkable stories about fire, heat, passion, anger and rebellion.

More than 100 tickets have been claimed in the first five days of sales, a figure that would have comfortably sold out our former venue. But because of the increased capacity at the Playhouse some tickets do remain.

Tickets, priced as usual at £8, are on sale on the Cotswold Playhouse website -

Or you can also order tickets by phone - 0333 666 3366. The Playhouse charges a £1.75 booking fee for telephone bookings.

Please note that Stroud Short Stories does not sell tickets.

The seating is raked/tiered so even the seats at the back offer excellent views - and are very comfortable. Seating is allocated when you buy your ticket (so you can choose your seat when you book). 

The Playhouse is a four minute uphill walk from the car park on Parliament Street opposite Stroud Police Station (car park post code  GL5 2HL). The car park is free in the evening. I know it's four minutes because I've recently walked it - and believe me I am not a fast walker these days. The alternative is street parking.

The Cotswold Playhouse has a bar!

Do come along, listen to the ten authors read their wonderful stories and perhaps chat with them afterwards.

Hawkesbury Upton LitFest Saturday 27 April 2019

Each April the South Gloucestershire village of Hawkesbury Upton turns itself into a literature festival. Organised by Debbie Young, this will be its fifth year. One of the remarkable things about it is that it's completely free and unticketed. Turn up on Saturday 27 April for a day of lectures, readings, workshops and panel discussions or, if you like, just pop in for one event.

I particularly recommend the short story session (obvs!), which I will be chairing and which will feature six new complete stories (not extracts) by Kate O'Grady, Nastasya Parker, Mark Rutterford, Chloe Turner, Steve Wheeler and Katie Witcombe. (And if there's time, I will read one too).

Everything you need to know about this amazing little festival is at I hope to see you there.