John Holland writes.

Short fiction writer, events organiser and obsessive

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.

The 11 November 2018 Stroud Short Stories event 'What Makes a Monster & Other Stories' has sold out in just 6 HOURS!

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The Next Stroud Short Stories event ‘What makes a Monster & Other Stories’ to be held on Sunday 11 November at the SVA in Stroud will feature stories by Ali Bacon, Andrew Stevenson, Clive Singleton, Zara Wick, Amanda Staples, Ken Popple, Sophie Flynn, Stephen Connolly, Katie Witcombe and Sarah Hitchcock.

112 stories were submitted by 85 Gloucestershire authors. Many thanks to my co-judge Debbie Young.

The event SOLD OUT IN 6 HOURS!


Woohoo! My story ‘Lips’ has won FIRST PRIZE in the 2018 To Hull And Back Short Story Competition. That’s £1,000, published in a print anthology, the cover of which will bear my face, and a videod day out in Hull with Chris Fielden who runs the comp.

With the Dorset Fiction Award for ‘Cows’ in July that’s two First Prizes in four months.

Link -