John Holland writes.

Short fiction writer, events organiser and obsessive

Other events


Tales of the Unpredictable. Stroud Theatre Festival. 13 & 14 September 2019.

As we did in 2017, short story author Philip Douch and I are doing two two-header short story reading events at this year’s Stroud Theatre Festival.

Tickets are £6. Here are the details with links for more information and ticket sales -


Friday 13 Sept 8pm Star Anise, Gloucester St - level access

Saturday 14 Sept 8pm Lounge 16, George St - stair access only

Stroud Short Stories 19th Event Sunday 10 November, Cotswold Playhouse, Stroud. 7.30 (doors 7.00)

SSS_No19_brochure_A4 - Colour.jpg

The event is part of the Stroud Book Festival. More information to -


Incendiary! - Stroud Short Stories Sunday 19 May at 8pm (doors 7.30) at the Cotswold Playhouse in Stroud SOLD OUT

Our 18th event, Incendiary!, took 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. The event was sold out! Ten authors (Robin Booth, Joanna Campbell, Louise Elliman, Michael Hurst, Jason Jackson, Emma Kernahan, Geoff Mead, Chloe Turner, Steve Wheeler and Alwin Wiederhold) read their remarkable stories about fire, heat, passion, anger and rebellion.

Hawkesbury Upton LitFest 27 April 2019

I chaired the 1pm short story session in the Methodist Hall involving readings by Kate O'Grady, Nastasya Parker, Mark Rutterford, Chloe Turner, Steve Wheeler, Katie Witcombe and me.

Launch of To Hull And Back Anthology 2018, Talking Tales, Stokes Croft Writers, Bristol. 8 December 2018

I read my winning story ‘Lips’. FREE! Stokes Croft Writers, Left Bank, 128 Cheltenham Rd, Bristol.

’What Makes a Monster & Other Stories’ Stroud Short Stories 17th event. Sunday 11 November 2018, the SVA, Stroud. SOLD OUT.

Stories by Ali Bacon, Andrew Stevenson, Clive Singleton, Zara Wicks, Amanda Staples, Ken Popple, Sophie Flynn, Stephen Connolly, Katie Witcombe and Sarah Hitchcock. The event SOLD OUT in 6 hours!

The Fall. Unchained Writers Event. SouthBank Centre. Bristol 7.30 Sunday 7 October 2018

I’ll be reading ‘Da’. Mark Rutterford, Rosalind Minett, Ali Bacon also reading. SouthBank Centre, Bristol BS3 1DB. 7.30. £5.

Launch of the New Stroud Short Stories Anthology 2015-18 Friday 18 September 2018

Priced at £10, we launched the new Stroud Short Stories Anthology 2015-18 at the Ale House in John Street, Stroud on Friday 28 September.

The book contains 57 stories by 45 Gloucestershire authors. These stories were read at the six SSS events from Nov 2015 to May 2018.

Coleford Festival of Words Short Story Competition Winners event - Monday 2 July 2018

Coleford Baptist Church,  27 Whitecliff, Coleford GL16 8AJ.  I read my story 'The Ten Tests of Secret Love', shortlisted for the Coleford Festival of Words Short Story Competition.


Sunday Salon/Sofa - Sunday -1 July 2018

MCed by Jonny Fluffypunk, with poets Helen Ivory and Martin Figura, I'll be reading a story or two. SVA, John Street, Stroud. 7.30. £6 in advance/£7 at door.


Stokes Croft Writers Talking Tales - Saturday 16 June 2018

The Left Bank Centre 128 Cheltenham Road, Bristol BS6 5RW. Free admission. Doors 6.30.

I read my story 'The Most Beautiful Thing She has Ever Seen'.


Stroud Short Stories Sunday 20 May 2018

Our 16th event at the SVA, John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA. Doors 7.30 for 8.00 start. SOLD OUT


Talk to the  Society of Authors 16 MAY 2018

I'm gave a half hour talk about short stories to the local branch of the Society of Authors at the Amberley Inn in Amberley at 12 noon. I also read 'Boyfriends' and 'Da'.


Hawkesbury Upton LitFest 21 April 2018

I will be read 'In Those Days', 'The First Time at her Place' and 'Boyfriends' and chaired the short story session at the 4th HULitFest event on Saturday 21 April 2018.


Bath Story Friday on Friday 9 March 2018

I read my story 'Lips' as part of the event which was on the theme of 'home'.

Burdalls Yard, 7A Anglo Terrace, Bath, BA1 5NH. 


WorcsLitFest Anthology Launch Sunday 12 November 4pm

I read 'The Guy at the Bar', 'You were in Need of Money' and 'Skin', all three of which were published in the 2017 WorcsLitFest Anthology. Drummonds Bar, The Swan with Two Necks, Worcester.


Stroud Short Stories 5 November 2017

Theme - 'All you need is love. Or is it?'. The SVA, John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA. The event sold out!


Bristol LitFest Talking Tales at Stokes Croft Writers Saturday 28 October

I read 'How to Improve Productivity' at the LeftBank Centre in Cheltenham Road, Bristol on Saturday 28 October. 


Stroud Theatre Festival 29 + 30 Sept. Phiip and John's Medium-sized Night Out

I read at the Stroud Theatre Festival with fellow-writer Philip Douch on Friday 29 September and Saturday 30 September in an event called 'Philip and John's medium-sized Night Out'.

Tickets for festival performances were £ 7.00 and £ 5.00 (concessions)

More Banksy Than Bonnets Friday 2 June 2017 Bath Fringe

I read my story 'A Visit from the Vampires' at the Bath Fringe event 'More Banksy Than Bonnet's organised by Bristol's Stokes Croft Writers at Burdall's Yard, London Road, Bath Friday 2 June 2017.


Bath Flash Fiction Evening Friday 26 May 2017

7.30 - 9.30pm. St James Wine Vaults, St James Street, Bath,  BA1 2TW. I read with Jude Higgins, Meg Pokrass, Joanna Campbell, KM Elkes and Tracy Fells.


Stroud Short Stories - our 14th evening of short stories on Sunday 21 May

Sunday 21 May 2017 SVA (Stroud Valleys Artspace), John Street, Stroud, GL5 4PN. 

Ten Gloucs/South Gloucs authors read to a sell-out audience of 70.

Details on SSS website -


Hawkesbury Upton LitFest Saturday 22 April 2017

I chaired the short story session and reading 'Sensitive', 'You were in need of money and 'Rats' at his completely free festival of literature.

The other short story authors reading include Ali Bacon, A.A.Abbott, Mark Rutterford, Jenny Heap, Rosalind Minett, Jacci Gooding and Rod Griffiths.

Details and programme at


'Another Country' Bristol's Writers Unchained evening of short stories

SSS_No19_brochure_A4 - Colour.jpg

Sunday 19 March, Southbank Club, Dean Street, Bristol, BS3 1DB. £5 on the door.

I read my story 'Door Step'.  Others reading include Debbie Young, Mark Lewis, Ali Bacon and Mark Rutterford.







Talking Tales and Launch of 2016 'To Hull and Back' Anthology

Saturday 10 December 2016. Left Bank Centre, Cheltenham Road, Stokes Croft, Bristol. 7.00 pm. I read my story 'The Night Ape'.






THE APOCALYPSE ALPHABET & OTHER STORIES - Stroud Short Stories event 20 November 2016, SVA, John Street, Stroud

Ten authors will read their stories to a sell out audience of 70 people.

All info on our website


Writers Unchained 'The Twilight Zone' Sunday 23 October

An evening of sci fi and fantasy short stories in Bristol. 'You're Very Beautiful' (my only sci fi story!) was chosen. I was ill and unable to attend but Kevlin Henney kindly read the story for me.


Stroud Short Stories' Greatest Hits at the 2016 Cheltenham Literature Festival Little Big Top 10 October 9pm to 10.15pm

I presented my favourite seven stories read by their authors at SSS from its beginning in 2011 to April 2016. Authors were Debbie Young, Philip Douch, Ali Bacon, Andrew Stevenson, Rick Vick, Mel Golding and Bill Jones. The 140 seat Little Big Top sold out!

 Cheltenham Literature Festival website


Hawkesbury Upton Pop-Up LitFest at the Hawkesbury Upton Horticultural Show, Saturday 27 August 2016

I read 'Christmas'.

Info here -


Reading event with Philip Douch. Imperial Hotel, Stroud - Monday 26 September 2016

Philip Douch and I did a double-header at the Imperial Hotel (next to the railway station) in Stroud, Philip is reprising his (Reasonably) Great Sporting Moments from the Stroud Theatre Festival, and we both read new stories. 


Stokes Croft Writers Talking Tales Saturday 13 August

At the LeftBank Centre in Cheltenham Road, Bristol.  Natalie Lee read my story 'Da'.


The Speakeasy, Bath Short Story Event Thursday 28 July 2016

I read my story 'Lips' at this event in Bath.

Full details here


Evesham Festival of Words Short Story Competition Prize-Giving Friday 1 July 2016

I judged the 2026 Evesham Festival Of Words short story competition. The anthology was launched and the winner, from the short list of eleven which were published in the anthology, was announced at Evesham Town Hall by Katie Fforde. £7.50. All info here -


More Banksy Than Bonnets - A Humourous Story Telling Extravaganza

Sunday 5 June 2016

As part of the 2016 Bath Fringe, I read with Bristol's Stokes Croft Writers at Burdall's Yard, Bath, BA1 5NH. 8pm. £5 on the door.

Details here


Stroud Short Stories Event  Sunday 24 April

I MC-ed the eleventh Stroud Short Stories event 'Los Muertos' on Sunday 24 April at 8pm at the SVA, John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA. The event was part of the Site Festival.



Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival Saturday 23 April 2016

I read short stories and chairing/MC-ed the short stories session, as well as contributing to a panel discussion, at the 2016 Hawkesbury Upton LitFest on Saturday 23 April 2016.



Talking Tales Saturday 16 April 2016

I read my story 'The Fish It Was That Died' at Talking Tales, The Stoke Croft Writers event, at the Leftbank Centre in Bristol.


Bath Friday Friday 1 April 2016 at Burdall’s Yard, 7A Anglo Terrace, Bath BA1 5NH

Actor Oliver Langdon read my new story 'Orly' at the Bath Story Friday event at Burdall's Yard, Bath. My debut at this event.


St Valentine's Hangover event Sunday 21 February 2016

I read my story 'True' which was shortlisted in 2015 for the Yeovil Literary Prize. Other readers/writers included Debbie Young, Ali Bacon, Emily Koch, Mark Rutterford and Dan Gooding. It was organised by Writers Unchained and took place at the SouthbankCentre, Bedminster, Bristol.

All details here






Sunday 15 November 2015. Stroud Short Stories - Eerie Evening of Short Stories

SVA (Stroud Valleys Artspace), John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA. Doors 7.30 for 8.00 start. As organiser of the event I introduced the ten authors to read their selected stories. Watch/listen on Stroud Short Stories YouTube channel here.


Thursday 19 November 2015. Launch of 2015 Bath Short Story Anthology

6.30 - 8.30 Mr B's Emporium of Books, Bath. I read from my short listed story 'Lips'. Watch/listen on YouTube here.


Sunday 22 November 2015. Launch of 2015 Worcs LitFest Anthology, Worcester

4pm, Drummonds, The Swan with Two Necks, 28 New Street, Worcester, WR1 2DP.

I read my story 'Sensitive' which won first prize, together with two other published pieces 'A Hot Summer's Day' and 'The Banker'.


Cheltenham Literature Festival.  Sunday 11 October 2015.

The actor Moses Hardwick read my story 'Strange Fruit - An Imagining', runner-up in the Gloucestershire Writers' Network short story competition on the theme of Crossroads, at Cheltenham Town Hall as part of the Cheltenham Literature Festival. Watch/listen on Youtube.

'Short Stories for Grown-Ups' at No.23 Bistro 7 Bar, Nelson Street, Stroud. Sunday 9 August 2015

A packed sell-out house at No.23 Bistro & Bar, Nelson Street, Stroud on Sunday 9 August 2015 listened to 5 stories by me, 4 by Philip Douch and one by debutante Natalie Lee. An excellent evening. Thank you Philip Douch and No.23.






Saturday 27 June 2015 National Flash Fiction Day Reading

I read my Worcestershire Literary Festival First Prize winning story, Sensitive, at Foyle's, Cabot Circus, Bristol to about 40 people as part of National Flash Fiction Day. Other writers reading included Calum Kerr, Kevlin Henney,  Zoe Gilbert, Diane Simmons, Sarah Hilary, K.M. Elkes, Susan Howe, Jonathan Pinnock and Adam Marek.





Friday 8 May 2015 Stroud Short Stories Anthology Launch

The  Stroud Short Stories Anthology 2011-15 was launched (and, of course, sold) on Friday 8 May at the Ale House, John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA (just up from the SVA). 

The paperback book contains almost all stories from the first SSS event in 2011 up to, and including, this month's ninth event. The splendid cover design is by Tom Brown and is attached for you. There are 80 stories by 57 authors.




Thursday 23 April 2015 Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival 

The Fox Inn, High Street, Hawkesbury Upton, Gloucestershire GL9 1AU 

The festival  was organised by local writer Debbie Young.

I read five very short stories.


Sunday 19 April 2015 Stroud Short Stories

Stroud Short Stories  SVA, John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA 

As organiser of the event I introduced ten authors who read their specially selected stories. The event was competely sold out.

Full report by author Debbie Young here


Friday 10 April 2015

A Feast of Stories - Love and Stuff Like That


Prince Michael Hall, Bacon Theatre, Dean Close School, Cheltenham 7.45 £10

I read my short story Sunday Morning in an event that included stories by organiser Philip Douch, Andrew Stevenson, Julie Green , Elaine Miles, Christine  Griffin, as well as music by cellist Asha McCarthy.


November 2013

I read my Story The Night Ape at the awards ceremony for the Momaya Press annual short story competition. It was awarded first prize.


October 2013

I read my story The Song at the Cheltenham Literature Festival as part of Gloucestershire Writers Network event.


August 2013

I read my story Morning Tea on Corinium Radio as part of a Somewhere Else local writers feature.


November 2012

I read my story The Coat at The Book - A Celebration at the Old Town Hall, Stroud.


October 2012

I read my story The Uncanny Valley at Stroud Short Stories Spooky Evening at SVA, Stroud.


October 2012

I read part of my story The Uncanny Valley on BBC Radio Gloucestershire in a Stroud Short Stories feature.