John Holland writes.

Short fiction writer, events organiser and obsessive


In January 2014 I became the organiser of Stroud Short Stories. It is, quite simply, a labour of love. 

Stroud Short Stories is a twice-yearly short stories non-profit making event held in the spring and autumn. The aim is to encourage, promote and showcase contemporary Gloucestershire writing. And provide a varied, stimulating and enjoyable evening's entertainment. 

The format is simple but effective one. Writers submit their stories. We choose ten. The authors read them to a packed audience. 

All information about submitting stories and about recent SSS events is on our website is

Stroud Short Stories was founded by local  artist and writer Bill Jones in 2011. I took it over from Bill in January 2014. 

The last eleven events have all sold out with 70 people cramming into the SVA. 


We held a special five years birthday event held at Cheltenham Literature Festival in October 2016. It featured seven of my favourite stories from the beginnings of SSS in 2011 to our most recent event in April 2016. The 140 seat venue, the Little Big Top, sold out!

The authors who read were Debbie Young, Philip Douch, Ali Bacon, Andrew Stevenson, Mel Golding, Rick Vick and Bill Jones.

Videos of the seven authors reading their stories are on our website



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Our latest brilliant event was held on 11 November 2018 and was called ‘What Makes a Monster & Other Stories’. It featured stories written by and read/performed by Ali Bacon, Andrew Stevenson, Clive Singleton, Zara Wick, Amanda Staples, Ken Popple, Sophie Flynn, Stephen Connolly, Katie Witcombe and Sarah Hitchcock. This event sold out in 6 HOURS!

See our website. All info about the rules, how to submit, the judges etc is there.



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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.

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Our SECOND ANTHOLOGY covering the six events from November 2015 to May 2018 was published in September 2018. It features 57 stories by 45 authors. Cover design by James Holland.

All info, including where to buy and all the authors included, is here.


 Authors (some invited) who have read at Stroud Short Stories include Alice Jolly, Tania Hershman, Jane BaileyRoshi Fernando, Adam Horovitz, Philip Rush, Aidan Rush, Michael Amherst, Philip Douch, Jo Bousfield, Rick Vick, Katherine Mitchell, Andrew Stevenson, Debbie Young, Rod Griffiths, Mary Omnes, Philip Bowne, Martin Spice, Eleanor Holliday,  Kevlin Henney, Peter Adams, Bill Jones, Nimue Brown, Laurence Cotterell, Laura Kinnear, A J Grace-Smith, Anthony Nanson, Anthony Hentschel, Teresa Moorey,  Juliette Myers, Joe Eurell, Stephanie Smith, Anna Gerrard, Clare Hudman, Rachel Levay, Ali Bacon Kirsty Hartsiotis, Elizabeth Murphy, Stephen Connolly, Graham Bruce-Fletcher, Judith Gunn, Tony Stowell, Jane Gordon-Cumming, Tim Byford, Ken Popple, Mel Golding, Mark Rutterford, Rommy Collingwood, Geoff Mead, Mark Graham, Nastasya Parker, Natalie Lee, Alex Clark, Steve Wheeler, Val Ormrod, James Northern, Jason Jackson, Joanna Campbell, Sarah Chapman, Nick Browne, Clive Singleton, Zara Wick, Amanda Staples, Sophie Flynn, Katie Witcombe and me.

All SSS contact details are on our Contact page.