Story Cities is a collaborative research project that explores ways in which stories might respond to, reference, reflect and re-imagine the city – any city and every city. The brainchild of two lecturers at the University of Greenwich in London, Rosamund Davies, Senior Lecturer in Media and Creative Writing, and Kam Rehal, Senior Lecturer in Graphic and Digital Design, the Story Cities project has morphed into a real-life, physical book, the result of an open call-out for submissions of flash fiction pieces.
Each piece no more than 500 words in length, the small but perfectly formed anthology Story Cities: A City Guide For The Imagination gathers together the work of 42 writers from around the globe and acts as a kind of alternative guidebook. Take the tome into town and see how it helps you to experience the city around you differently – as the introduction suggests, “Your city is also the city.” No names or landmarks are divulged, but many if not all cities are explored, through nine different sections: Termini, Hotels, Transport, Cafés, Main Streets, Market, Crossroads, Side Streets and Square & Parks. Covering all genres, the collection is the latest from the indie Arachne Press, headed up by co-editor Cherry Potts, and is published in June.
No names or landmarks are divulged, but many if not all cities are explored, through nine different sections: Termini, Hotels, Transport, Cafés, Main Streets, Market, Crossroads, Side Streets and Square & Parks
Described by “grandmaster of flash” David Gaffney as “precision-crafted meditations on public spaces … helping us rethink our feelings about shared environments, crowds, transport and architecture – the throwaway beauty of urban life”, Flash Fiction Festival founder Jude Higgins agrees that it “exactly captures the restless mood of cities.” Jude, who also runs the Bath Flash Fiction Award, says: “The stories describe familiar things in interesting ways or lead you, like a guide book, to something new. Like a city dweller or visitor, you will want to return again and again and each time there will be more to relish.”
The lovely-looking anthology, designed by Kam Rehal, is being treated to two launch events – one at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery in Greenwich on Thursday 20 June and this one, on Thursday 27 June in Manchester’s shiny new Blackwell’s Bookshop. It’s free, but be sure to bagsy yourself a ticket on Eventbrite so there’s enough cake (hopefully!) and wine (fingers crossed!). There will be readings by some of the contributors and the chance to buy signed copies. Confirmed are Arachne Press head honcho Cherry Potts, Cath Holland, spotted recently at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool during The Other‘s North West tour, and Dave Murray, a regular on the open mic at Verbose, reading his heartstring-tugger ‘Truing The Square’. Award-winning short story writer, poet and the author of novels Something Black In The Lentil Soup and A Mouthful Of Silence Reshma Ruia has headlined Verbose more than once, and will be reading ‘The Promise’ from Story Cities: A City Guide For The Imagination, and former Verbose host and current Victoria Baths Writer-in-Residence Sarah-Clare Conlon rounds off the line-up with her tiny station story, ‘Feet In A Yard’.