Last year I did a reading and talk at Leicester De Montfort University, after which the organiser, author and academic Jonathan Taylor, asked me whether he could use the story I’d just tried out in a new anthology that he was hoping to get published. My copy of Overheard: stories to read aloud arrived last week and I’ve been dipping into it ever since. It’s a very nifty idea for an anthology, with nothing over 3,000 words long (I had to ruthlessly edit my story, Games In Bed, to get it down to 2,999 words!), so each story take only a few minutes to read or – at most – fifteen minutes to read aloud. I’m one of those people who will read a poem or story aloud at the drop of a hat: you engage more closely as a reader and the listener(s) get to sit back and relax, enjoy the story. So this book was made for me. And I’m in it.

Overheard features a really wide range of material, from an early classic by Ian McEwan to fine stories by emerging writers like Aimee Wilkinson and Maria Taylor. So far, I’ve particularly enjoyed stories by Joel Lane and Kathleen Bell, but there are loads more I’m looking forward to. It’s a fat book, divided into different sections (mine’s a ‘whispering’ story, because of its racy content) and would make an excellent xmas gift. You can buy it direct from the publisher, post-free with a 20% discount. If I were you, I’d get two. Congratulations to the editor, Jonathan, who bookends this handsome anthology with a long introduction and a haunting, colourful micro story.

The book isn’t available on Kindle, for copyright reasons, but pretty soon I’ll be announcing the next Beat novel on Kindle and, after that, it’ll be time for our best of year CD track by track rundown. Back to the demo version…

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