> Skip to content

Article  •  23 November 2016

 

New. Improved. Short stories.

Morris Gleitzman on the value of the short story.

Introducing the custom-made solution for busy people who haven’t got the time, confidence, energy or bedtime negotiating skills for long stories but want the thrills and fun of a great read.

Short stories.

Perfect for keen young readers who are only allowed between eleven and twenty-three minutes reading time before bed. There’s a short story that’s the perfect length for you. You’ll even have time to re-read the exciting bits and explain a couple of the jokes to Teddy.

Ideal for parents who’ve had a long day and want to read to their poppets, but not to the point of cardiac arrest. With a short story, you can avoid the anguished wails of ‘just one more chapter’ and bring the narrative arc to a satisfying end before your voice seizes up from gin deprivation.

A boon for teachers who want to give their students a quality literary experience that fits neatly between sport and remedial maths and doesn’t make them late for their school play rehearsals (Guys And Dolls And Phonics).

A must for relief teachers. With a short story you’ll be done and dusted and won’t have kids you never thought you’d see again knocking at your front door at 10pm demanding to know how Charlotte’s Web ends.

A huge relief for less confident young readers who keep picking up novels and putting them down again for fear they’ll get hooked on the plot and won’t finish the book till they’re forty-seven. With short stories, you too can use the words you’ve always dreamed of using. ‘Nah, I’ve read that.’

A delightful rediscovery for older readers whose memory isn’t what it was and who have trouble holding the details of more than a dozen pages at a time. With a short story, you’ll be in the loop and never have the experience of reading a chapter of The Corrections and feeling pretty sure that when you started it was Pride and Prejudice.

I could give you hundreds of more examples, but for all the above reasons I’ve decided to keep this short.

My name is Morris Gleitzman and I love short stories. I write them and I read them and sometimes I even dream about them. They’ve changed my life in countless profound and exquisite and time-appropriate ways.

Do yourself a compact and entirely manageable favour. Read one soon.

Morris has three collections of short stories, Give Peas a Chance, Pizza Cake, and his latest, Snot Chocolate. You don’t have to read them all at once.

More features

See all
Article
The 2021 Booker Prize shortlist revealed

The shortlist for the 2021 Booker Prize has been announced, with four Penguin Random House novels named.

Article
'Utterly broken': The Resilience Project co-founder’s powerful admission

Hugh van Cuylenburg was being interviewed on a national radio station when he surprised himself with an admission.

Article
The song behind The What On Earth Institute of Wonder, by Lisa Nicol

Light-emitting Mushrooms and the High Priestess of Soul; The song behind The What On Earth Institute of Wonder.

Article
Simple reading hacks for time-poor dads

Two authors — who are also dads — share their tips on how fathers can get a moment to themselves.

Article
The four hidden health benefits of reading

Reading offers us entertainment and a quick escape from reality, but did you know about these other hidden health benefits?

Article
The top books for dad this Father's Day

Show them you know them by picking a book that perfectly matches your dad.

Article
QUIZ: What book best suits your dad for Father's Day

Take our quiz to discover which books match your dad's personality so you can buy the perfect Father's Day gift.

Article
Five easy hacks to declutter your bookshelf

The top tips for sprucing your bookshelf during the annual spring clean.

Article
The habit that can lift your mood in just six minutes

There is one act that will help lift your mood in just minutes as we prepare to enter the new spring season.

Article
QUIZ: How well do you know the classics?

Celebrate the 75th anniversary of Penguin Classics with a quiz to test your knowledge!

Article
Fart and Burp are Superstinkers for Book Week

Get Book Week ready with Zoë Foster Blake

Article
Trending on BookTok: Fantasy Edition

The most popular fantasy books on TikTok right now.

Looking for more articles?

See all articles