Writing Short Stories

Short Story Workshop with Kiare Ladner

“With the short story, you are up against mortality. I know how tough they are as a form, but they’re also a total joy.” Ali Smith

Are you keen to play, to experiment, to explore? Are you finding your voice as a writer? Or are you a seasoned writer eager to try a new method or style? Are you struggling to hone your prose so that readers ‘get’ it? Or so that it more fully conveys your inspiration or vision?

Over six weeks, we’ll workshop your stories, interlinked stories or genre bending ideas. If what you’re writing is brief, we’re interested in how you can make it as powerful as possible. We’ll also look at a diverse selection of short stories by international writers, such as Irenosen Okojie, Kawabata Yasunari, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Lydia Davis, Rachida el-Charni and others.

The sessions will focus on:

Week 1: Why we read short stories, and why we write them: exploring process, feedback and territory

Week 2: The unforgettable image (including discussion of situation and title)

Week 3: Character: its role and elasticity in the short story form

Week 4: Beginnings, endings and time

Week 5: Theme and imagery

Week 6: Editing: precision and power when every word counts

Together we’ll discuss what works, how it works and why it works. Our examination of the craft will range from the traditional to the experimental, from character-based to thematically driven, from stories that expand a moment to those that cover a lifetime. Optional extra stories will be provided for particularly keen readers.

Come along if you’d like to be inspired, motivated and challenged in your practice. All levels and returning students are welcome.


This course was a ticket to Kiare’s clever brain – a machine that indexes the best writing from around the world, incubates close reading in community, and crafts incisive and generous feedback on student work. Kiare relit my love of the short story, and thanks to her I wrote my first short fiction in more than a decade and find myself starting new stories with urgency. I feel incredibly lucky to have learned from her and to have received her encouragement.


Short Fiction Workshop


Cost £140

Autumn Two: Evenings

  • Wednesdays 6.30-9pm
  • Nov 9, 16, 23, 30, Dec 7, 14

    Our tutor Kiare says...

    Students of all levels produce unique slices of life that are fascinating to read whatever stage they're at. I'm consistently impressed by their commitment and generosity towards each other in workshops.

    Kiare Ladner

    Kiare's debut novel Nightshift was recently published by Picador in the UK and Mariner Books (Harper Collins) in the US. Her short stories have been anthologised, commissioned for the radio and shortlisted in competitions, including the BBC National Short Story Award. She wrote Nightshift while studying for a Creative Writing PhD. Prior to that she did a Prose Writing MA at the University of East Anglia. She teaches at various institutions in London, volunteers with Pirates literacy programme and privately mentors writers on a one-to-one basis. In reading, writing and life, she's naturally drawn to nonconformism and dichotomies. Having grown up in South Africa, she loves spending time in big cities as much as out in middle of nowhere. In the cyber world, you can find her at www.kiareladner.com

    Writing Room is a registered Community Interest Company: a non-profit arts organisation committed to serving the interests of our diverse community of creative writers.

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