M magazine, together with the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, is happy to announce our third annual short story contest. To get you started, we refer you to some masters of the craft and to the rules of entering. Then, ladies and gentlemen, start your laptops.
How to enter
All submissions must be received by Friday, February 25, at midday.
Submissions should be no more than 2,000 words.
There are two categories:
E-mail entries to email@example.com
Or post entries with your name, address, catergory and mobile phone number clearly marked to:
Helena Frith Powell
Abu Dhabi Media Company
PO Box 111434
Abu Dhabi, UAE
The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair runs from March 15 to March 20 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. For more information, go to www.adbookfair.com/cms
Need some writing inspiration before you embark on your own short story? Check out these timeless tales by some virtuosos of the genre. Beware, though: the "spoiler alert" sign is lit.
A DAY IN THE COUNTRY, BY ANTON PAVLOVICH CHEKHOV (1860-1904) Believed by many to be the greatest short-story writer, the Russian pioneered the stream-of-consciousness technique. Here, however, with great economy and powers of description, he delights with a charming tale of an old man and two children in the woods.
LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER, BY ROALD DAHL (1916-1990) Famed mostly for his children's tales, Dahl excels here with a gripping black comedy about the perfect murder. The aptly titled story was memorably adapted for an episode of the television show Alfred Hitchcock Presents, broadcast in 1958, and also for Dahl's British TV series, Tales of the Unexpected.
A DIAMOND AS BIG AS THE RITZ, BY F SCOTT FITZGERALD (1899-1949) Fitzgerald chronicled - and was a lively participant in - the excesses of America's Jazz Age. In this lengthy but captivating fable he explores the themes he later used in his masterpiece, The Great Gatsby - narcissism, punishment, the carelessness and immorality of the super-rich and the outsider's fascination with wealth.
THE SHORT HAPPY LIFE OF FRANCIS MACOMBER, BY ERNEST HEMINGWAY (1899-1961) Cowardice, courage, masculinity, betrayal, redemption, freedom - "Papa" Hemingway dissects them all in this acclaimed character study of ambiguous and complex motivations.
THE GIFT OF THE MAGI, BY O HENRY (1862-1910) This renowned and charming Christmas story about the real meaning of love epitomises the author's skill at warm characterisation. It has been told and retold countless times in the century since it was written.
THE LOTTERY, BY SHIRLEY JACKSON (1916-1965) Hundreds of letters, pro and con, poured into The New Yorker magazine when this understated (and thus all the more chilling) story of ancient ritual brutality gripping small-town America was published in 1948.
THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO, BY EDGAR ALLEN POE (1809-1849) The master of the macabre weaves a Gothic revenge story told, as in many of his works, from a killer's perspective and that features the familiar theme of being buried alive.
THE LADY OR THE TIGER, BY FRANK STOCKTON (1834-1902) Not a word of dialogue appears in this thought-provoking, open-ended tale of romance and punishment. What was behind the door the lover chose when the princess pointed him to it? Draw your own conclusion.
ROMAN FEVER, BY EDITH WHARTON (1862-1937) This carefully crafted long short story appears to be only back-and-forth nostalgic reminiscing by two middle-aged women revisiting Rome. But we gradually learn of their deep-seated enmity, capped by a shocking last sentence.
A HAUNTED HOUSE, BY VIRGINIA WOOLF (1882-1941) Irony elevates a seemingly trivial ghost story, at a tidy 710 words, into a warm and engaging Modernist tale of a young couple's deeper and more meaningful interpretation of life.