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Welcome to Charleston’s annual celebration of short stories in all their different shapes and guises. This year’s variety confirms that although the texts may be compressed, the short form contains multitudes in terms of topic, tone and style. They all provide glimpses into the human condition and leave echoes in the mind, despite, even because of, their brevity and restraint.

We tell ourselves stories to make sense of complicated times, so it’s no surprise that we have sessions revolving around the plight of refugees, what it means to be British in contemporary society and the art of protest. This year’s Small Wonder includes many nationalities and storytelling traditions, as well as a special session highlighting current writing from the Caribbean, in all its vigour.

We are delighted to announce that this year’s recipient of the prestigious Charleston-Bede’s Award for a Lifetime’s Excellence in Short Fiction is Penelope Lively. We also host readings from the BBC National Short Story Award and the Sunday Times EFG International Short Story Award. Mark Haddon and Alison MacLeod present new stories inspired by Bloomsbury. The actor Eve Best, who played Vanessa Bell in the TV series Life in Squares, brings the festival to a close by reading from the newly published letters of Sylvia Plath, together with critic Sarah Churchwell.

For aspiring writers, we have two workshops plus a session with successful debut authors alongside a top agent and publisher. And an innovation for this year, there will be two Open Mic sessions for those who want to try out new work in The Nook, our quirky marquee bar nestled in the new Centenary Garden

All this plus Leweslight illuminating our garden paths with their eclectic/electric flare.

Don’t miss the shared experience of listening to and telling stories in the atmospheric tents at Small Wonder. We look forward to seeing you at Charleston!

We are grateful to Arts Council England for its support in making Small Wonder possible.

Diana Reich, Artistic Director
Tanya Andrews, Festival Programmer

What's on

Small Wonder - STORIES OF BRITISHNESS, image from event to be held on 29 September 2017 29 Sep
STORIES OF BRITISHNESS with Nikesh Shukla, Salena Godden

What stories do we tell ourselves, our family, officials and monitoring forms, about who we are More

Small Wonder - WELCOME TO THE CARIBBEAN, image from event to be held on 30 September 2017 30 Sep
WELCOME TO THE CARIBBEAN with Olive Senior, Anthony Joseph, Helen Klonaris

New Short Fiction and Poetry from Island Nations In this special event we are thrilled to More

Small Wonder - THE SUNDAY TIMES EFG SHORT STORY AWARD, image from event to be held on 01 October 2017 01 Oct
THE SUNDAY TIMES EFG SHORT STORY AWARD with Anne Enright, Neel Mukherjee

The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, the world’s richest prize for a single story, is More

Small Wonder - The Letters Of Sylvia Plath, image from event to be held on 1 October 2017 01 Oct
THE LETTERS OF SYLVIA PLATH with Eve Best and Sarah Churchwell

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was one of the writers who defined the course of twentieth-century poetry. Faber’s More

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