Photo: Dana Zubaid
Small Wonder Short Story Festival in Charleston is a dedicated short story festival in the UK, and attracts a vibrant audience. For the fourth year, the British Council is supporting an international writer-in-residence to attend the festival as a professional development opportunity. This year’s writer-in-residence is Layla AlAmmar.
Layla grew up in Kuwait, has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh, and her debut novel The Pact We Made will be published in March 2019 by the Borough Press. Her short stories have appeared in the Evening Standard, Quail Bell Magazine, and Aesthetica Magazine.
The residency is open to non-UK based writers at any stage of their career, and invites them to respond creatively to Small Wonder festival and the Charleston environment, and to immerse themselves in the short story form
Writers who have been part of the festival in previous years include Mark Haddon, Ali Smith, Kei Miller and Elif Shafak. This year’s festival features Kate Mosse, AL Kennedy, Daljit Nagra, Olivia Lang, AS Byatt, Ben Okri and La JohnJoseph.
As the writer-in-residence, Layla will benefit from a tailored programme, potentially including opportunities to work with UK writers and literary professionals, the chance to attend creative workshops during the festival, and possible mentoring following the residency.
Layla says: “I’m thrilled and honoured to have been chosen as the 2018 British Council International Writer-in-Residence at Small Wonder. The festival is a brilliant showcase for the short story and an opportunity for cultural and creative dialogue. I see the short story as an encapsulating medium, one that sucks the reader into a fragment of time, of space, of life.
And so, I was encouraged by the rural, magical setting of Charleston and how it might serve as an encapsulating setting, bringing together writers and readers to share an experience that celebrates the magic of words and the short form. The world will never stop needing stories, and Small Wonder consistently brings together some of the most scintillating storytellers of our time. I'm eager to share and learn with my fellow writers and readers.”
Small Wonder Short Story Festival runs from 25 September to 1 October 2018. More information can be found on the Small Wonder website: charleston.org.uk/small-wonder