Short Stories & The Giller Prize

Monday evening, I watched the live streamed Scotiabank Giller Prize show. Today, on the BWL Author Blog, I ask the question, Do Short Stories Sell?

I’ve published ten short stories in the past twenty years. Payment ranged from copies of the magazine to $1,000 to perks like broadcast on CBC radio and having my story turned into art displayed in the Calgary Public Library.  One change I’ve noticed since I started writing almost thirty years ago is that short stories have shrunk in size, unless you are Alice Munro and can publish in The New Yorker. In 1991, my creative writing instructor told us to bring in short stories of about 5,000 words for critique. He said anything less wasn’t really a story. Ten years later, when I aimed to get my work published, I researched magazines and determined that 2,500-3,000 words was the ideal length for a publishable short story. Not long after that, I found it harder to find markets over 2,500 words. I’m not in the short story publishing loop now, but I hear a lot about flash fiction. The shorter the better is probably the way to go if you want to publish short stories.

Calgary Public Library display of my short story artbook, "When a Warm Wind Blows Off the Mountains," produced by Sylvia Arthur
Souvankham Thammavongsa won the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize for her short story collection, How To Pronounce Knife
Canadian-American actor Eric McCormack, star of Will and Grace, hosted the online Giller Prize show