Short Short Fiction: The Tiniest of Stories

Short Short Fiction: The Tiniest of Stories

What can poets learn from short fiction, and vice-versa?

Poetry and prose are often portrayed as warring cousins, but in fact there is a fine and blurry line between the poem and the short short story, a few hundred words or less. If you are a poet who’d like to try character development, dialogue, at the demands of plot, creating tension, and the joys of the sentence, reaching your words all the way to the right margin, or a fiction writer wanting to hone your skills of compression and density in these tiny stories in which every word, every space and every comma counts, or you are just starting to write, this course is designed for you. Through reading short short stories (often called flash fiction or microfiction) from around the world and across the centuries, as well as writing our own, we will be playing in and exploring the space where less is most definitely more, but this doesn’t – as with the best poetry – mean sacrificing description, detail, compelling characters and the what-happens-nextness that is at the root of every story, in whatever shape and of whatever length. Step with us into this ‘demilitarized zone’ between these siblings, poetry and short stories – no experience of either necessary.

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. Live chats 7-9pm GMT on Wednesdays, first live chat starting 17 October.

More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.

(Image credit: ‘Kotomi_’)

About Tania Hershman View Profile

Tania Hershman’s third short story collection, Some Of Us Glow More Than Others, was published by Unthank Books in May 2017, and her debut poetry collection, Terms & Conditions, by Nine Arches Press in July. Tania is also the author of a poetry chapbook, Nothing Here Is Wild, Everything Is Open, and two short story collections, My Mother Was An Upright Piano, and The White Road and Other Stories, and co-author of Writing Short Stories: A Writers’ & Artists’ Companion (Bloomsbury, 2014). Tania is curator of short story hub ShortStops (, celebrating short story activity across the UK & Ireland, and has a PhD in creative writing inspired by particle physics. Hear her read her work on and find out more here:

‘For me, the fact that Poetry School is about writing practice and process is incredibly valuable. So much else is focused on the finished product and publication, that a space which is so much about learning, craft, sharing and development is vital & unique.’

Spring 2018 survey response

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