Lucy Caldwell’s “All the people were mean and bad” won the BBC National Short Story Award. A woman and her 21-month-old daughter, on a 7-hour flight home from Toronto to London after the funeral of a beloved cousin, form an ad hoc temporary family with the man in the next seat.

I don’t usually like “very short stories” or flash fiction because, too often, there just isn’t room for the story, or even a story. But I always make an exception for Hannah Whiteoak. This one had me in stitches. OK, maybe it’s more a joke than a story.

Alexandro Chen, “Hired to do nothing”, a short story told from the point of view of a man who, on a whim, offers a service for which he doesn’t expect there to be any demand ✏️

Latest addition to my short stories page: Danielle McLaughlin, “Snow Globe”: An artist under commission creates a piece of public art highlighting homelessness in Dublin. A story about the artist’s responsibilities and the expectations of commissioning bodies and the public.

Two to three years ago, Dan Belmont was one of the undsputed stars of short fiction on Medium. Then he took a 2-year break from writing. He’s back with a new short story about how to celebrate Guy Fawkes day during “lockdown”: Dark bonfire night. (Sorry, paywall) ✏️

I’ve just posted “Short stories on the web”, a list of short stories (not by me!) that I recommend and that can be read online. I previously maintained this list as a Mix collection and a Pinterest board. Now it’s a regular web page.

Here’s a short story by Dearbhaile Houston, who is working on a collection of short stories. The title is Viscera and it’s about dissecting the entrails of an unsatisfactory relationship before it has officially died ✏️

The New Yorker has a new story by Haruki Murakami. And this: “You Are My Dear Friend”, by Madhuri Vijay, the story of a thirtyish former au pair who marries a much older man and adopts an 8-year-old girl from an impoverished background

You are my dear friend illustration

Better to wallow in self-pity over nothing than to have actually screwed up your life.

Ted Chiang, Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom, a long short story (about 19,000 words), via Kottke, about choices and their effects.

Here’s a new short story by Naoise Dolan, Family News told from the point of view of an effectively homeless woman who has moved in with her older sister and niece. I found it a bit close to the bone, because of similarities to my own recent circustances ✏️

Here’s a very new short story by Niamh Campbell, whose “Love Many” won this year’s Sunday Times Audible award: In An Encounter, a journalist interviewing a poet experiences the anxiety of influence ✏️

In our restaurant that has two stars. In our restaurant that is now a hostile environment of pervasive sexual misconduct.

Sarah Gilmartin’s short story, The Wife, winner of this years Máirtín Crawford short story award ✏️

Stephanie Soileau, Last One Out Shut Off the Lights. A short story from her new collection 📖

Here’s a short story by Felicia C Sullivan, “Even the Toaster Couldn’t Be Trusted: A short story about women who sleep with their eyes open”. It’s behind the Medium paywall but you should still have some of July’s 3 free reads left! ✏️

A short story by Niamh Campbell, “Love Many”, shortlisted for The Sunday Times Audible short story award ✏️

The Lost Generation, a short story by Rosemary Jenkinson about a school reunion after 25 years, from her collection Lifestyle Choice 10mg 📚

A short story, Sana and her portrait by Nardine. I haven’t been posting “Short fiction on Medium” for ages, partly because much of it is behind the paywall and I no longer subscribe. Here’s an exception.

The Girl in the Mirror. A short story by Jennifer Schmidt about beauty, disguise, selfhood and depersonalization. That’s a lot to fit into about 1,000 words, but it’s all there.

First dates can be unbearably stressful. Luckily for Heather (or is it Anna?), she has a coping mechanism and a concerned doctor. A short story by Yulia Fedorov. (I used to send out an email newsletter, “Short Fiction on Medium”. Apparently it’s morphed into an MB category.)