Short Story Commissions

New Stories for Readers

The West Midlands Readers’ Network links authors with reading groups to facilitate new writing. Each year, reading groups, varied in their geographical spread and make-up, apply to take part in our short story commissioning project. After a selection process, five groups are chosen. Groups from the heart of the city, from the Black Country, from north and south of our region are featured, and the commissioning process begins.


We pair a writer with a reading group and fix a date for them to meet. During that initial session the group discuss a wish-list of themes and ideas they want to see in their completed short story. Then we set the clock ticking as the writers produce their bespoke short stories.


When the stories have been completed, we publish them in an anthology and the New Stories for Readers are shared with a wider reading public.

In 2020 we adapted our methods, we found alternative ways to keep in contact, to stay motivated as readers and writers, and to deliver this enriching project through the production of a beautiful anthology.  We were delighted to work with writers: Abda Khan, Carolyn Kirby, Emma Purshouse, Leslie Scase and Lynne Voyce, and with reading groups from Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Birmingham.

In 2021 we worked with writers Lisa Blower, Naneh Hovhannisyan, Malachi McIntosh and Ruth Stacey. We also shared a story from the project archives, written in 2005 by David Nobbs. This time around we paired up with reading groups in Trentham, Market Drayton, Birmingham, and an online facebook group run by Staffordshire Libraries and Arts Service.