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Thursday, August 15, 2013

How do you like the idea of a short story that can be read in three minutes or less?

I discovered NPR's "Three-Minute Fiction" contest by chance some four years ago. And shortly afterwards, on October 29, 2009, I sent out an e-mail recommending it to Commitscions.

I also mentioned in that e-mail that "Postmortem", one of the contenders for the top prize, had been submitted by well-known Indian author Amitava Kumar. (Each story had to be an original work of fiction and begin with this sentence: "The nurse left work at five o'clock.")

I received feedback almost instantly:
  • From Padmini Mazumder (Class of 2011)
I absolutely love short stories. I think it takes a lot of imagination and quick thinking to write one AND it takes me only a few minutes to read one. :)

Sir, I hope you read "The Last Leaf". Please do. O'Henry rules the short story scene!

  • From Ranjini N. (Class of 2010)
I think "Postmortem" is simply awesome. There is a beauty in telling the story in a few words and then subtlety in leaving a lot to the imagination of the reader by not saying it all. Amazing!

You can read "Postmortem" here. Incidentally, Amitava Kumar has just published his latest book, non-fiction this time, titled A Matter of Rats: A Short Biography of Patna. You can read up details on Amitava Kumar's blog.

NPR's "Three-Minute Fiction" contest, meanwhile, continues to be as popular as ever. For the most recent round of the competition, guest judge Karen Russell asked participants to submit original short fiction in which a character finds something he or she has no intention of returning. The winning story this round was "Reborn" by Ben Jahn (pictured below).

You can read "Reborn" here.


And check out more of the goodies NPR, formerly National Public Radio, has to offer: books, movies, games and humour, music, and, of course, news.

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