The Society of Authors has taken up the cudgel and launched a petition on the National Short Story Week website and anyone who wants to sign it should log on to (www.ipetitions.com/petition/noshortstorycuts) At the last count it had attracted over 6,500 signatures, so let's keep it going.
Author Sarah Dunant was hoping they would reconsider. She says: 'When it comes to fiction radio excites and exercises the imagination in a way no other medium can manage. Nowhere is that more perfectly illustrated than the short story where, within 15 short minutes, one can be transported into a different world. It is a cheap yet invaluable example of radio at its best. It feels both mad - and sad - to think that Radio 4 would somehow be better without it.'
Society of Authors' Short Story Tweetathon
To back up their campaign, and to celebrate the short story, The Society has launched a Short Story Tweethathon (#soatale) on Twitter for five consecutive weeks, beginning last week with Ian Rankin. Five first line contributions will be tweeted by Simon Brett, Neil Gaiman, Joanne Harris and Sarah Waters. Tweeters can complete the next four sentences, to produce a short story in 670 characters. Every hour, the best lines will be selected and the resulting short stories will be published on the Society's website where rules and stories can be viewed (www.societyofauthors.org/soa-short-story-tweetathon-soatale) The BBC are currently showcasing shortlisted entries for their own short story competition.
In addition to the cultural and creative impact of the BBC short story cuts, the Society of Authors is concerned that the new scheduling will restrict linked themes and creative programming and that the proposed time slots will limit the audience. BBC Director General Mark Thompson and Chair of the BBC Trust Lord Patten are reviewing the proposed cuts but more signatures are needed.
Log onto Twitter every Wednesday at 11am if you would like to take part in the Tweetathon. Retweet via http://bit.ly/SoAtale