The Short Story Project is a digital platform for curated and hand-picked short stories, most of which are available in multiple languages and as audio versions. Just recently, the platform launched a short story competition. We talked with the initiator, the Israeli author Iftach Alony, about it.
Short stories, Alony says, always have been his passion. In his opinion, they suit the pace of our time: “I believe, life can be better explored and investigated through short stories rather than novels.” The wish to draw more people to a (wrongly) neglected genre was part of his motivation to start the project.
By now, readers can find over 1000 short stories on the website, written by authors from over 52 countries. There are stories by classics like Edgar Allen Poe and Anton Chekhov, or by contemporary writers like Jennifer Egan or Miranda July. The stories are available in their original language, and, partially, in Spanish, German and Hebrew. Reading is free, but for $5.99 per month, you can listen to audio versions of selected stories.
Why on the internet? According to Alony, digitalization is nothing less than a revolution for reading — comparable to the invention of the letterpress. “It enables written works to be read everywhere, anytime, on any device that, if we like it or not, has become part of our body,” he says. Therein, he sees enormous potential for both readers and writers, and a chance for a democratization of the literary scene. Furthermore, Alony aims to encourage reading, as reading enabled us to “expand our language capabilities” and therefore determined the way we communicate with each other. Also, it helped to improve to develop our imagination and “the ability to ‘get out of ourselves’ and explore different and wider perspectives of our world.”
Those who not only want to read but also write short stories themselves and would like to share them with an audience, now also have a chance to do so. The platform launched a short story competition called “My Best Story,” where winners can earn prize money (the best stories will also be published on the website).
What makes for a good and prizeworthy story? Alony: “I do believe that if a writer takes the reader on a journey which shakes the reader’s beliefs and fortresses, making him re-think his concepts, or making him re-explore what he was sure is the reality, it is a great story.”