One of my favourite things to come out of the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival is the yearly fiction collection. Born from the Short Fiction contest – which, by the way, you should enter – these stories run the range of GLBT characters and cross all manner of genres, and the result is a collection as varied and as interesting as the festival itself.
This year being no exception, I read the book over the last week since I got it, and enjoyed every tale. So, without more delay, here’s Saints + Sinners: New Fiction from the Festival 2015.
The winner this year was Maureen Brady’s “Basketball Fever” and it didn’t take me long to see why – these are characters we rarely see, and a love story that isn’t often told. There’s a tendency in romantic stories to focus on the thirty-ish crowd (and younger) and it’s so refreshing to see characters older than thirty (or, in this case, older than forty, fifty, and sixty) still being the vibrant individuals they are. I loved it.
Frankly, I loved many of the stories, and liked them all. It’s a rare thing in an anthology to be caught by all the stories, but these collections haven’t let me down yet – I imagine part of that is the sheer volume of entries the contest receives, but also that the theme is loose enough (“Saints and Sinners”) that the freedom and range open to the writers is freeing.
Other stories that really nabbed me included “Hustler Court,” by Frank Perez (which was just overflowing with character, and has a one-two hysterically funny punch at the end of the tale); “Femorph,” by James Russell, which was one of the best spec fic short pieces I’ve read in a long time; and “Pageant Girl,” by Sam Hawk, which I have to admit totally drew me in with that “can’t look away!” vibe I always get from what seems to me to be the endless disaster that is pageantry.
Grab this one. You’ll love it.