the short story project


Born in 1955, Paul McAuley is a British science fiction author and botanist. A biologist by training, McAuley’s work deals with such themes as biotechnology, alternative history/alternative reality, and space travel. A winner of numerous awards–such as the Philip K. Dick Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award–McAuley is among the most prominate British sci-fi authors working today.


Charlotte Brontë is a famous English writer, the author of the classic novel Jane Eyre. Born in April 21, 1816 in West Yorkshire, a historic county in the north of England, Charlotte was the third child in the family. Mrs. Brontë and the two eldest children (Maria and Elizabeth) died, leaving the father to care for the remaining three girls—Charlotte, Emily, and Anne—and a boy, Branwell. Their upbringing was aided by an aunt, Elizabeth Branwell, who left her native Cornwall and took up residence with the family at Haworth. In August 1824 Charlotte, along with her sisters Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth, was sent to the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire, a new school for the daughters of poor clergyman (which she would describe as Lowood School in Jane Eyre). In May 1846 Charlotte, Emily and Anne self-financed the publication of a joint collection of poems under their assumed names Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Afterwards, Charlotte wrote her first novel, The Professor, which did not appear until after her death, and began Jane Eyre, which, appearing in 1847 and took the public by storm. It was followed by Shirley in 1849, and Villette in 1852. In 1848-1849, Bronte’s brother and sisters died one after another from lung diseases. In 1854, she married a priest, a colleague of her father, Arthur Nicholson. Six months after the marriage, Charlotte’s health deteriorated greatly during pregnancy. By the end of the term, she was severely exhausted and died, according to documents from tuberculosis, the true cause of death is unknown. Among biographers, the most likely versions are the most complex toxicosis and typhoid, from which Charlotte’s maid died shortly. The last representative of the Brontë clan was buried next to her relatives in the family crypt in Haworth.

Mary Webb was an English romantic novelist and poet of the early 20th century. Born in 1881, her work is set chiefly in the Shropshire countryside and among Shropshire characters and people whom she knew. Her novels have been succesfully dramatized, most notably the film Gone to Earth by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. They also inspired the famous parody Cold Comfort Farm. Her life was uneventful, spent mostly in pursuit of literary recognition that would come only after her death. She died at age 46. 

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 in Steventon, Hampshire (England) in the family of a rural parish priest. Jane began to write at the age of 14.  

Her work is traditionally divided into two periods, separated by more than ten years. The early period (the second half of the 1790s), the novel “Northanger Abbey”, parodying the fashionable in those days “Gothic” novels, as well as the first versions of the two most famous works of Austen: “Sense and Sensibility” and “Pride and Prejudice. ” Later both were subjected to repeated and deep processing. And the late period, in which the last three completed Austen’s novels were written: “Mansfield Park”, “Emma” and “Persuasion”. “Pride and Prejudice”, published during the author’s life anonymously, in three editions, brought her some success, but a significant transition in her posthumous reputation occurred in 1833, when her novels were republished in Richard Bentley’s Standard Novels series, illustrated by Ferdinand Pickering, and sold as a set. 

The work of Austin turned out to be very cinematic, as evidenced by the numerous screen versions of her novels. Among them was Ang Lee’s Oscar winning film “Sense and Sensibility” (1995) and the Franco-British version of “Pride and Prejudice” (2005) with Keira Knightley in the lead role.

Mary Shelley  (born Godwin) is an English writer, playwright, essayist and biographer, best known for her gothic novel “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus” (1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Mary was born in London, England, in the family of a famous feminist, teacher and writer Mary Wollstonecraft and no less famous liberal philosopher, anarchist journalist and atheist William Godwin. Her mother died during childbirth, and her father, who had to take care of Mary and her half-sister Fanny Imlay, soon married again, with her neighbor Mary Jane Clairmont. Under his leadership, Mary received a magnificent education, which was rare for the girls of that time. In 1822, her son, Percy Shelley the elder drowned when his sailing boat crashed during a storm near Viareggio. A year later, Mary returned to England and since then has devoted herself to raising her son and career as a professional writer. The last decade of her life was overshadowed by a serious illness.

Arthur Machen was a Welsh author of the 1890s and early 20th century. Born in the family of a provincial priest. In 1874, he entered a local school, but due to lack of funds, his parents were forced to take him from there. Since 1881 he began to engage in literary activity. His first publication was the translation of Heptameron by Margarita of Navarre. The original works of Machen were influenced by the English Neo-Romanticism. His first major success was the publication of the novel The Great God Pan. It was published in 1894 by John Lane in the noted Keynotes Series, which was part of the growing aesthetic movement of the time. This work, which aroused violent outrage of the conservative public, was instantly sold out, as did the second edition. Following this book, Machen published his second novel, The Three Impostors, in 1895, consisting of short stories whose stories are intertwined in a whimsical way. Machen’s literary significance is substantial; his stories have been translated into many languages and reprinted in short story anthologies countless times.

One of the prominent English Romantic poets, George Gordon Byron, known as Lord Byron (1788-1824), also wrote in prose. “Fragment of a Novel,” for example, was first published in 1819 in “Mazeppa,” a volume of poems and short stories, and influenced the writing of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” as well as English vampire literature. Born to a family of the aristocracy, social criticism on his life of debauchery led Lord Byron to move to Italy, where he became acquainted with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and author Mary Shelley. Among his notable works of poetry is the epic poem “Don Juan,” written over a period of six years. As a supporter of the Greek liberation movement against the Turks, he arrived in Greece. Lord Byron died of Malaria in Mesolongi, Greece, at the age of 36. His body was transferred to England and was buried there.

“A very small child, and very untreated.” This is how Charles Dickens described himself as a child. Dickens was born in Victorian England in 1812 to a large, wealthy family. At the age of twelve, the family was imprisoned in a prison for families in debt. Young Dickens was sent to work in a factory to help and free his family. This childhood experience had a great influence on his future writings. As an adult, he became a journalist and continued to do so while writing and publishing his books. His debut novel, The Pickwick Papers, which was published in 1836 upon his marriage to Catherine Hogarth, excelled in unusual wit. Dickens and his wife had ten children, and while taking care of their young, Dickens’ most famous books were written and published, such as Oliver Twist and David Copperfield, which were known for their realistic, sensitive and humoristic style. Dickens is one of the most famous authors in the history of literature, and his writings have won dozens of adaptations for theater, film and television. In 1865 Dickens and his then partner, actress Ellen Ternan, were involved in a train accident, however were not harmed. Dickens died in 1870 and was buried in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey.

Montague Rhodes James, (1862-1936) was an English writer and scholar. He used the publication name M.R. James, and was a noted mediaeval scholar & provost of King’s College, Cambridge and of Eton College. He’s best remembered for his ghost stories which are widely regarded as among the finest in English literature. One of James’ most important achievements was to redefine the ghost story for the new century by dispensing with many of the formal Gothic trappings of his predecessors, replacing them with more realistic contemporary settings. Throughout the years, his stories were widely adapted to the stage, radio television and film.

David Constantine is a British writer, poet and translator. He was born in Salford in 1944, and worked for thirty years as a university teacher of German language and literature. He has published several volumes of poetry, most recently, Nine Fathom Deep (2009). He is a translator of Hölderlin, Brecht, Goethe, Kleist, Michaux and Jaccottet. In 2003 his translation of Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s Lighter than Air won the Corneliu M Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation. David Constantine has published four short story collections, The Shieling (2009) was shortlisted for the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Constantine’s story ‘Tea at the Midland’ won the BBC National Short Story Award 2010, and the collection, Tea at the Midland (2012), as a whole, won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award in 2013. Constantine lives in Oxford where, for ten years, he edited Modern Poetry in Translation with his wife Helen (until 2011). David’s short story ‘In Another Country’ has been adapted into ’45 Years’ – a major film, directed by Andrew Haigh and starring Tom Courtenay & Charlotte Rampling. This film won two silver bear awards at the Berlin Film Festival, the Michael Powell Best British Film at Edinburgh, and the WFTV award for Best Performance (for Rampling). It has also been nominated for nine international others. He is also author of Fields of Fire: A Life of Sir William Hamilton, Davies, and a novel, The Life-Writer, which was published in 2015 alongside In Another Country: Selected Stories, to mark the release of ’45 Years’, the film, in the UK. The Life Writer was named one of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2016.