kelvin m. knight
reader, novelist, short story writer
Where THE STORY BeginS
Hello, thank you for visiting my site. I am an author who loves reading. My short stories have been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. They have also won, been shortlisted and long listed for a selection of competitions, including my fair share of short stories sinking without a trace. After graduating from Northumbria University with an MA in Creative Writing, I honed my novel writing skills at the Faber Academy.
Where WRITING BeginS
I am a firm believer that all writers should read regularly and widely; reading out of your comfort zone encourages the best kind of wrtiing. I may not be the fastest reader, but I do like to savour what I read. Here are some of the books I have savoured recently:
A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman - a whimsical yet poetic voice that alternates from close third person to omniscient third person which feels like first person. Reading this prose was like eating choclate: not an everyday bar but one that's 85% cocoa, the kind you nibble and relish.
Engleby by Sebastian Faulks is an intense first person story about Mike Engleby - a working-class boy who wins a place at an ancient university during the 1970's. What starts off as a simple diary turns into a complicated murder mystery.
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro - a simple adventure story set in ancient Britain that uses masterful narration, beginning and ending in the first person. In-between, there is a selection of third-person close narrators that change depending on who is best placed to tell the story for the reader's sake.
In A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole utilises a third person viewpoint tossed by the author to a host of characters to maximise for comedic effect, and to give the reader a rest from the intenseness of Ignatius Reilly's third person viewpoint. He is the most real and infuriating literary character I have come across in years. The descrpition of him on the first couple of pages will make or break the reader.
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby is a heart-warming story about love lost and found, skillfully set in two parts of Then and Now. While the first person narration is intense it is never boring. The scrapes the narrator finds himself in would be funny if they were not so darned poignant.
The Rainbow Walkers
Rhona can't take it anymore. She's a sculptor without rock empathy, even though she’s done everything they said: got married and had children.
They first spoke to her at Stonehenge on her twelfth birthday on the 07/07/77. She didn’t see them but she saw their rainbow. In Portsmouth, ten year old Thomas saw the same rainbow, daydreamed about seven silhouettes walking across it, falling from it.
Rhona insists her family return to where she grew up in Scotland. In a last ditch attempt to save his marriage, Thomas agrees to the move. Bogleknock is not what he expected; neither is his wife’s behaviour once they arrive in Eskdalemuir. When she abandons him, Thomas’ fragile self-confidence caves in, yet still he must be a househusband, bread winner and father to two boisterous boys. He wants Rhona back but needs her to learn the importance of maternalism and love; however, upon meeting her sister, Shona, it is Thomas who must learn the importance of love if he’s to rescue Rhona from herself and save their boys as the 07/07/07 fast approaches.
A literary fiction novel with a twist of fantasy that probes the complexities of family life and how, without communication, trust can easily disintegrate into anger and chaos.
Weather thy Flood
When biblical floods make Marty the last man alive, his mangled chain of faith crushes his spirit. Set on the two highest hills of the South Downs, and Fort Nelson that nestles in-between, we follow this self-doubting individual's exploits as he craves company then struggles to fit into two contrasting communities - both want to survive; one is doomed. It concentrates on the themes of faith and loneliness.
Set in the not too distant future, this story is aimed at readers who enjoy books that have the intensity of William Golding's Pincher Martin coupled with the quirkiness of Margaret Atwood’s recent trilogy MaddAddam.
My talking statue audio stories have been published in New Writing Cumbria's eMagazine The Carrot sponsored by EdenArts:
Issue 2 (theme of Killing) - Infantryman
Issue 1 (theme of Cumbria-land) - Abstraction
More of my audio short stories can be accessed via the MacGuffin app by Comma Press which accesses a wide variety of award winning and experimental stories that are free to dowload and listen to. Details here.
The true wonder of life is the power of love. This theme forms the backbone of my second short story anthology: be it secret love (What They Saw, Eldridge's Castle) or unrequited love (Trouble With Teleportation, You Poetic Soul); the healing power of love (Babacan, Worry About Worrying), or the destructive effects love can have on individuals (Ko~Sha~Rey, Wootan) and their families (Faith's Shadow, Dance With Me). Through all these flow the lifeblood of spirituality (exemplified in Dot to Dot). Love of self is also touched (Rose-tinted Spectacles), as well as straightforward marriage (Caravan Collaboration novel).
These stories were written during the my time on an MA in Creative Writing at Northumbria University.
In 2013, halfway through the MA, my short story Luke's Sketches was published in The Book of Euclid & other stories & poems edited by Rowan B. Fortune and published by Cinnamon Press (ISBN 978-1-907090-79-0).
The novelist and short story advocate, Louise Doughty, commented: "Luke's Sketches by Kelvin M. Knight has a more conventional domestic setting - the school playground, but is written in a break-neck, satirical style from the point of view of a bereaved father."
In 2012, I set myself a challenge: as this was the ‘year of the short story’ for one year I would write only short stories. By short, I mean stories of between one thousand and two thousand words. By write, I mean start a new story or take one of my favourite competition longlisted or shortlisted stories and reduce it to those lean mean fighting machines of between one thousand and two thousand words. Always good practice: editing, not fighting, for short stories are about brevity and economy of expression. They are also all about the end.
At the end of the year, I had written twenty stories around the two thousand word mark, and three longer short stories. These catapaulted me into an MA in Creative Writing. This anthology chronicles my stories, month by month, with weekly exercises at the rear inclusive of astute feedback from an online writing group.
My inspirational story Bagpuss appears in this anthology edited by Kate Gould and published by The Fine Line (ISBN 978-1-908825-09-04) whose theme was a question: 'Where do you get your ideas?'
It started when a work colleague within the IT department of Edinburgh Woollen Mill's Head Office looked over my shoulder one lunchtime and said, 'That's a good story, you should send it into a competition.'
After much research - including reading all the competition's previous winners' stories - I edited, re-edited and edited some more my story and sent it in to the Jacqui Bennet Writers' Bureau (www.jbwb.co.uk). Shepherd Thy Flock won the Spring 2006 competition, earning me £150.
From then on I became hooked on short stories - they suited my hectic working life - until 2011 when my dear mother died of lung cancer. Jenny Hewitt, founder of JBWB also died that year.
A year later, realising life was just too short, I embarked on an MA in Creative Writing to help realise that dream of writing a novel good enough to be published by a mainstream publisher.
Some of my short story competition near misses:
Two talking statue audio stories Mindfulness and Angel Song aired at Newcastle's Lit and Phil Society.
Rose-tinted Spectacles and Dance With Me longlisted by judge Vanessa Gebbie in the Cinnamon Press 2014 short story anthology. Both stories are available in my second anthology, Love I Am: Thirteen Stories.
Knight Life longlisted for Cinnamon Press' new anthology: Journey Plan & other stories & poems.
What They Saw given a notable mention by the judges of the Bristol Short Story Prize (BSSP6).
Haiku Flock to a Shepherd shortlisted by Cathy Galvin for the Word Factory TV.
December: Short story Plank, Tank, Sock, Gloves shortlisted by Louise Doughty for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.
August: Short story Be Prepared shortlisted by Louise Doughty for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.
May: Short story Luke's Sketches shortlisted by Louise Doughty for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.
February: Short story Flock to a Shepherd shortlisted by Louise Doughty for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.
Short story Fun and Games shortlisted by New Writing North for the Newcastle Journal.
Short story Shadow Pains long listed for the Aeon Award competition.
Short story Lessons in Love long listed for the Aeon Award competition.
Short story Aim High, Reach Higher shortlisted by the Writers' Forum magazine.
Short story Paper Dinosaur shortlisted by the Writers' Forum magazine.
Short story Blackbeck came third in Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau winter competition.
Some KEY moments in my writing journey
Hearing from readers of my stories is always a pleasure