Even the Ants Have Names short story anthology,
cover photograph: Sally Mundy Photography
These are exciting new stories from women to watch: their work has won prizes, been anthologised and broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
In other lives they've been model and motor-biker, actress, social worker and organiser of the UK's only Creative Writing Festival for Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals, but they all have one thing in common: a serious commitment to writing and a distinctive voice.
Each writer has two stories included to give a better sense of their style and range.
Guest Editor - Gerry Wardle
More of a sweetie than square meal, the short story - the novel's less-read relative - can be worth savouring. And this offering of midget gems from the excellent Branchlines series comes in a bite-sized A6 format you can slip in your pocket for the journey to work. Starting with the coach trip from hell up the M1 to Glasgow (Linda Leatherbarrow's outstanding Ride), and terminating at Newcastle's Central Station (Betty Weiner's funny, touching Deaf, or What?), the anthology features five writers, who in the main come from Newcastle, to give the writing a distinctly regional feel.
The anthology runs with the idea of small, yet significant, lives: there's Mary Lowe's poignant title story, from the point of view of eight-year-old Eva, who wants to become The Great Adolfo "dressed in a bearskin, scooting over a line of barebacked ponies". A father and son pay a troubled visit to their wife / mum in a care home (Her Favourite by Janine Langley McCann), while teenage Euan finds himself guest of honour at a mystery funeral (Susannah Rickard's Beau de L'air). There are 10 stories in all, each with its own peculiar flavour: why not suck them and see?
Mslexia editor Melanie Ashby, writing in The Crack