‘Short Story America’ launches from Beaufort this week by John C. Williams

The short story, an essential but lost-in-the-shuffle form of literature, will enjoy a rebirth this week with the Beaufort-based ‘Short Story America’ website.

The project’s director is Tim Johnston, former headmaster at Beaufort Academy who majored in English in college and has been writing ever since.

“I want students to have an easy way to read stories assigned by a teacher, or simply to discover great stories on their own. I want grownups who may enjoy short stories, but don’t want to pay good money to subscribe to countless literary magazines, to be able to enjoy classic, modern and new stories, and to be able to read stories which may have been published five or ten years ago and then disappeared,” Johnston said.

“I want authors to emerge from the gray snow piles of obscurity into which television and computers and gadgets have ploughed them.

“The short story is the great American original art form, is the ideal literary topic for discussion and analytical writing in school, and is quite simply a great way to be entertained and made to think about ourselves and the world around us. In other words, short stories are good for us.

“And maybe, just maybe,” Johnston said, “a young person who enjoys Short Story America will be inspired, by stories and dedicated teachers, to become an author of meaningful fiction. That’s why we’re going to have contests every year, to foster and honor that inspiration to create.”

The website is http://www.shortstoryamerica.com and officially launches this Friday, Jan. 15, with one of Johnston’s short stories titled “Friday Afternoon.”

“I have loved short stories all my life. This great art form is why I majored in English at Davidson, and why I earned my master’s degree in Creative Writing. It is sad that the short story, so deservedly popular in the 19th and 20th centuries, has been pushed to the margins of our culture by television, computers and myriad entertainment and communication gadgets.

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