A blog from Tonto Books, featuring musings from the publishing world and some occasional special guest appearances.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Esquire Napkin Project

There are now less than three days to go before we close the submission window for More Tonto Short Stories, so if you were intending to send us your short story you should probably pull a finger out. Full submission details are here.

On the subject of short stories, US Esquire is currently showcasing an interesting project on its website. Inspired by the idea of scribbling ideas on napkins, the magazine sent 250 napkins, some say serviettes, to writers. The results are incredibly various in content and quality, but well worth a look. Particularly notable are efforts from Rick Moody and Kent Haruf, a plan for murder from Ben Percy, and a beautifully crafted tiny novel by ND Wilson. You can read them, and plenty more, here.

As a former men's magazine 'staffer' it's good to see that US Esquire (like US GQ) remains one of the best places to find top quality writing, fiction and non-fiction. (UK men's mags, meanwhile, are the best places to find pictures of reality TV stars in their smalls. Ho hum.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


A belated Happy New Year from us at Tonto Press. We've been very busy preparing for our next creative writing course and receiving submissions for More Tonto Short Stories.

The 5-day course takes place in Newcastle from 19th to 23rd February (half-term week) and at the time of writing there are just 3 places remaining. You can book a place here.

The deadline for short story submissions is 31st January. You can see full submission details here.

1,500 people downloaded our free Tonto Christmas Short Stories anthology, and we've heard many tales of people passing it around to friends and family either via email or as a printout. We hope everyone enjoyed it.

Tonto is currently featured in Laura Hird's Best of 2006 list.

There was an interesting piece in Saturday's Guardian by Zadie Smith on what makes a good writer, titled Fail Better. Smith argues that, while she has "no objection to books that entertain and please, that are clear and interesting and intelligent, that are in good taste and are not wilfully obscure... writers have only one duty, as I see it: the duty to express accurately their way of being in the world." Yes, but if writers are not writing to entertain and please, what right have they to expect readers to spend hard-earned cash on their books?

BBC Radio 4 are this week running a series of classic short stories in their Afternoon Reading slot. You can listen to them for seven days after broadcast here, although the website's content listings have not been updated. The featured stories are:
Monday: The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe
Tuesday: The Gypsy's Baby by Rosamond Lehmann
Wednesday: The Gardener by Rudyard Kipling
Thursday: Cathedral by Raymond Carver
Friday: Heavy Weather by Helen Simpson

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Beware of the dog

CityLife, a Newcastle Council publication that is pushed through the door of every home in the city, has a feature on the Burglar's Dog. Click here to view a PDF.