Tuesday 2 November 2021

Congratulations to Laura Besley!

Many congratulations to Laura Besley, University of Leicester MA Creative Writing student, whose book of micro-fiction, (Un)Natural Elements, has just been published! 

Laura Besley is the author of micro-fiction collections (Un)Natural Elements (Beir Bua Press, 2021) and 100neHundred (Arachne Press, 2021), and flash fiction collection The Almost Mothers (Dahlia Books, 2020).  

She has been listed by TSS Publishing as one of the top 50 British and Irish Flash Fiction writers. Her work has been nominated for Best Micro Fiction and her story, 'To Cut a Long Story Short,' will appear in the Best Small Fiction anthology in 2021. 

Having lived in the Netherlands, Germany and Hong Kong, she now lives in land-locked central England and misses the sea. She tweets @laurabesley.

About (Un)Natural Elements, by Laura Besley

(Un)Natural Elements is a collection of micro fiction – none of the stories longer than 150 words, the shortest being only a handful. Many of the stories were written as tweet-length stories from daily prompts on Twitter under the hashtag: Very Short Story 365 (#vss365). 
While collating them, it became apparent that there were patterns and themes, and also a strong sense of nature. Therefore, the collection is divided into nine elements and each element is comprised of five stories.  

None of the stories have titles. There is no concrete reason for this, except perhaps that, while collating it, it seemed fitting, almost as if a title would detract from the brevity of each piece. 

You can read more about Un(Natural) Elements on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read two sample stories from the book. 

From (Un)Natural Elements


Tangs of sea-salt air and vinegar-drenched chips lure me to my home town. 

A charity shop window displays my mother’s dinner service and I realise she’s dead. 

Overhead, gulls cry. 


It’s everywhere. It’s there when I close my eyes to go to sleep at night. It’s in my dreams. It’s the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning. It’s stenciled onto my retina, overlaying all the good memories I have of my daughter. It’s there when I recall her body with bruises in all the wrong places. 

That smile is everywhere.
That it-wasn’t-me smile; that I-know-people-in-high-places smile; that released-due-to-inconclusive-evidence smile. 

The same smile I saw fade just before I cut it from his face. 

At home, I pull down my daughter’s childhood worry box and blow off the dust which curls and dances in the quiet of her room. I open the lid, and without looking at the faded notes in her child-like scrawl, put the smile inside. ‘All gone,’ I whisper, just like I always did, and put the box back on the shelf. 

(Previously published as ‘Silenced’ in Emerge Literary Journal and nominated for Best Micro Fiction).

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