Story Strumpets

Story Strumpets

Writing stories can be so rewarding…when they work. But more often than not they don’t work on the first go. Enter the Story Strumpets: Sharon Mertins, Erin O’loughlin and Dunja Medakovic. Every month we choose a story to read on our podcast —we want that problem kid you’ve been losing sleep over, the one that has potential but you’ve almost given up on. We’ll tell you what we think is working and what’s not. It’s just like a short story workshop group, but from the comfort of your own living room (or bathtub, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts, we’re not judging you).*Stories must be no more than 1500 words, and must be complete short stories. We will not read unfinished work, or book extracts. Any genre is ok, but we won’t read work promoting racist, sexist or divisive views. If you think your story could fit send it to [email protected]

  • 45 minutes 4 seconds
    Episode 14: Ecowise by Rosemary Collins (Featuring Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta)

    "Beth Hardwick is delighted to announce the launch of her promotion idea for Accel Motors’ latest model..." She is not so delighted to announce all the other underlying issues in her life but will do so in this fabulous story formatted as a press release.
    In this episode we talk about heartbreak, romance and how to balance work, love life, and anxiety in a fifteen thousand word format, featuring co-authors of The View Was Exhausting, Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta. 
    Content Warning for eating disorders and suicide.
    Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta are the co-authors of The View Was Exhausting, a modern love story published on July 6th 2021 by Grand Central Publishing and Headline Review. They are married and live in Berlin.

    20 June 2023, 12:53 pm
  • 39 minutes 45 seconds
    Episode 13: Clap by Jane Ashworth (Featuring Ambika Thompson)

    "This one, as they always do, seemed different. Tall, funny, not looking for anything serious, I thought for fifty seven days that I’d met my match.

    He ticked my boxes, tasteful city centre apartment, accomplished speaker of three languages, wife in the country (clichéd Georgian Rectory but that was probably more her choice). He enjoyed cooking.

    Once I’d tutored him beyond the marital sex that he tried to foist on me, we seemed compatible. For a while. 

    Until he fell in love with me."
    In this episode, Erin, Sharon, and special guest Ambika Thompson talk about using current events in short stories, when is it too soon, and how to use specific details to make them work.
    Ambika Thompson is a writer, musician and parent. She has been published with Electric Literature’s Okey Panky, NPR Berlin, Fanzine, Missing Slate, and was in Crab Fats Magazine‘s “Best of” compilation (2017), as well as other places. She is one half of the cello riot grrrl band Razor Cunts, the fiction & managing editor of the literary journal Leopardskin & Limes, and she holds an MFA in creative writing from Guelph University.

    20 June 2023, 12:53 pm
  • 50 minutes 18 seconds
    Episode 12: Entrapped by Martha Ketti (Featuring Rebecca Rukeyser)

    "I know you are in there. I wonder if you can hear my voice or feel my presence, my touch. You might not even look like a human being yet. I once saw pictures in a biology book and I know that a human fetus looks pretty much the same as a piglet for a long time. But those look cute when they come out. Nothing like a baby, with its big head, all blue and squishy, covered in yellowish paste. I have seen it before, a long time ago, and the images have never left me. You will most likely be even more ugly. Being evil leaves its marks..."
    In this episode, Erin O'Loughlin, Sharon Mertins and special guest Rebecca Rukeyser talk about dystopias, dark stories, and why we love  grim narratives so much!
    REBECCA RUKEYSER is the recipient of a 2018 Grant for Non-German Literature, awarded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe. She holds an MFA (Fiction) from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa and Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf. She’s a member of the guest faculty at Bard College Berlin, where she teaches fiction writing. Her stories have appeared in such publications as ZYZZYVA, The Massachusetts Review, and Best American NonRequired Reading. Her debut novel 'The Seaplane on Final Approach' is forthcoming from Granta Books in the UK and Doubleday in the United States.

    20 June 2023, 12:53 pm
  • 39 minutes 59 seconds
    Episode 11: Come Fly With Me by Sally Simon (Featuring Jane Flett)

    Cecilia is looking forward to a visit to the abandoned Bingamton Airport with Mark. They haven't kissed yet, but there may be something going on between them. Thing is, Cecilia has no idea what it actually is. Mark's plans may not be quite what she expected...
    In this episode we talk about raising tension, and the difference between horror, terror and gore with very special guest, Jane Flett 
    Jane Flett is a Scottish novelist, poet, and short story author. Her writing has been commissioned for BBC Radio 4, anthologised in the Best British Poetry, and awarded the New Orleans Writing Residency. In 2020, Jane was a recipient of the Arbeitsstipendien für nichtdeutsche Literatur, a €24.000 stipend for the city’s best non-German language writers. She’s also one of the founders of Queer Stories Berlin and one half of the riot-grrrl band Razor Cunts. Her website is: 
    Art Work and Theme song by Judy Moore
    Story music is Enigmatic by

    20 June 2023, 12:53 pm
  • 45 minutes 3 seconds
    Isolation Special: World Building for The Wagadu Chronicles (Featuring Allan Cudiccio)

    What are The Wagadu Chronicles you might ask? Oh so many things! They're an afrofantasy setting for Dungeons and Dragons, a multi-player online game focused on role playing, but most importantly, a beatifully created world based mostly on African mythology.     
    In this episode we talk to Allan Cudiccio about creating mythical characters, settings, magical objects and an entire world by writing stories and studying history. 
    For more information about the Wagadu Chronicles visit:  
    You can also find them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. 

    20 June 2023, 12:53 pm
  • 49 minutes 41 seconds
    Episode 10: Emperor Gum by Ana Katchikian (Featuring Ishi Robinson)

    Staring at the ceiling is not Amy's favorite pastime, but it's better than actually listening to José talk about his failing relationship. It is while he's going on and on about his misery that she notices the moths.  And it is when José comes over after his breakup that her relationship with those moths takes a peculiar turn. 
    In this episode we relish in bizarre horror and a little smut with a killer story and very special guest Ishi Robinson. 

    20 June 2023, 12:52 pm
  • 35 minutes 2 seconds
    Episode 9: The Heat by Ravneet Kaur Sandhu (Featuring Sarah Van Bonn)

    The heat is extremely palpable in this place, and so are the fascinating details of the house as the woman leads her through it. In this episode the Story Strumpets and special guest Sarah Van Bonn (Berlin Writing Prize 2019 Finalist),  talk about writing literary fiction, writing beautiful descriptions and balancing it all out with the crucial narrative details of a story. 

    20 June 2023, 12:52 pm
  • 40 minutes 33 seconds
    Episode 8: Samantha by Lisa Pettibone (Featuring Tom or Judy Moore)

    It looks like it's gonna be a perfectly normal day for Samantha at the kindergarten, until Juniper announces that Samantha is a man's name. And in this mini genderless world, that poses a problem for Samantha. Or does it? 
    Join the Story Strumpets and very special guest Tom or Judy Moore in discussing how to create a believable world in a story, and all the important questions that come up when writing about gender. 
    A big thank you to Lisa for reaching out to us and asking us to 'pick the story apart'. It was so great to talk about!

    20 June 2023, 12:52 pm
  • 38 minutes 53 seconds
    Episode 7: Bus Over Troubled Waters by Tim Clark (Featuring Dan Ayres)

    He planned ahead. He's got his playlist, he's got his coffee and he's got the perfect plan to tackle public transport in this new city now that his car broke down... That is, until the bus shows up. 
    Join the Story Strumpets and special guest Dan Ayres (Story Strumpets Alumni) to talk about how to make a story more multi sensory and how to build a little more world around it. 
    Dan Ayres is a British game writer, script writer and slag about town who was inexplicably born in Uganda, reared in England’s Westcountry and now merrily based in Berlin. A lover of all things surreal and fantastical, you’ll find him experimenting with glitter, writing stories about cats or continuing his lifelong search for the perfect stick. His work has been published in The Wild Word Magazine and The Forge among others. You can check out some more of his words here:

    20 June 2023, 12:52 pm
  • 39 minutes 28 seconds
    Episode 6: The Gorse Walker by Dan Ayres

    The Kid had always found solace in the gorse. But this time he finds something more. In this episode we talk about heartache, sprites, kingdoms and how to amp the element of fantasy in an already fantastical story. 
    And...just a little addendum, turns out gorse flowers DO have a distinctive coconut scent. Yep. Who knew! 

    20 June 2023, 12:52 pm
  • 42 minutes 28 seconds
    Episode 5: Flytraps by Ambika Thompson

    An anaesthesiologist, a midwife, a doctor, a partner, a woman who only had one baby —yes, just one— and another one with flytraps for hands. This time we talk about balancing out a circus of characters and trimming a great storyline to make it even greater.
    Read more of Ambika's stories at

    20 June 2023, 12:51 pm
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