Sarah Waters loves WW. Jacobs The Monkeys Paw

“At the foot of the stairs, the match went out, and he paused to strike another. And at the same moment, a knock, so quiet and stealthy as to be scarcely audible, sounded on the front door.”

A life-long fan of tales of horror and the supernatural, Sarah Water’s novel The Little Stranger is a very modern ghost story in which war trauma, grief and class tensions fuel a very modern haunting. In this episode of the Litro Lab podcast, we talk to Sarah about her favorite classic ghost story, ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ by W.W. Jacobs.

“How far could your attachment to your child go? Could you rejoin them across the gulf of death?”

She spoke to us about her childhood obsession with the Pan Book of Horror Stories, writing The Little Stranger, haunted houses, and the lasting appeal of ghosts. Listen to the interview, and Greg Page’s chilling reading of the story, using the player below.

‘The Monkey’s Paw’ by W.W. Jacobs is used with the kind permission of The Society of Authors as the Literary Representative of the Estate of W.W. Jacobs.

Music credits:
“Unanswered Questions” and “Seven March” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) and licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

Sound effects from freesound:
Chimney Fire by reinsamba, Wind howling nighttime by dynamicell, Squeaky gate by acclivity, Footsteps concrete by freqman, Pendulum by daveincamas, Door knocks by fogma, Opening Dead Bolt by Scott-Kelly.




Podcast: Tatort, a German Pop-Culture Phenomenon

Listen to this episode using the player below or subscribe on iTunes — search “litro lab”.

The Mädels With a Microphone investigate a German pop culture phenomenon, the TV cop show Tatort (meaning crime scene), which has been running on German TV for over 30 years.

Every Sunday evening at 8:15 pm, Germans love nothing better than to gather in their local bar to watch various fictional detectives solve fictional crimes in a different German, Swiss or Austrian city each week. The show can often be cheesy (that theme music!) but it’s always entertaining.

The Mädels head down to a local bar to find out what makes people want to watch this hugely popular TV show with a bunch of strangers and wonder whether it’s a uniquely German phenomenon.

You can find Mädels with a Microphone online, or on Twitter, Soundcloud or Facebook, or on itunes. In their podcast series, Jennifer and Tam strive to create informative and quirky long and short podcasts about the hidden side of Berlin. Their podcasts are entirely self-produced using Audacity free software and trusty little zoom H2 recorders.




Robert Lloyd Parry brings M. R. James’ ghost stories to the stage

In the run-up to our Ghosts issue, which will go up online on Halloween, the 31st, Litro Lab celebrates with a spooky podcast. We talk to actor Robert Lloyd Parry: www.nunkie.co.uk/ about bringing the tales of the ghost story master, M. R. James, to the stage in his one-man show, and listen to his reading of the author’s “A School Story”.

The music used in this podcast is “Unanswered Questions” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com: incompetech.com/) and licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/.




An abandoned amusement park in Berlin


Maedels logoThis week, as part of our Mystery issue, guest podcasters Mädels with a Microphone explore the curious world of Spreepark, an abandoned amusement park in Berlin. They uncover the sad story behind the park, its collapse into bankruptcy, and the destruction of the family who owned it. Spreepark is the place to go in Berlin for urban explorers. Once a popular GDR amusement park, then a privatized post-GDR fledgling amusement park and now covered in overgrown foliage and trees, trespassers can explore the carcasses of toppled dinosaurs, a 45-metre high ferris wheel that blows eerily in the wind and ghostly abandoned fun park villages. To listen to this episode, use the player below. Or you can subscribe on iTunes — just search “litro lab”.  Mädels with a Microphone are journalists and Berlin residents Jennifer Collins and Tam Eastley

You can find Mädels with a Microphone online, or on Twitter, Soundcloud or Facebook, or on itunes. In their podcast series, Jennifer and Tam strive to create informative and quirky long and short podcasts about the hidden side of Berlin. Their podcasts are entirely self-produced using Audacity free software and trusty little zoom H2 recorders.




Alison Moore loves Sherwood Andersons Adventure

Today we kick off a new series on Litro Lab, where we invite a writer to choose a short story they love and talk to us about why they love it. Our first guest author is Alison Moore: www.alison-moore.com/, whose debut novel The Lighthouse: www.saltpublishing.com/shop/proddeta…9781907773174—which I recently reviewed: www.litro.co.uk/?p=24979 for Litro—has been longlisted: www.themanbookerprize.com/news/2012-lo…st-announced for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. Alison’s pick is “Adventure: www.bartleby.com/156/12.html” by Sherwood Anderson, from his 1919 story cycle Winesburg, Ohio: A Group of Tales of Ohio Small Town Life: www.bartleby.com/156/, read by actor Greg Page: www.gregpage.co.uk/. Enjoy, and please leave comments and suggestions so we can improve as we go along.




Robert Lloyd Parry on M. R. James’ Ghost Stories

In the run-up to our Ghosts issue, which will go online on Halloween, Litro Lab talks to actor Robert Lloyd Parry about bringing the tales of the ghost story master, M. R. James, to the stage in his one-man show, and listen to his reading of James’ “A School Story”.

The music used in this podcast is “Unanswered Questions” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) and licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

SPECIAL OFFER

Liked what you heard? Robert Lloyd Parry is offering Litro Lab listeners a special offer on his CD of readings of M. R. James’s stories, Curious Creatures: The Shorter Horror of M. R. James. To get the physical CD for just £6.99 (going for £15.99 on Amazon UK), postage included, email [email protected] and tell him Litro sent you!




Bearing Witness by Elizabeth Warren

Read by Sabina Cameron

While searching for a fitting christmas gift for a young girl,
a woman is reminded of her experiences growing up in the southern states of America.

Elizabeth Warren’s short stories about the subversive nature of relationships have appeared in numerous literary journals throughout Canada, Great Britain and the USA. A postgraduate of Humber College’s creative writing program, she has just completed a novel that exposes what happens in a world based on appearances when a model’s youth and beauty begin to fade. 

Sabina Cameron works in TV, film and theatre and relished the opportunity to use a Southern accent in this piece. She looks forward to developing personal projects and pursuing her burgeoning film career. Find her at Spotlight.com.




November, Washington Square by Deborah Fielding

A man stands out in the cold, hoping to spread the word of Jesus to passers-by.

Since finishing her Creative Writing Masters at UEA, Deborah Fielding has been writing short stories and flash fiction. Deborah is fascinated by the relationships between the arts: her ongoing project, Two Lights, investigates the connection between the visual and written arts in its exploration of the paintings of Edward Hopper (November, Washington Square,1932-59, is part of this). In her endeavour to link word and image, Deborah has recently completed a new project with illustrations, Good Condolences, a “chapbook”. For more, see dfielding.co.uk.




We Did It by Travis Sentell

A man explains to the rest of the world how America has managed to achieve the “American Dream”.

Travis Sentell is based in Los Angeles, California. His most recent book, In the Shadow of Freedom, is in stores now. See travissentell.com.




The Depressing Command by Feyisayo Anjorin

A major in a military regime in Sierra Leone faces a moral dilemma
when the daughter of his beloved teacher commits treason.

Read by Terence Anderson:

Feyisayo Anjorin was born in Akure, Nigeria in 1983. He studied at Damelin College, Bramley, Johannesburg; The University of Ibadan, Nigeria; and the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance, Auckland Park, Johannesburg. He is an actor, whose credits include Jacob’s Cross (2010), Jozi Kings (2010) and Crooked RD (2010). He is also a poet whose writings, which include “Edges of a Middle Ground”, “Secret States”, “Evil Eyes” and “One Cup”, have been published on various online platforms. He notes C. S. Lewis, Wole Soyinka, John Grisham and Chinua Achebe as his greatest writing influences. Feyisayo lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Terence Anderson has been acting for over ten years. On stage, he has played Jean in Bonnie Greer’s Jitterbug; Eddie in John La Manchuria’s The Wild Party; Aide Williams in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and Ivan & Johnson in Benjamin Zephaniah’s De Botty Business. Recent film appearances include Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre. He lives in London. More information at terenceanderson.webs.com.




Billy by Robert McGowan

Read by Greg Page

A professor of 20th-century American history who fought in Vietnam intends to write a book about his experiences. When he finds he is unable to express his feelings, however, a friend who had fallen helps the professor focus his thoughts.

Robert McGowan served as a pay disbursement specialist with the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam, 1968/69. McGowan’s fiction and essays are published in several dozen prominent literary journals in America and abroad, including The Black Herald (France), Chautauqua Literary Journal, Connecticut Review, Etchings (Australia), The Louisiana Review, New Walk Magazine (UK), and South Dakota Review, have been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and have been anthologised. Billy is from his short fiction collection, NAM: Things That Weren’t True and Other Stories, which will be released in late summer of 2011 by Meridian Star Press (UK). McGowan is also the author of the forthcoming story collection, Stories from the Art World (Thumbnail Press, 2011). He lives in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

Greg Page trained at Maria Grey College and the City Lit. Previous credits include touring with The London Bubble, Malvolio for TTC, a hired killer and a gay street preacher in independent films; and the voice of a coma victim for BBC radio. He is currently appearing in Much Ado About Nothing at the Globe Theatre, London. He can be contacted through roseberymanagement.com.




The Trophy Picture by Wayne Via

A soldier lies dying on the road when the enemy comes over for a souvenir.

After the Vietnam War and forty years of working and raising a family interrupted Wayne Via’s writing career, he finally retired last year and began writing again. He now lives in Dana Point, California with his wife, and is working hard to establish himself as a writer.




Remembrance of Things Past by Kevlin Henney

A man returns to a tragic moment in his past, desperately trying to change what happened.

Kevlin Henney writes words and code. He is a software development consultant and writer with three books and hundreds of technical articles to his name. One of his short stories was selected and published as a runner-up in the New Scientist‘s 2010 Flash Fiction Competition. Somewhere in his past is a degree in physics.




Monkey Retreat by Laura Nelson

In the year 2035, medical experiments on monkeys have evolved to serve a sinister purpose.

Laura Nelson has a doctorate in neuroscience, used to be a science journalist and is about to start helping to run a medical ethics charity. Her short fiction stories have been published in the anthology Decongested Tales and the science magazine Nature, and she had two stories in Litro magazine in 2009, one of which (‘Majuto’) was listed as a favourite on the website for a year. Laura has written guest articles about writing in literary magazines and political commentary in the Guardian’s Comment is Free, and is working on her second novel. She blogs at delilah-mj.blogspot.com.

 




Letter to Self by Liam Hogan

The protagonist leaves a message to himself in an alternative reality, offering advice and a warning.

Liam Hogan writes when he isn’t doing anything else. This happens with remarkable regularity, and at least one story has emerged every month for the last three years. Liars’ League has been the main beneficiary, but there’s plenty to go round. Just ask.




Tears by Grace Andreacchi

After the death of her son, a woman plunges into despair but is unable to cry.
However, this changes after a meeting with a mysterious man.

Grace Andreacchi is an American-born novelist, poet and playwright. Works include the novels Scarabocchio and Poetry and Fear, Music for Glass Orchestra (Serpent’s Tail), Give My Heart Ease (New American Writing Award) and the chapbook Elysian Sonnets. Her work appears in Horizon Review, The Literateur, Cabinet des Fées and many other fine places. Grace is also managing editor at Andromache Books and writes the literary blog Amazing Grace. She lives in London.




Plum by Graham Buchan

We are pleased to be introducing our new section, Litro Spoken Word. We will be featuring audio recordings of short stories for you to listen to at your leisure.

Our first Spoken Word story continues our February theme: “Anti-Love”. In Graham Buchan’s “Plum”, the protagonist receives a gift from someone he cannot see and becomes fixated on the sensuality and promise of  an unusual, seemingly commonplace gift…

Graham Buchan is a writer of poetry (Airport Reading, There is Violence in these Vapours and In Bed with Shostakovich, all from Tall Lighthouse), short stories, film reviews and travel pieces. He is also a director and photographer whose work has appeared in publications around the world. He originally graduated as a Chemical Engineer.