Welcome to The Real Story

The Real Story is a celebration of creative nonfiction. Not that there’s anything wrong with fiction. Look, we like making stuff up as much as anyone else does, but we’re more excited about the creative possibilities of telling the truth. We love true stories (and even mostly true stories), personal essays, memoirs, diaries, sketches and literary journalism. Reality is so much stranger than fiction. Tastes better, too.

‘Psychiatric Ward, December 24th, 1985’ by Kate Jones

May 1, 2016
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‘Psychiatric Ward, December 24th, 1985’ by Kate Jones

The room is filled with elderly women sitting in two rows of chairs facing one another. Silver and gold foil garlands are strung haphazardly in each corner. A cover version of I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas plays loudly from small speakers hung on the wall. The ward stinks like the toilets down at...

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‘Congealed’ by Clare Archibald

April 10, 2016
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‘Congealed’ by Clare Archibald

It flows from inside you. Edgeless pools of blood that coat you, occasionally solidifying around your life, with you in the middle as the rotting candied apple. Fractures in the red shell that covers you are lit up by hormonal charges that sear you with lust and loathing. After all, you are woman. For...

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The Fourteen Stations of Blasphemy by David Hartley

March 25, 2016
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The Fourteen Stations of Blasphemy by David Hartley

Station One In September 1996, my Dad turned 40. On that birthday he stared into our fireplace and decided that he was no longer a Christian. He’d been harbouring doubtful thoughts for twenty-four church-going, bible-reading years, during which time we had all been dutiful members of the local parish. But Dad’s faith had been...

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The Real Story: LIVE! headlined by Amy Liptrot

March 7, 2016
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The Real Story: LIVE! headlined by Amy Liptrot

We are delighted to announce that we have confirmed the headliner for our next live show: Amy Liptrot, whose stunning memoir The Outrun has been garnering rave reviews. Describing it as ‘a future classic,’ The New Statesman said ‘Liptrot is an Orcadian warrior with the breeze in her blood and poetry in her fingers.” We’re...

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The Regulars by Thom Hammersley

January 22, 2016
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The Regulars by Thom Hammersley

There’s a tall, imposing man; a living, breathing brick wall with a moustache. He barks the word “hello” at me with such a lack of humility that it always feels more like a threat than a greeting.   There’s an older man with unkempt pale yellow hair like a small pile of wilted straw....

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