The Real Story is a writer development project and journal devoted to promoting the form of nonfiction writing in the UK.

The project began life in 2011 with an essay writing competition at Manchester Literature Festival, eventually expanding to an online journal and irregular series of live reading events featuring authors including Amy Liptrot, Horatio Clare, Joanna Kavenna, Lauren Elkin, Maria Fusco and Joanna Walsh reading new and sometimes specially-commissoned work alongside emerging essayists. Our aim with the project has always been to raise awareness of creative nonfiction as a form of writing; celebrate/signal boost great work; and support essayists, memoirists and nonfictioneers at every stage of their writing careers.

TRS was initially administered by Openstories, a Manchester-based writing development organisation, using funding from Arts Council England, AGMA and other sources.

Currently, The Real Story is on a publishing hiatus because the people behind it are  taking time to focus on their own projects. So until further notice, submissions will remain closed.

Contact us here: info@openstories.org


Editorial Team:


Adam Farrer, Editor





Adam Farrer took over the editorial reins of The Real Story in 2019, after working on the project as managing editor for several years. He is the author of a memoir in essays, Cold Fish Soup (Saraband Books, 2022) which won the NorthBound Book Award at the 2021 Northern Writers’ Awards. His second essay collection, Broken Biscuits, will be published by Harper North in 2025. He tweets as @AdamJFarrer and occasionally updates AdamFarrer.co.uk



Kate Feld, Founding Editor

Kate Feld set up The Real Story in 2011, and edited the journal until 2019. She is the author of the poetry and photography pamphlet Deeryard (Death of Workers Whilst Building Skycrapers, 2024). Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies including TolkaThe Stinging Fly and Hotel. A native Vermonter, she lives in Manchester, UK and lectures in journalism at The University of Salford.  Find out more about her work at katefeld.com