Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Five exclusive short stories


Even the longest journey can be transformed into a holiday in its own right with a great book. The pleasure that we extract from reading fiction has long fascinated psychologists. They postulate – although it is near-impossible to prove – that reading novels significantly improves a person’s capacity to navigate their social world, changing the way we see ourselves and helping us identify what we want from social interaction. Novels help us make sense of the world around us; they help us carve out our sense of right and wrong, they influence what we look for in our romantic relationships and they help us assess our life priorities.

It’s impossible to imagine ourselves being what we are today without our favourite fictional heroines, whether it be Elizabeth Bennet or Bridget Jones. The books we read make us the people we are, and the process never ends; any good book forces you to see the world differently than you did yesterday.

Here at Stylist, we firmly believe that literature makes the world a better place, and are proud to bring you five exclusive short stories written by our favourite female authors just for Stylist readers.

Main picture credit: Rex Features

Vermin by Lionel Shriver

US-born Shriver won the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction for her book, We Need To Talk About Kevin. Of her story Vermin, she says, “I came late to property purchase which I found an ambivalent experience. This story explains the effect of the responsibility of home ownership on one couple, who once considered themselves above such middle-class obsessions.”

Read Vermin by Lionel Shriver

Fall by Emma Donoghue

Donoghue is best known for her novel Room (a haunting portrait of human nature) which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year. She says, “Fall is inspired by Annie Edson Taylor, who in 1901 was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She hoped to make her fortune but died destitute in the Niagara County Infirmary 20 years after her fall.”

Read Fall by Emma Donoghue

Everything Must Go by Belinda Bauer

Bauer is one of the leading names in crime fiction. This year, Darkside, a literary thriller about the hunt for a killer was a big hit. She wrote Everything Must Go after a trip to Ikea. “I don’t have children but it looks relentless,” she explains. “This story was inspired by a visit to Ikea with my sister and her daughter, and my neighbours, who have twins.”

Read Everything Must Go by Belinda Bauer

The Meeting by Aimee Bender

Bender is well known for her modern-day fairy tales including 2010’s The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake, about a girl who can taste emotions in her food. Of her short story, The Meeting, Bender says, “I wrote this story to question all that lightning-bolt stuff about relationships we run into every day. Sometimes it just takes time to see what’s what.”

Read The Meeting by Aimee Bender

Chemistry by Adele Parks

Born in Teesside, Parks is one of the biggest-selling women’s fiction authors in the UK. Explaining Chemistry she says, “We live in a world where connections are made through social media. I’m a big fan of Twitter but am still an old-fashioned girl. I wanted to write about the frail chances that pop up all the time; chances which we might rush past and miss.”

Read Chemistry by Adele Parks



Celebrity special: opening lines from books


The best 100 closing lines from books


50 most poignant lines from poetry



Harry Potter fans, there's a real-life Hogwarts - and you can attend

Excuse us, we’re just heading to Diagon Alley for school supplies…

by Kayleigh Dray
24 Oct 2016

Harry Potter fans, there's a Roald Dahl collaboration in the works

Are you ready for a magical Willy Wonka prequel?

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Oct 2016

Sarah Jessica Parker is launching a new line of fiction books

She’s channelling her inner Carrie Bradshaw…

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Oct 2016

New Ladybird books for grown-ups are all our work woes

Old pics, new problems

by Anna Pollitt
18 Oct 2016

These are the UK’s favourite pearls of Winnie-the-Pooh wisdom

He’s far more than a bear of very little brain, you know.

by Moya Crockett
14 Oct 2016

Bridget Jones's author on life, love and the importance of friendship

“No one can have it all”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
12 Oct 2016

There's now going to be a Good Sex in Fiction award

“We have laughed enough”

by Amy Swales
12 Oct 2016

Meet the winner of Stylist’s gothic short story competition

The big short

by The Stylist web team
10 Oct 2016

9 important life lessons from cult feminist Instagram poet Rupi Kaur

Happy National Poetry Day.

by Moya Crockett
06 Oct 2016

Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz to star in adaptation of Disobedience

They will bring Naomi Alderman’s debut novel to life on the silver screen

by Kayleigh Dray
05 Oct 2016