Arts and Entertainment

Some great authors have published their worst works from beyond the grave. A few though, keep getting better when they’re dead, such as the Chilean novelist and short story writer, Roberto Bolaño. His seminal five-part novel, 2666, came out posthumously, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and convinced the world he was not just a master of the short form but could put out his life’s best work at nearly 900 pages, even after death.

Easier With Practice (15)

Starring: Brian Geraghty, Kel O'Neill

The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story, Edited by Anne Enright

Out with old Troubles, in with the new

While The Women Are Sleeping, By Javier Marías, trans. Margaret Jull Costa

Javier Marías, born in 1951 and alongside Enrique Vila-Matas and Roberto Bolaño one of the outstanding names in an extraordinary generation of Spanish-language novelists, first came to prominence in the English-speaking world with his novel All Souls, a clever and extremely funny account of his alter-ego's spell as a lecturer at Oxford. His recent trilogy, Your Face Tomorrow, has earned comparisons with Proust for incisive examination of character.

O Caledonia and short stories, By Elspeth Barker

Elspeth Barker's is a wholly original literary voice. O Caledonia, first published 20 years ago, reads as freshly now as then. Steeped in classical allusions, rich in Scottish – and natural – history, fantastical in its highly wrought characters, this coming-of-age-novella is as passionately intense as it is wittily acerbic.

Shun-kin, Barbican, London

When Simon McBurney and Complicite first collaborated with Tokyo's Setagaya Public Theatre, the result was The Elephant Vanishes, a brilliant evocation of several Murakami short stories about the dizziness brought on by the 24/7 relentlessness of contemporary urban life. Their latest venture is markedly different in its cultural focus.

And Thereby Hangs a Tale, By Jeffrey Archer

Ten of these short stories are marked with an asterisk, to indicate that Jeffrey Archer didn't invent them; they were told to him by other people. The remaining five are "the result of my imagination". An interesting divide, especially as the majority of the stories told to him seem to concern cons and money, and the ones he made up flash their outcomes on huge neon signs from the outset. (The protagonist of "Blind Date", for example, is a man who is blind, chatting up a woman in a café. And can you guess, when she leaves, that she, too, turns out to be... No, I won't spoil it for you.)

Circus Bulgaria, By Deyan Enev

A magical portrait of Bulgaria

EC Tubb: Seminal writer who was a mainstay of the British science fiction scene for half a century

With his work translated into more than a dozen languages, EC Tubb was well known to readers of science fiction the world over. He was extraordinarily prolific. Beginning in 1951, he published over 130 novels and more than 230 short stories in such magazines as Astounding/Analog, Authentic, Galaxy, Nebula, New Worlds,Science Fantasy, Vision of Tomorrow, and more recently in Fantasy Adventures. Many of his short stories were reprinted in various "World's Best SF" anthologies, and his story "Lucifer" won the Europa Prize in 1972. Tubb was appointed editor of Authentic Science Fiction in 1956, and edited it with great panache until its unnecessary demise in 1957.

The Mechanics' Institute Review

A seasoned reader might pick up this collection of 26 stories produced by the students on Birkbeck's creative writing MA course with a small internal groan, but the quality is suprisingly high with little signs of laboured, classroom learning.

Tall tales: Meet the storytellers spinning edgy new yarns for the digital age

Spinning a good yarn is the most ancient of entertainments – but thanks to the iPod generation, it's getting a new lease of life

Granta 111: Going Back, ed John Freeman

This superb collection of short stories, memoir, artwork and poetry, loosely connected to the theme of "going back", includes contributions by Seamus Heaney and Joseph O'Neill, letters by Iris Murdoch and a recollection of his uncle's farm by Mark Twain. About as eclectic as you can get, then – but that doesn't mean unfocused.

The Collected Short Stories of Lydia Davis, By Lydia Davis

Feelings trump specifics in these moving miniatures

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, By Geoff Dyer

Geoff Dyer's latest novel is in fact two long short stories, one set in Venice and one in the Indian city of Varanasi. Each story shares the same protagonist – a middle-aged hack called Jeff, who might, or might not, share much in common with his creator, Geoff.

Rob Sharp: Short stories wanted...

In November I asked a couple of my literary-minded colleagues to recommend some short stories to me.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy