Win Not One, But Two, Signed Copies of Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress

My second give away of the day is doubly delightful. You can win not one but two signed copies of Margaret Atwood’s ‘nine wicked tales’ that make up Stone Mattress thanks to the lovely people at Virago and Little Brown. So that is one for you and a friend or family member. (Good Christmas present alert!) If you have yet to read any Atwood (are you mad?) then this would be an ideal introduction, if you are a fan of Atwood then this will just be a treat. Here is a teaser from the tale Dark Lady which is so my cup of tea…

Every morning at breakfast Jorrie reads the obituaries in all three of the papers. Some of the write-ups make her laugh, but to the best of Tin’s knowledge none of them has ever made her cry. She’s not much of a sniveller, Jorrie.
    She marks the noteworthy dead people with an X – two Xs if she plans to attend the funeral or the memorial service – and hands the papers across the table to Tin. She gets the real paper papers, delivered right to their townhouse doorstep, because according to her they skimp on the obituaries in the digital versions.
    “Here’s another,” she’ll say. “‘Deeply missed by all who knew her,’ I think not! I worked with her on the Splendida campaign. She was a sick bitch.” Or else: “‘Peacefully, at home, of natural causes.’ I doubt that very much! I bet it was an overdose.” Or: “Finally! Creepy Fingers! He groped me at a company dinner in the ’80s with his wife sitting right beside him. He was such a lush they won’t even have to embalm him.”


So what do you have to do? Well firstly you have to be from the UK, apologies international readers, and secondly you have to leave a comment telling me what your favourite short story collection AND fairy tale is. Two book recommendations which could win you two signed copies of a wonderful book (which I am now popping in my case for a weekend at Ilkley Book Festival!) You have until midnight GMT on Monday the 5th of October 2015 – this is a day extension as Monday is a busy day on the blog. Good luck!


Filed under Give Away, Margaret Atwood

33 responses to “Win Not One, But Two, Signed Copies of Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings

    Lovely competition, Simon! Favourite short story collection is The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino – quite mind-blowingly fantastic, playful and inventive, like no other writer. Favourite fairy tale? Got to be Snow White a la Disney for the wicked witch and the fact that it haunted me as a child….

  2. Ann P

    I could say any of the short story collections published by Persephone but will go for Diana Athill’s Midsummer Night in the Workhouse. I always found fairy tales rather frightening – will Jack and the Beanstalk do?

  3. Hard to choose just the one short story collection but would have to say that I’ve just finished reading The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne M. Valente which is a collection of short stories and poetry inspired by Japan and Japanese culture. I found it impressively mind blowing.

    As for favourite fairy tale I have always had a soft spot for The Tinderbox. I think the fact the hero can summon doggies is what wins it for me!

  4. Oh someone is going to love this! I loved this collection.

  5. I have just read American Housewife by Helen Ellis. Dark, twisted, and oh so funny! And Take It From Cats is spot on!
    Favourite fairytale……Little Red Riding Hood but only because I LOVE Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes version 😉

  6. Selah

    What a lovely competition. Favourite short stories : I always go back to Katherine Mansfield, the founding mother of the short story. Favourite fairy tale must be the Fisherman and his Wife. Terribly cruel like so many of them and untainted by Disney (I think)

  7. lindarumsey

    I haven’t read many short stories so can’t recommend any, but my favourite fairy tale is The Twelve Dancing Princesses, feisty women who don’t need rescuing!

  8. Roald Dahl’s collection of Short Stories has always been my favourite. I love that thing of finding darkness in the ordinary and the excitement of starting one of his stories wondering what the sting/unsettling conclusion will be. My favourite Fairytale I think is Hansel and Gretel (maybe a theme developing in my love of dark endings). I think as a kid it was my first realisation that stories could became much more interesting when they didn’t end Happily Ever After.

  9. My fav short story collection is still Dubliners. My favourite fairy tale is, OMgoodness this isn’t easy, The Ugly Duckling because I loved Danny Kaye singing the song.

  10. CJH West

    Short stories: Redeployment by Phil Klay
    Fairy Tale: The Emperor’s New Clothes

  11. Caroline

    My favourite short story is Hans Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”. My favourite short story collection is Djuna Barnes’ “Smoke & Other Early Stories”.

  12. Challenging as I’m not a huge short stories fan, but I think The Garden Party short story collection by Katherine Mansfield has to be up there, as I love her work, and then for favourite fairy tale, I’m a Snow White and Rose Red fan – no one seems to remember that one!

  13. noob

    for short stories, i love the melancholy death of oyster boy by tim burton. little bit dark, a lot different. lovely!

    as for fairytales, i do love the little mermaid (so wanted to be her) although my all time favourite fairytale is any of the ones my dad used to tell me that he would make up every night at bedtime.

  14. Maxine G

    Most of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories are worth a read, particularly The Pit and the Pendulum. For a fairy tale, I loved reading the Three Billy Goats Gruff as a child – I had a great anthology given to me by an aunt and the pictures were a little scary, but made you feel part of the world – just magical!

  15. I love short stories. My favourite short story collection is Dimanch and other stories by Irene Nemirovsky. My favourite fairytale -difficult question but will go for Hansel and Gretal.

  16. Love The Dubliners. My favourite fairytale is Cinderella because I’m a sucker for romance and I love all the different twists on it! Great competition, I’ve got my eye on the second copy for my mum!

  17. The short story collection which really blew me away when I read it was “First Love, Last Rites” by Ian McEwan – a set of dark, shocking stories. I’ve read most of McEwan’s works since but have never revisited this. You have reminded me of it and I will have to seek it out for a re-read – I just remember the impression it created on this impressionable teenager! Fairy Story has to be “Rumpelstiltskin”, because it used to frighten the life out of me as a child!

  18. Shadowplayer

    Difficult questioñs: Cold hand in mine, by Robert Aickman, and then Orwell’s animal farm is subtitled ‘a fairy story’, so Ill go for that.

  19. Andrea

    James Joyce’s Dubliners for touching base (I have a broken spine copy which apparently I nicked from school.) Lorrie Moore’s big and satisfying Collected Stories, wry, smart, sometimes laugh out loud. Her take on the world is both revealing and consoling.

    Otherwise, individual stories rather than collections, and thinking of fairy tales, or stretching rationality: Claire Keegan’s, Night of the Quicken Trees, and Clare Wigfall’s, The Numbers, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.

    Favourite fairy tale: Hansel and Gretel Incidentally, the stories in Phillip Pulman’s Grimm Tales, hit a near perfect balance of darkness and humour, and are even better read out loud. And on the subject of being read to: the New Yorker Fiction podcasts are my favourite long journey treat. A writer is invited to choose any short story from the New Yorker archive, introduces it, reads it and then discusses it with the editor, Deborah Treisman. There’s a bit of a House Style, but it’s still fairly eclectic and the podcasts are free to download once a month. God, I love a good story.


  20. Novel Insights

    Short Stories: Ludmilla Petrishevskaya Through The Wall (Penguin Modern Classics)

    Favourite fairytale: The Beast With A Thousand Teeth, Terry Jones.


  21. StAnza young poets

    Jesus Son by Denis Johnson is probably my favourite collection (but it’s hard to pick just one!) and my favourite short story is Littke Red Riding Hood.

    As I am Margaret Atwood’s biggest fan, I would love to win this 😉

  22. Love_writing creatively

    My favourite book of short stories has to be Janice Galloway’s ‘Jellyfish’ and loved The Little Match Girl – so tragic yet thought provoking. Best of luck everyone!

  23. Sarah Jasmon

    Love of Fat Men by Helen Dunmore (though it is a choice that shifts on a regular basis). Could I choose the whole of Grimm? No? Then the one my kids liked most was called Molly Whuppie: like Hansel and Gretel, but Molly is a whole lot more kickass.

  24. My favourite short story collection is probably Phillip Pullman’s Grimm’s fairy tales and my favourite fairy tale has always been Snow White and Rose Red

  25. Short story: Solid Geometry by Ian McEwan – very tough choice, but judged by longevity this (in context, quite tame) story has stayed with me.

    Fairy Tale: Red Riding Hood – because of the myriad of incarnations from simple morality tale to sordid tragedy, and the inspiration it gave Angela Carter.

  26. Sharon

    My current favourite collection is the extraordinary ‘The Redemption of Galen Pike’ by Carys Davies. Evocative writing that pulls the rug from right under your feet with each story.
    Favourite fairy tale is East of the Sun and West of the Moon. I’ve always loved the resolute heroine but the beautiful Kay Nielsen illustrations have stayed with me since childhood too.

  27. Short story collection = Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro. The best writing I have ever read.
    Fairytale = Red Riding Hood. So dark…

  28. Interesting, thanks! Short story collection – Jane Gardam’s The Sidmouth Letters. Brilliant writer, so good at short stories and the title storys one of my favourites ever. Fairy tale? Has to be Kate Crackernuts, an Orcadian fairy tale in which Kate and her sister start out with major problems, which end when she kicks fairy ass and saves her sister, the prince and the day.

  29. When it comes to short story collections my favourite has to be Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners. I had never read slipstream or magical realism before and it blew my mind. She is just so incredibly imaginative and her stories were fascinating and utterly unsettling. Magic handbags, zombies, and creepy rabbits are all included to name but a few. This collection started me reading and writing short stories again after a 9 year hiatus.

    My favourite fairytale is Thumbelina, because I’m short too. She also got to make friends with talking animals which is something I aspire to.

  30. Daniela Petracco

    Favourite short story collection is Robin Black’s If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, favourite fairy tale has got to be Red Riding Hood.

  31. umisinha

    My favourite short story collection is a Russian edition of ‘Short Stories’ by Lev Tolstoi, published in English, that belonged to my mother when we lived in India. When I read ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich’ and ‘The Kreutzer Sonata’ as a teenager I couldn’t breathe. This wasn’t writing; it was life. I rediscovered them last year and felt it again. It’s the book I would take to a desert island. Favourite fairy tale: Baba Yaga, because the evil crone is also the giver of gifts and courage to those who pass her tests.

  32. Norma Marson

    Torn between Katherine Mansfield and the Persephone collections, but eventually opted for Edith Wharton’s The Muse’s Tragedy and Other Stories for her insight and the quality of the writing. My favourite fairy story is Beauty and the Beast, filmed so beautifully by Jean Cocteau when I was young.

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