Alan Beard's site

Stories and information

Alan Beard's site: Stories & Information

Twitter account: @AlanBeard4

(update march 2017: I've kind of abandoned this site, although will post the odd news item. For more current news use my twitter account above)

My second collection of stories 'You Don't Have to Say' was published in September 2010 by Tindal Street Press. Reviews here

What some have said about it:

Short cuts full of heart and beauty The Independent

Mimetic prose, heartfelt compassion, razor-sharp observation. A conduit through which the real world passes on its way to the page, Alan Beard is a superb short story writer and here he is at the top of his game   Nicholas Royle

Alan Beard is the real thing - a writer with true talent and staying power and a dedication to the short story form. This marvellous new collection deserves a wide audience.   David Almond

...incisive, haunting stories ...a writer who does amazing things with the fewest possible words. The Times

It's rare to find characters like these realistically portrayed in a humane and intelligent way, and it's not easy giving a voice to the inarticulate. Alan Beard succeeds. The Independent

Beard is a true master of the form. He is a brilliant story teller, capable of wrenching beauty from the unlikeliest of circumstances... This is an excellent collection; an observational masterpiece. The Short Review

Beard is able to change direction in a single sentence, leading the reader towards the unexpected...a great read that explores all the easily miss-able details of being human. Beyond Magazine          

There are gems here... whole worlds change while outside someone is simply having a chat or lighting a fag.    The Guardian


I had a previous collection published by Picador in 1999 called 'Taking Doreen out of the Sky' (Picador), now out of print, but you can still get second hand copies from amazon. 2013 update: it is now also available on kindle. It received many good reviews, and the title story won the Tom-Gallon award for best short story.

The Times Literary Supplement said of this collection:

'Beard's stories avoid cartoon terrors and verbal trickery, and instead rely for their effects on honest observation and sharp declarative sentences.. he achieves a startling poignancy'.

The Times said:  'Rich in detail and implication.. this is a truly fine collection.'

Time Out called it  ' absorbing and insightful as Sillitoe and Barstow.. wonderfully authentic.'

The Sunday Times said it was 'Luminous and [has] a terse immediacy.' and 'Beard has an artist's eye and an original turn of phrase'.

What's On: [ his stories] 'are deceptive in their simplicity, the ordinariness of both language and subject, deceptive in their unassuming power.  This power creeps up on the reader unannounced, seizing the head and heart in a cumulative effect as you progress.'

National Book Day leaflet 1999: 'Each story is a little gem, I carried the book around intending to read a story over a cup of tea or in a five minute break - but it was impossible to stop at just one. "King" is perhaps one of the most moving pieces of fiction I've read and conveys more in 6 pages than many novels.'


I am a member of Tindal Street Fiction Group (TSFG) in Birmingham (UK), and I'm grateful for its existence as I have met many fine writers and friends through the group. Indeed TSFG were the initial publishers of my first collection, and its (critical) success was instrumental in setting up the Tindal Street Press , a separate organisation that has published many wonderful novels and collections of stories including three that made the Booker longlist (in 2008 fellow TSFG member Gaynor Arnold did so), also Orange listed, Costa and Betty Trask prizewinners etc. In 2003 TSFG celebrated 20 years of existence and I was privileged to edit a collection of stories to mark this occasion. Called 'Going the Distance' it is, of course, available from amazon. Update 2014: TSP has been absorbed into Profile Books, London.

I am 60, work as a librarian at Birmingham City University (UK) and am married with two beautiful and smart daughters - just to give you a slightly fuller picture of me. Left is an actual picture of me (Sept 2010).