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We are very proud to have published, to date, a total of 244 stories by 143 different writers. In the past two years, we have also begun to host events for subscribers where contributors read their stories. This adds a whole new dimension to them, and the events have been moving, funny and stimulating. We have had calls to do a podcast!     

   Sometimes themes and subjects seem to be in the air. In this issue, a good number of writers reflect on their work, and the jobs they have had: Charlie Higson writes about an episode from his painting and decorating years; David Cummings recounts his comically mind-numbing summer jobs; drama teacher, Louisa Cunningham, ambitiously gives every single young auditionee a part in her first school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Margo Buchanan vividly describes her experiences of social work in Coventry; BBC sound engineer, Sam Durham, plays a key role in announcing the death of Queen Elizabeth II; Tim Sowula falls in love while volunteering at HMP Wandsworth; and Martin Ling meets a most unlikely co-worker while volunteering with the charity, The Food Chain. We also have two evocative companion pieces set in the 1970s from Chrissie Charlton and Clare St. John. Who remembers grotty flat-shares and Loon pants?!     

   Two of our regular writers are back. Roberta Planer hosts a hen night for Gen Z-ers and plays the game, ‘I Have Never Ever … ’ – and Cloud Downey writes an evocative memoir of childhood during the Second World War. We are delighted also to have FOTS regulars Jill Donker Curtius, Sam Green, and graphic story writer and illustrator, Teresa Robertson, in this issue.     

   And we are excited to have 14 brand new contributors, including the renowned broadcaster and journalist, Stuart Maconie, with a hilarious tale called ‘Breakfast With Renato’ and new writer, Susan Healey, who writes bravely and honestly about her addiction and recovery in ‘Ruby and Me’.       We wish we had space here to mention every one of these 25 great stories. Read on, and enjoy!

   Rachel Swann & Vick Fullick, March 2024

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