Call for submissions – flash fiction – change the ending

Change the ending – call for submissions 31st July

The idea
Change the ending is a collaborative creative writing project that will produce a collection of flash fiction stories about the future of local government, written by people who care about it.

Why it’s worth joining in?
We are interested in writing and reading new stories about all aspects of public life; stories that bypass the prevalent negative narratives – cuts, decline, incompetence, bureaucracy – and explore new ideas, possibilities, approaches and visions – all in 350 words. We need to change the ending and imagine the future we want to see, or the stories we tell about local government and the public sector will become the same old same old, we lose what’s good and everyone else loses interest.

We’ve got some senior managers, colleagues from the front line, some from public health and teaching, and a couple of wry observers looking from the outside in, who’ve already signed up to think and write creatively. The aim is to publish a limited edition paperback collection of around 40 stories, plus an e-book. This is an open call for anyone who’s interested in picking up a pen and joining us by 31st July.

What can you write about?
Stories can be about… well… anything related to the local government and public services
•They might be small tales, green shoots of positive change that point the way to a future we want to see.
•They could be snapshots that show why it’s important and why we care. They could highlight tricky dilemmas or big battles.
•They might be interesting, seriously challenging, funny, sad, curious, bizarre, true-ish, re-imagined or wildly imagined.
•And we hope all the stories will reflect public sector ethos and values in original quirky ways.
Creative writing is good for the soul and provides excellent brain food.

How it will work
•The idea is to be collaborative, to support and encourage each other as writers (giving feedback and ideas where people want that) and then share the stories with as many people and organisations as possible.
•Solace – the Society for Local Authority Chief Executives – is supporting the project and the collection will be launched at the Solace Annual Summit in Liverpool in October. The stories will be used to provoke a different type of debate about public services. The stories will also be published on the Shared Press website (under construction).
•Solace and Shared Press will curate the collection – all stories will be selected on the basis that they are ‘positive’ about local government and the public sector, but ‘critical’ stories will be considered for inclusion if they stimulate debate and demonstrably seek to ‘change the ending.’ Project lead is Dawn Reeves, former local authority Director and author of Hard Change, a successful ‘town hall thriller’ which seeks to ‘change the end’, published in 2013 by Shared Press (

If you’re in, email for info, top tips on flash fiction and t’s&c’s.

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