Publication Date
Publication Status
Out of print
Short Stories
Trim Size
216 x 140mm



This collection of prize-winning stories represent major high-points from Alex Keegan’s early years as a short-story writer. These stories will stay with you, make you return and look behind the words, for what is quietly waiting.

A father knowing he has little time left, takes his children to Disney; a writer sits and drinks tea with a bastard relation; a family tries to recover from a daughter’s mutilation; a proud Welshman faces death to watch three grandsons at the game; a terrorist and his victim are trapped underground, talking in the dark; a too-beautiful young man tries to understand his life; an ageing teacher meets his protégé and aches for what was missed; a band of limbless soldiers run a marathon for charity; a hopelessly unlucky cuckold has one more try; a barwoman is romanced over ten years; all these stories and more, some uplifting, some painful, all delivered with often brilliant touches of language, will enchant and educate.

A superb resource for teaching creative writing, this collection illustrates exactly what is required to win writing competitions in the UK and overseas.

Praise for this Book

‘Alex Keegan is absolutely the best short-story writer I've read! His stories are wonderful; wrenching, hilarious, sexy – with a depth of emotion and beauty of language that make them unique.’ —Diana Gabaldon, New York Times Top Ten Author

‘My favorite Alex Keegan stories are some of my favorite stories, period. They get right to it, don't fool around while they're about it, and end not a second later than they should. Along the way, they somehow capture all the bewildering and distinctly masculine sorrow of characters whose greatest loves and triumphs are expressed firmly in the past tense.’ —Tom Dooley, Editor, Electrica

‘Whether he’s exploring the attractions and aversions of interpersonal magnetism or capturing small life-changing moments with precision and gentleness, Alex Keegan’s work is emotionally true, sharply intelligent and often beautiful. These stories will touch a nerve and resonate long after the book is put down.’ —Vanessa Gebbie

Reviews of this Book

‘(on ‘The Last Love Letter of Berwyn Price) A story of a life contained in just two and a quarter thousand beautifully-chosen words, a perfectly balanced vignette which should not only grace the programme for every forthcoming Welsh international but should earn its place in any proper anthology of short stories.’ —Charlotte Bingham, Bridport Prize

‘‘The Smell of Almond Polish’ is a story which is incredibly understated, yet which carries with it a vast understory. The writing is clear and uncluttered, starting with a journey, and following the fortunes of Bridie Collins who simply gets jobs, does rather well, then returns home again. The author never tells us why she leaves her family, or what is actually going on in her life, yet the story is tender and painful.

I know there will be sighs of frustration that Alex Keegan is on the list again and has taken first prize again but judge on the quality of writing and the underlying power.’ —Zoe King, Buzzwords Prize

‘Keegan writes with wit and energy’ —London Evening Standard

‘Lots of energy… deserving of applause’ —Literary Review