Wonderful World of Worders

Derry's Guildhall Press collects 525 international nanotales

The latest venture from Derry publishing house Guildhall Press is Wonderful World Of Worders – a vivid and invigorating collection of 'worders' from all walks of life and corners of the world.

Worders are micro-stories which vary from 60 to 250 words, based on specific titles. Wonderful World of Worders is an innovative collection of 525 micro-stories compiled by Jenni Doherty with a foreword from Sean O’Reilly. Doherty is perhaps best known as one third of Derry-based poetry trio The Poetry Chicks.

Wonderful World of Worders'In this fast-moving age of juggling work and family life, commuting and queuing, overtime competing with quality time, it has become harder for people to find extended opportunities to relax and read,' Doherty says.

'This unique collection of Worders now embraces and allows for this. They range from contemporary modern-day issues to horror, from science fiction to romance, humour to grief, religion to satire, philosophy to surrealism – all genres and styles that we have come to expect from full novels.

'Individually, these Worders may have little or no access or outlet to the reading public, but as a complete package they work brilliantly together. Where many anthologies may appear too ordered and contemporary, here rules are broken, new words are formed, adventurous styles are created, and taboo subjects are addressed.'

Saorise Doherty is the youngest contributor to the collection, and wrote his piece 'My World' when he was eight years old.

My World
I am as cool as 50 Cent. I am as strong and as brave as a Roman soldier. I am as gentle as a small teddy, as fast as a Ferrari speeding on the highway, as slow as a lazy turtle, as happy as the richest kid in the universe. I am as silly as Homer Simpson when he goes to the pub, as good as gold in a treasure chest, as funny as a clown with a big red nose. I come into this unusal place. There is a beautiful sunset. There is no hate. This is an amazing world.

Jenni DohertySean O’Reilly argues the case for these pint-sized shots of prose.

'Worders are thresholds where the self suddenly understands where it stands in the world,' he says. 'They aspire to being as instantaneous as a text message but can be thought about again and again as small parables of human life.

'The luminous moment must fade but the memory remains and is transformed into language by these writers co-operating across global boundaries. Here, then, is a stimulating and often moving collection of new writing born from the fusion of today’s technology with the human experience of the vastness of every passing moment.'

Title-driven as Worders are, many of the stories contained in the volume are based around the same simple theme. Here are two examples of Worders with the title 'Alien', by Darren Wheatley and Elizabeth Madden respectively:

It used to be fun around here. You could run a few landing lights, scare the locals, maybe even get your photo on the front of Ripley's. But since everybody's on something these days, you just get passed off as a hallucination. Even the cow mutilations fail to raise eyebrows. Looking like nothing on earth sure ain't what it was!

Hidden from view, she looked but was unseen. She walked abroad, absorbing the world, felt safe within her carapace of darkness. But now, all eyes are upon her. Knowing glances. Looks of hate, of suspicion, of fear. They want to tear away her veil. Send her back whence she came. She is an alien, a dangerous foreigner who threatens them all. 

Wonderful World of Worders is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and represents 72 writers from more than 27 countries including Ireland, the UK, Europe, America, Zimbabwe, Kuwait, India, Australia and Kenya with authors ranging from eight years of age to middle age. Irish contributors include Mark Burns, Julieann Campbell, Felicity McCall, Darren Anderson, Fionnuala McGowan and Saoirse Doherty, all from Derry.

Wonderful World Of Worders is on sale from October 12 priced £6.95, available from Guildhall Press and all good bookshops.