Save R4’s short stories

National Short Story Week has mounted a petition against Radio 4‘s planned reduction in short-story broadcasts, from three to two a week from April 2012. Leading authors have supported the petition: Ian Rankin, creator of Inspector Rebus, comments: ‘I got my real start with short stories on BBC Radio 4; I would hate for future generations of writers not to have the same chance.’ Sarah Dunant adds: ‘When it comes to fiction, radio excites and exercises the imagination in a way no other medium can manage. Nowhere is that more perfectly illustrated than the short story.

It is a cheap yet invaluable example of radio at its best. It feels mad-and sad-to think that Radio 4 would somehow be better without it.’ Radio 4 controller Gwyneth Williams says the decision is a knock-on effect of extending World at One: ‘I am proud that Radio 4 is the place where most new writing is commissioned and broadcast and I fully intend to keep it that way with the short stories, Book of the Week, Book at Bedtime, A Good Read, Open Book, Book Club, Classic Serial, Woman’s Hour Drama and Radio 4 Extra commissioned readings.’ To sign the petition, visit

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