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031A Good Man… by Flannery O'Connor

A Good Man is Hard to Find is the title story of O’Connor’s first collection. She published 32 stories and two novels in her short life and is considered one of the foremost Southern writers. Her stories often rely on rural settings and ugly characters.

She has many other famous stories including Good Country People and The Life You Save May Be Your Own

A Good Man… continued »

030Copy Shop by Virgil Widrich

For the copy man each day is a replication of itself, so when he decides to photocopy his hand, he causes some sort of knot in logic and the world fills with his clones.

The movie itself is made up of 18,000 photocopied frames which were filmed with a 35mm camera.

Widrich is known for his experimental techniques, often meshing the genres of film and animation.

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029Mother of Many by Emma Lazenby

Emma Lazenby created this animation as a tribute to her mother who was a midwife for many years. It is a produced through a combination of painting on glass, hand drawn animation, Flash and Aftereffects. Lazenby won a BAFTA for this poignant animation.

Mother of Many continued »

028Araby by James Joyce

Although best known for the experimental Finnegans Wake and the intimidating Ulysses, Joyce is also famous for his collection of short stories. They are far more accessible than his novels and probably a better place to start.

With , Dubliners, Joyce wanted to betray the “…paralysis which many consider a city” and that theme is consistent with each story. In Araby, a boy struggles with his own shyness which disrupt and delay his pursuit of a girl. With the degree of religious reference, you could also argue the boy is confused between his beliefs, the pressures from the church and his own feelings.

The Dead is the most famous story from the collection, but it is also the longest, at over 15,000 words.

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027My Wrongs #8245… by Chris Morris

As with a lot of Chris Morris’s work, My Wrongs #8245-8249 & 117 satires extreme psychosis running against the grain of society. It won a BAFTA for short film in 2002.

More short narratives include his 12 episode spoken word Blue Jam Monologue.

Chris Morris began his career as a prankster DJ with BBC Radio Bristol, until he got fired for filling the studio with helium as the news was being read out. He then moved into television with the satirical news programs The Day Today and Brasseye.

In late 2009, he realeased his first feature length film Four Lions about a group of bumbling Islamist terriorists from the North of England.

My Wrongs #8245… continued »

026Rejected by Don Hertzfeldt

Rejected is Don Hertzfeldt’s answer to requests, rumours and imitations of commercial work (something he says he’ll never do) following the success of Billy’s Balloon. It represents what he might have produced if he had accepted the offers. Since its release in 2000, it has gained a cult status and an Oscar for best animated film.

Since then, Hertzfeldt has found critical acclaim with Everything will be OK, the first of a series of animations about Bill. The second is I’m so proud of you. Hertzfeldt is currently working on the third.

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025Stickfighting Days by Olufemi Terry

Olufemi Terry

Stickfighting Days took the literary world by storm in mid-2010 when it won the Caine Prize for African Writing. It is about glue-sniffing street kids who pass the time duelling with sticks. The young Sierra Leonean writer claimed this to be only his second short story.

Terry published another story, Digitalis Lust in Jambula Tree, the Caine Prize’s 8th annual collection. He is currently working on his debut novel The Sum of All Losses.

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024Shadowscan by Tinge Krishnan

Writer and director Krishnan drew on her own experiences as a hospital doctor to produce a confused, sleep deprived and amphetamine fuelled version of late night emergency wards. Raw, concise and perfectly styled, Shadowscan won a host of awards including a BAFTA after its release in 2000.

Since then, Krishnan and her film company, Disruptive Element Films, have created several short films and documentaries and been commissioned to write films for Film Four and The Film Council.

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023The Pearce Sisters by Luis Cook

After a career in of commercial work, this was Luis Cook’s first creative animation. It is a dark comic piece about the loneliness and isolation of two sisters. It won a BAFTA for best animation in 2008.

Atmospherically, Cook wanted create something that looked like “natural, hand-drawn, scruffy, naive, outsider art…as if the film itself had been washed up by the sea”. For this he used an experimental technique of mixing 3G CGI with details filled in using 2D techniques. It then has the advantage of 3G shadows and textures with the looseness of 2D.

The result is a beautifully ugly piece of animation with great character and humour.

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022Water Liars by Barry Hannah

Barry Hannah

Water Liars is the first story from Hannah’s classic dark comic collection, Airships. Despite writing eight novels, including the critical success Ray, he was mostly celebrated for his short stories. This continued with the collections Bats Out of Hell and the Pulitzer Prize nominated High Lonesome.

As further reading, I’d also recommend the powerful Testimony of Pilot (also from Airships) and the creepy Evening of the Yarp: A Report by Roonswent Dover, from his final collection Long, Last, Happy.

Hannah died of a heart attack in Oxford, Mississippi, March 2010, just days before his hometown was to have his work as the focus of an annual literary conference.

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