The Next Chapter

With this advent calendar, you get a short story a day instead of chocolate

Journalist and author Michael Hingston discusses why he makes the Short Story Advent Calendar every year.
Michael Hingston is the editor of the annual Short Story Advent Calendar. (Hingston & Olsen)

Michael Hingston is a journalist and the author of Let's Go Exploring, a nonfiction book about Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson. He's also the editor of the popular Short Story Advent Calendar — now in its fourth iteration — an Advent calendar that gives readers a new short story to read each day over the holidays. 

The 2018 edition includes stories from R. O. Kwon, Etgar Keret, Kevin Barry and more. 

An Advent calendar for readers

"When we started the project back in 2015, we were trying to make the literary version of that kind of deluxe Advent calendars for adults that we were seeing around. You can get them for beer, whiskey, makeup — just about everything. So we wanted to make the book version of that. By virtue of having got there first and continuing to do it every year we've reached people — and we're continuing to reach the readers who are up for that kind of thing."

Luck of the literary draw

"It's a very scientific method of picking the stories: I think of my favourite writers, Google their names and email addresses and see whoever gets back to me! Actually, it's a little more sophisticated than that, but not much. I don't really have a huge overarching plan of the types of stories I want. There's an improvisational feel; the stories are all literary fiction in the broader sense, but within that we get a nice variety of styles and tones." 

Michael Hingston's comments have been edited for length and clarity.