The Read More Project

The Read More Project features some of the best prose, poetry, and narrative non-fiction around. We regularly publish work from a variety of writers, with a special focus on new and emerging writers. These works will span genres, styles, forms, voice, and more – we want our corner of the literary world to be as varied, as eye-opening, as challenging as possible.

If you’re interested in submitting something to us, you can find more information here.

All Poems and Stories

Introducing POINT BLOC

Our regular blog contributor Sam Burt shares another exciting project for readers of Bandit to get behind.

The Girl in the Woods by Megan Pacelli

The door buzzer drills its way into my dream, and I just manage to open one eye and peek out of my blankets at the clock so I can figure out how pissed off to be when it buzzes again. The only person who would dare this early in the morning is my father. 

Life Vacation by Michael Bonnet

His approach was becoming untenable. He couldn’t say he was busy all the time and he’d already squeezed about as much mileage as he could out of the time difference and jet lag. For all its mod cons, the 21st century really did have a lot to answer for.

Left hand column: Reverse Engineering short story anthology cover. Right hand image: three scratch marks against a white backdrop. Scratch Books at the bottom.

Introducing Scratch Books

Tom Coganhan Editing at Bandit Fiction teaches you a few things. In the years I’ve worked here, I’ve got to read some brilliant stories, and some less than amazing stories. […]

lucky in love by Becca Fang

I have dabbled in desperate, dirty things,
knelt for jesters dressed as kings,
pretending to be fooled, although I knew.

The Spare Room by Safiya Cherfi

though if they didn’t, they would be admitting defeat. Or they’d be facing the silence. If they had gone straight home, she would have been able to cry openly, all day. She was glad they went into town.

The Lilac Line by Rhiannon Jones

People said Mark was A Good Lad, but sometimes when he ran past my window I could taste blood. Feel the terror I felt when he broke my sister’s nose, and the shame. Once again I stood at a cold sink trying to wash blood from the lines in my hands.

Book cover for In the Cut

Review: ‘In the Cut’ by Susanna Moore

‘In the cut. From vagina. A place to hide. To hedge your bet. But someplace safe, someplace free from harm’  by Harry Wilding Content Warning: Discussions of sexual violence and […]

The Man in the Rain by David Christopher Johnston

They sat in the tiny bus shelter, hoods up, huddled together to ward off the bitter wind. The whole structure shuddered and creaked like it could collapse at any moment. Nathan tore through his burger like a starved cayote devouring a fresh kill. Cassie ate hers slowly, taking small bites and savouring the taste, enjoying the warmth in her stomach. She watched Nathan shovelling food into his mouth and laughed.

Review: ‘Sterling Karat Gold’ by Isabel Waidner

Sam Burt Describing the story of Sterling Karat Gold, Isabel Waidner’s third, Goldsmiths prize-winning novel, is probably a fool’s errand – a struggle against ‘bullfighters, football players and time-travelling spaceships’, […]

Quemperi by Camila Torres

Two white men arrived in Quemperi in the morning. They were two white blemishes in the perfect brown and green of the rainforest. They were no children of Mama Sacha, and their mere presence disturbed her eternal peace. To the white men, it seemed as if the grass and bushes were becoming taller and thicker; as if mosquitos’ bloodthirst was growing, biting their eyes, ears and necks; and as if the mist was becoming warmer and wetter only to suffocate their airways.

Fish by Amita Basu

A couple in ice-blue jeans, silk kurtas, and sunhats turn to glare. I understand: they’re policing social distancing. I await my turn outside. Fingering their PM-95 masks for a perfect seal, they turn away.

Butterfly Stitches by Jeremiah K. Balko

Dad’s still only twenty minutes away, which is why he can still see us all the time. He’s not like these dads you hear about who don’t want their kids. Mum made it seem like she got us during the school week because she was the mum and he got us on the weekend, like it was the law. Mum doesn’t make us do chores, so we like that, and Rita would’ve picked her anyway. She hates Dad. She has no taste in things.

Oh Baby by Sam Burt

To stave off hunger, he does another line. He pulls a chair to the table and delights in the newfound compliance of physical objects. He wants music, so gets up and puts it on and there it is! It wanted to be heard. He sits down again but suddenly knows there should be different music and a different drink, something fruity to take the edge off, and the curtains drawn, and then enough time will have passed to check his messages again.

Sink by HLR

I stare at him for a second too long and then flick some ash off my tights. We watch it fall one two three four floors down until it disappears. The air has changed, as if charged with uncomfortable static. I only came here for a fuck, and now he seems… upset. 

The Salesman by Chris Farrington

“Some salesman from earlier, trying to sell me health insurance. I stupidly scanned the QR code for their website, I must’ve inadvertently consented to being contacted.”

My Name is Abbas Abdullah by Wayne McCray

He did it so easily. No one looking like him had done that in a while. Most boys don’t play girlish street games. Except for one, but he didn’t stay around here. That was for sure. But the more Abbas saw of him, the more recognisable he became. It dawned on him: “damn, that’s my son!” He hadn’t seen him in years, but knew it was him by his swagger, and the occasional stoppage of children and neighbours, all clamouring to talk to him. His son would arrive shortly. Now Abbas wished he had left earlier, but it was too late now. 

The Red Romper by Eleonora Balsano

When life hasn’t turned out the way you hoped, nor have you found a way – yoga, God, Prozac – to make peace with it, you dream that you’re pregnant. Your baby needs clothes and bottles and a pram and a playmat. You dream of the brood of mums-to-be waddling out of your living room arm in arm. A folded pram in their boot, a bag containing a scented layette on their lap. Your baby’s pram, your baby’s layette, your baby’s scent. You want it all back.

Fire Coral by David Oakley

Stripped to the waist, he checked his mask, placed the weights in his trouser pockets, cracked the ‘Spare Air’ and dived down through the weed. He breathed slowly and economically, swimming with the minimum of effort.

The Tide by David Micklem

I forget about the men. Not actively, like it’s something I need to remember to do. But naturally, as I pull the water around the kayak. I know that this should be a good time to think about work, about how much longer I can stand being in the same room as the pair of them. Or about dating again. It’s nine months since Suzanne left me, and I’ve not seen anyone since.

The Summit by David Micklem

It took two hours to get to the snowline. There they dropped their packs on a triangle of grass. Jerry took Karl’s map and studied it without sharing. Karl noticed how his brow ruffled, how close he held the map to his face, and wondered whether he needed glasses. 

The Lone Twin by David Micklem

They had done everything together. Erica has never been able to fathom why her sister wasn’t with her then. Sat on her knees, a spade in hand, gathering fistfuls of sand to make the feet, the hair.

Sag Harbour by Nicole Sellew

On the beach in Sag Harbor with yet another boy, he’s from Shelter Island, or he’s there for the summer at least, and he works on the North Fork. “I’ve never been to the North Fork,” I tell him, and then I worry that it makes me seem common but then I remember that I’m in the Hamptons, which always makes me feel like I’m seeming common. 

That Thing I Lost by Tara Van De Mark

On my knees, I reach behind the toilet, but my phone isn’t there. I crawl to the mattresses and reach into the space between bed and wall, finding only used tissues, hairbands and dust. I shake out the sheets and toss the pillows. Nothing. I dig through the clothes on the futon until I reach the dirty red slipcover. Still no phone, not even a handful of coins for a payphone.

The Deep Dive by Robert Runté

“Feel?” Dr Revio was always asking how she felt. Like I’m wasting my time. Like this whole thing is ridiculous. But Meghan had committed to the process, so she forced herself to take the question seriously, to examine what she was feeling in relationship to the door. 

No Particular Place to Go by Bonnie Meekums

Stella feels a pang of guilt, remembering her carer. Did she say she had recently lost a brother to the virus? It’s hard to recall details like that, these days. She didn’t mean to be unkind, about the wages. Poor woman is only doing her job, and compassionately at that. She’s the one that gives Stella a kiss goodnight and tucks her in bed before she goes off shift.

Seven Cups by Katy Naylor

I settle for Earl Grey. At home it was the tea that sat in the other caddy, the one we saved for a treat. A cup still feels like a little bit of luxury. A rock I can anchor myself to.

Straight Expectations by Anna Ross

As always, he looked over as if startled by its existence and the possibility that he could have taken more than a few moments of my time. “But there’s more, these arms-”

Leave No Trace by Nora Thurkle

It looked like someone had poured concrete on top of the roots of this tree to try and hold them in place. There was a rutted, pocked mound like the caldera of a volcano, from which the tree’s belligerent trunk erupted upwards. It looked like at any moment it could pull itself upwards and take a step. 

Her Last Catch by Leila Martin

Something small rustles furtive by her feet. Absently she braces her hand on a gnarled trunk and follows its contortions with her fingers. Chatter punctuates the air. A ripple of mocking laughter, and too late she’s seized by memory’s bright claws: pale wax, a stain on patterned fabric. Wiry hair glinting in lamplight.

Finding Closure by David Rudd

He had been eight years older than she was and at the time she saw him as her saviour. St George rescuing her from the family home where, after her mother’s untimely death from cancer, she had seen herself becoming trapped with her demanding father. He had been another man who was always right. Out of the frying pan, as her friend Betty always said. 

Eagle by Thomas Morgan

Statistically, there’s about a one in 11,000,000 chance that you’ll be involved in a plane crash, while there’s a one in 5000 chance that you’ll be involved in a car accident. So on paper, I had nothing to worry about.

BFH by Jacqui Pack

The evening started like most of my evenings: in the kitchen preparing a vegetarian stir-fry. With the vegetables sizzling in the wok, I reached for the soy sauce. Somebody coughed. I froze mid-splosh, the soy wavering over the hob. The sound had come from the empty living room.

Kindness, of a Sort by Jacqui Pack

Marfa rises to her feet. This is no time to wallow in the past. One child has turned to dust within its grave and the other did not know her from a stranger.

Book by Book: ‘The Oresteia’

This week’s walk through the classics focuses on questions of the morality of war and the human capability for justice in Aeschylus’s timeless trilogy ‘The Oresteia.’

Isolated by Rick Houghton

‘I’m young enough to be President of America.’ 
Tracey shook her head and her bun wobbled like the stumped tail of a cheery bulldog. ‘That may be, John, but right now, you’re in my care.’ 

You, Me, Them, It by Mark Barlex

All dogs are descended from wolves. Some more recently than others. The little blue handbook given to us with Sadie at the animal sanctuary said, Husky-German Shepherd Cross. The young man who walked her out to the car said, “Definitely wolf,” and smiled and laughed.

The Weekend by Katie Swabb

here was only one desk chair, but we were both small enough to fit, and we tried to spin ourselves round as many times as we could while the internet dial-tone played.

Spilt Milk by A. K. Shaw

Mike leant against the fridge as he upended his bottle. I hadn’t heard him come in. The thoughts left my mind like doves out of a magician’s hand and I shrugged, smiling at him in a way I hoped was endearing. All I could hear was swishing sounds as he rinsed the dregs of beer around his mouth. His dentist had told him to stop doing that. 

Stolen by J. H. Whitcutt

murky window in its pane and sending groans through the walls. It does not rouse the brat, who sleeps soundly in his basket. Mrs Moray feels no great emotion as she listens to the girl speak of her husband’s antics, save mild surprise; the man she knew was at best a lapsed Baptist, with little time for church save Christmas and Easter.

Home Under Review by Joshua Potts

“Never in my whole life. I am so ready for peas rent-free.”
“We’re happy to go the extra mile for our tenants,” she says brightly. “Consider, for instance, the ocelot.”

Playing for Keeps by Rachael Grant

There’s a stand-off, gunslinger style. Mari’s at one end of the sitting room, next to the man-tel. Tim’s at the other, filling the space underneath the archway leading into the kitchen. He scrapes his hand through his hair, and Mari wonders if he’s looking for answers amongst the dandruff.

Every Cloud by SJ Townend

For a time, in my teens, I would experiment with the compass from my trigonometry kit. When I had mastered some control over my power, I used it to my advantage. I’d etch cross-hatched eyes and a wobbly grin with a tongue poking from it onto the back of my hand – Nirvana – and I’d wait for the rain to come.

New Feedback Service Launched

From now on, we’ll only be offering a feedback service for works not submitted to us to our Patrons. Patrons will be able to request feedback on one piece a month (pieces must fall within our standard submission criteria: that’s between 250 and 3500 words for prose/non-fiction, and less than 50 lines for poetry) as a thank you for supporting us.

The Orange Berry by Douglas J. Ogurek

When he finished, he shut the door, then sat on his throne and admired his work. He opened the window and watched the birds, the neighbour’s children playing on their jungle gym, the passing cars. He also studied a tall tree that grew next to the window. Clusters of bright orange berries burst from the tree’s branches. 

The Healing by Maureen O’Leary

It seemed like God wasn’t listening, but my mother was used to that. She petted the peach fuzz on my arm and prayed so hard her soul lifted off from her chest on its crow wings and so my little hand twitched under her fingers.

The Burial by Hazem Shekho

Someone stopped me in the street. He was obviously a homeless man, surrounded and mounted by many pigeons; two on his shoulders, one on his head and others circling him, and, by and by, circling me with him.

To Absent Friends by Sam Fairlea

Ladies and Gentlemen, now that you have all finished the cake – we avoided fruitcake and nuts for obvious reasons – it’s speech time. First, I need to point out that the emergency exits are clearly marked. Hopefully you won’t use them.

Father and Son by John Grey

He’ll listen to me all right.He knows what’ll happenif he doesn’t. He’ll be down any minute.You’ll see.Or he knows what he’s in for,the little monkey. I’m going to call him. […]

The Spot by Alan McCormick

In the middle of the sofa seat is a large damp spot. Richard bends down to have a closer look and puts his finger tentatively on the spot. It’s cold and sticky. He recoils, his brain notching up a gear: It couldn’t be? And, anyway, if it was he’d surely try and hide it? And I’m not checking, sniffing. But he does sniff and closes his eyes when he does, he’s not sure why. “Fuck! Fucking hell!” He thinks about checking the bedding in the bag. It feels too much, sordid, but also straightforwardly forensic, a conclusive step down the line to confirming something he’s not sure he wants to confirm right now. But against this instinct, a stronger impulse makes him pull the sheet from the bag. The same spot is on the sheet and when he places the sheet on the sofa the spots merge in a perfect match.

Broken by Jonny Rodgers

We arrive in the car park
long after the last worshipper has gone.
In undersized wellies and inherited trackies,
I receive an armful of tools
then hover by the boot
like an extra.

Copycat by Phoebe Thomson

Some children did dances and jokes. One did an impression of Homer Simpson, but most of us sang to each other. My number was in the second half, and I spent most of the fire taking indecipherable photos on my disposable camera, trying to decide what I should sing.

The Big Change by Steven Bergmark

Another week passed and he still had no way to conclude the prank, which he wasn’t quite sure qualified so much as a prank as an outright lie. He considered the possibility of simply becoming all three, thus rendering it no longer either a prank or, more importantly, a lie. Although then he would be faced with a lifelong prank and lie against himself. Clearly that was no way to live.

Review: ‘Zorrie’ by Laird Hunt

Zoë Wells Finishing Zorrie and finding out, through his acknowledgements section, that Laird Hunt kept a copy of Virginia Woolf’s The Waves on hand throughout the writing process is the […]

Juniper by Nicholas John Greenfield

Maybe that was why Franny liked Dot. He had roughly cut hair and used to smoke rolled cigarettes that smelled like damp leaves and thunderstorms. He called me Topper, which I didn’t like very much, and never made eye contact with anyone other than bus drivers, which Fran thought was quirky but Jack and I strange.

The Brothers Karamazov in Eight Memes

Michael BirdFeedback and Editorials Editor Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brother’s Karamazov is a cornerstone of classic literature centering on the emotional, philosophical turmoil and legal fallout of the murder and robbery […]

ToadGirl by Kerry Byrne

“Your pa’s Toadman. Your pa’s Toadman,” the boy sang over and over as he followed her home from the market. He scuffed the scree along the path, provoking dust and picking up stones to pelt her back. A sliver of flint ricocheted off her right ear, a misthrow, drawing blood. She wanted to turn around then and face him, to bare her knuckles like teeth and punch-punch-punch his freckled nose until his vest matched the rust of his hair.

The Kite Surfer by Sarah Thunder

It’s a good day for flying with a tall wind.Surf backs up on the glassy sand.The sea is as it should be, graveand on the other side of the silt […]

Rise and Shine! by Hannah Miodrag

Welcome to your Emerald Rated (Level 4) Bumper Subscription Pack! We’ve got some top-notch treats for our loyal subscribers, themed around Earth’s sister planet – just for us ladies! Our affordable, tailor-made subscription packs are carefully designed to complement your busy life and natural cycles. So when your skin, your job or the planets are getting you down – give yourself a boost! And if everything seems to be on your side – give yourself something to celebrate! 

Volunteer Vacancies: Social Media Assistants

One of the biggest challenges facing publishers like us is the fight to get our name out there. After a ten minute browse on Twitter, you’ll find countless small publishers, […]

Slices by IJ Fenn

Jane and Mick and Tina arrived together in that order. It was the same order they arrived anywhere. Tina drove from Brighton on the English south coast in her Mercedes that looked like a luxury liner cruising across the oceans of English countryside and the waves of the English Channel and the vagues deferlantes of La Manche and the French route nationals, with Jane in the front passenger seat and Mick in the luxurious expanse of the back seat. Tina was in control. Jane was second-in-command. Behind them, Mick was already a part of their past, trying to catch up.

Know Thy Neighbours by Slawka G. Scarso

You bump into them on the stairs, in the lift, while picking your post from the letterbox. Some you’ve known for years. You say hello, ask about their grandchildren, or their pets. Some still avoid your gaze but they will keep the door open for you if they see you carrying groceries. 

Fast Train to Zion by L M Rees

At eight o’clock, just before the electricity gets turned off for the night, Tata lights some candles on the kitchen table. He shares a chair with Mama and I sit opposite them on Uncle Zalman’s lap. I can tell it’s going to be good night; it’s past my bedtime, we’ll all have plenty to eat and Tata will tell us stories.

The Only Man in the World to Feel Pain by Olivia Baume

She justified it to herself by saying that he was happy for a moment at least, and that was more than she could say about herself. Who’s to blame a person for being happy? For taking the reins, the steering wheel, and turning the dial on their penchant for misery. That was certainly more than she could say about herself. Or most people, for that matter. She admired that about him. He never over-analysed. Or thought much at all.

The Procedure by Nicholas John Greenfield

The whole thing had begun two years before when we were travelling through Chile. We’d never had kids, but the absence hadn’t left us unmarked and, as we sat in a dusty bar drinking warm beer, Lily had been distracted by a table of travellers half our age.

Gargantua by Justin Bryant

The first time I saw the spider, I was two bites into a midnight bowl of store-brand generic Cheerios.  Movement caught my eye, something fast and primal, flashing behind years-old jars of pasta Lisa had left behind.

Book by Book: ‘The Iliad’

A walk through your favourite classics, one book at a time. Michael A. Arnold Who enjoys playing war games? Me. Call of Duty, Battlefield, You do too (I assume) they […]

Storm Beckoner by Judy Darley

Those memories ruffle the monotony of water gnawing on rock, gulls and kittiwakes harrying the wind. She glances up, glimpsing her reflection in the window. Transparency scrubs her face clean and transforms her to the ghost of a young girl.

Adjustment by Frances Boyle

She had fumbled out of half-sleep in Jacko’s bed. She registered the sound, the bright flashes, in the way you count off lightning to thunder. The flashes were pulse-accelerating, though they had nothing to do with her – they marked someone else’s emergency.

A Faux-Symmetrina by Sean Chua

We kissed once, during first year. I spat afterwards, laughing. She mixed tea leaves in her dorm room for friends. Dried, packed with tiny bows. Mine always tasted rather tart. […]

Missing by Amy Elizabeth Doherty

I stop dead, startled. Her image catches my eye, small and desolate, staring out from the laminated paper. A monochrome photograph with a screaming pink border – it’s hard to miss. Someone has neatly attached the poster to a street light opposite the river, so that anyone walking toward Stratford centre will see it.

The Lemon Grove by Maria Clark

For a country that prides itself on lemons, we only have three groves in the town. One is perched high above the cliff road, the tree roots sprawling over the brick wall. The other is a private residence, and you can only glimpse it from the right side of the house, the lemons flashing like orbs of light.

They Told My Friend by Amita Basu

Voices rasping, eyebrows beetling, they declared: “This is it. Your lives shall be ever foul. You think yourselves valuable. Cogs in the machine. But when one of you falls, ten spring from the dirt in your place. What They owe you, They shall never give you.”

We Still Don’t Use The Garage by SJ Townend

We have our happy routines: Job Centre on a Monday, Wetherspoon’s on a Thursday, kebabs on a Friday at the start of the month, then beans with a flipped egg to garnish when the giro runs dry. The boys keep the kitchen clean and I do the lounge. The bathroom is no man’s land – it’s functional, but you wouldn’t want to be trapped there for longer than needs be. 

I Thought It Was Tough Love by Jimmy Webb

I was brave, I knew I was, but the ride was far too high. I shook my head small enough to not be defiant. Even though I wanted to see the ocean in the distance. Even though I wanted to be away for just a few minutes and get the sea air on my face. It was too high even for him, and he knew I knew it.

When We Were One by Jen Gupta

Those years were yellow –  a summer sun flirting with bedtime. We could talk to birds, we could speak cat. The shed in the backyard was our secret home. We hid blankets and plastic […]

Letter from the Mouse Cage by Johnny Gaunt

Mam made a mistake Scotty. And now dads dead. That means she cant ever say sorry to him. Just think about that for a minute. Imagine needin to say sorry but you cant. So instead you just get the pain. Can you hate someone in pain? Im not sure I can cos I know what that pain feels like. We both carry it about with us like guilty humps on our backs. Its always there. Always.

Designed for Life by Ian Murphy

Clive’s ebullient words had lingered in her mind all morning. Festered. It wasn’t the big day, that was still an entire month from now, but it was the day her hopes and dreams were to be confirmed in writing. Any minute now, according to the app.

The Miner by Kurt Van Ristell

They worked him ’til his fingernails turned mulberry,Peeling from their beds like autumn petals.They used new therapies to fix his crumpled distals, Alloyed his carpals with an icy clutch of […]

Where I Belong by Cara L McKee

The places where I belong arethe fairytale-real wooded spaces,wearing leathern boots and wrapped in wool,or up on the wild, windy moorendlessly searching Heathcliffmay I never find himwith hair and cape, […]

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