Housewives and Half-Stories

Lisa Howitt-Dring

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Microfiction is one of the newer forms of short story writing and practice, which has links to the earlier prose poem, but deviated, or developed, in the early twentieth century to become its own form. Rather than a genre-within-a-genre, however, I would argue that microfiction is its own complete genre, which shares some of the hallmarks of the short story and prose poem, whilst also retaining its own shape. Similar to the prose poem and short story, microfiction harnesses a moment of epiphany, however big or small, and, using succinct, sometimes sensitive and sometimes sparse prose, tells a story in miniature.
In this chapter, I consider microfictions written by women. Starting with some British female microfiction writers’ works (including Tania Hershman, Vanessa Gebbie and Jenn Ashworth), I will examine the links between microfiction and gender. This exploration will involve discussing gender in the stories studied, and discussing microfiction techniques used therein.
I will also discuss my own writings, moving to a more personal study of the form, and this analysis of my own microfiction and writing practice will link the practice of microfiction with the idea of gender roles.
My chapter concludes with the idea that genre (or certainly, the content inside a genre) could be seen to be linked to gender, or gender roles. Genre and gender can be related, and that the self-contained, precise and yet epiphanic frame of the microfiction form is well-suited to contemporary writing practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish Women Short Story Writers
Subtitle of host publicationThe New Woman to Now
EditorsEmma Young, James Bailey
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)978-1474401388
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


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