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Steve Leighton

£10    12.00 euros

Book Details:

Paperback 224 pages

Language: English

ISBN: 978 0 9557088 4 8

Dimensions: 210 x 135 x 17 mm

Illustrations: drawings by the author


Book description

The twenty-eight short stories in this collection encompass a variety of styles, settings, subjects and lengths. Many have appeared in magazines and anthologies and several have won prizes in short story competitions, including the Canongate Prize and literature festival competitions at Wells, Yeovil and Weston-super-Mare.

Without necessarily being geographically specific, some of the stories have a clear link with Glastonbury and its alternative culture, while others have a gentle rural or coastal atmosphere, sometimes fantastical, always delightful and thought provoking.

The cover picture, as well as the drawings illustrating each story are by the author.


What a pleasure it is to discover a collection of short stories, particularly the feast of reading to be found in local author Steve Leighton’s Tales of Kaph. The short story seems such a relevant form to the swift pace of contemporary life and yet, unless you are already a famous name, British publishers, unlike their American and Canadian counterparts, seem reluctant to acknowledge this section of the market except for reissues of the authors of the short story heyday of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s.

Steve Leighton is an accomplished writer who understands the demands of the short story form very well. I’ve already had the pleasure of reading two of his stories for BBC Somerset, both of which appear in this collection. Steve’s ability to write on a wide range of subjects demonstrates the infinite possibilities of short fiction. In this one volume you will read about love, conflict, triumph, new beginnings, loss, the power of words, and the unexpected. Some stories are amusing, some gripped by tension, (Paper, Scissors and Stone), some uplifting, (Boots) many full of wisdom, and they occur in settings from Glastonbury to Japan. Some are obviously influenced by Steve’s own experience (Topaz), others by his environment (the Baker of Glastonbury) and most end with a heartening upward inflection. You do not have to read the stories consecutively but can choose a title that appeals or intrigues or is right for your present mood, yet there are subtle links between some of the stories. The stories are enhanced by Steve’s own beautiful illustrations.

Steve Leighton is an intelligent, witty writer, with an obvious knowledge and love of words and the ability to shape them into stories that carry the reader along at a good pace. He can sketch an environment, create an atmosphere and capture a mood in a few well chosen words. This is a delightful and entertaining collection.

Lois Harbinson (regular short story reader for BBC Somerset’s monthly Friday Fiction slot.)

I really enjoyed reading this accomplished collection of short stories by local author Steve Leighton. Reminiscent of Paolo Coelho’s writing, the stories evoke the beauty and poignancy of life and are filled with a sense of well-being and humour. Kaph is an acronym for Kindness, Awareness, Patience and Humility and several of the stories revolve around the mysterious Society of Kaph, whose members seek to promote their values by methods varied, obscure and synchronistic. These are qualities reflected throughout all the stories, some set in an allegorical world and some firmly set in the mundanity of modern Britain.

Heartbreak and happiness, confusion and clear intentions, definitely laugh out loud moments and beautiful writing to savour. You can dip in and dip out, read in any particular order and reread again. Highly recommended.

Mike Jones, Glastonbury Oracle

About the author

Steve Leighton is a writer, walker, artist, former school teacher and local newspaper columnist, and now part-time library assistant living in Glastonbury, Somerset. Behind his gentle and unassuming appearance he hides a razor sharp sense of humour, and a remarkable ability to toy with words in a variety of styles from baroque to modern. His concise and tight plots often have a surprising ending, while his lifelong love of nature and dedication to unveiling the core of consciousness in each of us shine through many of his stories. This collection of short stories (some of them award-winning) is an enjoyable demonstration of his writing talent.



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Tales of Kaph has a sequel

The Heart of the Sun

Please email the publisher for details: