The Society of Authors' petition against the cuts to BBC Radio 4's short story programming has now amassed over 5,000 signatures. SoA general secretary Nicola Solomon and assistant general secretary Jo McCrum will present the petition to BBC Radio 4 controller Gwyneth Williams at Broadcasting House in central London at 4 p.m. on Thursday (28th July), along with authors Alison Joseph, Ali Smith, Jackie Kay, Simon Brett, Susie McGuire, and Ian Skillicorn, director of National Short Story Week.
Solomon said: "We are going to hand in the petition and ask some question. Radio 4 is really the showcase for short stories, and it's a really modern form and it's doing really well but it's not normally something that authors have published until later in their careers, so it is really important to have that coverage." She added that the number of short stories aired per week would fall from five in 2009 to one story a week from spring 2012.
The petition states: "As our national public service broadcaster we look to the BBC to continue its unparalleled commitment to the short story, and to writers, readers and listeners of short stories. We the undersigned urge Gwyneth Williams, controller of BBC Radio 4, to reverse the decision to reduce the short story output on Radio 4 to once a week from next spring."
The BBC last week said: "From April next year, Radio 4 will still commission around 100 short stories a year . . . From November through to next spring, all short story commissions bought so far will continue to be broadcast elsewhere in the schedule."