Liz Kershaw is an award-winning writer of short stories and longer fiction. Her work often has its roots in the past: dark tales where long ago events return to haunt the present. She has won the Bedford International short story competition, the Pan Macmilllan 'Best opening to a Crime novel' competition and the No Exit Press crime fiction short story competition, she has been shortlisted twice for the Historical Writers’ Association short story competition and has had work widely anthologised, most recently in ‘Songs for the Elephant Man’ (Mantle Lane Press). Her Gothic novella, ‘The Music Maker’ came out in 2018 (Mantle Lane Press), and she is project writer on the Heritage Lottery funded ‘Our Man in the Moone’ (2019/2020), a retelling in prose and script of the first science fiction book written in English.
She has performed at the Birmingham Literature Festival every year from 2015 and has also performed as part of Bridgnorth Writers' Group events. She has a first class honours degree in Creative Writing.
She is a collaborating writer with the art/write collective (www.artwrite.net), a member of Tindal Street Fiction Group and is part of the Writing West Midlands Room 204 emerging writers’ programme.
The Devil and Matty Hordley (opening)
Afterwards, there was talk in The Stiperstones Inn that it had been the Devil’s work. Miners settled into benches, drank down ale to wash away the dust in their throats and wondered. They wondered whether the Devil had been sitting up there on his craggy chair watching the folk below get too Godly, and get smug about it too. Whether the Devil felt as they did about the Chapel devout who’d spout sermons quicker than they’d give a body the time of day. Some muttered that if they’d been that Devil, they’d have emptied their craws, spewed fiery rocks down the bluff and sent the whole of the valley up in flames - and that the sacrifice of seven of the Godliest had let all the rest of them off lightly.
Of course, most people found other reasons for why those men had died. That it was laziness had made men careless with no routine for greasing the rope, or that the Snailbeach Lead Mining Company had put profit before welfare and made that rope work for double its allotted span of years. And there were some who blamed the Knockers, the spirits in the mines; who said that men had forgotten themselves, and upset the Knockers by whistling, and perhaps had been mean with the lunch offerings they’d left for them in the adit.
Only one man felt sure of the truth although he kept his own counsel as the others speculated. A man who turned his back on the high spine of the Stiperstones that day and never raised his eyes to the Devil’s Chair again. One man, Matty Hordley, who knew it was the Devil who’d been behind what happened on that March morning because it was he who’d climbed the hill the Sunday before and sent the Devil down.
The Devil and Matty Hordley is published by Mantle Lane Press in What Haunts the Heart (anthology)