Short Story Stations

Commuters in London now have another way of passing the time - with short stories, grabbed from a vending machine. Written by famous authors past and present, the stories are printed out on slips of eco-friendly papyrus paper and are free to all.

Three ‘literary vending machines’ have appeared in Canary Wharf. Press a button and the machines will print you a story that takes only one, three or five minutes to read. The stories are picked randomly, but include works of all genres by writers such as Virginia Woolf and Lewis Carroll, as well as a newly written one-minute whodunnit by Anthony Horowitz.

Short Édition, the French company responsible for the machines, aims to adapt literature to the modern world by combining short literature, the community and technology.

Commuters can also avail themeselves of free books via the Books on the Underground initiative, whereby books are left at tube stations for people to find, read and return to the Underground for others to discover. The project aims to get as many books as possible into circulation, announcing ‘drops’ on social media. Books are marked with a sticker so as not to be mistaken for lost property.

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