Single Skin


Single Skin features nine short stories.

Steve’s stories are populated by real people with real jobs and real desires and real fears; and yet, somewhere in the rhythms of the dialogue and the scaffolding of the terse descriptions, you can find loneliness, and majesty, and a belief in humanity that gives your heart a lift. In these offices and departure lounges and bedrooms and kitchens, lives are made vivid by prose that pins down meaning and ideas without artifice…’  – Ian McMillan 

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What Writers and Critics Think

  • The unexpected and the extraordinary presented in a terrific matter of fact way – it startles the reader. Nothing’s redundant but there’s a strange expansion of space inside these stories so that they seem to grow when you’ve read them.

    Patricia Dunker
  • I read Single Skin over a family reunion weekend at a rather cheerless Travel Lodge in Southampton which sort of fitted the stories, out of comfort zone, slightly disturbing, making you hold up your own everyday life against it. Not one cliched setting or situation but always a universal truth.

    Jonathan Hall
  • In a moment, the story can go violent, almost too violent, then sexy, really sexy, then funny. Not just funny, hilarious. Strangely obsessive. And very very smart. Wonderful moments of existential clarity. And then he breaks my heart. Bastard.

    Tom Spanbauer


Steve Dearden has been Director of Ilkley Literature Festival, Literature Officer for Yorkshire Arts, and leader of the National Association for Development. He is a Visiting Academic at Manchester Metropolitan University, and founder and director of The Writing Squad – an organisation that develops young writers across the North of England. Steve has worked freelance with many cultural organisations including the BBC, the Cultural Olympiad, Poetry Book Society, Scottish Book Trust, several local authorities and Yorkshire Dance. He is on the Board of Grimm & Co.

He is the author of several publications, and his stories have been published in magazines such as Westerly, Horizont and the Reater, as well as anthologies such as route’s Compendium and Naked City and Brace from Comma Press.  A rare poem appeared in Red Squirrel Press’s anthology to celebrate the Yorkshire start of the Tour de France. Steve has also used writing as a creative form of evaluation with people like Leeds 365 Stories.



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