Fiction Sneak Peek: January 2, 2021 Issue

sneak peek

Welcome to our sneak peek at the year’s first issue of “The People’s Friend”.

We have seven brand new stories and two specially-written serials for you to enjoy this week. And every week!

Short stories

Our first story of 2021 is Katie Ashmore’s “Chasing The Northern Lights”, featuring a visit to Norway which turns out to be illuminating – in more ways than one! Hope you like this lovely artwork by Kirk Houston (above).

Marcus is a simple man, who loves his job at the railway station, and thinks he has everything he needs in life. Then he meets Aoife. Find out which direction Marcus’s life will take in “The Right Platform” by Leonora Francis. Warmly illustrated by Sarah Holliday.

No one cooks Sunday lunch as well as mother of five sons, Nell. And then youngest son, Charlie, brings home a new girlfriend, who just happens to be a chef . . . Our light-hearted short story, “A Cut Above”, is written by Jacqui Cooper and illustrated by Pat Gregory.

We go back to the 1800s for our next short story. The authorities have sent convict Dinah to Tasmania; she finds work with a kindly family, but everything seems so different. Can she ever settle here? “A Strange New Land”, by Liz Filleul, is illustrated by Gerard Fay.

Happy memories of growing up in Belfast are called to mind in “Lessons In Love”, by Louise McIvor. With an upbeat illustration by Kirk Houston.

Hattie leads a charmed life, but is it really all down to her china dog, Sheba? Find out in Eirin Thompson’s “Best Of Luck”, illustrated by Jim Dewar.

Our final story of this New Year issue is “The Language Of Flowers”. Meiying – whose name means “beautiful flower” – is in England for a funeral, where forgiveness and reconciliation can be found in the language of flowers. Gabrielle Mullarkey’s moving short story has an illustration from Shutterstock’s Picture Library.


Isaac’s mistress is not best pleased in Part 3 of Alison Carter’s splendid serial, “Above The Parapet”. Set in 1661, our super serial is illustrated by David Young.

We’re off to “The Inn On Bluebell Lane” next. Gwen’s happy to have quality time with Ava, but something’s troubling Suzanne. Find out what in our family serial by Katharine Swartz, lovingly illustrated by Sailesh Thakrar.


A chance encounter couldn’t have come at a worse time for Dan in Della Galton’s “Paw And Order”.

And Mary and Ruby are attempting to keep their New Year Resolutions in Glenda Young’s “Riverside”. Will they succeed?

If this sneak peek has left you wanting more, don’t worry! Our new issue is in shops soon.

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Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 150 years of 'Friend' fiction!