Fiction Ed’s Blog: Putting The Fiction In Our Annual Together

"The People's Friend" 2023 Annual laid on desk with cup of coffee, pencils, mouse and keyboard

Do you ever have time to catch the “Friend” on Facebook Live?

Every Friday at 11am, Digital Ed, Jacky rounds up some of the team for a chat.

Last Friday, I took part, along with Illustration Ed, Manon and Poetry Ed, Abbie from the Fiction Team.

We were talking about the “Friend” yearly publications – our Annual, Friendship Book, and Fireside Book, which go on sale around this time of year.

The “People’s Friend” Annual

Our annual features 25 stories of varying lengths.

The stories follow the rhythm of the year. So we usually begin with a story set at New Year, or in January.

We’ll often have stories set around specific dates throughout the year – Valentine’s, Easter, summer holidays, and Bonfire Night, or Hallowe’en.

And usually, we’ll finish with a story (or two) set around Christmas.

The Type Of Stories In The Annual

It’s fair to say that the stories in our Annual are the most traditional of all our fiction.

We look for Annual stories throughout the year.

When we’re commenting on a story, we’ll often add that it has the ‘feel’ of an annual story.

Traditional, and a good read. Something that perhaps those readers who’ve been with us longest would especially enjoy.

Nothing contentious, or scary – just solid characters, and a good read.

Putting The Annual Together

We work well in advance, when it comes to the annual.

I put the stories for next year’s annual – 2024, which will be on sale a year from now – over to our Production Team in June.

This allows time to get the stories ready for publication, and for them to be laid out on the page, ready for proofreading, in addition to all our usual work.

And I’m already placing stories for the PFA 2025.

The Story Mix

Just as in our other publications, each story must be strong in its own right, but also fit into the overall ‘mix’ of stories.

We try to offer a mix of contemporary and historical stories, with only one story from each historical period, and no doubling up on themes or storylines.

Available Now

The People’s Friend Annual 2023 is on sale now.

Hope you enjoy it!


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!