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A new short story, 'The Women of Number 11' by writer and poet Rebecca Tantony and set in Weston-super-Mare, has been released as a podcast. You can listen to it here.

It is one of seven new works of fiction commissioned for Historic England’s High Street Tales, a new weekly podcast series and e-book inspired by local high streets. This High Street Tale was commissioned by Literature Works.

Storytellers have captured the everyday magic of high streets, working with local people to record ‘local legends’ and create a set of short stories about today’s high street. They have narrated each of their stories for a podcast series which will be released over the coming weeks on Historic England’s website and all major podcast platforms.

In ‘The Women of Number 11’, writer and poet Rebecca Tantony used online and socially-distanced conversations as well as the sights and sounds of Weston-super-Mare to conjure the lives of the women across the ages.

Rebecca Tantony, author of ‘The Women of Number 11’, said: “’The Women of Number 11 aims to use space, time and interconnectivity, to highlight the value of the past and the possible futures of our high streets and the people who fill them.”

Helen Chaloner, Chief Executive of Literature Works, said: “We’re delighted to be working in Weston-super-Mare, the location we selected for our high street tale. The project is an inspired way of giving voice to local people’s experience of their town, showcased in words by a writer who has spent time connecting with them. Rebecca’s High Street Tale, ‘The Women of Number 11’ offers an insightful perspective on the place of Weston’s high street in the lives of women intergenerationally. It reflects the voices of local people and demonstrates the importance of place in our collective memory. We can’t wait for you to hear it.”

John Crockford-Hawley, Chairman Heritage Arts and Culture, from North Somerset Council, said: “These stories reflect the importance of place to individuals and highlights the vital role of the high street in people’s everyday lives. This future planned work offers a great opportunity to uncover Weston’s historic gems, connect with local people and showcase their passions around the place they call home.”

Ellen Harrison, Head of Creative Programmes and Campaigns, Historic England, said: “Historic England is taking a unique approach in combining cultural programming, community engagement and physical regeneration to transform high streets across England. The Cultural Programme’s aim is for artists to work with local people to help them rediscover and express the pride they have in the places they’re from.”

Rebecca will be reading the story and discussing the inspiration behind it at a special ‘Ask the author’ event in partnership with Weston Writers’ Nights on 25th February from 7 pm. Tickets are free, book your place here.

Heidi Burton