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UK's first short story vending machine will be launched in Canary Wharf this week

PUBLISHED: 14:36 02 April 2019

Short story stations are to dispense free short stories at three locations in Canary Wharf. Picture: Sean Pollock/seanpollock.com

Short story stations are to dispense free short stories at three locations in Canary Wharf. Picture: Sean Pollock/seanpollock.com

Sean Pollock

A new short story by Anthony Horowitz is among thousands available from vending machines in a first for the UK.

Anthony Horowitz has written a story especially for the scheme. Picture: Sean Pollock/seanpollock.comAnthony Horowitz has written a story especially for the scheme. Picture: Sean Pollock/seanpollock.com

The machines, set to be installed across Canary Wharf this week, contain an exclusive story by the author and screenwriter that can be read in less than one-minute.

Mr Robinson is Horowitz’s shortest ever fictional work and takes the form of a whodunnit – a genre he is best known for with his Alex Rider novels.

Mr Horowitz said: “I’ve always loved the challenge of the short story – creating a whole world in just a few pages.

“So I was very happy to write Mr Robinson for Canary Wharf’s brilliant new short story stations.

Foyle's War creator Anthony Horowitz. Picture: IAN WEST / PA IMAGESFoyle's War creator Anthony Horowitz. Picture: IAN WEST / PA IMAGES

“Here’s a whodunnit, complete with suspects and clues, that can be started and finished in just a minute.

“I hope it will entertain tube travellers who will know, at least, that they won’t have the frustration of having to get off before the end.”

Research commissioned by the developer, Canary Wharf Group, found 36 per cent of Brits have given up on at least one book in the last year due to a lack of time.

And more than one in four admit it has been more than six months since they last finished a book.

The study led Canary Wharf to install the first ever short story stations in the country – vending machines that dispense stories lasting one, three and five-minutes at the touch of a button.

Mr Horowitz’s story should be available for free to the public from Thursday via stations in Jubilee Mall, Churchill Place and Crossrail Place Roof Garden.

The story will be one of thousands available from the vending machine-like dispensers which print onto eco-friendly paper at no cost.

The brainchild of French company, Short Édition, the stories cover a range of genres from classics to crime and feel good fiction.

Lucie Moore, head of arts and events at Canary Wharf Group, said: “Our research found that a staggering 70pc of us would rather get lost in a good book than down the rabbit hole of social media.

“Our stations provide the perfect digital antidote – a return to analogue scrolling. We hope Anthony’s brilliant new work helps people to fall back in love with short stories.”

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