I am really excited to see Helen Dunmore on the Man Booker long list. I enjoyed her short short collection Love of Fat Men, published many years ago. I first read her years ago when I was browsing the library where I worked and found Zennor in Darkness - I picked it up because it was a short book. As I write short things myself, I often buy short books - I am drawn to them to confirm that what I am writing may still be publishable in this era of sequels, film tie-ins and series.
It was only after I read both of these titles that I started to see her name coming first, second and third in competitions I was entering. So, perhaps, we are on the same trajectory - although I am obviously a gazillion words behind her. This is reassuring, as I have already penciled in winning the Booker Prize myself the year I turn 56 (although I'm not saying which year that is, you'll have to wait and see!!)
I do wonder, though, whether writing short stories has to be a precursor to writing novels. I much prefer to write short stories and novella length stories - my plot dictates the length, rather than the length dictating the plot.