Looking forward to May

May is looking great for flash fiction and related events. First up -Friday May 4th at St James’ Wine Vaults Bristol, 7.30 -9.30 pm. I’ve organised an evening of readings for Ad Hoc Fiction’s third birthday party with ten or eleven writers reading their  Ad Hoc Fiction wins. One of these writers is Louise Mangos, who is coming all the way from Switzerland. She’s illustrated all three wins and her picture here goes with her story, ‘Heat’. Free entry, free wine and free birthday cake. Do come.

On May 16th there’s a  reception in Bath for finalists of the 2018 Creative Bath Awards. Bath Flash Fiction Award is a finalist in the category of Publisher for the anthologies, pictured here, published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2017. You can buy them all at bookshop.adhocfiction.com Or if you’re in Bath, buy from Toppings bookshop and Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. I applied for these  awards at the eleventh hour and am thrilled to be a finalist.

May 18th- 19th is the Saboteur Awards weekend. These prestigious awards happen yearly and initially, they ask for nominations to create a long list and then afterwards, further voting for the  best of writing and performing in several categories.  Charmaine Wilkerson’s wonderful novella-in-flash ‘How To Make A Window Snake’,  in one of the four anthologies published by Ad Hoc Fiction last year, is short-listed in the novella category. I’m off to London for  the day to hear the outcome at the Awards announcements on the Saturday evening and hoping that she’ll win.Vote for her by the May 9th deadline.

I was also very pleased that my own chapbook, The Chemist’s House was longlisted for the Saboteur Awards short story collections category awards, and another Bath Flash Fiction anthology, ‘The Lobsters Run Free’ was long listed in the anthology category.

I’m also looking forward to the results of  few flash fiction contests I’ve entered.  I think they’ll be announced in May. My birthday is at the end of the month so getting writing recognition at my enormous age would be a bonus birthday treat. Further on this year and there’s the second  Flash Fiction Festival I’m directing, to look forward to. Everything suggests it’s going to be another fab event. Book up at flashfictionfestival.com  if you are a flash fiction friend  and haven’t yet, because I’ll miss you otherwise…

Latest writing news here

Latest flashy news

Launch of Retreat West anthology

Being involved in so many flash fiction projects is really exciting. And in my 60s, it’s thrilling having success as a writer of short-short fiction. There’s nothing like being a late developer. So here’s the latest news…

In early September I read my first prize winning story,’At the Hospital’ at the Retreat West launch of their first winners’ anthology, What was Left,in Waterstone’s book shop, Reading.

Me and Tino Prinzi at my ‘Chemist’s House’ Launch

 

At the end of September I launched The Chemist’s House, my V.Press pamphlet, which was published in June and fellow flash fiction writer,  Diane Simmons, made me a cake pictured here.

The wonderful book cake Diane Simmons made for me

That was a fantastic addition to a fun evening at St James’ Wine Vaults Bath. And a lovely surprise. We ate half of the cake at the evening. And it kept me going in cake for quite a while afterwards. Diane, Tino Prinzi, Conor Haughton, Meg Pokrass and Alison Powell were guest readers at the occasion and all read brilliantly.

On Saturday morning, 11th November, I am thrilled to be reading my August Word Factory flash of the month, ‘Other People’ at the flash fiction event at the Word Factory Citizen Festival . (More about the 0rigins of that story in my previous blog post).

Last month, I  was short listed in the Bridport flash fiction prize with a story, originally drafted in the amazing Kathy Fish Fast Flash online course last May. I have now submitted that one elsewhere. This month, my flash fiction, ‘Swifts’, originally published in the ‘Nottingham Review’ was highly commended in the Inktears flash fiction competition. It will be published on their website soon.

In the last month, I’ve been busy compiling the Flash Fiction Festival June 2017 festival anthology with the help of  Diane Simmons and Santino Prinzi  and that anthology, together with the second volume of Bath Flash Fiction, will be published by Ad Hoc Fiction, by the end of the year. Some great reads inside those. And both books look really good.

My article on turning dreams into fiction will be published in  Project Calm magazine this month. And I am so delighted that stories from Charmaine Wilkerson and Alison Powell, as well as one of mine from my pamphlet, will be included as examples of dreams turned into fiction.  Charmaine and Alison came to my Dream Breakfast session at the flash fiction festival in Bath and drafted the stories there.

I love teaching writing and am co-running an intensive ‘Flashathon’. at Trinity College, Bristol on 25th November with Meg Pokrass from 10 am – 4.00 pm. Production of at least six micro drafts is guaranteed and there’s an opportunity to get feedback and editing tips too. We’re holding the second flash fiction festival at Trinity College in July 2018, so it’s an opportunity to take a peek at the venue. Some places left. And anyone already addicted to the form or interested in trying their hand at short short fiction is welcome. Booking and more details  at bathflashfictionaward.com under ‘Event’.

I’m also running a series of eight sessions on writing and editing flash fiction, suitable for beginners and experienced writers of the short-short form, in Bath beginning in January. Wednesday lunchtimes upstairs at Cafe Retro. There are currently six places left. More details and booking at writingeventsbath.com

Some new definitions of flash fiction

I love good definitions of flash fiction. There’s some marvellous ones listed in the back of Flash Fiction International, the anthology of world-wide writing edited by Robert Shapard, James Thomas and Christopher Merrill, recently reviewed by Santino Prinzi at bathflashfictionaward.com. But the definitions below also capture the essence of the form really well. They’re from a great blog post by the Netherlands based author, Richard de Nooy, who has won the micro-fiction contest adhocfiction.com twice, most recently last week. His winning stories are linked in his blog.

Richard had a twitter conversation about flash fiction with award winning flash  writers Emily Devane and Sharon Telfer and here are the definitions they came up with:

Richard says “Flash fiction forces writers to develop motif, setting, character and story at high speed, drawing readers in like moths to flame, before blowing out the candle, leaving them in darkness, wondering what the hell they just saw and wanting to read it again in slow motion.”

Sharon adds”For me, it’s as much about depth and layers. Infinite riches in a little room”

And Emily’s response is .”That’s what’s great about short short fiction: it can be anything from impressionistic sweep to microscopic focus“.

Read the whole of Richard’s blog here.

I’m excited that the Bath Flash Fiction anthology, volume one is at the printers.  There’s a hundred and forty five pieces from eleven different countries drawn from the first four rounds of the  Bath Flash Fiction Award. And those stories fit the definition of flash fiction above very well. They linger, they resonate. You have to go back to read slowly. There are sweeps of life, or minute foci. I can’t wait to see what the book-in-the-hand looks like  when it’s back from the printers in a couple of week’s time.