Charmaine Wilkerson
In Print with Bath Flash Fiction

Our second novella-in-flash award, judged by Meg Pokrass, closes at midnight 29th January 2018. Our first winner was Charmaine Wilkerson, an American writer, who now lives in Rome.

Her winning novella-in-flash, How to Make a Window Snake, was published in Summer 2017, by Ad Hoc Fiction, in our anthology of the same title. Also included in this anthology are flash novellas from the two runners-up, Things I Dream About When I’m not Sleeping by Ingrid Jendrzejewski and A Safer Way to Fall by Joanna Campbell. The anthology, which was launched at the inaugural Flash Fiction Festival in Bath in June 2017, has been selling well around the world. Here’s a photograph of How to Make A Window Snake taken by Charmaine in a café in Rome, complete with an authentic Italian cappuccino.

The second anthology of our next three 2018 winners will be launched at the weekend of this year’s Flash Fiction Festival, 20-22 July, 2018 in Bristol. Booking open next month.

Charmaine’s first publications with us appear in To Carry Her Home: Bath Flash Fiction Volume One (Ad Hoc Fiction, February 2017). She has two wonderful flash fictions in this anthology – ‘Five Months’, which was short listed in the February 2016 Award, judged by Tania Hershman and ‘Three Scenes from a Tropical Island’, which was long listed in the June 2016 Award, judged by Michelle Elvy. Here’s a picture of her copy of the anthology with the Colosseum in Rome in the background.

Our latest anthology, The Lobster’s Run Free: Bath Flash Fiction Volume Two published by Ad Hoc Fiction in December 2017, contains ‘Musk’, Charmaine’s powerful flash fiction, which was short listed in the June 2017 round of Bath Flash Fiction Award by judge, Meg Pokrass. Charmaine describes how this story came into being, on her writer blog and has kindly given us permission to reproduce her words here:

Musk and Memory
I knew a woman who lost her her sense of smell after being beaten up. That long-ago episode of domestic violence, along with my own temporary loss of olfactory ability, inspired the fictional story ‘Musk’. It’s now published in The Lobsters Run Free an anthology of short-short stories published by Ad Hoc Fiction. When I lost my sense of smell after a sinus infection, it would only be for a couple of months, but I didn’t know it at the time. I kept burning food on the stove, I worried about gas leaks, I fretted about body odour and, most of all, I grieved the ability to perceive life in that certain way. I’d always had a sharp sense of smell and it had influenced my writing and enriched my daily life. I read where some people tried to commit suicide after losing both their senses of smell and taste. I drank ginkgo biloba tea and kept sniffing at coffee, garlic and perfume. When I began to pick up on odors again, I wrote the story ‘Musk’. Despite everything I’ve just said, ‘Musk’ is ninety-nine-point-nine percent invention. Still, it’s a reminder that fiction feeds off of emotional truths.

We love to see the book in different settings and Charmaine sent us a picture of The Lobsters Run Free taken near a ancient tower in the province of Viterbo, in central Italy. She generously donated a one week’s writing retreat in her village apartment in this area for our Flash Fiction Festival Raffle, a prize won by Irish writer, Robert Barrett.

After attending the Flash Fiction Festival, Charmaine submitted ‘The Pirate’s House’, a story which she began from an exercise to turn a dream into a fairy story in Jude’s Dream Breakfast workshop and this is now published in Flash Fiction Festival One, our anthology of festival stories, as well as in the November 2017 issue of the magazine Project Calm, alongside Jude’s article about turning dreams into fiction.

Our new online book shop is now open and you can buy our anthologies and read all Charmaine’s fictions together with the other wonderful stories by world-wide authors. We hope her publication successes with us over the last couple of years inspire you to enter our Awards. All fifty long listed writers in each or the three rounds in 2018 will be offered publication and our third anthology will be published at the end of this year.

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