Pre-order The Yet Unknowing World, new flash collection by Fiona J Mackintosh

We’re so delighted that Ad Hoc Fiction, our short-short fiction press, is publishing Fiona J Mackintosh’s debut flash fiction collection, The Yet Unknowing World. It’s one of two books open for pre-order today, 22nd February, with a 25% discount during the pre-order period, by authors from two different hemispheres, Fiona in the US and Iona Winter in New Zealand. Both brilliant examples of the range of variety of the flash fiction form.

In advance praise, well-known writer and teacher of flash fiction, Kathy Fish, one of the acclaimed authors quoted on the back cover says of The Yet Unknowing World:

“These stories by Fiona J. Mackintosh are miniature masterpieces, resonating far beyond the pages they inhabit. Mackintosh’s pen is assured, her vision clear-eyed yet compassionate. Like the paintings of Edward Hopper, The Yet Unknowing World invites us all to peer into the dark, quiet corners of human yearning and to connect with the flawed, aching beauty of our own hearts.”

We agree. We love the variety of Fiona’s writing and her beautiful use of imagery and detail. There are such treasures within this book. In the interview below, Fiona talks about how the book came about, its construction, the cover design, where the title comes from and more.

We hope you will be able to come along to the Zoom launch Jude is hosting on the first day of Spring, Saturday 20th March from 7.30- 9.30 pm GMT. Please contact her at Jude {at} adhocfiction [dot} com for a link.At the launch, Fiona will read several of the stories,there will be extra short readings from guests, time to talk to flash fiction friends from around the world and we’ll give away two copies of the book for those who win our quiz.

The collection is published the day before the launch on 19th March and the book will be also be available on Amazon Kindle and in paperback from Amazon Worldwide, as well as from our bookshop.

  • You won first prize in the Bath Flash Fiction Award in October 2018 and second prize in February 2019 and it’s very exciting to be publishing your flash fiction collection, The Yet Unknowing World a couple of years on. Can you tell us more about the stories in your collection?
    Thanks Jude. As I say in the Acknowledgements of the book, the weekly Ad Hoc Fiction micro contest got me started writing flash in the first place and the Bath Flash Fiction Award has been very good to me, so I’m delighted and honoured that you’re publishing my first collection.

    The stories in The Yet Unknowing World are a real mixture of styles, subjects, and points of view. Above all, I wanted it to be as readable as possible so I’ve tried to intersperse the more lyrical pieces with others written in plainer prose so that each individual story has a chance to linger with the reader and not blend in with the next one. (My grateful thanks to Jeanette Sheppard and Keith and Melanie Donohue for their advice and suggestions on how to sequence the pieces.)

  • Following on from the last question, the book is in two different sections Old World and New World. Can you tell us more about this divide and how you chose to split it in this way?
    Well, it’s essentially a reflection of my life. I was born in the United States to British parents but grew up in Scotland from the age of 7. After university, I moved to London to work in politics and journalism, and when I burned out, I made good use of my US passport and flew to Washington D.C. for what was meant to be a sabbatical year. Yet here I still am many years later.

    As a result, I’m always straddling two continents, both physically and emotionally. My birth family is in the UK and my family by marriage is in the US. Before Covid, I used to fly back and forwards across the Atlantic two or three times a year (Heathrow Terminal 5 is my spiritual home!), and I can’t wait to be able to do that again. As others in my position will know, the trouble with being an “exile” (albeit voluntarily) is that, wherever you are, you’re always missing somewhere else, but writing helps in that it engages the imagination and can let you explore all sorts of places from the stasis of your desk.

    When I started looking at my flashes with a view to putting them together as a collection, I noticed that they were set in both the US and the UK, with a smattering of other locations (Greece, Italy, Tahiti, and 17th century Spain) and that numerically they fell quite neatly into two halves – hence, Old World and New World. I was quite pleased with myself when I came up with that!

    • The very striking cover design is by Florence Clementine, your talented niece who is a trained illustrator. Did the idea for the image come from you initially
    • Isn’t it wonderful? Yes, I came up with the original concept, but Florence – who is an artist and designer with a first-class degree in illustration from the University of Portsmouth – helped me to solidify the idea with a series of mock-up sketches. The title story in the book is about Ophelia, and I had a vision of her long hair – “mossy with crow-flowers and dead-men’s fingers” – being dragged back through the river water. Florence did a fabulous job of bringing that image to life. I love the colour and immediacy of it and the sense of motion. She also found me the perfect font for the title. It’s good to have talented people in the family! You can see more of her work on her website: and follow her on Twitter at @ArtFclementine and Instagram.


    • Is there anything else you would like to tell us about the collection?
      My Old World, New World theme ties in with the collection’s title, The Yet Unknowing World. It comes from a speech by Horatio in the very last scene in “Hamlet”, which is the epigraph for the book.

      And let me speak, to the yet unknowing world,
      How these things came about: So shall you hear
      Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts;
      Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters;
      Of deaths put on by cunning, and forc’d cause;
      And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
      Fall’n on the inventors’ heads:
      All this I can truly deliver.

      I’m not sure I can deliver stories as juicy as that, but I hope there’s a bit of life, death, drama, sorrow, and joy in there – something for everyone!

    • We delighted to be hosting an online launch for you on Saturday 20th March, the day after the book is published and you are welcoming flash fiction writers from around the world to attend. Do you have any small celebratory events planned in the US where you live?
      I’m so looking forward to the zoom launch – thank you. I’ve loved all of the launches you’ve hosted since the pandemic began, and I’m made up to be having one of my very own! And the good thing about this kind of event is that I can celebrate with friends and family from both sides of the Atlantic in the same place at the same time.

      I may organize a US-based zoom, and, who knows, maybe it’ll be safe to hold a little outdoor get-together in the summer to celebrate. In the meantime, I’m hoping very much to find some book groups who might be interested in having me talk not just about my own book but about the concept of flash fiction in general. So if anyone reading this knows of any book groups that might be game, please feel free to get in touch with me either through Twitter (@fionajanemack) or the contact form on my website Thanks! And I look forward to seeing everybody on March 20th!

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