Novella in Flash Award 2025: Judge Jude Higgins

Jude Higgins is a writer, writing tutor and events organiser and has stories published or forthcoming in the New Flash Fiction Review, Flash Frontier, FlashBack Fiction, The Blue Fifth Review, The Nottingham Review,Pidgeon Holes, Moonpark Review, Splonk, Fictive Dream, the Fish Prize Anthology, National Flash Fiction Day anthologies and Flash: The International Short Short Story Magazine among other places. She has won or been placed in many flash fiction contests and was shortlisted in the Bridport Flash Fiction Prize in 2017, 2018 and 2023. Her debutflash fiction pamphlet The Chemist’s House was published by V.Press in 2017. Her micro fictions have been included in the 2019 and 2020 lists of Best Flash Fictions of UK and Ireland and she has been nominated for Best Small Fictions 2020, Best Microfictions, 2023, a Pushcart Prize, 2020 and Best of the Net, 2022. Her story ‘Codes To Live By’ was selected for Best Micro Fictions and was longlisted for Wigleaf in 2022. Her story ‘Spinning’ is forthcoming in Best Microfiction 2024. She founded Bath Flash Fiction Award in 2015, directs Ad Hoc Fiction, the short-short fiction press, co-runs The Bath Short Story Award, founded and directs the Flash Fiction Festival, UK, organises reading events and teaches flash fiction sessions online.

The 2025 Award

The 2025 Novella in Flash Award, this year judged by me, Jude Higgins, will be officially open for entries at the end of July with the closing date at the end of September. If you are writing/or thinking of writing a novella-in-flash, here’s some information and FAQ’s. To help write and understand the form, we recommend reading Unlocking the Novella-in-Flash: From blank page to finished manuscript Michael Loveday’s multi-award-winning guide on the subject.


  • What are the basic details of the Award?
    • As in previous years, the novellas need to be in between 6,000 and 18,000 words in length. Each chapter must be under 1000 words. As I wrote above, the Award will officially open at the end of July and end at the end of September. For this round I, (jude Higgins) am selecting the longlist of 25, the short list of 10 and the winners by the beginning of January 2025. The winner will receive £300, and the two runners-up £100. All three will be published by Ad Hoc Fiction and be sold via Amazon and the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop and the winners will receive five free copies. The winners’ novellas will be published in Spring 2025.

  • Tell us more about Ad Hoc Fiction, the publisher?
    • Ad Hoc Fiction, the small press I direct, publishes short-short fiction and guide books. It has been a regional finalist for four years running in the Bookseller’s Small Press of the Year Award and won Creative Bath, publisher category in 2019. Since 2017, Ad Hoc Fiction has published 45 novellas in flash. Most of these novellas are ones which won or were commended and shortlisted in the awards. The post I’ve linked to lists winning and listed novellas that have been short-listed or won awards in the Rubery and Saboteur Awards.

    • Why are you judging the Award this time round?
      I love the novella in flash as a genre. Usually I longlist the entries before they are sent off to the finaljudge and have read hundreds of novellas since 2017. This year, I thought it would be interesting to find the novellas that stand out for me as winners. I am sure it will be hard to do. There are usually so many excellent entries.

    • Is the contest judged blind ?
      It is and it isn’t. Writers are allowed to include some flash fiction chapters which have already been published elsewhere and it’s possible I might have read such pieces. I read so much flash and have a good memory. However, we ask people not to put their names on the manuscripts and if you have had any flash published elsewhere, please don’t acknowledge that anywhere in the document. That helps. Acknowledgements can be added if you win one of the three prizes and accept publication. We ask writers not to identify themselves on the manuscript and novellas will be sent to me anonymously.

    • What sort of Novellas-in-Flash would be winners for you?

      I like novellas where each short chapter is a winner in itself, shows exceptional story telling and moves me in some way.The whole novella then needs to knit together in a really satisfying way. I like it if novellas make me laugh, cry, or both and where the language is wonderful at the sentence level too.
      I am not so keen on novellas which try out too many flash forms or unusual structures, which could distract from the story itself. Simple story telling, a great subject and brilliant writng are key for me.

    • Are there any deal-breakers?

    Copy right issues are the main thing. Quotes without permission being granted, song lyrics and so on. It is best if you don’t include anything like that in your work.

    We have also received several ‘standard; novella entries in previous years. The flash segments or chapters do not work as one piece but just flow from one to another. I am of the view that in a flash novella, context is sometimes needed to understand the development of a character and a piece might not quite work separated from the whole. But writers need to have grasped the concept of flash, its compression, its tight structure its endings that make you linger and reflect. In a novella, you need to have just enough (but not too much) ‘connective tissue’ between the different stories. Each of your chapters needs to end well and create a pause.

    • Have you written a novella in flash yourself?
      No, not officially, but some people have said my coming-of-age flash fiction chapbook, The Chemist’s House reads like a short novella in flash because it spans a period of time in a girl’s life and is written chronologically.

    • Any advice to get me going on writing a NIF?
      As I said earlier, there is Michael Loveday’s guide book, and on this website there are also many interesting interviews about the form by winners and judges in previous years. Of course, there are also all the novellas in flash published by Ad Hoc Fiction. Have a look in the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop, where there are also links to buy via Amazon. The novellas by the three winners of the 2024 Award will be pubished shortly, which is also exciting.

      There are many other novellas in flash published in other places. If you enjoy historical writing for example, check out Diane Simmons’ novellas set in nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

      Also, if you frequently enter Bath Flash Fiction Awards single flash award (deadline for the current round, June 2nd jjudged by Michelle Elvy and early bird discount entries close 14th April) you might find your single flashes have simiilar themes, for example and arranged together, could make a longer story. Ingrid Jendzrejewski a runner up in 2017, wrote about how she went through a process similar to this.

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