Six Novellas-in-flash from Two Different Publishers

The three novellas-in-flash from the 2024 BFFA Award will be published soon by our small press, Ad Hoc Fiction. You can look forward to excellent and very different takes on the form by winner, Sarah Freligh and runners-up Sudha Balagopal and Jo Withers. Find out a little more about them on John Brantingham’s judge’s report.Jude is judging the BFFA 2025 Novella in Flash Award. It will be open for entries in July 2024 and will close at the end of September 2024.

In the meantime,here are some links to and descriptions of other NIFS recently out from two different publishers, so you can see the variety within the form if you want to try your hand at writing one. You can also read the array of novellas in flash published in previous years by Ad Hoc Fiction

Hot of the press this month (April 2024),from California based publisher Arroya Secco Press and available from Amazon is Burn it All Down, a novella in flash by widely published, award winning writer, teacher and editor for NFFD anthologies, Karen Jones, which was highly recommended by John Brantingham in our 2023 NIF Award.

Jude writes:”Inspired by the wild and richly metaphorical paintings of Andrea Kowch, shows the plight of Beth, a desperately lonely woman, trapped in an isolated rural location, who creates a fantasy world it is hard to escape from. In vivid prose, as extraordinary as Kowch’s paintings, Karen Jones describes a situation universal to women the world over, in the past and present, who, through poverty and oppression, teeter on the edge of survival, mentally and physically. Beth finds solace in her sisters and her animals—chickens, cows, even bees—whose lives mingle closely with hers. Her husband, whom she scarcely knows, is lost at sea, the ocean his true love. It is a hallmark of excellent writing that a reader becomes invested in a character’s life. I longed for Beth to be set free and by the end of the story, it is heart-warming to believe she finds love and a way to a better future”
Ad Hoc Fiction published Karen’s novella When it’s not Called Making Love in 2020. Another brilliant NIF with a very striking teen-aged voice. Available from Amazon here

We think Burn it All Down, is probably the first ekphrastic NIF ever published

In December, 2023, Arroya Secco Press, also published The Geography of the Heart, which was also listed in the 2023 Bath NIF Award.
“It is a work of fiction, set in a real town (Abergavenny, Wales) with some real characters and locations,but with a fictional main protaganist. John Brangintham, the 2023 NIF judge wrote this about it for the cover.
The Geography of the Heart is an exceptional collection and Cath Barton uses the novella-in-flash form to do what could not be accomplished so well in any other form, giving us an insider’s look at the way the people in a small town in Wales live. This is an intimate book and a beautiful one too. It is one that I have lingered over a few times now, because it asks us to spend some long quiet moments with the inhabitants of Abergavenny, and these are people worth spending time with.”
We love this contemporary NIF and the way Cath mixed the real with the imaginary.

The small press, Alien Bhudda has published several novellas-in-flash (available on Amazon). And some of these published novellas have also been long or shortlisted in our Awards.

Diane Simmons, writer, and NFFD co-director has a historical novella A Tricky Dance published by Alien Bhudda in January, this year. Iis set in in 1970s Scotland and follows spirited teenager, Elspeth, as she navigates the challenges of friendships, family life and ambition, discovering that even in the face of adversity, life can hold endless possibilities.

Jude writes: “A Tricky Dance is a delightful immersion into the life of Elspeth, a 1970s young teenager always on the edge of not belonging, but never giving up. The day-to-day situations Elspeth negotiates at school and at home are vividly depicted and realistic. Diane Simmons is brilliant at showing the ups and downs of friendships and life in a single parent family and how Elspeth’s longing to dance is finally realised. From the first page, you’ll be with this feisty, yet sensitive girl all the way.”

A Tricky Dance in a slightly different form and title was shortlisted in Retreat West’s novellette competition and it was also listed in one of BFFA NIF Awards. You can read a review of A Tricky Dance on Bath Short Story Award’s website.

Robin Thomas, published poet and short fiction writer, whose NIF Margot and the Strange Objects was published by Ad Hoc Fiction in March 2022, has another NIF out with Alien Bhudda.The Lion, the Lord, the Lower Orders, and the Belt and Road Initiative is “a delightful tapestry of mini-stories that effortlessly weave together the lives of a diverse cast of characters. At the center of it all is an endearing elderly military man and lord of the manor, whose love for literature and philosophy propels the narrative into whimsical adventures.

The camaraderie between the lord and his gardener-cum-butler, who possesses an exceptional knowledge of philosophy, adds a touch of intellectual charm to the tales. The inclusion of commoners, Pontius Pilates with his poetic dialogue, and Maid Mary-Anne, who speaks in down-to-earth prose, creates a unique blend of perspectives that keeps the narrative engaging.”
Published in December, 2023, this is a NIF, written in Robin’s unique absurdist style, reminiscent perhaps of the wit and inventiveness of Jerome K Jerome.

David X Lewis is a flash fiction writer, published in magazines and anthologies who has been successful in several flash fiction contests including the Fish Prize and the Flash Fiction Festival online contest March 2022. His Novella in Flash A Life in Pieces: The Origins, Childhood, Crimes, Misdemeanours, Loves, Infidelitoes and Imminent Demise of Edward Newman was published by Alien Bhudda in February this year.
” Matt Kendrick says “In 28 minature stories, D.X Lewis conjures the rich essence of an entire life… both humorous and highly perceptive of the human condiction.
Jude Higgins write: From the 1950s to the present day— a very engaging and moving read, inventively told’
Debbie Voisey writes: …moments of profound and devastating beauty’
Slawka G Scarso writes: “A perfect blend of humour and heartbreaking moments”

It’s always interesting to find a short novella that covers a whole life and different centuries.

Not Visiting the SS Great Britain by widely published flash writer, Emma Phillips, who has won or been placed in several short fiction contests, is a novella-in-flash, which was listed in Bath Novella in Flash Award and has now found a home with Alien Buddha. You can find a spotlight on the novella on their website with a story example and also readings on Youtube. You can find Youtube readings for the other Alien Bhudda authors too.

I was lucky enough to hear Emma read from it in Bristol, the home of the SS Great Britain last month.

“In these poignant and evocative stories, Emma Phillips weaves a tapestry of imagination and nostalgia.

Phillips captures the essence of longing and the desire for connection. You’ll witness the struggles of being untethered, adrift in a sea of expectations and unfulfilled dreams. Through rich and evocative imagery, she paints a portrait of a protagonist charting their course, navigating through the turbulence of life’s currents.

Each tale is a gift wrapped in an apology, a delicate balance between love and loss, where tiny lightships guide us home.

Not Visiting the SS Great Britain is a triumph of courage and resilience.”

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