With the intense heat here in the UK and elsewhere, it might be too hot to write or think about writing. But you can still buy discounted entries, save paypal receipts and submit by the deadline of October 9th. One reduced cost entry is £7.50 and two entries are £12.00.
For this, the 22nd round, we are very happy to have award winning writer, teacher and editor, Emily Devane judging our Award. Emily who writes longer short fiction, as well as flash fiction, recently won second prize in the Bath Short Story Award and you will be able to read her story in the 2022 Bath Short Story Anthology, out at the end of the year. Read her interview with us here for writing advice and tips.
And we also very pleased that Emily is offering an hour long workshop on Saturday October 8th, the day before our October deadline and the first of our new trio of online festival days. The Great Festival Flash-Off, Series Two. Bookings open for those days shortly. A chance to get last minute ideas and do final tweaks and polishes to any story you might want to submit. More details will be posted at flashfictionfestival.com shortly. You could use any of the photographs here for initial story inspiration too. For example, who is taking the path through the harvested field and why has the hotair balloon landed near the tiny thatched house? Is the ancient oak of any significance to the story?
Results will be announced for the October Award by the end of October. All the fifty longlisted stories are offered publication. And our seventh Bath Flash Fiction Award Anthology, containing stories from all three of the 2022 will be published by the end of the year. There are already some great stories from the first two awards. And after the October announcement it is an exciting time adding the final stories and deciding the title and the cover for the book. We always nominate our prize winners for Best Small Fictions, Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes and the title story, Snow Crow, from the 2021 anthology, by Doug Ramspeck was selected for Best Small Fictions 2022 this year.
We’ve been having a rest since the flash fiction festival Bath Flash Fiction sponsors, in Bristol in July , and thanks again to all who came. it was so wonderful to meet people face to face after a three year break. And there were so many inspirational flash fiction workshops and readings. You can see photographs gathered from Twitter and elsewhere here on the festival blog
Despite a lull in activities Jude’s been organising a trio of online flash fiction festival days to carry on festive fun in the autumn and the winter.
Dates: Saturday October 8th, Saturday November 19th and Saturday January 7th from 11.00 to 6.30 pm each day. . The usual mixture of workshops/talks/book launches/readings/ mini contests. The first day on October 8th features a 90 min workshop with Kathy Fish on writing ghost stories, a 60 min workshop with Electra Rhodes on Writing Words of Wild Wonder and a 60 min workshop with our 22nd Award Judge, Emily Devane (subject announced soon) £30 for everything. This online day comes the day before our deadline for the £1460 prize fund Bath Flash Fiction October Award. So it’s your chance to get last minute ideas. More details and booking for all three days open soon.
We also have a date for the next face to face Flash Fiction Festival. 14th-16th July, 2023 again in Trinity College, Bristol. Bath Flash Fiction and Ad Hoc Fiction are happy to sponsor this again! Hope you can come.
And to remind you the Earlybird discounts for the October Award end this Sunday, 14th August. Buy one entry for £7.50 or two for £12.00. Save your paypal receipts if you haven’t got a story ready yet and send by October 9th. Results out at the end of October. And our year-end anthology containing winning, shortlisted and longlisted stories from all three of the 2022 Awards will be published by Ad Hoc Fiction in late November/December.
In other news, you can look forward to a whole bunch of sparkling new novellas in flash from the 2022 Novella in Flash Award to be published by our small press Ad Hoc Fiction. The winner, Lessons At The Water’s Edge, (recently chosen as one of six indybooks of the month selected by Martin Chilton for the Independent Newspaper!) by Caroline Green was launched at the Festival as was one of the commended novellas, All Their Favourite Stories‘ by Slawka G Scarso. Both marvellous reads. And both available worldwide in paperback from Amazon and directly from Ad Hoc Fiction.
Our 2023 NIF award is open now too, and do read the really interesting interview with our 2023 judge John Brantingham which will also inspire you to write something along with the new guide on the subject, Unlocking the Novella in Flash by Michael Loveday.
More updates soon!
Thanks to everyone from around the world who entered our 21st Award. We received 1081 entries from 34 countries listed below.
Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam.
As usual, the last few weeks and the last weekend in particular saw a great flood of submissions. And we appreciate everyone who entered at any time during the contest and the final day writers who received a (virtual) Last Minute Club badge (this time in pink and silver pastel party colours). we hold a guess-the-colour-of-the-badge contest on Twitter the day before the badge is revealed. One person guessed the right shade of pink, and the other, chose a silvery grey. So they both received a book anthology prize.
There were very many excellent stories of 300 words or less among the submissions and it’s always hard to find the fifty stories for the final longlist. Thanks to the reading team for their work on making these choices. We like to include a mix of different styles and subject matters and if there are a lot on the same sorts of themes, it is even harder to choose. Everyone who reached the longlist has been offered publication in our seventh anthology which will be published at the end of this year after the October Award is completed. Many writers from this round have already said yes to publication and again it will be a fantastic read. Snow Crow, our 6th anthology, was shortlisted in the 2022 Saboteur Awards Best Anthology category and we thank everyone from the flash fiction community and elsewhere who voted for it.
Our big thanks to Tommy Dean, writer, editor and teacher from the US for selecting the short list and winners for the 21st Award in our very fast turnaround time.
We mentioned different styles and themes above, and it is so interesting that Tommy commented on the different ways the winners had approached their stories. Do read his report about what he loved about the winning stories here.
This time, four different countries were represented among the winners. Many congratulations to all authors. Their stories are linked to their names here. The first prize winner Rachel Blake from the US wrote ‘Sequelae’, second prize winner Madeline Bryne from Australia wrote ‘Between’, third prize winner Abigail Williams from the UK wrote ‘Don’t mistake me for your crabapple’, Sudha Balagopal from the US wrote ‘On our daughter’s wedding day’ and Olwen Wilson from Canada wrote ‘The Shape of the Situation in Apartment 23C on a Sunday in September.‘
Our next award opens on July 1st and is judged by Emily Devane from the UK who, among other awards, won the Bath Flash Fiction Award in February, 2017..Our interview with her will be on the website tomorrow. The 22nd Award closes on Sunday 9th October. We’re looking forward to reading more wonderful stories. We love flash fiction!
A big thank you to US based writer, editor and teacher, Tommy Dean for being our 21st Award judge and for selecting a wonderful short list and winners from our fifty fantastic longlisted stories for the June Award, 2022. Read all his interesting comments below and read the winning stories by clicking the titles.
I was thrilled to be chosen by Jude Higgins to judge this round of the micro contest. What I love about micro fiction is that there’s no set way to write such short stories! There are a million ways to open a story and gain a reader’s attention, and the writers on the longlist provided excellent examples of how stories can start and how they can grip a reader through conflict, through character, through precise and beautiful language. The writers here trusted me as a reader leaving much of the story out, compressing the details into specific gems, and asking me to trust them as they took me into worlds that were familiar, unknown, and at their best a bit of both!
Micro fiction is a livewire act of balancing so many craft elements all with the design of telling a great story, of allowing the reader to invade the stage of the story and put themselves deeply into the narrative at hand. These writer’s compressed until the brevity sparkled with gritty realism, with fantastic fantasy, and showed me the joys and horrors of being human.
Specific, concrete and surprising details dominated these stories, and helped me inhabit the “hot spots” of their character’s lives. So many unforgettable stories that I have no doubt will find great homes in literary magazines big and small. Every story touched me in a way. Stories have always been a balm, an escape, but also a way of reckoning with the world around me, and I thank these writers for bringing their souls to the page, for filling it with truth and beauty, and sorrow, and humor, for giving me a chance to enter their worlds, to live so many lives, to commune with their wit and perspective.
No matter where you finished in this round, please be proud of the work that you’ve accomplished that your stories matter, that it’s only a matter of time before they find readers hungry for your words, your moments of distilled truth and beauty
I’m a sucker for a long winding sentence that does its best to cram in as much pertinent information as possible. I love how the first sentence winds around like the neighbors’ cars taking them to work. I love a story that has such a fierce desire, the truth of waiting for others to leave, to have this private moment. I love that we as the reader are privy to this private moment, one that resonates in its pain, its search for relief. I love how we are on this search for the best place to exert our emotion alongside the character, how specific the details are here, how specific the places of retreat are, how they help me see the character’s desperation, to feel it, to won it. How really screaming isn’t enough, how art isn’t helpful, how frustration is somehow sentient, an antagonist. A masterful portrayal of unmet desire.
I love a story that feels somehow commonplace, but because of its character takes us to a new place of understanding, of truth, of beauty in our human desire to be more than we are. I connected with this idea that we leave something of ourselves behind, that our jobs take something from us, that we don’t always know we’re losing something. How Juliet is more than this job, but she can’t quite see that, feel that, that she often disappears, but this story creates this delicious tension of the opposite of that, this story makes her live on the page! I love the fantastic details here, how the writer is so confident in their use of minimalism, how they refrain of telling us how to feel, how that image of Juliet at the end is murky with sadness, but for us, she has become visible!
Don’t mistake me for your crabapple
I love a writer who takes the risk of using the 2nd person point of view. It can be so intimate, like a cover of a great song that makes you pay closer attention to the lyrics. Another story that made me trust the writer from opening sentence. Another story that made me sit up a little straighter, to pay a bit more attention. And who wouldn’t with these great details and images, the way the narrator demands my attention. And that masterful use of dialogue! Just a few sentences but they create unique and specific characters who are talking past each other, occupying the same space, but not quite on the same page! A glimpse of a specific and unique relationship, one that I wish I could know more about! And that ending image!
On Our Daughter’s Wedding Day
I love a story that starts i the negative, that tells us something they didn’t do or in this case didn’t miss. The negative creates a ghost of two stories that creates so much tension just by using this device! The character is in conflict, but they’re not quite acting, and yet I’m pulled in! On the other side of the negative is the things the character did do or in this case did miss, and that shift from the negative does so much work to reveal this character in a specific and unique way! This is at the heart of any great story! There’s something quite lovely about a character choosing to do something they don’t want to do!
The Shape of the Situation in Apartment 23C on a Sunday in September
Oh, the specificity and intrigue of this long title! I love a story that uses the title to ground me in the setting before I read the first word of the story. There’s so much tension in moving from the title to the opening sentence! Titles like this jumpstart a story, and intrigue a reader, and this story had a high bar to cross to live up to this title, and it did it in spades! I loved the sense of play, the creation of this allegory, how it takes something commonplace, and twists it enough to delight and intrigue the reader! It’s fun, sure, but it also hits hard with resonance!