Noemi Scheiring-Olah June 2023 Third Prize

To All the Copies of Us

by Noemi Scherring Olah

To the soccer-patterned rubber ball, easy to kick, making us laugh every time it hits our shins with a burp sound, like Daddy, every time he gets home from work, all paint spots and sour smiles.

To the video player branded “videó player”, which instantly eats the rented Lion King tape, making the words slur like Daddy’s, slurping The tapessshit, and Merry Chrisssmasss, and Daddy lovesssya.

To the white sneakers with four black lines and a thin sole, which makes every pebble feel like we’re walking on broken glass, and when the kids at school finger-point and jeer Fakedidas, we borrow (if you’re Daddy), or steal (if you’re the head teacher) White-Outs, and smear white slime all over the fourth black line until it disappears.

To the fading library books Daddy brought home every weekend so us kids See the world, and Know how to find and lose beauty, like he found and lost Mommy, and like we now spill Bud Light over an unreturned Moby Dick, and watch the pages darken, and fold, and float away, like Daddy darkened, and folded, and floated away two weeks ago, frowning with twin brows that refused to let go.

To the hoarse TV in the kitchen coughing up successful flat people droning on and on about filling big shoes of successful flat fathers, who flash and mirror in the empty bottles that clink-clank across the room as we collect and throw them in trash cans, smashing, and crashing, and shattering; tearing to break free from all the copies of us.

About the Author

Noémi Scheiring-Oláh grew up in a small flat at the edge of a Hungarian town. She’s now a nomad in a small world. Her writing has appeared/forthcoming in Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, The Molotov Cocktail, New Flash Fiction Review, Bath Flash Fiction Anthology, Maudlin House, Ellipsis Zine, Janus Literary, and elsewhere, and has been nominated for Best Small Fictions and The Pushcart Prize. Noémi is a fan of cats and underdogs. She’s also a Writers’ HQ member. Tweets: @itssonoemi Virtual home:

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James Montgomery June 2023 Highly Commended

Diamonds in the Earth

by James Montgomery

The bat splinters, the crowd roars, and the boy’s held fast by the arc of the baseball, blitzing a course straight at him, a mere speck in the outfield, twin eye black smears masking each cheek, a boy pinned to parched, rain-hungry grass, when one lone voice, his father’s bark—look sharp, Bobby!—barrels out from the bleachers, jolts the boy into action, who stumble-runs as the ball skims the crest of the August sun, and the boy’s running back, back to last Tuesday, and the promise of an empty house—his mother running errands, his father out of town—and in the cheval mirror, in a slant of light, with only the floating dust motes to bear witness, there he was: lips alive with painted red, nape and inner wrists perfumed anew, socked feet slipped into his mother’s Mary Janes—the heel but an inch high yet it felt like touching God, like discovering some heavenly body until now unfound—and behind him, his father, unexpected and unannounced, the bedroom door silently ajar, the quickening panic of dad, dad, dad, and, as the ball begins its descent, the boy knows if he can only grasp it tight and hold it close all will be absolved, so he runs and runs, extends both arms, and stretches back through hand-stitched, chain-linked muscle memory, towards freshly-cut weekends, diamonds drawn in backyard earth, the easy throw of nice one, bud through air, the soft ache of an unbidden shoulder squeeze, and the close grain of freckles on sun-blessed faces, as the boy reaches, for his father, for the ball… which, with a short, sharp pop, funnels like a fastball, powers into the glove’s pocket, while something small and hard—as if leather cased—catches in the boy’s throat.

About the Author

James Montgomery’s stories appear in Reflex Fiction, Maudlin House, Gone Lawn, and elsewhere. He won the Best Micro Fiction Prize at the 2021 Retreat West Awards and is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. Find him at and on Twitter at @JDMontgomery_

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Pilar Garcia Claramonte, June 2023 Highly Commended

My Daughter the Wolf Therian

by Pilar Garcia Claramonte

My daughter was on all fours in the garden last night, howling at the moon.

“It’s just a phase,” her father said. “Something she’s seen on TikTok, probably. Nothing to worry about.”

Today, at breakfast, she announces that she’s descended from wolves. I swallow hard, recalling a photo of her birth parents. Her brother sniggers and asks if there’s a dead moose in her lunch-box.

She shows us her new profile on her mobile. “Hi. I’m Leaf. I’m a wolf therian.” In the photo, her face tilts forward so close to the camera that the nose appears unnaturally elongated, protruding towards the world with a menacing sneer. Unnervingly her, but different. She’s only twelve. I wonder if she senses the many ways in which that name, those words, could mark a distance between us.

She nuzzles up. Will I help her to make a tail? Something she can attach to herself and swing side to side. She might wear it to school, she says. Pinned to her uniform. My stomach lurches.

“What will the girls say in class?” We’d done our sums and moved her to a new school that term. Small classes, lush grounds might smooth the jagged edges left from her early childhood, before she was legally ours. Whatever it takes.

“Call me names?” She shrugs. “I’m adopted. I’m used to that.”

As she leaves for school, she looks tiny in her new, too large uniform.

I know exactly where I’ll find some faux fur for her tail.

About the Author

Pilar García Claramonte wishes that she had discovered the joy of creative writing much earlier in life. Now retired, she spends her time between the Kent coast, Oxford and the Basque Country, where she was born, trying to make up for lost time, aided and abetted by some great teachers and writing buddies.

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Today! Guess the colour of the 24th Award badge

Thanks again to all flash fiction writers, for your fantastic support for our Bath Flash Fiction Awards. Our readers are very busy reading your entries for the 24th Award, this time judged by award winning writer from the UK, Tim Craig. Why not have a final read through of my Q & A with him to find out what he likes, if you want to enter before we close tomorrow, Sunday 4th June at midnight, BST.

To remind everyone, The Last Minute Club, for intrepid flash fictioneers is only open on the final day. Anyone entering on Sunday will receive a (virtual) Last Minute Club badge. Everyone loves badges don’t they? We’ve a mini competition beginning now over on Twitter where the first person to guess the colour of the new badge will receive a Bath Flash Fiction anthology. We often give prizes to two people for near guesses. You won’t know the colour until first thing on Sunday morning.

If you enter on Sunday and receive your badge, do share it on Twitter We love that. It makes it such a fun day!

The first badge was introduced in June 2018. And the one you can collect on Sunday will be the sixteenth badge. All the colour combinations are in the gallery. Tip: there are many shades of green here, so it is unlikely to be green!

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Best wishes for all your entries. It’s always wonderful to receive stories from around the world.

Results out by the end of June. So not long to wait. We have a well-honed fast turn-around time.

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We’ve FIVE categories short-listed in Saboteur Awards, 2023!

We’re thrilled that our authors and enterprises are short-listed in FIVE separate categories in the Saboteur Awards 2023. Thank you to everyone who nominated authors published by Ad Hoc Fiction and also selected our other enterprises. Big congratulations to all five Ad Hoc Fiction authors, our small press, Ad Hoc Fiction, our Dandelion Years anthology, and the Flash Fiction Festival! I have listed titles and categories below and there are pictures of evereything you can vote for in the gallery. Very best wishes to all!

Jude’s going along with fingers-crossed to the Award event and announcements on June 24th in Birmingham. And we’d love you to vote in any of the categories you’d like to support. Voting ends midday June 21st. Link to the form below.

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Best Short Story Collection short list
Nick Black for his flash fiction collection, Postive and Negative.
Tim Craig for his flash fiction collection Now You See Him

Best Novella short list

Finnian Burnett for their novella in flash, The Clothes Make the Man
Jupiter Jones for her novella in flash Gull Shit Alley and Other Roads to Hell
Slawca G Scarso for her novella in flash, All Their Favourite Stories

Also we’re thrilled that our short fiction press, Ad Hoc Fiction is short-listed in most Innovative Publisher, the Flash Fiction Festival we sponsor is listed in Best Literary Festival (it’s called Bath Flash Festival on the voting form), and Dandelion Years, Bath Flash Fiction, Vol 7 is listed in Best Anthology.

In addition, Judy Darley, who has reviewed many of our Ad Hoc Fiction books is listed in Best Reviewer category.

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Flash Fiction Evening in Bath, 20th May

A pile of raffle prizes

Our second flash fiction event this Spring at the lovely gallery room in St James’ Wine Vaults, Bath! The last event, organised by Jude, in early March, was to launch Dandelion Years Bath flash Fiction Volume 7 and Flash Fiction Festival 5 anthologies This one was just for the fun of listening to great flash fiction and also because it was a week before Jude’s brthday and it was like a little party with crisps and cakes.

We heard stories from 16 readers: Jupiter Jones; Flemming George; Kathryn Aldridge-Morris; Cheryl Markosky; John Wheway, Anna Wang; Marissa Hoffman; Lucy Goldring; Sara Hills, Judy Darley; Grace Palmer; Cath Barton; Emma Phillips; Cole Beauchamp and Alison Powell and Jude Higgins. Some of the stories read were prize winners, some had been published in literary magazines or anthologies, and some were having a new outing. A wonderful variety of flash. Authors came from all over – Bristol, London, Bath, Somerset, Wiltshire, Oxford, Rugby, Switzerland and Wales. Thank you to everyone for reading and making it such a fun and buzzy evening and have a look at the lovely gallery of pictures of the event mainly taken by Alex Wilson of Writing Events Bath and Alison Powell of Write Club. Thank you very much to them both.

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We’re likely to add a few more pictures of anyone we missed.

Jude also raffled books of flash fiction mostly from Ad HOc Fiction and one kindly donated from Cath Barton and money left after venue costs is going towards a reduced place at the Flash Fiction Festival in Bristol, this July 14th – 16th.

Keep your eyes open for advertisements for the next reading event. It will be in the same venue, in early September. More flashy fun at the flash fiction festival. Some day tickets now available. Contact us on the festival site to enquire. Full bookings made by paypal.

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Up for pre-order now! The final 3 novellas-in-flash from our 2022 Awards

We’re delighted that pre-orders are now open at a 25% discount on the books, at our small press, Ad Hoc Fiction for the final three novellas-in-flash from our 2022 Awards, judged by Michelle Elvy. Last year, we were able to offer publication to the first prize winner, two runners-up, the commended and the shortlisted novellas. Ten in all. All seven others are already published Our big thanks to David Swann, runner-up in the 2022 Awards for The Twisted Wheel, Christoper M. Drew, highly-commended with Essence and Sheree Shatsky shortlisted for Summer 1969 for their patience in waiting over a year for publication.

All these books are fantastic reads and it’s fascinating to see how the authors have used the novella-in-flash form in different ways to tell their stories. Find out more about them from the brief synopses on the covers and from Michelle Elvy’s judge’s report.
Michelle also includes short quotes from each of the books.

As well as the writing, we love the striking covers of these novellas. Sam Hubbard, who also created the cover and artwork for Season of Bright Sorrow David Swann’s first-prize winning NIF from our 2021 Awards, has produced another stunning drawing for David’s novella The Twisted Wheel. Christopher M Drew produced his own very evocative cover image for Essence and John at Ad Hoc Fiction, created the cover for Summer 1969 from Sheree Shatsky’s brief. You can now order all three novellas at a pre-order discount price from Ad Hoc Fiction. And they will be published and available from the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop and in paperback from Amazon worldwide on 14th June.

In more novella news, Ad Hoc Fiction is hoping to publish the winning novella and the two runners-up from our 2023 Novella in Flash Awards, this summer. We’ll keep you posted!

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2023 Saboteur Awards – nominations open!

We’re delighted that there is another round of the Saboteur Awards this year. They give a great boost to writers, event organisers and publishers.Thank you so much to everyone involved in putting on the awards again for 2023.
Last year we were thrilled that Sara Hills won the Best Short Story Collection Category with her brilliant collection The Evolution of Birds, published by Ad Hoc Fiction, our small indie press. Ad Hoc Fiction, was also shortlisted in the Most Innovative Publisher category, novellas-in-flash published by Ad Hoc Fiction were shortlisted in the Best Novella Category, and Snow Crow our the 2021 Bath Flash Fiction Anthology was shortlisted in the Best Anthology category.

If you have read and enjoyed any of the books published by Ad Hoc Fiction since March 2022, appreciate our small press, or attended and enjoyed the Flash Fiction Festival we sponsored last year, we would love you to nominate us. All the options for the categories possible to nominate in, are described below and there is a gallery showing the books and our logos.You can find out more about the books on the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop.For handy reference, here is a link to the voting form.

Novellas-in-flash you can choose from to vote in the Best Novella category include, Lessons from The Water’s Edge by Caroline Greene, All Our Favourite Stories by Slawka G Scarso The Clothes Make the Man by Finnian Burnett, The Regeneration of Stella Yin, Kristen Loesch, Gull Shit Alley and Other Roads to Hell by Jupiter Jones; It Felt Like Everything by K.S. Dyall and Pixie Lore by Jeanette Lowe.

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Read in Full

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