Q and A with Caroline Greene, Winner, 2022 Bath Novella-in-Flash Award.

Caroline Greene won our 2022 Novella-in-Flash Award in April this year with her wonderful Novella in Flash, Lessons at the Water’s Edge and the novella is now available on preorder from Ad Hoc Fiction at a 25% discount until publication on July 1st. We’re delighted Caroline’s novella will be launched at the Flash Fiction Festival 8th-10th July. The 2023 Novella-in-Flash Award will be open soon and Caroline has some great advice here for writing one. Scroll down the post of our judge Michelle Elvy’s report to find her interesting comments on this novella. It is a marvellous, absorbing read with many layers and we thoroughly recommend it. You can also hear Caroline talking about it next week on a panel about novellas-in-flash for National Flash Fiction Day New Zealand, 19th June.

      Q & A with Caroline Greene
    • Can you give us a brief synopsis of Lessons At the Water’s Edge?
      It’s the story of a young woman leaving difficulties at home and going to live in a different country. But it’s also the story of the family she goes to live with, and the changes she brings, from their point of view. There are new discoveries about identity, but there are also love stories that intertwine – the love for a place, for family, and an unrequited love too. And it’s about how language connects and moulds us, with ‘language lessons’ that thread through the whole.
    • What inspired you to write it? 
      This has been a very long time in gestation! Many, many years ago I wrote a short story called ‘The Father’, about a dedicated single father, bringing up two girls. It was inspired by a story by Natalia Ginzburg called ‘The Mother’, about an erratic single mother bringing up two boys. But I never really did anything with it. Then, a few years ago, when I discovered flash fiction, I wrote a couple of scenes based on my experience of living in Italy. I had an idea of combining elements of the short story with the flashes, but was very dithery and unconfident about it. Then when lockdown began and I started to get messages from Italian friends I just thought, now is the time to celebrate the experiences I had there and the people I met.
    • In her comments Michelle Elvy points out how the novella, which is set in a watery city (unnamed) flows like water and, she remarks that ‘the story lines glide, skim, sometimes sink below the surface and then emerge again.’ Were you aware of the elemental component of your writing, when you were structuring it?
      I love that Michelle picked this out. In a way it was the most subconscious outcome. On a conscious level, I tried to weave the three strands together in a loose way to convey how the various experiences and the different points of view informed each other. But the water imagery was doing this too.
    • What is the most challenging aspect about writing a novella in flash, in your experience?
      I would definitely avoid trying to think of the thing as a ‘whole’ from the start. That’s too daunting. Although I had a story, I only had a rough idea of how it would be put together, so I just wrote scenes in a random order and gradually a patchwork pattern emerged. The beauty of writing a novella in flash is that you can construct scenes individually and follow thoughts where they want to go, without trying to follow any strict linear structure or plot line. But it’s sometimes hard to be ruthless when you have a suspicion that a certain flash doesn’t work within the whole and so it needs to go.
    • What did you most enjoy about the process? 
      Once I’d thought that I could create a novella out of the early pieces I had, I absolutely loved the impetus it gave me for writing more. I loved living with the characters and I had fun with the language lessons. While life was strange, difficult and uncertain during lockdown, I also had this other world of the novella going on inside my head.
    • Have you any other flash fiction projects on the go? 
      Once I’d submitted the novella, I felt as though I’d never write anything ever again! But gradually ideas have crept back and I trust myself more now to follow them through.
    • Top tip for someone thinking of writing one? 
      Trust the process. Follow inklings and instincts. Eventually, it feels as though the separate flashes almost tell you where they are all going, and how they fit together.
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Tips from Tommy Dean on writing micros

Our 21st £1460 prize fund Award closes this Sunday, 5th June, midnight GMT. And whether you are polishing an entry for the competition, about to write one last minute, or thinking about other submission opportunities, here are some excellent tips on writing micros from our judge Tommy Dean. Read our Judge’s Q and A with him here.

Tommy gave us permission to publish the thread he wrote on Twitter today, which has a focus on 100 word stories. But the advice is equally important for anyone writing longer flashes. To remind you, you have 300 words maximum for our Award.

We’re thrilled our small press, Ad Hoc Fiction, is publishing a guide book next year (2023) by Tommy on writing 100 word stories. So he will be adding examples and exercises to the sort of advice he has listed below. And if you want to read Tommy’s own brilliant work, his latest flash fiction collection, Hollows, is out with Alternating Current Press and also available on Amazon Read in Full

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Saboteur Awards Win! Congratulations to Sara Hills

Huge congratulations to Sara Hills, whose brilliant flash fiction collection, The Evolution of Birds won the Best Short Story Collection category in the 2022 Saboteur Awards. The Award ceremony took place on Saturday 14th May in the rotunda of Birmingham city library and Sara was actually there to collect her sparkling trophy, along with her family, including her daughter,Kaleia Hills, who created the amazing cover artwork for the book and took the striking picture of a bird flying over the library which, Sara said, seemed like a good omen!

It is such a well-deserved win and The Evolution of Birds demonstrates all that is best about flash fiction. We interviewed Sara about the collection just before it was published in July, 2021. Here she talks about the themes in the collection and her journey into flash fiction. You can buy the Evolution of Birds from Ad Hoc Fiction or in paperback from Amazon worldwide. And if you are coming to the Flash Fiction Festival Weekend 8th-10th July, in Bristol, Sara is going to be there and can sign a copy for you!

Thank you so much to everyone who voted in the Saboteur Awards, 2022 for The Evolution of Birds our short-short press Ad HocFiction and all the books published by them. Snow Crow, our sixth anthology from the Bath Flash Awards, the novellas in flash Kipris by Michelle Christophorou and Hairy on the Inside by Tracy Fells all reached the short list. A wonderful boost to everyone concerned! We appreciate all of you flash fiction enthusiasts who helped this to happen.

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All About Unlocking a Novella-in-Flash, the new craft guide book by Michael Loveday

Michael Loveday judged our Bath Novella in Flash Award in 2019 and 2020 and has run many courses on writing in this form, and given feedback to and mentored those writing novellas in flash. We were delighted when he agreed to write a guide book on the subject. He’s been working on it for around two years, some of the time with the support of an Arts Council Grant, and it’s published next week, Tuesday May 17th, with our small press Ad Hoc Fiction and available then in paperback from the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop as well as in paperback on Amazon, worldwide. Like the well-known writers and writing teachers who have given Advance Praise within the book, we believe it will become a classic in this genre. You can preorder Unlocking the Novella-in-Flash at a 25% discount until Monday May 16th. from Adhocfiction.com. Last week we published an extract on this site, to whet your appetite. Here Michael describes how writers might use Unlocking the Novella in Flash and more about his work as a mentor. Michael is also teaching two workshops on the novella-in-flash at the Flash Fiction Festival weekend, 8th -10th July in Bristol, U.K. and signed copies will be available to buy there. Read in Full

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Extract from Unlocking the Novella-in-Flash, by Michael Loveday

Michael Loveday’s new guidebook, Unlocking the Novella in Flash – from blank page to finished manuscript is published on May 17th by Ad Hoc Fiction, the third in their guide book series. It is currently available (until publication day) with a 25% discount from Ad Hoc Fiction. The guide book is packed with examples on many different approaches to writing a novella in flash and plenty of exercises to get you started and keep you going. The Bath Novella in Flash Award will open again soon, and close in mid January next year. And if you’re considering writing a novella-in-flash for the Award or elsewhere, if you have one on the go, or are in the middle of one that’s proving problematic, we really recommend you buy this guide book. This really useful extract from the book, about common problems, will whet your appetite. Read in Full

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Shortlisted Writers, Novella in Flash Award, 2022

All the novellas in flash shortlisted in the 2022 Bath Novella in Flash Award are excellent and varied in subject matter and style, and we’re delighted that our short short fiction publisher, Ad Hoc Fiction, is able to publish the full set again and all the authors have agreed to publication which is likely to be at some point this year,or early next year. Our judge Michelle Elvy has made comments on all ten novellas Congratulations to shortlisted authors Finnian Burnett, Sheree Shatsky and Jeanette Lowe. We’re really looking forward to seeing their books in print, along with the winners and commended. writers.

You can read Michelle’s insightul comments on The Clothes Make the Man by Finnian Burnett from Canada, Summer 1969 by Sheree Shatsky from the US and Pixie Lore by Jeanette Lowe from the UK and more about the authors below.

The 2023 Novella in Flash Award will open in a couple of months and will end in January 2023. Judge to be announced. And if you are interested in writing one, there’s a new craft guide book, Unlocking the Novella in Flash (from blank page to finished manuscript) by former Bath Flash Fiction Novella in Flash Award judge, writer, editor, coach and tutor, Michael Loveday. Available for preorder now at a 25% discount from the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop. Read in Full

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Novella in Flash, 2022 Round-Up

Thank you to all the writers,again over one hundred, who submitted novellas in flash to our 6th Novella in Flash Award, judged this year by Michelle Elvy who also judged the Award in 2021. It’s a challenging form to tackle and we really enjoyed the variety of subject matters and styles within the entries. It was hard to choose the longlist from a very strong field of stories that again extended the scope of this genre.

Many congratulations to the Winners and commended writers: First Prize winner, Caroline Greene from the UK; Runners Up, K. S. Dyal from the US and David Swann from the UK; Highly Commended, Christopher Drew and Jupiter Jones; Commended Kristen Loesch from the US and Slawka G Scarso from Italy and the shortlisted writers: Finnian Burnett from Canada; Jeanette Lowe from the UK and Sheree Shatsky from the US. We have added the bios of all the winning and commended writers and will add the bios for the shortlisted writers soon.

We are very pleased to say that all the ten authors in the shortlist have been offered publication by our small press, Ad Hoc Fiction and we can look forward to up to ten wonderful novellas in flash to add to the eighteen Ad Hoc Fiction has already published.

Our huge thanks to judge Michelle Elvy, whose comments on reading the longlist and her in-depth comments on the shortlist and winners are in her report linked here. We really appreciate her very close reading of all the twenty five manuscripts she received and studied over the past six weeks. She is also a brilliant editor as well, and some of the writers, as they did last year, will I expect, be contacting her for some extra suggestions before publication. Her own hybrid collection the other side of better and her novel in short forms the everrumble are both published by Ad Hoc Fiction.

The seventh Award will be open later this year with a closing date of January 2023. Judge to be announced. And for anyone who wants to read more about tackling the form, Unlocking the Novella in Flash – from blank page to finished manuscript by writer, editor and teacher, Michael Loveday is now open for preorders.

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Novella-in-Flash Award, 2022 – Report by Judge, Michelle Elvy

Many thanks to Michelle Elvy for her dedication and enthusiasm for the novella in flash form and for judging our Novella in Flash Award for two consecutive years. This year, Michelle has chosen a first prize winner, two runners-up, two highly commended and two commended novellas in flash. Do read down through her general comments on the longlist and all her insightful remarks about each of the ten writers on the shortlist. We begin with comments on three shortlisted novellas, followed by the commended, highly commended and runners-up. Comments on the winning novella in flash, Lessons at the Water’s Edge are at the end of this post. And you can read the bios of all seven of the winning and commended writers here. Bios of the rest of the shortlisted writers coming soon.

Report

The novella-in-flash form is growing in both popularity and writerly skill, and judging a competition of this standard is no easy task. I read the long-listed stories and noted the range of approach, and all of them captivated me in one way or another

Some take as their starting point a line from someone familiar to us – Margaret Atwood, for example. One novella begins with a Japanese proverb, and one with a Vietnamese legend. I admired the historical detail in some, taking us back to the 1960s, 70s and 80s, even further. In one we encounter Shelley and Byron; in another we see the family story around the history of the perambulator. We see biases and boundaries poked, and we see how fiction can push at the edges and open new spaces. Cultural histories are examined and questioned, too, from India to Hawai‘i. There’s coming of age and coming to terms.

Like all good novels, the novella-in-flash can tackle big themes and pay attention to the finest detail. And this year’s set of long-listed stories did this so well – which presented the first challenge: selecting the short list.

Here I chose a set that represents the variety that the form can take. In all of these, the writing was finely honed and the stories explored their themes in unique ways. There is grief and loss, and growth and joy – perhaps typical human themes but in this short list they are presented in ways that stayed with me.

Read in Full

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Novella in Flash, 2022 Award – Winners and Commended

Many congratulations to all. We’re looking forward to when all these wonderful novellas in flash fiction are published by Ad Hoc Fiction. Read judge Michelle Elvy’s comments on all. And our Award Round Up.
First prize: Lessons at the Water’s Edge: by Caroline Greene
Caroline Greene @cgreene100 is an English Language teacher who’s also worked as an editor and features writer, and as a fund-raiser in the theatre. Her work has
been performed at Liars League, and appeared in the Fish Anthology 2011, Flash Magazine, Splonk and FlashBack Fiction, as well as anthologies from Bath FlashFiction, the National Flash Fiction Day, Flash Fiction Festival and Retreat West.

Runner-Up: It Felt Like Everything by K.S. Dyal
K.S. Dyal is a writer and lawyer from Washington, D.C. She has stories in or coming from SmokeLong Quarterly, JMWW, CHEAP POP, Cleaver Magazine, and elsewhere. She won CutBank’s 2021 Big Sky, Small Prose Flash Contest and placed second in Bath Flash Fiction’s spring 2021 contest. She has previously published under the name K.S. Lokensgard.

Runner-Up: The Twisted Wheel by David Swann
David Swann’s flash fiction collection Stronger Faster Shorter was published in 2015. In 2016 he won the Bridport Flash Fiction Competition, his eighth success in a Prize that he judged in 2013. His other publications include The Privilege of Rain (based on his experiences as a Writer in Residence in jail, and shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award) and The Last Days of Johnny North, a collection of his prize winning short fiction. His novella in flash Season of Bright Sorrow, illustrated by Sam Hubbard won first prize in the Bath Flash Fiction Novella in Flash Award in 2021 and is published by Ad Hoc Fiction. He is currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Chichester, where he teaches modules on fiction, poetry, and screenwriting.

Highly Commended: Essence by Christopher Drew
Christopher M Drew lives in Sheffield, UK with his wife and two children. His flash fiction has been published widely in journals such as The Forge Literary Magazine, Splonk, Lunate Fiction, trampset, and SmokeLong Quarterly. His work has featured in Best British & Irish Flash Fiction (2018-19) and Best Microfiction (2021), and has been nominated for Best Small Fictions and Best of the Net. He has served as editor for historical flash fiction journal Flashback Fiction, and is currently Guest Editor for the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology 2022. You can connect with Chris on Twitter @cmdrew81, or through his website https://chrisdrew81.wixsite.com/cmdrew81.

Highly Commended: Gull Shit Alley and Other Roads to Hell by Jupiter Jones
Jupiter Jones lives in Wales and writes short and flash fictions. She is the two-time winner of the Colm Tóibín International Prize, and her stories have been published by Aesthetica, Brittle Star, Fish, Scottish Arts, and Parthian. Her first novella-in-flash, The Death and Life of Mrs Parker was published by Ad Hoc Fiction and her second, Lovelace Flats by Reflex Press @jupiterjonz

Commended: Presence by Kristen Loesch
Kristen Loesch is an award-winning writer and novelist. Her debut historical novel, THE PORCELAIN DOLL, is out now in the UK (Allison & Busby) and is forthcoming in the US (Berkley) and in eight other territories in 2023. Originally from San Francisco, she now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children. Twitter: @kristenloesch


Commended: All Their Favourite Stories by Slawka G. Scarso
Slawka G. Scarso works as a copywriter, translator and marketing lecturer and has published several books on Italian wine. Her short fiction in English has appeared/is forthcoming in Mslexia, Ellipsis Zine, Scrawl Place, Spelk, FlashBack Fiction, Fractured Lit, Bending Genres, Five Minutes, Firewords and others. She was shortlisted in the 2022 NFFD Microfiction Competition and longlisted in the 2022 Reflex Press Novella Award. Her flash fiction has also appeared in anthologies such as Snow Crow (Ad Hoc Fiction), Flash Fiction Festival Anthology Volume Four (Ad Hoc Fiction), and in the forthcoming In the Belly of the Whale (Ellipsis Zine).She lives between Castel Gandolfo, a village perched on a dormant volcano near Rome, and Milan. You can find her on Twitter as @nanopausa and on www.nanopausa.com.

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Q & A with Louise Mangos, first prize winner, Feb Award. 2022

In this interview, first prize winning writer, Louise Mangos from our twentieth Award, judged by Karen Jones, tells us how her winning piece came into being. We learn more about how she began writing flash, there’s a link to one of her first prize wins (illustrated by her) from the weekly 150 word story contest run by Ad HocFiction. Before the contest had to stop in 2019 when Ad HocFiction began publishing books in a big way, Louise won it six or seven times. She also tells us about her crime/suspense novels and other projects on the go. Her latest suspense novel,, The Beaten Track is launched in London in a couple of weeks (hope Londoners can get there!) We’ve also wonderful pictures of the Swiss Alps where Louise lives and great tips at the end for flash fiction writers. If you are coming to the flash fiction festival in July, you will meet Louise there and hear her read this story. Read in Full

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