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Winners, Oct 8th Great Festival Flash Off Writing Challenge

We’re channelling The Great British Bake Off TV show again in our trio of online days. On the first day, Jude offered a ‘signature’ writing prompt based on this painting,’The Green Cloth’, from 1976, by Norwegian artist. Roald Kyllingstad. Writers were asked to pick details from the painting and think of ‘what if’ scenarios including some of these details and write a piece of up to 350 words. There were some very inventive takes on this.

Thank you to everyone who entered and we’re now delighted to announce the winners. The first prize winner receives three free entries to bathflashfictionaward.com plus two Ad Hoc Fiction books and publication here and in our forthcoming festival anthology. The runners up also receive three free entries and one book from Ad Hoc Fiction plus publication.
Diane Simmons judged the competition and first prize goes to Anika Carpenter and the two runners up to S. A. Greene and Kathryn Aldridge=Morris. Congratulations to all! Read in Full

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The Pokrass Prize Results

Our Flash Fiction Festival Curator, Meg Pokrass wasn’t able to be involved in the Festival this year, but she set a prompt and judged the entries for the Pokrass Prize.Thanks to all the festival go-ers who participated. Writers were asked to respond to the picture here and to the random words – night, exposure, spots, star, golden, normal, heavy and write a micro, max 150 words. There were so many very inventive pieces. The winning pieces published here, will also be published in our fifth festival anthology, out by the end of this year.

Meg said this about the stories and the winners:

“It was fun diving in and mulling over these incredible entries. Judging a contest at this high level of writing is very hard and at the same time, exhilarating. It is a thrill to see how much good writing is going on with the Flash Fiction Festival writers. I am sad not to be with you this year, but through reading these wonderful stories, I once again feel deeply connected to the writers at FFF. There were many strong and original micros that it did feel impossible to choose only three. And yet, three had to be chosen… So here you go!

The winning story, “Miracle Grow”, is a dark and surreal story about a damaged marriage fast-growing like damaging weeds under the floorboards. This writer’s use of compression and stunning sensory details won me over and I couldn’t look away. “The Horses, Beneath” is a poetic piece filled with brilliant, startling imagery and the resulting effect is mythical. Past and present merge, and the reader is thrust into a strange, illuminating yet invisible universe that lives beneath or feet. “Our Own Personal Universe” is a story that brought the prompt to life for me in a deeply emotional and cinematic way. A happy love story that shines like a star in the darkest of nights.”

Winner Jane Salmons with ‘Miracle Grow’

Jane Salmons is from Stourbridge in the West Midlands. She was a teacher in the sixth form college sector for nearly three decades and now works part time as a consultant teacher trainer and private tutor. Her poetry pamphlet Enter GHOST was published with dancing girl press in 2022. Her debut poetry collection The Quiet Spy was also published in 2022 with Pindrop Press. New to writing flash and micro-fiction, Jane has had stories published with MacQueen’s Quarterly and The Ekphrastic Review. She is thrilled and astounded to have won The Pokrass Prize.


Miracle Grow

Splinter, crack, crash! Without waking his snoring, lump of a wife, Bob grabbed his dressing gown and hurried out into the night. The sickly scent of summer phlox hung in the air; beneath the moon, the lawn glowed white; the rhododendrons stared accusingly, as Bob scuttled down the path, towards his beloved greenhouse. Smash! Another pane shattered. Through the jagged roof, a mass of unruly stalks wound upwards into the starry sky. ‘What in the name of God is going on?’ gasped Bob, sliding back the door and finding hundreds of thick, green shoots pushing through the slabs. Slack-jawed, he saw leaves the size of spades, a shower of giant golden flowers, furiously unfurl. Tomatoes like melons swelled and ripened: green, orange, vermilion, black – a mouldy mess of splitting skins and monstrous oozing seeds. Through a chink in the bedroom curtain, Bob’s wife watched, smiling.

Runner Up, Sharon Telfer with ‘The Horses, Beneath’.

Sharon Telfer lives in East Yorkshire, in the north of England. She won the Bath Flash Fiction Award in June 2016 with ‘Terra Incognita’ and again in February 2020 with ‘Eight Spare Bullets’. She has also won the Reflex Flash Fiction Prize. Her flash has been selected for Best Small Fictions 2021, the 2020 and 2019 ‘BIFFY50’ lists, and Best Microfiction 2019. She was awarded the Word Factory/New Writing North Short Story Apprenticeship in 2018, and placed second in the Bath Short Story Award 2020. She also has a short story in Test Signal, an anthology of contemporary northern writing (Bloomsbury/Dead Ink, 2021). Her debut flash fiction collection, The Map Waits, was published by Reflex Press in 2021 and is currently longlisted for The 2022 Edge Hill Prize for short fiction. She tweets @sharontelfer and posts terrible photos on Instagram, @sharontelferwriter.

The Horses, Beneath

She hears them clearest when the house is still – kids at school, husband at work, laptop open waiting for the host to let her in.

She’d watched last year’s dig on TV, family jumbled on the plumped sofa, the paint tang lingering. The whole estate had. The white tent like a murder scene. The camera nosing in as gloves brushed earth from wheels and weapons and bones.
“That’s not under our house, is it, Mummy?”
“Course not, sweetie. Ours wasn’t built there.”
A whinny ripples her wineglass, the pristine laminate prances under her feet. The next street is Shield Avenue, leading to Warrior Close. Their home, an Executive, stands on Chariot Way.

When they come, as she knows they must – hooves trampling smooth tarmac – she’s in the off-plan kitchen – letterbox clashing – blinds raised to the moonlight and the hazy Pleiades – that ancient insistent pounding hammering at the shining front door.

Runner Up, Tracy Fells with ‘Our Own Personal Universe’
Tracy Fells was the 2017 Regional Winner (Europe and Canada) for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Her short fiction has been widely published in print journals and online, including: Granta, Brittle Star, Reflex Fiction, Popshot, Firewords and the Bath Flash Fiction Award anthologies (2019 & 2020). She has been shortlisted for the Bridport and Fish Flash Fiction prizes, placed in the Reflex Fiction competition and Highly Commended in the NFFD Micro competition (2016 & 2020). Her novella-in-flash, Hairy on the Inside was short listed in the 2021 Bath Novella in Flash Award and short listed for the 2022 Rubery Prize, in the fiction category. She also writes novels and was a finalist in the 2018 Richard & Judy ‘Search for a Bestseller’ competition. Tracy tweets as @theliterarypig.

Our Own Personal Universe

We met at Woodstock, then married late fall. As we grew up, the world regressed. It was Suzy’s idea to escape off-grid to our cabin in the woods. Technology free. What else did we need but each other?

Without electricity our life is simple, almost silent except for the persistent background song. We tear up rugs, listen to the creaking wooden walls, and finally dig under the porch. There we find a tin box, the source of the singing.

Suzy whispers, ‘Open it.’

Inside is the same tar-black night that surrounds us, where deep within we spy the beeswax candle of our cabin window, a beacon. On the count of three we plunge in our hands.

Above us in the star-encrusted sky appear two giant wrinkled hands. Wiggling our fingers like magicians conjures a cooling breeze. ‘We are gods,’ says my wife of over fifty years, my forever singing girl.

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Winner, Young Writers’ Flash Fiction Contest

As an addition to our March online flash fiction day, Susmita Bhattacharya, who was a judge for the adult contest, and is a facilitator for the Mayflower Young Writers Group in Southampton, hosted a parallel flace-to-face flash fiction workshop for young writers. The young people also had their own writing competition. Flash Fiction team member, Alison Woodhouse, dropped in to their session to talk more about flash and to set a prompt. She asked writers to use an object as the focal point of a piece of flash to tell a story.

Thank you to all who entered. Alison has now chosen the winner! Huge congratulations to Katie Britton, a member of MayFlower Young Writers, @MayflowerYW who used a mirror as her focal point. Katie’s story is based on an actual mirror in her house, and we love that she has sent us her picture posed in front of it. Katie wins a special mug with the flash fiction logo, which has ‘Winner’ and her name written on the back. Read in Full

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Winning Stories, March Flash Fiction Festival

Congratulations to the winner, Rosaleen Lynch and the runner-up Mandira Pattnaik.Read more about them and judge Susmita Bhattacharya’s comments here

CHAW
by Rosaleen Lynch

Chaw /tʃɔ:/ (verb.) to chew roughly, (noun.) a wad, like chewing tobacco your Da might spit at you when he comes home drunk; (acronym.) e.g. CHAW;

‘C’ for Courage (n.) from the French ‘coeur‘ for heart, the heart to run away or the heart to stay;

‘H’ for Hope (v.) from the Germanic to trust, rely on, have confidence in or Hope (n.) as in ‘we haven’t got a hope’ or ‘hopeless’ (antonym.) or without feathers;

‘A’ for Admiration (n.) from the old French ‘to wonder at the miracle’, the miracle you’ve lived this long, and you truly wonder at the miracle that your Da’s standing after how much he’s had to drink;

‘W’ for Wisdom (n.) insight, making good judgements e.g. whether to remove the remaining chaw and food from your Da’s mouth as he now lies on the kitchen floor, after trying to convince you all, that beans on toast need decorating with edible flowers, like on some TV cooking show, holding irises from next-door, he swears are edible, and to prove it, stuffs one in his mouth with tobacco and chaws, and when he falls, you look for courage to let him be, to see what’s best for family, hope this time he’ll do the right thing, something you could admire, like change or die, but you’re wise enough to realize, he’ll survive, your Da’s toxicity will win against that of the iris;

Iris /ˈʌɪrɪs/ (n.) Greek for eye pigmentation, the same colour as yours, watching him, waiting, ruminating on whether this is the only trait passed on, if the darkness too will be carried by the genes, like clouds carry rain, like Iris, the messenger of the gods, in The Illiad (the legend of the siege of Troy) the Greek goddess of the rainbow, carries truth.

TOP FLYING ADVICE FOR NEW FLIERS

by Mandira Pattnaik

29 March 2017

1. Fly on Nonstop Non-risk Routings
Most accidents occur during takeoff, climb, descent, and landing phases of flight. Like dating, lovemaking, marriage, and cohabitation. Soniya’s admiration for Rajiv stems from his saying yes on the first date. But both must agree to reduce their exposure to these most accident-prone phases of flight.

2. Choose Larger Aircraft
Obviously. Also, in the unlikely event of a serious accident, Rajiv’s larger hands will be more comforting.

3. Pay Attention to the Preflight Briefing
Although the information seems repetitious, the locations of the closest emergency exits may be different depending on the aircraft that you fly on and seat you are in: says Mum and married sisters. They also provide endless hope.

4. Keep Your Seat Belt Fastened While You are Seated
Wisdom demands a firm anchoring if and when the flight hits unexpected turbulence: says Soniya’s friends.

5. Hazardous Material Banned
By the end of the first year, both new fliers know the list of hazardous materials that are not allowed, but common sense should tell them how handy knives, mirrors, glasses and bottles can be while you’re involved in an argument. Particularly if the coupling is already under strain.

6. Drink During Flight — Maintain Responsibility
Atmosphere in an airliner cabin is pressurized and moderation is a good policy at any altitude. Rajiv (or both) often forgets this. Dirt is dug and flung at each other.

7. Keep Your Wits About You
In the rather likely event of a precautionary emergency evacuation, Soniya isn’t alarmed when Rajiv tells her: Go, get lost. She is prepared to land in the worst possible. All flights are essentially leaps of faith.

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The March Great Flash fiction Festival Throwdown Winners!

Thanks very much to novelist, short story, flash fiction writer and writing teacher, Susmita Bhattacharya for judging the contest at the last of our current series of online flash fiction festival days on Saturday March 26th. One of the prizes is a mug featuring part of a painting of irises by Vincent Van Gogh. Susmita discovered that the iris flower, has different meanings. It is seen as a flower representing hope, admiration, faith, wisdom and courage. She asked writers to write a hermit crab style flash incorporating several of these words. Her comments on the winners are below. We’ve posted their stories on another page linked here. And Susmita’s comments on the flash fictions are below.

Prizes are £30 for the winner plus the mug pictured and publication online on this site and in the fifth Flash Fiction Festival Anthology, which will be published by adhocfiction in the late Autumn this year. The runner-up is also offered publication and an anthology from published by aAd Hoc Fiction. Read in Full

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Applications open for free places at the Flash Fiction Festival in July

Watercolour of Trinity College by a previous participant

We currently have three donated places of £270 each towards the in-person flash fiction festival 8th to 10th July in Bristol. This sum is for the weekend package of workshops, talks,and readings on Saturday and Sunday but does not cover the cost of the pre-festival workshop on Friday afternoon, meals, accommodation or travel. Read in Full

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Flash Fiction Festival Anthology, Volume Four

We’re thrilled that Flash Fiction Festival Volume Four, the anthology of stories from the nine online festival days, March 2021 – January 2022, sponsored by Ad Hoc Fiction, is officially published today, 25th March in the first flush of spring and you can buy it from the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop and shortly from Amazon in paperback. (ebook will come later). We’re building a rainbow of anthologies from the online and in person flash fiction festivals. And now we have a green colour to add to the red, orange and yellow flash fiction festival anthologies already published. It is so good to publish this green covered anthology now after the haitus due to the pandemic and cancelled in-person flash festivals. There’ll be an opportunity to be published in the Flash Fiction Festival Volume Five if you attend the weekend festival of flash in Bristol this year, 8th to 10th July. We’ll be open for submissions after the festival has finished and it will also included the winners and runners up from the online festival days in February and March this year and Pokrass Prize. which is for all of the in-person festival participants Read in Full

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Winners’ Stories, February 26th Flash Festival challenge


These stories were selected by Sage Tyrtle who set the prompt and judged the February ‘Throwdown’ challenge at the online flash fiction festival. We’ve another post to read with her comments and more about Sara Hills and David Lewis who were this month’s winners. Read in Full

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Winners of Great FlashFiction Festival Throwdown, February

larisa-birta-UaVQ0GLZER0-unsplash

Thank you so much to writer, and learning facilitator, Sage Tyrtle who was our writing contest judge for the tenth of our Flash Fiction Festival Days.She set a great prompt based on Van Gogh’s Cafe terrace painting. Thank you also to all the writers who entered. (Please check out Sage’s website, linked above, for more of her workshops inspiring writers with wonderful prompts).

The winner, selected by Sage, is Sara Hills
Sage wrote these comments on ‘Tomorrow at Cafe La Nuit’, Sara’s story. Read in Full

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