The Great Festival Throwdown Judges

Our judges are setting and judging challenges based on pictures on artist’s mugs pictured on the front page. Read more about the contest and the great prizes.

Diane Simmons

Diane Simmons, who is judging the throw-down in October. is a co-director of Flash Fiction Festivals, UK and a co-director of National Flash /fiction Day. She studied creative writing with The Open University, has been a reader for the international Bath Short Story Award, an editor for FlashFlood and has judged several flash competitions including Flash 500, Micro Madness and NFFD Micro. Widely published and anthologised, she has been placed in numerous short story and flash competitions. Finding A Way, her debut flash collection on the theme of grief, was published by Ad Hoc Fiction in February 2019 and was shortlisted in the Best Short Story Collection category of the 2019 Saboteur Awards. Her novella-in-flash, An Inheritance was published with V.Press in 2020 and shortlisted in the Novella category of the Saboteur Awards in 2020. Her novella-in-flash Top Table was shortlisted in the Retreat West Novelette Award in 2021.

Sara Hills

Sara Hills, who is judging The Throw-Down challenge in November, is a pushcart-nominated writer from the Sonoran Desert. Her stories have been featured or are forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, Cheap Pop, X-R-A-Y Literary, Cease Cows, New Flash Fiction Review, Flash Frog, Janus Literary and others. Her story Lions in the Amazon was recently selected for Wigleaf top 50 stories of 2021. She’s also been included in the BIFFY50, shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, her debut flash fiction collection The Evolution of Birds was published by Ad Hoc Fiction in July, 2021. Sara lives with her family and an enormous fluff-dog in Warwickshire, England and tweets from @sarahillswrites.

Karen Jones

Karen Jones, who is judging The Throw Down in January,is a prose writer from Glasgow with a preference for flash and short fiction. She is addicted to writing competitions and is a perennial long/short-lister – Commonwealth Short Story Competition, Bath Flash Fiction, Bath Short Story, To Hull and Back, TSS 400, HISSAC. She recently won the Cambridge Flash Fiction Prize and the Flash 500 contest and has previously reached the prize-winning stage with Mslexia, Flash 500, Words With Jam, Ink Tears and Ad Hoc Fiction. Her work is published in numerous ezines, magazines and anthologies. Her story ‘Small Mercies’ was nominated for Best of the Net, the Pushcart Prize and is included in Best Small Fictions 2019 and the BIFFY50 2019. She is a special features editor for New Flash Fiction Review and her novella-in-flash When It’s Not Called Making Love was published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2020 and shortlisted in the Saboteur Awards in 2021.

Electra Rhodes

E. E. Rhodes who is judging the Throw Down in January, along with Karen Jones, is an archaeologist who lives in Gloucestershire. She writes a mix of CNF, short story, prose poetry and flash. In 2021 she’s won The Phare ‘Write Words’ Short Story prize, The Intrepid Times ‘Reunions’ Travel Writing contest, The Federation of Scottish Writers, ‘Vernal Equinox’ and the Elliott & Thompson, ‘Spirit of Summer’ Flash Competitions, amongst others. Her work appears in twenty anthologies, has placed in more than fifty competitions, and has been widely published. She reads for Twin Pies Literary Journal and writes a quarterly column for Spelt Magazine on rural issues. She’s currently negotiating her first non-fiction book deal and has a micro-chap of linked flash forthcoming in 2022. She began writing original fiction and creative non-fiction in 2020..

Sage Tyrtle

Sage Tyrtle is judging The Throw Down in February. Her work has been featured in Pithead Chapel, Cheap Pop,Mayday, and Bending Genres among others. She started writing on an IBMXT in 1986, had an online journal in 1995, a podcast in 2005, and hasn’t owned a smartphone since 2014. She hopes she’s still an early adopter, but this time of an analog-based life.

Susmita Bhattacharya

Susmita Bhattacharya, who is judging the March Throw Down challenge, is an Indian-born British writer. Her novel, The Normal State of Mind, was published in 2015 by Parthian (UK) and Bee Books (India) in 2016 and was long listed for the Words to Screen Prize, Mumbai Association of Moving Images (MAMI) Film Festival in 2018. Her collection of short stories, Table Manners, was published by Dahlia Publishing in 2018 and won The Dorset Award in 2019.She teaches contemporary fiction at Winchester University and also facilitates the Mayflower Young Writers workshops, a SO:Write project based in Southampton. She lives in Winchester.

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