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Summer Solstice Stories with Jude Higgins

photograph by Royston Hunt www.earthnotes.co.uk

Last minute opportunity! Join an extended version of the workshop I was going to offer at our cancelled festival, on Zoom on the day of the Summer Solstice, Saturday 20th June 3.30 pm – 6.00 pm BST. I like writing flash fictions inspired by myths, dreams and fairy tales and have had several published. Most recently my micro ‘Persephone Holds a Q & A on Zoom’ on NFFD 2020 Flash Flood. I’d love to enthuse you all to tap into this rich vein and write fiction on the longest day of the year, when myth abounds.
Booking for this workshop now closed. Contact Jude (jude at judehiggins dot com) if you want information about other workshops she might run

During the time we’ll take a brief look at summer solstice stories and the ways mythological stories are structured and I’ll give you four exercises and ideas to create your own contemporary summer solstice flash fiction myths.

You’ll have writing time in the main group, followed by time in small break-out groups after each writing exercise to meet other flash fiction writers from around the world to chat and share or discuss your drafts. You’ll come away with four new drafts and also, within the price of the ticket, you’ll have an opportunity to get feedback from me on one draft after the workshop if you send me your piece.

It will be a fast, fun and friendly session.50 places maximum. Beginners and experienced writers welcome. All proceeds go to funds for next year’s festival which we plan to organise for June 2021. £30.

Find out more about the three other things happening during the festival weekend. Flash Fiction Festival Friday Readings with presenters who would have run workshops at the cancelled festival. June 19th.
Novella in Flash readings, Sunday June 21st
Free micro contest with lovely prizes. Open now. Closed June 18th. Announced June 20th.
Find out more about me and my other workshops at judehiggins.com

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Flash Fiction Festival Micro Contest, winner and runners up!

photograph by Royston Hunt www.earthnotes.co.uk

Thank you to everyone from around the world who entered our Festival Micro competition. The challenge was to write a 150 word micro fiction prompted by the photograph above, ‘Prickly Chairs’ taken by photographer Royston Hunt.

We received 111 entries. Our judges, Festival Directors Diane Simmons and Jude Higgins, found out a lot of new information about cacti and there were so many inventive stories. We really enjoyed reading them this week, eventually whittling down our choices to the following brilliant micros:

Winner:

  • ‘Eye, Aye, I’, by Kathryn Clark.
    Kathryn wins ‘The Arizona Collection’ a set of 12 notelets of gardens in Arizona, including two cards of the prompt photograph, generously donated by Royston Hunt and her micro is now published on his website alongside the photograph. She also wins a copy of one of the three Flash Fiction Festival Anthologies.
Runners up, in alphabetical order:

  • ‘Green Gardens’, by Amy Barnes.
  • ‘A Brief History of My Family’s Recent Encounters with Cacti/Cactuses’, by Francis McCrickard.
  • ‘Survival Skills’, by Lucy Zhang.
  • All runners up win a copy of one of the three Flash Fiction Festival Anthologies.

    Congratulations to all! And thank you to everyone who entered.

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    Festival Micro Contest Open Now!

    At each of the Flash Fiction Festivals (2017, 2018 and 2019) we’ve run a festival-long micro contest. This year, because the Festival was cancelled, it’s online and free for all flash enthusiasts whether you have been to the festival or not. Open for entries now and closing on Thursday 18th June at midnight BST. .

    Your challenge Write a micro 150 words maximum prompted by the images in the photograph of the cacti garden in Arizona below.

    The Rules: A previously unpublished piece pasted into the body of an email (no attachments) sent to
    jude at flashfictionfestival dot com Up to 150 words. Subject line ‘Festival Micro’. No communication with the judge about the story. No author names on the stories, no stories accepted after the deadline of midnight BST, 18th June.

    Your judge: Jude Higgins, Festival Director, pictured above holding the three festival anthologies.

    The Prizes:
    The first prize winner will receive ‘The Arizona Garden Collection’ a box of 12 beautiful notelets (including a card of the image reproduced here) generously donated by photographer Royston Hunt and the winning micro published on his blog to accompany the picture.(Check out his website to see this collection and all the cards he has for sale). In addition s the winner will receive one copy of any of the three flash fiction festival anthologies published by Ad Hoc Fiction

    Two runners up will receive one copy of any of the three festival anthologies.

    Results announced on Saturday morning, 20th June.
    (Other festival events you might be interested in include Summer Solstice Stories, a workshop with Jude 20th June.
    Flash Fiction Festival Friday, 19th June. Readings from festival presenters
    Novella-in-Flash readings with authors from Ad Hoc Fiction, V, Press and Truth Serum Press, Sunday 21st June).

    photograph by Royston Hunt www.earthnotes.co.uk

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    Novella-in-flash Readings! Sunday 21st June

    We’d planned several sessions on the popular Novella-in-Flash form at the 2020 Flash Fiction Festival which we had to cancel earlier in this year. But now we’re very excited to offer a free evening of readings on Zoom on Sunday 21st June 7.00 pm – 9.30 pm BST hosted by Festival Director, Jude Higgins,to celebrate novella-in-flash authors published or soon to be published by Ad Hoc Fiction and V.Press in the UK and Truth Serum Press in Australia. The authors are pictured in the gallery below with their names and titles of their novellas. To get a Zoom invite email Jude at flashfictionfestival dot com
    We think this might be the first reading event of its kind totally dedicated to the novella-in-flash! Each writer will read one short piece to give a flavour of their novellas and we will have break-out groups in between each group of four readers so guests can chat with flash fiction friends from around the world. We’d love to see you at the event.

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    Readers from novellas-in-flash published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019 include:

    Johanna Robinson, shortlisted in the Saboteur Awards 2020 and runner up in the 2019 Bath Flash NIF Award and Dan Crawley, Debra A Daniel and Francine Witte, highly commended in the 2019 Bath Flash NIF Award. All these novellas are available from the online Ad Hoc Fiction Bookshop.

    We also have readings by Mary-Jane Holmes winner of the 2020 Bath Flash NIF Award and the two runners up, Erica Plouffe Lazure and Tracey Slaughter, plus highly commended authors, Alison Woodhouse, Louise Watts, Karen Jones and Nicholas Cook. Their novellas will be published by Ad Hoc Fiction later this year.
    It’s a pleasure too that Michelle Elvy, is reading from her ‘small novel in small forms’ published by Ad Hoc Fiction in June 2019.

      Representing novellas-in-flash from V.Press, we have readings from:
      Diane Simmons shortlisted in the 2020 Saboteur Awards Novella category, Damhnait Monaghan who won the 2020 Saboteur Award Novella category and Michael Loveday who was shortlisted in the 2019 Saboteur Award for his novella in flash and who has also judged the Bath Flash NIF Awards in 2019 and 2020.

    Representing novellas-in-flash from Truth Serum Press
    We’re delighted to welcome Nod Ghosh.

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    Flash Fiction Festival Friday. On Zoom!

    We had to cancel the face-to-face festival Flash Fiction Festival 19th-21st June but you can still come to our free Last Minute Zoom evening of readings hosted by Festival Director, Jude Higgins and taking place Friday June 19th 7.00 pm – 9.30 pm. This would have been the first evening of the Flash Fiction Festival 2020 where traditionally we have many readings and party time in the bar afterwards. To create some of that atmosphere we have many of the flash fiction writers and teachers from around the world who were going to present workshops at the festival reading. They’re pictured in the gallery below. To get a Zoom invite email jude at flashfictionfestival dot com.

    All the presenters reading have said they can come in 2021 to run the same fabulous workshops. We’re hoping to hold it in June, again at Trinity College, Bristol. Fingers crossed.
    And check out our other online weekend events
    Summer Solstice stories workshop with Jude, Novella in Flash Readings on Sunday 21st June. Free micro contest. Open now.

    At the event,the writers will be reading one micro fiction each. And after three or four readings, we will have a break so you can chat in small groups with flash fiction friends and enthusiasts from around the world. All the readings will finish by 9.30 pm but the event will stay open for longer for a late virtual bar and more socialising plus some quiz questions about the festivals with book giveaways for winners!

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    Festival Support for the Cash-Strapped Writer

    Watercolour of Trinity College by one of last year’s participants

    Festival Hosts

    The form to apply for reduced cost places by February 29th is at the end of this post.
    We’re also looking for more Bristol writers who will host other writers for the festival weekend. And more people who will offer very low cost accommodation locally for the two nights. Contact Diane Simmons if you can offer anything and need more information. .

    Caravan Accommodation

    If you have a camper van or a caravan with toilet facilities, there are spaces for five caravans/campers on the site with electric hook up. £15 per night. Contact us on the help desk for booking.

    Apply for full or half price places by the end of February.

    We currently have four full price places worth £250. These can also be split into half cost places, available for those with limited funds. Thank you very much to Hall and Woodhouse, two anonymous donors, (who also donated full price places last year) and the US based literary online magazine Smokelong Quarterly for supporting the festival.(Read more about Smokelong and their presence at previous festivals). If any other writers/organisations/individual wish to donate a full or half price place to give further opportunities for those who can’t afford to come, please contact us as soon as possible. We would very much appreciate this support

    Please complete this form before midnight on Sunday 29th February, UK time to be considered for a reduced cost ticket.

    As there are only a limited number of these tickets, we do ask that you provide us with as much information as possible to help us make our decisions, but only provide as much information as you feel comfortable sharing with us. We respect the need for confidentiality and we will not share any information you provide to us with anyone outside of the Festival Team.

    Please tick any that apply:





    Please select one option:



    Please tick this box to show you understand that travel, accommodation and meals are not included.

    What would it mean to you as an individual and as a writer to be able to attend the Flash Fiction Festival?

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    Pre-festival workshops with Kathy Fish and Nuala O’Connor

    As an added bonus we have two three-hour pre-festival workshops with Nuala O’Connor and Kathy Fish. They are taking place in parallel from 2.00 pm – 5.00 pm on Friday 19th June at Trinity College. Open to those not able to attend the whole festival as well as those who’ve booked for the week end. Kathy’s workshop is now sold out but there are currently spaces on Nuala’s workshop. Book soon!

    Nuala O’Connor


    Historical Flash Fiction with Nuala O’Connor
    Taking our cue from historical people, places and/or events, this workshop will guide participants through practical theory on how to write effective flash and, using various prompts, we will write our own historic flashes in-class. We will also look at sample historical flashes from accomplished writers. Handouts will be provided.
    Nuala says, ‘Historical fiction gets a bad rap; on the one hand authors like Hilary Mantel and Sarah Waters are much-garlanded, and rightly so, and on the other, the very term ‘historical fiction’ puts some people off. But in a world where it’s difficult to escape geographically anymore – everywhere seems to have been infiltrated – escapism into the past via historical narratives can feel like exploring untouched territory. And, anyway, what is contemporary historical fiction only a view of the past, with twenty-first century biases, limitations and necessarily particular knowledge? In historical flash we can make something new of the past by answering the needs and preoccupations of today in narratives set in former times.’

    Nuala O’Connor is an Irish historical novelist, flash fiction and story writer. She lives in Co. Galway, Ireland. In 2019 she won the James Joyce Quarterly competition to write the missing story from Dubliners, ‘Ulysses’. Her fourth novel, Becoming Belle, was published to critical acclaim in 2018 in Ireland, the UK, the USA and Canada. Her next book is a bio-fictional novel about Nora Barnacle, wife and muse to James Joyce. Nuala is editor at flash e-zine Splonk. She has won many flash and short fiction awards including the Dublin Review of Books Flash Fiction Prize, The Gladstone Flash Prize, RTÉ radio’s Francis MacManus Award, the Cúirt New Writing Prize, the inaugural Jonathan Swift Award and the Cecil Day Lewis Award. She was shortlisted for the European Prize for Literature. www.nualaoconnor.com.

    Kathy Fish

    A Brain, a Heart, and a Home (with a Dash of Courage): Writing Flash Fiction that Soars with Kathy Fish
    Do you have a cool idea for a flash, but it falls flat? Or a flash that’s rich in emotion but you can’t quite figure out what it’s about? Maybe your flash “works” on a superficial level, but you sense there’s a deeper story to be told.
    Any or all of the above are what prevent good flash fiction from becoming GREAT flash fiction. 
    In this three-hour class, we’ll look at how to write flash that transcends the ordinary. We’ll write to fun, inspiring prompts and we’ll also do a revision exercise aimed at deepening the work. Students can expect to come away from this session with at least one new story and lots of new tools for crafting and revision. Feel free to bring an existing draft to work on as well!
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    Flash Fiction Festival Three Anthologies have landed!

    Flash Fiction Festival Three, the anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction and containing stories from 82 of the participants and presenters who came to the 2019 Festival in Bristol has been arriving all over the world. Thanks to all writers who have posted pictures of their copies in different locations on Twitter and Facebook. We think we have collected up most of them so far. But if we have missed you, or you want to add yours, please let us know. Booking for this year’s festival is open and about half the places are now sold. The programme includes workshops from well known flash fiction teachers and writers from the UK, Ireland, the USA, Italy, Germany and Cyprus. The programme and the workshop details will be finalised soon. We hope you can come. All participants coming in 2020 have the opportunity to be published in our fourth festival anthology.

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    Flash Fiction Festival Three Published Now!

    Thank you to Ad Hoc Fiction for donating the costs of compiling, designing and printing our third festival anthology, which is available to buy now from the Ad Hoc Fiction online bookshop.

    Did you know we are using the colours of the rainbow for our festival anthologies? Red, orange and now yellow. You’ll be able to build up a row of the whole rainbow spectrum on your bookshelves. And after the violet edition has been published, well we don’t know yet. A lot can happen in four years and who knows what the festival will have evolved into by then.

    This year, as usual, we gave Flash Fiction Festival participants and presenters the opportunity to submit up to three micro fictions for the third festival anthology and our editing team, Jude Higgins, Santino Prinzi and Diane Simmons had the exciting task of selecting the stories. The 2019 Festival Anthology contains 82 brilliantly varied micros of 250 words or under on all subjects and themes by authors from all parts of the UK, Ireland, the USA, New Zealand, Austria Cyprus and Switzerland and many were sparked off by festival workshops. All contributors will get their free copy shortly. Read in Full

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    Picture Gallery, Flash Fiction Festival 2019

    We are so sad to have had to cancel the 2020 Flash Fiction which was due to take place on the midsummer weekend in June this year. But a good thing! For the second year running the festival is shortlisted in the Saboteur Awards Best Literary Festival category. Thanks very much to all who voted. The festival, quite small as festivals go (about 120 participants) in a weekend package (like Glastonbury as some people said) was so much fun last year, and we hope to run it again in June 2021 with more or less the same programme. Most of the presenters said they could come and lead the same workshops on all angles of flash fiction. And here’s a picture of our Festival Director Jude Higgins showcasing all our Festival anthologies with an outfit colour co-ordinated with the books.

    To get an idea of all the fun, do look through this gallery and also the videos linked. And if you want to give us your support in a further vote, we would love that very much.

    Lots of pictures here to give the atmosphere of the 2019 Festival! And do look at the ‘Flash Cab’ videos made by the Smokelong Quarterly Crew at the Flash Fiction Festival. They are very funny and you get to hear some flash

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