The Pokrass Prize

Meg Pokrass

Our Flash Fiction Festival Curator, acclaimed writer and teacher, Meg Pokrass is unable to come to the festival in July, this year, but we’re delighted she has offered a writing challenge for all festival participants, one of her trade-mark “Pokrass Prompts”. Meg will be judging the submissions for this contest, named after her.

Everyone who has booked for the in-person flash fiction festival in July, gains a free entry to the contest. The challenge is to write a 150 word micro inspired by the prompt, the words and the image and send to story{at}flashfictionfestival{dot}com by midsummer’s day, Tuesday June 21st. (attaching your document to the email in docx preferably, with Pokrass Prize in the email subject line).

Results will be announced at the festival.

The first prize winner will win £50, a copy of Alligators at Night, one of Meg’s flash fiction collections, a Flash Fiction Festival Anthology, three free entries to Bath Flash Fiction Award and publication in the fifth Flash Fiction Festival anthology.

Two Runners-Up will receive a copy of Alligators at Night, a Flash Fiction Festival Anthology, three free entries to Bath Flash Fiction Award and publication in the fifth Flash Fiction Festival Anthology. Read in Full

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Book for 3 hour pre-festival Workshop with Kathy Fish

The three hour workshop with Kathy Fish from 2.00 – 5.00 pm Friday 8th July at Trinity College is now SOLD OUT

Kathy Fish


Let’s begin with the premise that flash fiction is its own unique and fluid literary form. Faced with the challenge of creating within limited word counts, you, the flash writer must draw on every available writerly tool and even invent some of your own. As art begets art, this lab will have us writing in conversation with other forms of creative expression. Join me for a lively three-part session where we will draw inspiration from music, art, and poetry. Come prepared for a fully immersive and energizing interactive experience. Expect to leave with three fresh drafts of surprising depth, beauty, and complexity.

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Friday at the Festival

You are welcome to arrive from 2.00 pm onwards on Friday 8th July for the in-person flash fiction festival at Trinity College, Bristol. There are also some extra places now available on the pre festival three hour workshop with Kathy Fish which is taking place from 2.00 pm – 5.00 pm. This is also open for those not attending the rest of the festival weekend. (If you need help with booking accommodation or have dietary requests, please contact us. And check out the list of accommodations.

Friday Meals

You can bring a picnic or order a Teatime Box from our excellent Bristol-based caterer, Campbell’s Kitchen if you are coming early or want to pick one up later.

£8.50. Order via Paypal .

Tea Time Boxes: Tarts with pesto, olives, and cherry tomatoes Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Garden Salad.Chocolate Brownie.
(Suitable for vegans. Please contact Hospitality Director, Diane Simmons diane (at)flashfictionfestival (dot com, if you woud like a gluten-free option)

Campbells Kitchen delivering

Read in Full

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Accommodation Options for Weekend Festival 8-10th July 2022

Outside Trinity College

This year’s flash fiction festival will be held at Trinity College, a Theological Colllege, in the Stoke Bishop area of Bristol. The limited number of rooms at Trinity is now sold out,but Hospitality Director, Diane Simmons, has compiled this extensive list of accommodation options within Bristol. Read in Full

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January 8th Flash Fiction Festival ‘Throwdown’ Winners

For the New Year, there were two contests for the Great Flash Fiction Festival Throwdown challenges on January 8th. Thank you to Electra Rhodes and Karen Jones for setting the challenges and judging the entries. Electra’s writing challenge was based on the painting ‘Starry Night’ by Vincent Van Gogh and Karen’s was based on Claude Monet’s ‘The Poppy Field’. Mugs, shown in the stack here, featuring these paintings, form part of the winners prize and both our judges created great prompts. Our winners also receive £30 cash and publication and two runners-up a book from Ad Hoc Fiction plus publication in the Flash Fiction Festival Anthology due out soon.

Electra and Karen have now chosen their winners
Electra said:

photo by Serge Van Neck on Unsplash

“It was a pleasure to read this collation of stories and to pay them all some thorough attention. There was lots of rich and evocative language, some delicious description, and some clever characterisation. I really enjoyed reading them aloud to see how they sounded and landed. Thank you for making it so hard to choose.

In the end I plumped for one where I liked the way the piece accreted new layers throughout, and built and built and built. The language was clean and the characters effectively drawn in few words, and it was laced with a melancholy and regret which was subtly done but which stayed with me afterwards. So ‘The Lost Man in Van Gogh’s Starry Night’ is the winner”
(This story was written by Marzia Rahman from Bangladesh.
Marzia Rahman is a Bangladeshi fiction writer and translator of short stories and poetry. Her short fictions have appeared in many magazines and journals worldwide. Her novella in flash, Life on the Edges, was longlisted in the Bath Novella in Flash Award in 2018. She is also a painter.

“The runner-up is the one that made me laugh, I’m a bit of a sobersides and I went into the reading of all the entries ready to experience a range of emotions but without an expectation I’d find something I thought really funny. I admit it’s quite a dark humour and I’m not entirely sure whether or not it’s an unreliable narrator telling a tall tale, or what exactly did or didn’t happen, but, again, the story stayed with me afterwards. I admit too, to being a bit of a sucker for punny titles so, ‘Poetic Justice’ is my runner-up.”
(This story was written by Marie Gethins from Ireland)
Marie Gethins’ flash fiction is widely published in magazines and journals and she has won or been placed in many short fiction awards. Marie is a Pushcart and Best of the Short Fictions nominee and an editor for Splonk literary magazine in Ireland.

Karen said:

photo by Corina-ardeleanu-sWlxCweDzzs-unsplash-1

The stories for the prompt were amazing – I really struggled to choose a winner and runner up.

First place: ‘Restoration’ a great take on the prompt and I loved the way the sections slotted together, just like the bowl in the story. The use of colours was beautifully done.
(This story was written by Corrine Leith from the UK)
Corrine Leith lives in rural England with a cat, a dog and two ponies. She writes a mix of flash fiction, poetry and children’s stories which have been published in print and online. She is a previous winner of The Potteries Prize for Flash Fiction and was runner-up in the latest annual Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition.

Runner up: ‘I See Red’. Using different shades of this colour was a perfect way to tell this story. The anger and hurt builds through the sections and I felt I could really see and feel everything the mc went through.
(This story was written by Sudha Balagopal from the US)
Sudha Balagopal’s short fiction has been published in journals around the world, has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fiction and will be included in Best Micro Fictions in 2022. Her novella in flash, Things I Can’t Tell Amma was highly commended in the 2021 Bath Flash Fiction Award and published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2021. When she’s not writing, she’s teaching yoga.

Many congratulations to all four writers! We’re looking forward to seeing them all in print in Flash Fiction Festival Anthology Vol Four.

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Winners from the November Great Flash Fiction Festival Throw Down Contest

Photo by Billy Huynh, Unsplash

We’re delighted that Sara Hills, an award winning writer and editor based in the UK who won the Winner of Winners with her story ‘Blue’ for the Showstopper Challenge in our Spring and Summer series of flash fiction festival days agreed to judge the November ‘Throwdown’ Challenge.

Sara based her prompt on the well-known picture ‘The Kiss’ by Gustav Klimt’ and following Sara’s excellent instructions, entrants were asked to write a story involving a kiss of some sort. Read in Full

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Winner of The Great Flash Fiction Festival Throwdown, October contest

Participants at the first of the new series of flash fiction festival days in October had the opportunity to take part in a mini flash fiction contest. Our contests for this round of the five day series are inspired by the British TV show – The Great Pottery Throwdown. It is renowned for one of the judges, who is moved to tears by the wonderful creations the amateur potters make. Read more on our post about the contest.

We are giving away mugs and a £30 cash prize plus publication for a winning story each month plus a book giveaway from Ad Hoc Fiction for the runner up. We ask people to write stories that make an emotional impact.

Our first judge from the October festival day was Diane Simmons who based her prompt on a mug featuring Van Gogh’s sunflowers. She selected ‘Inside My Father’s Head’ by UK writer Ali McGrane. Ali McGrane won one of the Signature contests in our last series with her story ‘This is Not A Story About A Rainstick’ and was selected The Winner of Winners of the Signature Challenge for the same story by our judge team at the end of the series. Many congratulations to Ali who co-incidentally will also have her novella in flash The Listening Project up on preorder with Ad Hoc Fiction later this week. The Listening Project was shortlisted by Michelle Elvy in the Bath Novella in Flash Award in 2020.
Ali McGrane lives and writes between the sea and the moor. Her work has appeared in anthologies and online, including Ellipsis Zine, FlashBack Fiction, Janus Literary, Splonk, and on shortlists including the Bath Flash Fiction Award. Her Bath shortlisted flash novella, The Listening Project, is forthcoming from Ad Hoc Fiction Find her on Twitter: @Ali_McGrane_UK. Read in Full

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Flash-Off Festival Challenges: Winners of Winners !

Photo by Billy Huynh, Unsplash

For those of you in the know, in our last series of Festival Days, March to August this year, we cloned the TV show,The Great British Bake Off and, instead of baking tasks, different judge duos gave festival participants the tasks of writing flash fictions to signature, technical and showstopper challenges.

Monthly judges duos were:Diane Simmons and Robert Barrett; Karen Jones and Tim Craig; Damhnait Monaghan and Alison Woodhouse; Ken Elkes and Helen Rye;, Jeanette Sheppard and Matt Kendrick and Ingrid Jendrzejewski and Neil Clark. These judges chose winners for each challenge. And eight of them kindly agreed to vote for their winner and winners for each category.Each winner receives £50 in cash. Stories were neck and neck in the points scored, but we did end up with three clear winners.

So, many congratulations to Ali McGrane who was voted winner of winners in the Signature Challenge for her story ‘This is Not a Story About a Rainstick’; Rosaleen Lynch was voted winner of winners in the Technical Challenge for her story with ‘Recipe for Sustenance to avoid the end of the world as we know it, served with fresh roles’ and Sara Hills who won winner of winners in the Showstopper Challenge for her story ‘Blue’. Read in Full

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The Great Festival Cupcake Contest Results!

photo by vy huynh on Unsplash

Thank you very much to everyone who entered The Great Festival Cupcake Contest. Entrants were asked to write a 150 word Hermit Crab Story in the style of a recipe for a cupcake. This challenge was related to the theme of our last series of flash fiction festival days, The Great Festival Flash-Off. The series was partly inspired by writer, teacher and editor Nancy Stohlman’s fun definition of flash fiction as the ‘cupcake of literature’, in an interview with her at Smokelong Quarterly,and the reality TV show The Great British Bake Off. The cupcake contest was an extra mini competition open to the public, not just those who came to the festival days.

We had forty entries in all, which we thought was a good result for the challenge of writing a hermit crab micro so short on a the very exacting subject! Half the money raised from the entry cost of £5.00 goes to the winner and half to the Huntington’s Disease Association Charity. The festival has covered paypal charges to round up the funds received to £200.
and we are delighted to give the winner £100 and £100 to the charity.

The runner up receives books from Ad Hoc Fiction, a flash fiction festival tote bag and a free entry to Bath Flash Fiction Award. And the other three writers writer and co-director of Flash Fiction Festivals UK, Diane Simmons, selected for her top five have been offered publication in the festival anthology and will receive a free copy.

Our thanks to Diane for judging this competition. She read all the micros blind and said she greatly enjoyed the variety of recipe stories served up and was impressed with how people managed to use this structure. Her comments on her top five stories are below and bios of the writers are coming soon. Read in Full

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