Winners of Great FlashFiction Festival Throwdown, February


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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At the in-person flash fiction festival, Friday 14th to Sunday 16th July, 2022 in Bristol, UK, we’re selling raffle tickets at £1.00 each, with all proceeds going to The Trussell Trust.

Here is our list of prizes!

  • Hall and Woodhouse, who have generously supported us at previous festivals, are donating a £200 voucher towards an overnight stay at one of their hotels.

Lots of Books in the Raffle

    Co-Festival Director, Diane Simmons is offering her flash fiction collection Finding A Way, and her Novella-in-Flash, An Inheritance.

    Nancy Stohlman is offering a copy of her incredibly useful flash fiction guide book, ‘Going Short’,published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2021.

  • Two free places at one of the next online Flash Fiction festivals to be scheduled in the Autumn. Dates arranged soon. Worth £30 each for a whole day of flash fiction.

  • A free year-long membership with the amazing Writer’s HQ
    Writers’ HQ is an online creative writing school for ‘badass writers with no time or money’ that offers a huge catalogue of online writing courses, webinars, workshops and resources, along with our flashtastic free weekly Flash Face Off challenge. We also happen to have the very best writing community in town to help you find your literary home and develop your writing with a team of friendly cheerleaders!
    Find out more at or throw us a gif @writers_hq on Twitter.

Anita Carpenter, who runs Flash Cabin is offering a year’s worth of Art & Flash sessions

The Propelling Pencil is offering 1 x critique of stories up to 500 words and
1 x voucher redeemable against any upcoming workshop

A voucher for 50% off creative coaching from the Story Road (Audrey Niven)

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Pokrass Prize 2024

Meg Pokrass

One of our flash fiction festival founders, acclaimed writer and teacher,Meg Pokrass has again set a writing challenge for all festival participants and will judge the winners. Another one of her trade-mark “Pokrass Prompts”. Read the winners from the 2023 Pokrass prize.The stories are now also published in Flash Fiction festival, Vol 6.

Everyone who is coming to the in-person flash fiction festival 12-14th July (including workshop leaders and volunteers has a free entry to the contest. The challenge is to write a up to 400 word micro inspired by the picture and Meg’s instructions below.

All entries to be sent as a Word docx file if possible, with the title of the flash as the subject line of the email and no identifying marks on the piece, to story (at)flashfictionfestival (dot) comby 21st June,2024.
Results will be announced during the festival weekend.

Prizes are £50 for the first prize winner, plus two Ad Hoc Fiction published books, three entries to Bath Flash Fiction Award, publication on this website and also in Flash Fiction Festival Vol 7, out at the end of this year. Two runners up receive a book, 3 BFFA entries and publication.

Here’s the prompt:

Write a story about a family who may have lived in this house (photograph by Louella Lester) at one time (or still lives there now). See if you can include shades in the story of light and dark. Try to use one or more of the following prompt words:
glasses, greyish, trick, lamplight, dank, firefly

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Pre-fest workshop with Kathy Fish

Kathy Fish


How Did They Do It? Master Moves in Flash Fiction: with Kathy Fish Friday 12th July, 2.00 – 5.00 pm

NB: This workshop is NOT ONLINE. It is an in-person extra to the the main festival workshops. It is also open to those who are not coming to the rest of the weekend. Workshop cost: £50.00 GBP

STOP PRESS (27th April) SOLD OUT. Contact jude (at) flashfictionfestival (dot) com to
to go on a waiting list.

Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. –William Faulkner

Kathy says:
I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of reading an exquisite flash story, one that leaves us deeply moved and in awe of its craftsmanship and artistry, only to ask ourselves, “how on earth did they do it?” This highly interactive and generative three-hour session is aimed at discussing and dissecting some of the very best flash fiction published in the past fifty years. We’ll look especially at style, emotional resonance, subtext, language, character development, voice, and innovation. In the spirit of growing our own art, we’ll tease apart and identify the craft moves of the masters. Then, inspired and energized, we will write to prompts designed to unlock our own unique genius. Expect to come away with newfound appreciation and understanding of what flash fiction can do, along with two fresh drafts you’ll feel good about.

Kathy Fish has published five collections of short fiction, most recently Wild Life: Collected Works from 2003-2018. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Copper Nickel, Washington Square Review, and numerous other journals, textbooks, and anthologies. Fish’s “Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild,” was selected for Best American Non-required Reading 2018 and the current edition of The Norton Reader. Her newsletter, The Art of Flash Fiction, provides monthly craft articles and writing prompts and is free to all. Subscribe here:

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Friday Paella!

You are welcome to arrive from 1.00 pm onwards on Friday 12th July for the in-person flash fiction festival, 12th -14th July at Trinity College, Bristol.

What’s happening on Friday afternoon this year?

From 2.00 pm – 5.00 pm another fantastic three hour pre-fest workshop by acclaimed teacher and writer from the US, Kathy Fish. Open to festival participants and those who can’t make the whole weekend (£50) This workshop is now sold out.

Cole Beauchamp at paella stall in 2023

We have arranged for Luciano from in Bristol/Portishead to come and cook fresh paella for us again. Advanced booking for this is now closed (19th June) I will ask Luciano to make a few extra if any latecomers want one. Vegan paella, £12.00. Chicken paella £14. (both Gluten Free). Contact us asap if you would like one of these

There is no other catering on Friday afternoon, but you can also bring a picnic to eat in the extensive grounds. The bar will be open and free coffee and tea is available (please bring your own re-usuable mug) Thanks.

Other Friday Events:

Bar (run by Trinity College)

Karaoke ready to go in 2019

Badger’s Pouch, the bar, will be open from 2.00 pm
After the Friday evening readings and mini-book launches, Karaoke entertainment will be available from 8.30 pm in the bar, organised by Helen Rye and Christopher Allen. Chill out room for quiet chats also available.
The festival bookshop will be open from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm in the Tyndall’s room, by Reception in the main building. There will also be a meet and greet session for newcomers in the bookshop and also the bar.
Official Welcome, Flash fiction readings and mini book launches 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm in Dining Room.

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Accommodation options

Outside Trinity College

Team member Sara Hills is helping with accommodation queries.

The 2024 flash fiction festival will be held at Trinity College, a Theological College, in the Stoke Bishop area of Bristol. There will be some single budget bnb (basic breakfast) rooms at Trinity College to book as part of the festival package plus 20 camping spots with facilities in the grassy area in front of the college.

For the festival weekend Friday and Saturday nights (and Thursday and Sunday nights if people want them) we have also again blocked book rooms for the festival place/accommodation package at Churchill Hall, a Bristol University Residence only a few minutes walk away from the college, in a lovely setting opposite the Bristol Botanical Gardens. You can see Churchill Hall and its proximity to Trinity on our location map on the menu.

The rooms are bnb (continental breakfast). An example of one is pictured below, along with a picture of the hall and an area of the shared bathroom. They are quite spacious and for single occupancy only. You can book a festival place with accommodation now It may also be possible to book Thursday night at Churchill Hall. Contact us if you are interested in an extra night on Thursday. 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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