Our First Flash-Off Winners!

Photo by tuva-mathilde-loland, Unsplash

Diane Simmons and Robert Barrett were our Great Festival Flash-Off judges on the first festival day, March 27th. They set three writing challenges: The Signature Challenge which Diane judged, The Technical Challenge which Robert judged and The Showstopper which they judged jointly. Writers had one week to complete their stories and we had a substantial amount of entries for each category. Thanks so much to everyone who gave it a go. And thank you very much to our judges for their great prompts and for taking on their own challenge of cloning Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith from The Great British Bake Off (which inspired the three writing tasks). Many congratulations to the winners! Virtual celebratory cake and fireworks for all!

The winners are
Signature winner: Ali McGrane from the UK with her micro, ‘This is not a story about a rainstick’.
Diane commented: “I was immediately drawn into this flash and invested in little Stevie, his rainstick and the relationship with his father. Stevie’s lack of understanding of the adult world is portrayed really well with touches of humour”.

Technical winner: Kate Simblet from the UK with her micro, ‘Dog Shed Tears’.

Robert commented: “This micro has a great opening, is odd and intriguing for obvious reasons and leaves you wondering about this desperate person, all in one hundred words, and with cut-crystal prose.”

Showstopper winner: Kate Campbell, from Ireland with her flashfiction, ‘Breakfast, a real institution’.

Diane and Robert commented:
“I think this story draws you in with it’s attractive structure on the page. You are lulled in by the quotidian nature of the apparent ‘family’ and their breakfast habits, and then you’re exposed to the layers of meaning and the hidden horrors and appetites. The narrative sneaks up on you in a very skilful way and leaves a mark” – Robert Barrett

“This begins with a clever title and carries on using an interesting structure to tell the story. The more I read and re-read it, the more impressed I became.” – Diane Simmons

Each author wins a prize bundle: one copy of a book chosen from the novellas in flash, or anthologies published by Ad Hoc Fiction; a free entry to Bath Flash Fiction Award; a flash festival tote bag and 2 free sessions on Jude Higgins’ Tuesday flash class. Winners will also be entered into our winners of winners cash prizes.

These winning stories will be published in our fourth Festival Anthology which will be published later this year or early next year. (Have a look at a blog about our previous Festival anthologies). All winners from the 6 Flash Off Days will be published in this anthology. And writers who attend any of the days can also submit stories
prompted by any of the workshops to be considered for publication in the anthology. In addition, contributors receive a free paperback copy of the book posted worldwide.

There are still places on all our next five festival days. (The next one on April 24th has just ten places left if you want to come, plus a few free places. Book now

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