The Great Festival Flash-Off Results – August

photo by Serge Van Neck on Unsplash

Thank you to everyone who entered the writing challenges for the August Great Festival Flash-Off, the last day of our first series. (check out our new festival series beginning Oct 30th). In August, the challenges were set by judge duo, writers and editors, Ingrid Jendzrejewski and Neil Clark. Thank you very much to them for their brilliant prompts and for judging all the stories which were sent to them blind. The prompts from all the judges will be included in our fourth Flash Fiction Festival Anthology. The first three anthologies were published after the yearly face-to-face Festivals and it is wonderful to be able to publish a new one containing all the competition winners, runner-ups and other stories from judges, presenters, Cup Cake Contest Winners and a selection of stories submitted by participants, prompted by workshops from the festival days.

Three books, red, orange and yello with Flash Fiction Festival written on the cover

first 3 anthologies

Prizes for The Challenges
As well as anthology publication, the winners of the Signature, Technical and Showstopper challenges receive a copy of an anthology of flash fiction published by Ad Hoc Fction; a free entry to Bath Flash Fiction Award; a flash fiction festival tote bag and two free sessions on the weekly Tuesday flash fiction sessions run by Jude Higgins.. In addition the winners will be entered into our winner of winners prizes to be announced by the end of this month. Cash prize of £50 for each category.
Our judges this month also chose runners up and we are very happy to offer the writers publication in the anthology.


The winner of the Signature challenge is Andrea Harman for her story ‘The Lake’.
(Bio coming soon).
About the Signature challenge in general, our judge Neil Clark commented: “This was a really tough choice, with three of four very strong candidates”
He said this of Andrea’s story:
“I admired the writer’s confidence in telling this story in such a simple but chillingly effective mway. I love how the reader knows from the start that the blissful isolation being described is going to count against our protagonist by the end.”

For his runner up, Neil chose The Week of Winter Butterflies by Jan Kaneen. (Jan’s bio is below with her Showstopper win!).
He commented: “‘The Week of Winter Butterflies’ builds up the tension perfectly for me, and rewards repeated readings. There was loads of beautiful imagery that I kept going back to in this story. I especially loved the line her wings a canvas of yesterday’s sunsets.

The Winner of the Technical Challenge is Finnian Burnett for their story ‘How to be a Man’.
Finnian Burnett is a flash fiction addict with publications in Black Hare Press, Flash Fiction Magazine, and more. They’ve published several books under their former name, Beth Burnett. Finn teaches undergrad English and creative writing in an MFA program. They’re also a doctoral student at Murray State University. In their spare time, Finn watches a lot of Star Trek and takes their cat for walks in a stroller.Finn lives in British Columbia with their wife and Lord Gordo, the cat.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

About the technical challenge, our judge Ingrid Jendrzejewski made the following general comments:

“Of all my competition judging, this was one of the most fun I’ve ever read! Thanks to everyone who sent in a recipe. One thing I found interesting was how one particular theme came up multiple times: so many of the stories addressed gender, and especially gender stereotypes and/or characters coming to terms with their gender identities. I’m curious whether the recipe form somehow prompted this (since recipes are still often associated with traditional female homemaking roles, so have some ‘baked in’ gender resonances). Or perhaps we’re all in a more introspective mode after less social contact for the past year and a half. But whatever the reason, I was really interesting to see how different authors tackled this theme in different ways, as well as the different approaches authors had to using the recipe format.”

Ingrid said this of Finnian’s story: ” I think one of the biggest challenges of this form is to weave a hint of a narrative into the recipe — to take it beyond a how-to or a description. This piece chose to condense quite an epic journey into a short space, deftly weaving glimpses of story into the recipe format.”

For her runner up, Ingrid chose ‘Green Chicken Curry’ by Anita Goveas
Anita Goveas is British-Asian, London-based, and fuelled by strong coffee and paneer jalfrezi. She was first published in the 2016 London Short Story Prize anthology, most recently in Little Fiction and Gone Lawn. She’s on the editorial team at Flashback Fiction, an editor at Mythic Picnic’s Twitter zine, and tweets erratically @coffeeandpaneer Her debut flash collection, Families and other natural disasters, is available from Reflex Press, and links to her stories are at

Ingrid commented: “This piece didn’t fit the brief as exactly as some of the others, but I’m glad it did its own thing; it’s a beautifully crafted piece and oh-so-moving…an absolutely gorgeous piece of writing. The recipe in the title is food-related, but I feel justified in keeping this in the running because I felt there was another recipe at the story’s heart — one centering around the relationships of the main character. The decisions she is making regarding her relations are intimately connected to the titular dish.”

The Winner of The Showstopper Challenge is ‘Time, Numbers and Other Emotionally Challenging Sequential Progressions’ by Jan Kaneen. Jan Kaneen’s short fiction has won prizes in places like Segora, Molotov Cocktail, Retreat West and Bath Flash, and has been published widely in places like The Fish Anthology, Comma Press’s Dinesh Allirajah Prize Anthology and Aesthetica. She has stories forthcoming in Flash: The International Sort Short Story Magazine, Retreat West’s The Weight of Feathers and Molotov Cocktail’s winner’s anthology and her debut Memoir-in-flash The Naming of Bones is published by Retreat West and available here

Ingrid and Neil judged the Showstopper jointly. The challenge was to cut down a longer story to a much shorter piece. They said writers could send in their longer version to show what they did. They commented “A lot of entries included the longer versions alongside, and we both felt that most of those condensed re-writes were significantly stronger than the originals.”

Of the winning piece by Jan Kaneen they said: ” This piece was a great example of a re-write. The brevity and clever use of subtitles hinted at fractions of relatable memories, and we loved the solidly-landed ending.”

For their runner up they chose ‘Spot the Bug’ by Deb Tomkins bio coming soon).

This little piece told a big story and navigated well-worn territory (the end of a relationship) with a novel freshness. Once again, we thought the piece benefitted massively from being condensed down; by presenting us with little glimpses of the father’s issues and the impact on the rest of the family, the reader was left the pleasing task of filling in the gaps. As with several of the other stories, this shortened form stripped a lot of the ‘tell’ from the original, leaving behind the most interesting ‘show’.

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