Some of the UK’s finest flash fiction writers and teachers are leading events at this year’s UK flash fiction festival. And we’re thrilled that six esteemed flash fiction writers and tutors from the US, Ireland and Germany are also coming to offer workshops. Read about them all here and more about the workshops and talks.
Sculpting Flash Fiction: Tighten that Text! with Nancy StohlmanEditing is the most important part of the writing process. As serious writers, you know it’s through the editing process that we begin to refine and sculpt our messages. But just as writing flash fiction requires a different set of skills, so does editing flash fiction. In this Masterclass you will learn how to achieve some of the the specific needs of flash fiction as I guide participants and volunteers to edit your real works in progress.
Flash Books: Putting it all Together with Nancy Stohlman
So you’ve been writing and editing — now you are thinking about a book. But how do you put it all together? Whether you are an editor designing an anthology or journal, an author attempting a collection, or you are embarking on a flash novel, there are new considerations when you go from the micro to the macro view of a body of work. We will discuss strategies, learn how to avoid pitfalls, and gain new inspiration for how to package flash fiction for the world.
Nancy Stohlman is the author of the flash collection The Vixen Scream and Other Bible Stories (2014), the flash novels The Monster Opera (2013) and Searching for Suzi: a flash novel (2009), and three anthologies of flash fiction including Fast Forward: The Mix Tape (2010), which was a finalist for a 2011 Colorado Book Award. She is the creator and curator of The Fbomb Flash Fiction Reading Series, the creator of FlashNano in November, a founding member of Fast Forward Press, and her work has been published in over 100 journals and anthologies including the forthcoming Norton anthology New Microfictions (2018). She lives in Denver and teaches at the University of Colorado Boulder. Find out more at nancystohlman.com.
The Weird and Wonderful World of Flash with Vanessa GebbieThink the world as seen through the eyes of Etgar Keret, or Tania Hershman. Think stories by Adam Marek, but shorter. Think the poems of e e cummings but longer. And not a poem. Or maybe.
In a weird flash, you can do anything, be anyone, anyhow, anywhere, dance about in your new gear and be gone before anyone has time to say, ‘Hang on…’
In a weird flash you don’t follow the rules, you make them. So long as the world keeps turning, it’s OK. And that, THAT, is the key.
To find said key, bring: One pencil. One notepad. One open mind. Your sense of wonder. Your gigglebox.
See you there. 🙂
Vanessa has won multiple awards for both prose and poetry, including a Bridport Prize and the Troubadour. Her flash publications include Ed’s Wife and Other Creatures (Liquorice Fish Books) and the forthcoming weird/irreal collection Nothing to Worry About (Flash: The International Short Short Story Press at Chester University) as well as many individual publications online and in print. She is author of three short story collections (with Salt and Cultured Llama), a novel (Bloomsbury), and two poetry publications (Pighog and Cultured Llama). She is also commissioning and contributing editor of Short Circuit, Guide to the Art of the Short Story (Salt). She teaches widely.
Do You Have Something to Say? With Christopher AllenBest suited for writers who are relatively new to the form. This workshop will challenge participants to (re)consider why they write and also to (re)discover new directions for their writing. Roxane Gay once said — and I’m paraphrasing — that it’s better to have a couple of great stories out there than hundreds of mediocre ones. These days, that one great story can earn hundreds, even thousands of pounds in a competition.
The concept of this workshop is generative. In groups the participants will discuss the topics they’re passionate about and the stories they’ve always needed to tell and give one another specific feedback and suggestions. I’ll facilitate this by introducing topics for feedback.
Finally, we’ll discuss why often these stories are the hardest to get right.
How does Smoke Long Quarterly work? With Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen, Managing Editor of this iconic online US flash fiction magazine which was launched in 2003, will explain how the Smoke Long team select stories and using anonymised story examples, will discuss what distinguishes a good flash fiction from a good short story.
Christopher Allen is the managing editor at SmokeLong Quarterly and a consulting editor for The Best Small Fictions 2018. Allen is the author of the flash fiction collection Other Household Toxins (Matter Press). His brief fiction has appeared in [PANK], Indiana Review, Jellyfish Review and over one hundred other journals and anthologies. His work has garnered acclaim from Glimmer Train, Literal Latté, Indiana Review, Gertrude Press and more. Allen lives in Germany.
Submitting to Flash: The International Short Story Magazine with Ashley Chantler and Peter BlairA repeat of the popular talk given at the 2017 festival.Tips from the editors of the long established and leading flash fiction journal Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine. The editors will discuss subject matter, stories that work and don’t work, titles; clichés; the danger of silliness; following guidelines; writing a covering email.
Ashley Chantler is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Chester, where he is also programme leader of MA Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction.
With Peter Blair, he is director of the International Flash Fiction Association (IFFA), and editor of the IFFA’s Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine and Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press. The Press’s publications include David Swann’s Stronger Faster Shorter and Meg Tuite’s Lined Up Like Scars.
Ashley’s other flash-related publications include the essay ‘Notes Towards the Definition of the Short-Short Story’ and the SmokeLong Quarterly article ‘Why Flash Fiction? Because of a Parrot and a Porn Star, Of Course’. His flashes have appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies, and he is currently working on a collection provisionally titled Cutting Away.
Readings from Funny Bone: Flashing for Comic Relief with Peter Blair and Ashley ChantlerFunny Bone is an anthology of 60 flashes by 60 sixty of the world’s leading flashers. Wry, off-beat, quirky, naughty, witty, absurd, dark, droll, deadpan, dry; comedies of errors, manners, embarrassments; repartee, satire, slapstick, farce. It is edited by Peter Blair and Ashley Chantler (University of Chester). Profits from sales go to Comic Relief. Copies will be available to buy.
Readers will include the publishers, Peter Blair and Ashley Chantler and contributors Sarah-Clare Conlon, David Gaffney, Vanessa Gebbie, Calum Kerr, Michael Loveday, Nuala O’Connor, Meg Pokrass, and Nancy Stohlman.
Flashpoint South Africa: From ‘spectacular’ to extraordinary ‘ordinary’ with Peter Blair
Peter Blair will introduce some fascinating flashes from contemporary South Africa, exploring how they refract the ‘spectacular’ legacy of apartheid, rediscover the ‘ordinary’, and reflect the country’s new, extraordinary ordinary.
Peter Blair is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Chester, where he is also programme leader of the MA Modern and Contemporary Fiction and teaches on the MA Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction.
With Ashley Chantler, he is director of the International Flash Fiction Association (IFFA), and editor of the IFFA’s Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine and Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press. The Press’s publications include David Swann’s Stronger Faster Shorter and Meg Tuite’s Lined Up Like Scars.
Peter’s stories and poems have been runners-up in the Bridport Prize, the Fish Prize, and the Bath Flash Fiction Award. His critical publications include essays, reviews, and interviews on South African literature and on flash fiction, including the ‘Flash Fiction’ article in the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2016 (Bloomsbury) and an article on South African flash fiction is forthcoming in The Journal of Commonwealth Literature.
Short and Weird with Calum KerrFlash fiction is a flexible form, but what happens when it meets the weird, the way out, or is just plain terrifying? In this workshop, Calum Kerr will take you to dark and alien spaces, while you investigate writing speculative flash fictions.
Dr. Calum Kerr is a writer, Director of National Flash Fiction Day, UK, Managing Editor of Gumbo Press, freelance editor and academic. His flash fiction collections include Braking Distance (Salt Publishing, 2012) Lost Property (Cinder House 2013) and Apocalypse, The Audacious Adventuress, The Grandmaster and the Lunch Hour (Gumbo Press, 2014) calumkerr.co.uk
Turn Dreams Into Flash Fictions with Jude HigginsBefore she wrote fiction and organised writing events, Festival Director, Jude Higgins was a senior UKCP registered Gestalt Psychotherapist, trainer and supervisor for many years and ran numerous dream groups. In this workshop she will introduce several different ways to turn your dreams into fiction. Bring a dream fragment – one you had the night before or one you can’t forget.
Jude is a writer and writing tutor and has been published in the New Flash Fiction Review, Flash Frontier, The Blue Fifth Review, The Nottingham Review, Inktears, the Fish Prize Anthology and National Flash Fiction Day Anthologies, among other places. She has won or been placed in many flash fiction contests and was shortlisted in the Bridport Flash Fiction Prize in 2017. Her debut flash fiction pamphlet The Chemist’s House was published by V.Press in 2017. She founded Bath Flash Fiction Award in 2015 and directs the Flash Fiction Festival, UK.
Writing Funny Fiction with Meg Pokrass and Jude Higgins
Come and try out some different ways to introduce humour into your fiction. Funny character observations and actions, irony, surreal moments, timing, pace and odd linguistic connections, all contribute to stories that make you laugh. We’ll introduce exercises and prompts, look at examples and you’ll have some fun writing. Suitable for beginners and experienced writers.
The Novella-in-flash with Meg Pokrass and Jude HigginsHow is the novella-in-flash is different from a standard ‘novella’? We’ll look at examples of this exciting form and discuss how a series of individual ‘stand-alone’ flash fictions can make up an effective longer piece with a larger narrative arc. We’ll help you pinpoint repetitive themes in the single flash fictions you write, and get you to generate ways in which these themes can be explored in a novella. You’ll come away with an idea for a novella and a draft of a fiction that could form one of its ‘chapters’.
Meg Pokrass is the author of four collections of flash fiction, and one award-winning collection of prose poetry, Cellulose Pajamas which received the Bluelight Book Award in 2016. Her stories and poems have been widely published and anthologized in two Norton Anthologies: Flash Fiction International and the forthcoming New Microfiction and her novella-in-flash, Here Where We Live, is published in My Very End of the Universe the Rose Metal Press Guide to the form. A new flash fiction collection is forthcoming in 2018. She is the founder of New Flash Fiction Review and co-founder of San Francisco’s Flash Fiction Collective reading series. Currently, she teaches online flash fiction workshops and is judge for the Bath Flash Fiction Award, Novella-in-Flash competition.
Make It Sing: Finding Your Voice In Flash Fiction with KM ElkesVoice is the key to great flash fiction. Not just authorial voice, but the voice of the piece, it’s tone, language and diction. Voice carries the opening of a story, it seduces the reader, lifts dialogue and gives the ending its impact. This workshop uses writing exercises and discussion to help you develop a stronger, more unique voice in your work that will hold the reader from beginning to end.
KM Elkes is an award-winning short fiction writer and editor from the West Country, UK. His flash fiction successes include winning the Fish Publishing Flash prize and the Triskele Books prize as well as winning or being placed in a number of international competitions, including the Bridport prize. His work has been broadcast on BBC Radio and appeared in more than 20 anthologies as well as many literary journals and e-zines. His short fiction has also featured on the school curriculum in the USA and Hong Kong. He is a Best Small Fictions Nominee 2018 and is a co-editor of the A3 Review magazine. He has also been guest editor of Flash Frontier in New Zealand.
Sawn-off tales with David GaffneyCan you tell a story in less than 500 words? David Gaffney thinks you can, and in this workshop you will learn how to reduce ideas to an ultra-short format – how to condense while keeping your story effective, powerful and easy to understand, how to manage character, description, point of view and dialogue, and how to reduce a thousand words to 150 without losing a thing. Full of practical, fun exercises, this session will leave you wondering why anything has to be longer than a side of A4. For those of you who have attended before, please note that all example stories used in this session will be different from last time.
David Gaffney lives in Manchester, UK. He is the author of the novel Never Never (2008) plus the flash fiction and short story collection Sawn-Off Tales (2006), Aromabingo (2007), The Half Life of Songs (2010) and More Sawn-Off Tales (2013). The Guardian said ‘One hundred and fifty words by Gaffney are more worthwhile than novels by a good many others.’ He has written articles for The Guardian, Sunday Times, Financial Times and Prospect Magazine and was judge for the 2015 Bridport Prize. His story ‘The Staring Man’ is featured in the 2016 collection Best British Short Stories, his new novel, All The Places I’ve Ever Lived came out in February 2017 on Urbane and his graphic novel with Dan Berry, The Three Rooms in Valerie’s head is out now with Top Shelf. See David’s website for more.
David Gaffney in Conversation
With Dr Ashley Chantler (University of Chester), who is writing an essay about ‘Gaffneyland’. Among other things, Gaffney will be asked about intentionality, ambiguity, and his use of unhealthy foodstuffs.
Prose Poetry with Carrie EtterAn Introduction to Prose Poetry. What’s prose poetry? How does it differ from flash fiction? Come along to this workshop to read an array of inspiring examples, try your hand at the form, and learn about resources for reading as well as publishing prose poetry.
American expatriate Carrie Etter has published three collections of poetry, most recently Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014), and one pamphlet of flash fictions, Hometown (V. Press, 2016). She has taught at Bath Spa University since 2004, where her module, Sudden Prose: Flash Fiction and Prose Poetry, has been part of the curriculum for the last ten years. Find her on Twitter at @Carrie_Etter or her site carrieetter.com.
Prose Poetry and Flash Fiction with Carrie Etter and Michael LovedayWhat’s the difference between prose poetry and flash fiction? So much has been written about this. A discussion and readings with Carrie Etter and Michael Loveday, who write in both forms plus Q and A.
Michael Loveday’s flash fiction novella Three Men on the Edge, is published by V. Press in summer 2018, and his poetry pamphlet He Said / She Said by HappenStance Press (2011). His writing has appeared in The Spectator; Flash: the International Short-Short Story Magazine; Funny Bone: Flashing for Comic Relief; and the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology 2017. He is a tutor in Adult and Higher Education, a Director of the National Association of Writers in Education and was judge of the inaugural Tongues and Grooves Prose Poem Prize, 2018. He runs a blog for flash fiction, poetry and prose poetry at www.pagechatter.org
Writing People of Colour (PoC) in Short Fiction with Haleh AgarHow can we authentically write PoC in fiction? What are the common mistakes that writers make with characterisation in this context? This workshop focuses on recent debates around writing PoC in fiction. We explore the importance of context as well as our own purpose in writing characters from traditionally marginalised backgrounds. Strategies in avoiding common pitfalls of stereotyping and tokenism are explored. The role of research and sensitivity in readers are also discussed. A useful workshop for writers at any level who are curious about characterisation in relation to writing PoC.
Haleh Agar is an Iranian-Canadian teacher and writer. She has fiction and narrative non-fiction published in a number of magazines and journals including The London Magazine, Mslexia and The National Association of Writers in Education. She has recently won the Brighton Prize for her short fiction piece JELLYFISH as well as the London Magazine Essay Competition for her essay ON WRITING ETHNIC STORIES. Haleh is working on her debut novel which was shortlisted by Penguin Random House for their Write Now programme.
Showcase of V. Press authors with Sarah LeavesleyV. Press publishes poetry and flash fiction. Shortlisted for The Michael Marks Publishers’ Award 2017, V. Press pamphlets and collections feature work that is very distinctive, very itself. Fiction writers include Carrie Etter, Jude Higgins, Charlie Hill, Michael Loveday and Santino Prinzi. The press celebrates its fifth birthday in 2018, expanding from one chapbook in 2013 to nine titles produced in 2017. V. Press is run by Sarah Leavesley, herself an award-winning poet, fiction writer, journalist and photographer. Flash fiction submission windows currently run once a year. Website: vpresspoetry.blogspot.
Inspiration for the short short form with Tim StevensonA talk with examples and Q & A. How do you find those ideas? There may be ways you have never thought about or tried.
Tim Stevenson is an award winning writer of flash and short fiction, and the winner of the National Flash-Fiction Day competition 2014. He has published three volumes of his work, The Book Of Small Changes, On Cleanliness and Other Things and Songs Without Music. He was the Bridport Prize Flash-Fiction Judge for 2016, and has given talks and lectures on Flash and the nature of Ideas to anyone who would listen. He is currently writing his fourth novel.
How To Write A Hybrid Narrative: Beyond ‘Fiction’ and ‘Nonfiction’ with Laurie StoneWe will work to create a narrative voice that speaks directly to the reader, a voice that layers time (I felt then, I feel now), and makes something ordinary seem strange or something strange seem ordinary. We will use techniques borrowed from visual art and film: bricollage, collage, jump cuts, fades, montage, close-ups, long shots, and exploded moments. We’ll work with lists and blocks of text. Everyone will write three short blocks of text in response to three different prompts. Everyone will have a chance to read their complete pieces and receive supportive feedback on their uses of craft and form elements.
Laurie Stone is author most recently of My Life as an Animal, Stories. She was a longtime writer for the Village Voice, theater critic for The Nation, and critic-at-large on Fresh Air. She won the Nona Balakian prize in excellence in criticism from the National Book Critics Circle and has published numerous stories in such publications as Tin House, Evergreen Review, Fence, Open City, Anderbo, The Collagist, New Letters, TriQuarterly, Threepenny Review, and Creative Nonfiction. In 2005, she participated in “Novel: An Installation,” writing a book and living in a house designed by architects Salazar/Davis in the Flux Factory’s gallery space. She has frequently collaborated with composer Gordon Beeferman in text/music works. The world premier of their piece “You, the Weather, a Wolf” was presented in the 2016 season of the St. Urbans concerts. She is at work on The Love of Strangers, a collage of hybrid narratives. Her website is: lauriestonewriter.com.
Historical Flash Fiction with Nuala O’ConnorShort on words but long on depth, flash fiction should sting like good poetry. Punchy, succinct and surprising, the best flash stories shift the reader’s heart but also keep it beating hard. 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 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 O’Connor lives in Galway, Ireland. Her fifth short story collection Joyride to Jupiter was published by New Island in 2017; her story ‘Consolata’ from that collection was shortlisted for Short Story of the Year at the 2017 Irish Book Awards. Nuala’s fourth novel, Becoming Belle, is published in 2018.
Nuala 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. Visit her here: www.nualaoconnor.com.
Historical Flash: A Discussion with Nuala O’Connor and Ingrid Jendrzejewski
Nuala O’Connor, well known for her historical fiction, and Ingrid Jendrzejewski, Managing Editor of FlashBack, the online magazine devoted to historical flash fiction. will discussion definitions, styles and themes and read examples of this popular form of flash fiction.
Competitive Flashing with Ingrid JendrzejewskiHave you ever considered entering flash fiction competitions but don’t know where to start? Have you had some contest experience but would like to up your game? This workshop is designed to help you move from the slush pile into the shortlist – and beyond – no matter what your starting point. We’ll cover the dos and don’ts of contest submissions, strategies for both themed and non-themed contests, advice on how to find the right competitions for your work, and tips on planning, drafting, and editing your contest entries.
Ingrid Jendrzejewski primarily writes flash fiction and shortform work, and has published over 100 pieces since she started submitting in 2014. She has won sixteen writing competitions (including the Bath Flash Fiction Award and AROHO’s Orlando Prize for Flash Fiction), judged five, and has placed or been shortlisted in around fifty more. She is currently editor-in-chief at FlashBack Fiction and a flash fiction editor at JMWW. You can find her online at ingridj.com and on Twitter @LunchOnTuesday.
Experimental Flash Fiction with Santino PrinziThis workshop is designed to help writers explore experimental flash fiction. Through reading and discussing published flashes, writers will see the ways in which language, form, structure, and content can be manipulated in different ways. Then, with a primary focus on form and structure, writers will take part in writing exercises to create experimental flashes of their own, leaving with the beginnings or drafts of three flashes.
Santino Prinzi is the Co-Director of National Flash Fiction Day in the UK, the Senior Editor for New Flash Fiction Review. He is part of the Flash Fiction Literary Festival team that organises the UK’s annual literary festival dedicated entirely to flash fiction and he reviews flash fiction collections for various outlets. His debut flash fiction collection is Dots and other flashes of perception.(The Nottingham Review Press)and his flash fiction pamphlet,There’s Something Macrocrosmic About All of This is forthcoming from V.Press. His short stories, flash fiction, and prose poetry have been published or are forthcoming in various magazines and anthologies,including Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Litro Online, (b)OINK! zine, Stories for Homes Anthology Vol.2, Jellyfish Review and The Airgonaut.. Follow him on Twitter @tinoprinzi or visit his website.
The Extraordinary Point of View with Grant Hier and John BrantinghamFlash fiction allows for points of view that would not be sustainable or possible in longer-form fiction. This workshop will talk about techniques to move the focus of your story out of the traditional and into perspectives that engage readers and challenge them to reconceptualize the story. Workshop participants will work on using a natural and historical perspective to understand setting and character. The splinter story (a story that splinters out of previous work) will also be explored. Students will leave the workshop with a new story started.
John Brantingham has just been named Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park’s first poet laureate. His work has been featured in hundreds of magazines and on Writer’s Almanac and The Best Small Fictions 2016. He is the Writer-in-Residence at the dA Center for the Arts. He has seven books of poetry and fiction including Let Us All Pray Now to Our Own Strange Gods, Dual Impressions: Poetic Conversations about Art, and The Green of Sunset from Moon Tide Press. He teaches at Mt. San Antonio College.Grant Hier was recipient of Prize Americana for his book Untended Garden (Poetry Press), which was nominated for an American Book Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He won the Nancy Dew Taylor Prize, and has several Pushcart Prize nominations. His work has been anthologized in such places as Orange County: A Literary Field Guide (Heyday), Only Light Can Do That (PEN Center USA), Monster Verse (Knopf / Everyman), and LA Fiction Anthology (Red Hen). His poems have been widely published internationally. His voice can be heard in the audio book of Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. More at www.granthier.com