Author Archives: Jude

Double book launch for novellas-in-flash by Tracy Fells and Jupiter Jones

Come to this joint launch on Zoom, hosted by Jude Higgins on Wednesday 15th September 7.30 pm – 9.00 pm BST of two excellent and innovative novellas in flash, Hairy on The Inside by Tracy Fells and TThe Death And Life Of Mrs Parker by Jupiter Jones. At the launch they’ll talk more about their novellas and how they went about writing them and read several stories. There’ll be break out groups, a Q & A and a book giveaway of each of the novellas,
Email Jude at jude{at}adhocfiction{dot}com for a Zoom link.

Both these novellas were short-listed in the 2021 Bath Flash Fiction Novella in Flash Award by judge Michelle Elvy. Read in Full

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Interview with Dara Yen Elerath, first prize winner in our 18th Award

This Sunday, 15th August is the last day to buy discounted entries for our 19th Award to be submitted by the deadline of 10th October. To get some inspiration for your own writing, read what poet, prose writer and artist, Dara Yen Elerath has to say about her first prize winning story The Button Wife, selected by K M Elkes in our June Award this year. You can read his comments about the story in his judge’s report. Dara Yen Elerath is also a visual artist, and one of her paintings reproduced here, is used as the cover image on her prize-winning debut poetry collection Dark Braid , which you can buy from Amazon and which she writes about in the interview. Dara also explains her different approaches to writing poetry and flash fiction and has a great writing tip at the end of this interview, part of which I have quoted below. And do look at the vimeo video she made which accompanies her amazing poem from her collection, How And When to Use an Eraser’

…always follow your language and allow the sonic qualities of the words to guide your imagination when you feel stuck or at a loss for how to proceed.

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Interview with Michelle Elvy about her hybrid collection, the other side of better

Ad Hoc Fiction, our short short fiction press, published the other side of better, by Michelle Elvy in June this year, exactly two years after publishing her innovative small novel in small forms, the everrumble, launched at the Flash Fiction Festival, held in Bristol in 2019. This new book is equally innovative, traversing the line between prose and poetry. In this interview Michelle tells us more about the book, the book launches which took place in New Zealand in June to co-incide with National Flash Fiction Day, NZ and what New Zealand poet laureate David Eggleton said about it. Michelle also talks about how she arrived at the title and the striking artwork for the cover by New Zealand artist, Jennifer Halli. the other side of better is also available from Nationwide and book shops in New Zealand as well as directly from Ad Hoc Fiction and in August and September Michelle is recording some online readings so we will all be able to hear stories from the collection. We are also delighted that Michelle Elvy, who judged our 2021 Novella-in-Flash Award, is judging the 2022 NIF Award which is open for entries now and closes on January 14th 2022. Read in Full

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Triple Novella-in-Flash Launch!

We’re delighted to host a joint launch on Zoom of the three novellas-in-flash by North American writers, recently published or about to be published by by Ad Hoc Fiction Hope you can come on Saturday,14th August, 7.30 pm – 9.00 pm BST to hear about three very different examples of the form and listen to readings from the authors, all successful in the 2021 Bath Flash Fiction, Novella in Flash Award judged by Michelle Elvy.
As well as readings, there will be break-out groups for you to chat with flash fiction friends from around the world and a book giveaway of each of the titles. To get a link for the event, email our host Jude Higgins, representing Ad Hoc Fiction at jude{at}adhocfiction{dot}com. Read in Full

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Interview with Sharon Telfer, 19th Award Judge

We’re delighted that writer and editor, Sharon Telfer is going to judge our 19th Bath Flash Fiction Award, which is open July 1st and closes October 9th. Sharon, has some brilliant and encouraging flash fiction writing advice here, as well as news about her forthcoming collection from Reflex Fiction, The Map Waits. Do read the interview and be inspired.

Sharon Telfer lives in East Yorkshire, in the north of England. She won the Bath Flash Fiction Award in June 2016 with ‘Terra Incognita’ and again in February 2020 with ‘Eight Spare Bullets’. She has also won the Reflex Flash Fiction Prize. Her flash has been selected for Best Small Fictions 2021, the 2020 and 2019 ‘BIFFY50’ lists, and Best Microfiction 2019. She was awarded the Word Factory/New Writing North Short Story Apprenticeship in 2018, and placed second in the Bath Short Story Award 2020. She also has a short story in Test Signal, an anthology of contemporary northern writing (Bloomsbury/Dead Ink, 2021). Her debut flash fiction collection, The Map Waits, is published by Reflex Press in 2021. She’s a founding editor of FlashBack Fiction, the online litmag showcasing historical flash. She tweets @sharontelfer and posts terrible photos on Instagram, @sharontelferwriter. Read in Full

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Round-Up, 18th Award.

Thank you to everyone who entered our 18th International Flash Fiction Award, the earlybirds, those in the middle period and the last minute writers. We received 1268 entries from 44 different countries:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia

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Judge’s report, 18th Award, by K.M. Elkes

General Comments
Judging a story competition with a high standard of writing is a whole, twist-filled narrative in itself. There are beautiful moments of discovery, difficult decisions, inner wranglings, a love story or two, sadness over loss, and the inevitable questions, mysteries, and ambiguities.

Working your way from longlist to shortlist, you encounter risky, raw stories that promise to leave you changed; love-at-first-sight stories full of confident verve; ones that have an allure through their use of language; quietly persuasive stories, confident in their low-key power; there are stories to admire for their elegance and beauty, and ones that raise a smile with their quirky charm.

After a lot of deliberation, the narrative gathers pace and the climax nears when there are just 10 stories left. You sit with them. Take them on a walk. Gaze at them in silence. Read their words out loud, over and over. You study their deployment of craft – tone and voice, use of narrative tools, the way thematic ideas are conveyed, the pace and flow of the narrative, how well the ending has been earned. You find yourself, in cheesy parlance, asking: ‘is this story the best story it can be?’

Choosing the final group of winning and commended stories is when the tension of the judging narrative reaches its final, feverish pitch. The plot now becomes more complex, stories slide in and out of contention, some disappear then reappear stronger than before, some fade, some remain strong. The pervading tone of this denoument is tough love, and no little admiration, as final decisions are made.

And so, many congratulations to everyone who made it to right to the end of this particular story. Your work deserves it, after the difficult journey it has been on. Congratulations too, to those who missed out on final places – it’s often a case of fine margins. And if you were shortlisted or longlisted, take much strength from that and go again.

Finally, thank you to the whole Bath Flash Fiction Award team for their hard work and dedication and to Jude Higgins for trusting me to be the judge for this incarnation of the Award. Read in Full

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Dara Yen Elerath June 2021 First Prize

The Button Wife

by Dara Elerath

The button wife bends her body across the bed, but the cloth husband is not interested in touching her. Instead, he phones the burlap wife. He likes the way her coarse skin brushes against his body. At night, the button wife cries, recalling how her husband used to clutch the dark thread of her hair. She knows the burlap wife’s curls scratch him in the fashion he prefers. The cloth husband has a passion for roughness, but the button wife, woven from cotton, has only been soft and yielding. One evening, she decides to scour the buttons of her eyes with a steel wool; she hopes her husband will love her again. Soon, they are scuffed and cracked. When her husband comes back he looks at her with anger. You have ruined your eyes, he says, how can I look at you now? Later, gazing in a hand mirror, she notes she is no longer beautiful. She lifts a pair of scissors and snips the strings that knot the buttons to her face. Then she can no longer weep; then she can no longer see her husband leave the house each evening. She irons the hem of her dress in darkness. She waits to hear the sound of his car speeding down plastic blacktop. She dreams of the burlap wife’s hair cutting her skin the way it cuts her husband’s. Sometimes, she pricks her arm with a darning needle to feel. The red thread that unspools from her body is long as a dog leash. She wonders then if she is a dog. She hopes the cloth husband will walk her when he returns. She resolves then to wag her tail in greeting. She resolves then to sleep at his feet.

About the Author

Dara Yen Elerath is the author of Dark Braid, which won the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry (BkMk Press). Her first published flash fiction appeared in Tahoma Literary Review and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as The American Poetry Review, AGNI, Boulevard, Plume, Poet Lore, Hunger Mountain, and The Los Angeles Review, among others. She received her MFA in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts and resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Emma Phillips June 2021 Second Prize

Strong Like Carp

by Emma Phillips

Aoi-chan was strong like a carp. Even when the bombs fell, she hardly flinched, although her best friend Megumi said she laid upon her futon each night and cried the Edo river. Megumi did not have fighting spirit. Aoi was like the Koi she used to feed before the war, when she walked through Sensô-ji Temple with her father.

“See,” Otosan declared, “they dance their beauty but find their strength together. Stay proud, my daughter. Remember your Japanese heart.” Otosan was in the Imperial Army. Aoi ran their stall with her mother now, selling eggs from her grandmother’s chickens and tending each scrap of their yard to grow vegetables. The Koi had disappeared but Aoi kept them safe inside and when the fire bombing started, she drew a pond for them in the ashes. Her father sent her paper cranes inscribed with the symbol for courage.

Aoi joined the search and rescue teams. Her thin fingers and keen eyesight helped pluck survivors from the rubble. The Koi led her to them. Each day they swam through the broken streets and gave her hope. The radio said the Emperor would never surrender but Aoi heard Japan was losing the war. She fed her worries to the fish.

By the time the atom bombs landed, her shoal had multiplied. Their rainbow scales dazzled Aoi and she held onto their tails. In the morning, they were gone, leaving dust on the edge of her eyelids. Where the Koi had led her home, she found American soldiers handing out candy. Aoi refused to chew gum, cursed when Megumi spat pink bubbles from her lips the shape of peaches. Her father returned. Otosan taught Aoi to chase the Koi upstream again. “Old life has gone,” her father said, “now a new one starts.”

About the Author

Emma Phillips lives close to the M5 in Devon with her husband, son and guinea pigs. She teaches in a primary school and has become addicted to Flash Fiction over the past year. She has lived in Japan and China and loves to sing karaoke badly. Her work has been published in Blink Ink, Popshot and Mslexia. If she were a fish, she’d like to be a carp.

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Leonie Rowland June 2021 Third Prize

Reasons You Married a Woman Called Rose

by Leonie Rowland

Please match the following numbers with the correct letter*

a. The love story

b. The proverb

c. The theories

d. The joke

e. The myth

f. The whole

1. Because when you were born, there were tides in the kitchen: boiling water gushing over abandoned pots, falling onto your mother where she lay on the floor, still trying to reach up and stir the pasta, worried it would come to pieces if she didn’t, that your life would start by falling apart. You moved from warm fluid to starchy water and then to hands careful with soap, scenting your skin, a velvet perfume. Your mother says the bubbles were pink, that you were laughing. You still adore the smell of roses.

2. Because you were burned as a baby / because you are lying / because the stars are eating themselves / because you are high on transgression / because you have a hysterical brain / because you hate your father / because you hate your mother / because no man wants you / because your body is craving / because you are split where it matters.

3. Because your breasts were always inadequate, and you deserved a second chance.

4. Because on your first date she made you pasta, and when the water splashed your skin, she kissed it away, took off your dress and folded it, made you realise you were whole before her, with her—all of this for hours, and nothing fell apart.

5. Because you found her at the mouth of a volcano, and the volcano sparked, and the mouth said: there are promises we must keep.

6. Because in this barren wilderness, there are still flowers.

*Answers are subject to change.

About the Author


Leonie Rowland lives in Manchester, where she completed an MA in Gothic Literature. Her debut chapbook, In Bed with Melon Bread, is available from Dreich, and she is Editor-in-Chief of The Hungry Ghost Project. She has recent work in Wrongdoing Magazine, Pareidolia Literary, The Walled City Journal, Sledgehammer Lit and Punk Noir Magazine, among others. You can visit her website or find her on Twitter @leonie_rowland.

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