Award Three

Interview with Michael Fitzgerald
June 2016 Flash Fiction Commended

MF falklands BMichael Fitzgerald tells us more about his trip to the remoter parts of the Falkland Islands, which inspired his piece. An architect, he explains how architectural work, like writing, goes through a constantly evolving process and includes “a finite palette of components”. When writing flash fiction he says to ignore the rules and experiment, which is what he does to great effect in 'Falkland Island Walk'. We also like his tip to save your work under a different title if you are struggling, then “go mad on it”.
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Q and A with John Saul
June 2016 Flash Fiction Commended

Call It TenderJohn Saul told us he likes interviews, reading them especially. Matching the condensed nature of flash fiction, he's given us some brief answers to our questions. We like his one word answer – 'read ' – to our question about a tip for writing flash fiction. There's lots of opportunity for reading a variety of short-short fiction on this site. John's commended story, 'Tearful' which came to him in the middle of the night, all the winners and commended in the June round and the other winning pieces from the first two rounds of Bath Flash Fiction Award, plus many links to fiction from writers around the globe and, of course, all the pieces on Ad Hoc Fiction, our weekly free micro contest, where you can read and vote for your favourites. You can also read John's longer fiction – he's published several collections – including Call it Tender, published by Salt.
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Interview with Anita Macallum
June 2016 Flash Fiction Commended

Anita MacullumAnita Macallum commended by Michelle Elvy for her flash fiction Boobless, tells us how a prompt from her writing group kick started this piece and how keeping things simple is her biggest lesson when she performs her work.
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Interview with Sheila Armstrong
June 2016 Flash Fiction Commended

DublinSheila Armstrong, commended by Michelle Elvy in our June round, likes the freedom and intensity of flash fiction. Her chilling story October 29th, 1.17am emerged from thoughts about the 'bystander effect'. Currently living in Dublin, she writes a lot about city life and what happens when people are crammed together. Her tip for writing flash is to take note of the things that make you stop and think, small incidents and gestures, or much larger events.
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Interview with Shelley Wood
June 2016 Flash Fiction Second Prize

Shelley Wood

Shelley Wood won second prize with her flash fiction Rags,Riches in our June 2016 award. Her story took an unusual perspective on a photograph of a carefree moment she was given in a writing group. Read more about how she began writing flash and take note of her writing tips when you are editing a longer piece. She tightened her winning story so much she 'almost had to use a wrench.' The result was certainly worth the effort.

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Interview with Sharon Telfer
June 2016 Flash Fiction First Prize

sharon-telfer-on-hills

Our first prize winner for June, 2016, Sharon Telfer, nearly didn’t enter her winning piece because she thought it wasn’t ‘the right sort of thing.’ So her advice is to cast aside such judgements, take the leap and enter. Read more in our interview about her writing methods, which include getting away from the desk to solve knotty problems.

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Award Round Up
June 2016

It’s been another thrilling round of Bath Flash Fiction Award with six hundred and eighty six entries coming in from twenty five different countries – a huge variety of styles and subject matter. Many entrants wrote close to the maximum word limit – and a large number of writers entered much shorter pieces. The winning and commended stories are by authors living in the UK, Canada and Ireland.
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June 2016 Judge’s Report
Michelle Elvy

BathFlashThis was a marvellous long list. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the stories several times. There were stories in flight, secret meetings, barbershop chats, runaway brides; there were mystical yearnings and mythical transformations; there were stalkers and lovers, nuns and tattoos, jam and germs. Such riches, such variety.
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Sharon Telfer
June 2016 First Prize

Terra Incognita

by Sharon Telfer

The galleys wallow home, bellies low with other men’s gold. The sailors stagger to the brothels. The masters go first to banker, barber, court, then to the mapmaker.

On lookout, she spies them, stumbling over cobbles, ducking the jutting houses.

She whispers each name so her father can greet them. They sit heavily, still unsteady on the unmoving land. She brings soft cheese, cherries, peaches – whatever is ripe.

They spill their stories before the solid ground can make them fast. They tell of days when the sun never sets or never rises, birds that swim but cannot fly, great fish that sing, of smoking mountains, shrieking ice, forests where men become trees, one-footed men, dog-headed men, waves as high as cathedral bells, seas as still as death. They have sailed so far they have gazed at unfamiliar stars and wondered how they are to find their way back.

She replenishes the wine, sharpens quills. Their salty eyes, narrowed as horizons, navigate the billows of her dress, each swell and dip, seeking always somewhere to make landfall, claim dominion.

They go, at last, to wives or mistresses. She puts the shutters up and bars the door. Her father rubs his milky eyes, pushes away the notes he can no longer read, unrolls the vellum. The grid is ready, the compass rose points north.

She takes the quill. Her father puts his hand over hers. Together, they fix the stories they have heard. The feather swoops, charts the safe harbour, skirts the reef. This is where she will paint the puffing winds, here devouring monsters, there pattern those strange constellations. Beyond this line, nothing; the map waits.

The mapmakers work late in the closed room, conjuring from ink and skin new worlds neither will ever see.

About the Author

Sharon TelferSharon loves writing anything but author bios. She works as a freelance writer and editor turning complex research into short, clear prose. She discovered flash fiction through Twitter in 2015. She’s won the @FaberAcademy and @AdHocFiction competitions and is published in the 2016 National Flash Fiction Day anthology. Her shortest winning story is a six-word sci-fi for the Arvon Foundation. Her essay on Angela Carter’s inspirational tales won the 2014 Thresholds Feature Writing Competition.
Say hello on Twitter: @sharontelfer.

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Shelley Wood
June 2016 Second Prize

Rags, Riches

by Shelley Wood

So hot, so hot: heat being ladled from the sky. Danny—not his real name, but the name everyone knows him by, even the cops, even Danny himself—Danny woke late-afternoon to find the shade had stolen itself away, leaving him lying on the pokey-dry grass in the blazing sun like a man on a griddle. A man on a griddle: head muddled, head duddled, head fuddled from whatever he’d drunk-smoked-pricked through his thick hide leaving him sizzling in his own stink at the base of a tree that must have turned away, nose wrinkling, yanking its shadow clean off Danny and setting it down somewhere else.

Danny can’t stand his own stink. The whole sour-salt-sweet-cheese-rank-rotten-apple-funk-shit-wreck of him. These days, Danny doesn’t hear so good, can’t taste for crap, but his sniffer works just fine, works like it’s the only thing left on him capable of putting in an honest day’s effort.

Kids are clowning around on a raft in the bay, squealing and leaping into the shimmering waves. Two tight-skinned teenagers pull themselves up the ladder, their golden limbs slick like creatures newly birthed. Danny has to glance away, wondering if, in a different life, he’d ever learned how to swim.

Soon enough, Bylaw will come by and nudge Danny’s shoe telling him he’s gotta-getta move-on. Danny is goddamn tired of moving on.

But here’s the heat again now, inching around the tree and bringing Danny’s stink with it. Walking’s the only thing left. Walk into the lake and keep walking until the waves have scrubbed him raw, his clothes have washed clean off his ruined body, and the slivers of glinting silver have shaved him smooth as a baby. Surely if he just keeps walking he can surface on the other shore, bejewelled.

About the Author

Shelley Wood

Shelley Wood’s short stories have appeared in F(r)iction, the Nashwaak Review, the New Quarterly, carte blanche, and Room. In the past few months, she has won the Tethered by Letters contest and the Cobalt Review’s Frank McCourt prize for Creative Nonfiction, and was shortlisted in the Writer’s Union of Canada Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers. She divides her time between New York City, where she is the managing editor at TCTMD.com, and Kelowna, Canada, where she is researching a suitable home for her first novel.
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