Jude Higgins and Meg Pokrass will both be at the Poetry Society's Free Verse the Poetry Book and Magazine Fair, organised by The Poetry Society, on Saturday 22nd September in Senate House, London 11.00 am - 4.00 pm Jude will be taking along all the books published by Ad Hoc Fiction. Meg will be there to sign her new collection Alligators at Night published in July this year. Come along and say hello. We've special book deals on all the anthologies listed below: Read in Full
Read KM Elkes first prize winning story, 'Extremities' selected by David Gaffney in the June round of the Award for an example of great flash fiction. Ken's a writing tutor as well as a writer, and he ran an excellent workshop on 'voice', an aspect of writing he refers in this interview, at the recent Flash Fiction Festival in Bristol. He gives further useful writing advice, including "write hot, edit cool..., buy (or at least read) the publications you want to appear in (it creates a virtous circle. Pay close attention to language... don't submit your sense of worth as a writer along with your story." There are several more tips to inspire below. To stimulate his own writing, Ken frequently takes pictures of settings or objects that can evoke a mood and also photographs people and places when he is travelling. There's some very evocative photographs included here that are likely to spark off stories from anyone who sees them. We now expect entries in our next competition about older men, beaches and prayers for success...
- Can you tell us how your powerful and affecting winning story ‘Extremities’ came into being?
Ever had an earworm - a song that just won’t let go, that you keep playing over and over in your head? Extremities started like that - a single, crisp image of a hand lying on the floor of a forest while around it rain made a sound like applause. I carried that hand around with me a long time, but didn’t really know what to do with it. I put it in a notebook, like you might press a flower hoping to preserve it, but those fingers scratched against the pages until I had to pay attention. Eventually I went into the realm of What If? Along with prompts, What Ifs are the firestarters of fiction. What if the hand was just one of many limbs littering the forest, accidentally cut off in logging accidents. What if it was so common, people didn’t care that much. I found momentum, images coalesced, and with them came themes and tone and the big one (for me at least) voice. Not the voice of the hapless, handless Bobby, but his so-called friend, who has a distinct tone of detachment (see what I did there!). After all that, it took about an hour to write the basic text that formed the story.
Read in Full
Jack Remiel Cottrell is one of two runners-up chosen in the 2018 Bath Flash Fiction Novella-in-Flash award judged by Meg Pokrass Here he describes how his novella 'Latter Day Saints', published in our trio of winning novellas-in-flash In the Debris Field emerged from one single line which sparked his imagination and how he gets inspired from authors in many different genres and forms, including writers of 'Twitter' stories. We very much like his advice not to worry about what you are writing, or get hung up about different genres and making your novella fit under a 'Literary' label. Jack often writes in one of the most mesmerising locations we've heard about yet — the laundromat. We haven't a picture of Jack in the laundromat, but we've included his note book and beer picture, his comment being "Are you really a writer if you don't have a large stack of half-filled notebooks on your kitchen table? (Beer added for scale. Also for drinking." In the second photograph taken by his writing teacher Kathryn Burnett, Jack can be seen "hunched over second from the left at the back, trying not to be distracted by the outside world."
- Will you give us a brief synopsis of your wonderful novella-in-flash, ‘Latter Day Saints’ for those who haven’t read it yet?
- A young man is attempting to find his patron saint, and in doing so meets a number of patron saints as they live in the 21st century.
- At Bath Flash Fiction, we think ‘Latter Day Saints’ is a very inventive quest story. Can you tell us more about what sparked the idea to write it?
- I was 20 tabs deep in the mire of TVtropes.com when I came across something which prompted me to think of the line “It’s dark at the end of the universe.” If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good line. So I needed to find someone to say that line. I gave it to St Dominic, who is the patron saint of astronomers, who didn’t end up making the cut for the novella. From there, I wanted to explore the idea of patron saints in a modern setting. My narrator was initially supposed to be a reader proxy rather than a character. I wrote about three chapters before my writing group told me the narrator was actually the most interesting character, and they were right.
We're thrilled that Ad Hoc Fiction has published Meg Pokrass's new collection, Alligators at Night, the first book of hers published in the UK. Acclaimed US author Stuart Dybek says of her new collection:
The nuanced tonal complexity, which can go from the whimisical to a darker irony in the turn of a phrase, has been a signature feature of the work of Meg Pokrass. That complexity is in her new collection, Alligators at Night, heightened further by the fertile invention and unpredictable interplay of these beautifully crafted pieces
The title story was recently chosen for Wigleaf's best fifty stories of 2018 and another story in the collection, Barista was selected by Amy Hempel for Best Small Fictions, 2018.
Alligators at Night will be launched at the Flash Fiction Festival in Bristol, 20-22nd July where you will be able to hear Meg reading some of these brilliant stories and it is available to buy now worldwide in many different currencies from the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop
Meg Pokrass is the author of four other 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. Meg was the judge for the Bath Flash Fiction Award, Novella-in-Flash competition in 2017 and 2018. She is curator of Flash Fiction Festivals and editor of The New Flash Fiction Review She currently teaches on-line flash fiction workshops.
It's always exciting when we reach the end of the latest Award – and this one was no exception. Nine hundred and three entries from twenty-nine different countries.
You can buy our anthologies, The Lobsters Run Free: Bath Flash Fiction Volume Two and Flash Fiction Festival One, both published by Ad Hoc Fiction, from the new online bookshop.
The Lobsters Run Free contains 135 stories – the winning and listed entrants from the 2017 Bath Flash Fiction Awards. The 74 stories in the Festival Anthology are written by presenters and participants at the first ever literary festival dedicated to Flash Fiction, held in Bath in 2017.
Since publication in early December, the books have travelled the world.
Catherine Higgins-Moore lives in New York and shows us a New York city background for her copy of The Lobsters Run Free. She was short listed in the February 2017 round of Bath Flash Award with her story, ‘Holy Cross’.
Read in Full
American writer, Meg Pokrass, is a flash fiction writer, poet and writing tutor. Her books include flash fiction collections, Bird Envy (2014), Damn Sure Right (Press 53 2011) and The Dog Looks Happy Upsidedown (forthcoming from Etruscan Press 2016) and an award-winning book of prose poetry Cellulose Pajamas (Blue Light Book Award Winner 2015). Among her many other publications, she has a flash-fiction novella and essay on the form in My Very End of the Universe, Five mini-novellas in flash and a Study of the Form published by Rose Metal Press. Meg recently moved from the United States to England. In addition to judging our new Flash Fiction Novella Award, you can often join her and others for an evening of flash fiction, booking here.
Read in Full
We're delighted to link up with new quality magazine Project Calm for an Ad Hoc Fiction Autumn Special, scheduled to open Wednesday 21st September. One winning Ad Hoc story and two runners up will be published in the second issue of the magazine which will have a focus on books and the love of reading.
The ethos of Project Calm is one of creativity and mindfulness. This fits with our view of writing. To create very short fiction you need to be present and aware – paying careful attention to every word. It's often a meditative experience. Alison Wassell, who wrote the winning piece, Just a Crisp was recently interviewed by Once We Were Fiction about her method of writing. Ad Hoc Fiction involves writing a very short fiction to a given prompt word. Alison describes how she lets the prompt word float around in her mind, then “writes” very short stories in her head when she is walking to work at 7.00 am in the morning. She says “the walk takes about 40 minutes, which is plenty of time for 150 words.”
Though our special contest doesn't launch until Wednesday 21st September, we're happy to tell you that the prompt word will be 'CALM', so you've an extra week to let your ideas form. The three stories with the highest number of votes will be the ones chosen for the magazine. As usual, the winner will get a free entry to Bath Flash Fiction Award.
Issue Two of Project Calm will be published in the UK on the 24th November and sold in outlets including WH Smith, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose. In the US it will be published on the 24th December, available in Barnes & Noble among other places.
It's a wonderful and unmissable opportunity to be widely published around the world. Have a look at a digital sample of the now sold-out first issue. The Issue One focus is not on writing, but it is packed full of creative ideas.
And a video of Issue One can be viewed here on Facebook.
We're excited to announce this new competition judged by author, teacher and editor Meg Pokrass whose novella, Here, Where We Live is one of the flash-fiction novellas included in the Rose Metal Press awarding winning guide My Very End of the Universe – five Novellas-in-flash and a study of the form.
From My Very End of the Universe:
"One way to describe the interplay between flash fiction and novellas-in-flash is to think of each flash as a star. Stars stand alone...In nearly every era and culture, humans have named the stars and then taken those beloved luminous points and connected them in the sky into shapes and stories. Novellas-in-flash are like those constellations: writers linking their flashes together into a larger image– into narratives deep with possibilities"
Read Meg's interview here for more information.
And if you are in Bath on 29th July do come and hear Meg read alongside poet and flash-fiction writer, Carrie Etter. Places available for booking here.
Robert Vaughan teaches workshops in hybrid writing, poetry, fiction, and hike/ write. He has facilitated these at locations like Alverno College, UWM, Fox Valley Technical School, JMWW (online), Red Oak Writing, The Clearing and Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos. He leads writing roundtables in Milwaukee, WI. He was twice a finalist for the Gertrude Stein Award for Fiction (2013, 2014). His short fiction, ‘A Box’ will appear in the Best Small Fictions 2016 (Queen’s Ferry Press). Vaughan is the author of four books: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press, 2012); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps, 2013); Addicts & Basements (CCM, 2014). His newest, RIFT, is a flash fiction collection co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press, 2015). He blogs at www.robert-vaughan.com.
- You've been senior flash fiction editor for JMWW literary journal for six years and have also been fiction & poetry editor for Lost in Thought Magazine and guest editor for Smokelong Quarterly. What makes a piece of flash fiction stand out for you?