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Meg Pokrass
Novella-in-Flash Award Judge

Meg PokrassAmerican 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.
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Ad Hoc Fiction Autumn Special
An opportunity to be published in the UK and US in a new high quality magazine

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.
project-calm
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.

Project Calm can be contacted via Twitter @ProjectCalmMag and via their main Facebook page here.

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New Novella-in-Flash Award

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.

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Interview with Robert Vaughan
Flash Fiction Award Judge
July – October 2016

Robert VaughanRobert 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.

Interview

  • 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?

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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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Elisabeth Ingram Wallace
June 2016 Third Prize

The Baby Came Early, Screaming

by Elisabeth Ingram Wallace

Davina clocked Harold the second he was born. She slapped his arse and shoved her wrist-watch in his mouth. He sucked the tinny heartbeat, silenced. “I understand you,” she said. “You just need more time.”

By six-months old, he had twenty-six manual alarm clocks, four digital time-pieces, and a free-standing grandfather clock which he slept in like a crib. The days pounded. The flat pulsated. Davina slept in the bathtub like each night was a hurricane warning.

Each time Harold cried, Davina gave him a new watch, or let him touch the numbers on her iPhone. Then the wailing began again.

“What’s wrong Harold?”

But Harold just sobbed, his big hands in his mouth. The hands were from a 1919 train station clock. Czechoslovakian, solid bronze. She’d bought them off eBay.

“You’re too small a number to explain. Maybe when you’re one, or two. Then you can tell me what’s wrong.”

She played him ‘Hammer Time’. She read him ‘The Hours’. At night the clocks glowed neon, and crawled round the room with their slow worming glow.

They listened to the woman on the phone-line tell them the Greenwich Mean Time, over and over, and the time was always different, except for twice a day.

That’s where Davina got the idea. To stop all the clocks, before time consumed them. “Then you’ll be right. Not wrong. At least twice a day.”

Davina killed the iPhone in the washing machine, on Cottons, ninety degrees. She unplugged alarm clocks, removed batteries from watches, pulled pendulums from carriages.

From the grandfather’s belly, Harold kicked, howled and emptied. Davina had morning sickness, all over again.

About the Author

Elisabeth Ingram WallaceElisabeth did lots before fiction: silver-smithing, production design, and working as a prop-maker for children’s TV. She’s made diamond rings, giant emus, a dog’s birthday cake, as well as shoving steaming microwaved tampons into pies to make them look fresh-out-the-oven-scrumptious. After receiving a Dewar Arts Award, Elisabeth studied Creative Writing in Glasgow, and has been published in two anthologies and edited another. Elisabeth is currently writing ‘The Precinct’, an apocalyptic short fiction series, and is in the middle of writing ‘Lobster Queen’, her first novel.

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Anita MacCallum
June 2016 Commended

Boobless

by Anita MacCallum

A commitment to permanent scratching, these tights, tucked into my regulation-grey knee-length skirt. Knickers, white cotton, are stuck to my bum with a thin layer of sweat and still the teacher drones on and on. Fat black fly bangs against the window matching the rhythm of the numbers spilling from Mr. Weston’s mouth.

Calculators mashing sums inside dirty plastic cases, I can spell ‘hello’ and ‘Boobless’ and ‘Boobs’ and all sorts of things like that with my upside down screen but I can’t add up. Dust particles dance in the air as numbers crawl across my book. A particularly plump number eight squats on the page. I push down hard trying to squish it flat. I want it to stay still.

The air in the classroom is solid. Dense like lead. I’m thick in the head. That’s me. Big head one leg, that’s number nine, he’s mighty fine. Twenty two, ducks, quack. Nineteen ninety nine Prince and the revolution and number seven takes me to heaven. Times, add, divide and conquer, Willy Wonka, exploding sweets. Numbers rise up from the page to the sounds of ‘Hands Up, Baby Hands Up’ eight ladies wobbling, ducks dancing, prancing from the page, a parade of disco numbers and I…

‘Susan Braithwaite.’ A rubber bounces off the side of my head.

‘Susan Braithwaite, get down from that chair this instant.’ Mr. Weston’s claret-coloured face watches as my legs climb down and cease their apparent kicking. I resume my seat in my splinter ridden prison that contains me Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A new ladder creeps up my tights, from my knee to the top of my left thigh. Mr. Weston’s black oil eyes squash the disobedient dancing numbers back into place on the page. They line up neatly, casting off their costumes, waiting.

About the Author

Anita MacCallumAnita is a Bristol based writer, full-bodied with a nutty after-taste. She writes about people living on the edge of society, mental health and feminism. Transformation compels her and she is inspired by stories of positive activism. Anita can often be found performing her work in and around the South-West of England. She is currently writing a play exploring motherhood and mental health.

Anita works as a socially-engaged artist playing with words, glitter, flowers, projections, installations, hearts, minds and loves collaborating with other writers and artists.
Twitter: @loud_word
Facebook: MacCallumAnita
Website: loud-word.co

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