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Saboteur Award Success

Charmaine Wilkerson

We’re thrilled that How to Make a Window Snake by Charmaine Wilkerson, which won our inaugural novella-in-flash Award in 2017 is short listed in the Saboteur Awards 2018. Thank you to everyone who nominated her. There were nearly 5000 nominations over all the categories and we think it is a great achievement both for Charmaine and for Ad Hoc Fiction, the publisher.

Please support Charmaine further by voting for her novella-in-flash to win before 9th May. Results are announced on 19th May at the end of the Saboteur Awards Festival running from Friday 18th to Saturday 19th May.

In her brilliant novella, Charmaine takes different angles to show the impact of the loss of a child upon a family. Our judge for the 2017 Novella-in-Flash Award, Meg Pokrass, commented “The author creates a brilliant picture window through which we see a loving but deeply wounded family trying to survive more tragedy.” And in a five star review, Raluca A. writes:

Charmaine Wilkerson’s novella uncoils just like the snake in the title of the book. The author repeats motives and scenes from different perspectives, each of them enriching the reality our perception of what truly happened. The story, told and retold from different points of view in a masterful way that doesn’t feel repetitive, unravels the family secrets. It’s a poignant account of a tragedy, and its aftermath. But there is also hope, granted by the unreserved love the remaining family members treat each other with. How to Make a Window Snake is a masterpiece.

How to Make a Window Snake, our collection of three novella-in-flash, is on its second print run and is for sale at bookshop.adhocfiction.com. Please add your reviews to the site if you have already read the collection and like it.

A further thank you goes to all of you who nominated The Lobsters Run Free: Bath Flash Fiction Volume Two again published by Ad Hoc Fiction, in the Best Anthology Category and our founder, Jude Higgins’ flash fiction story collection, The Chemist’s House, published by V. Press, in the Best Short Story Collection category. We’re thrilled that both books reached the long list of ten out of so many nominations. It’s our third year of being listed in the Awards. Ad Hoc Fiction micro contest was long listed in the Best Wild Card Category in both 2017 and 2016.

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Interview with Luke Whisnant
Novella-in-Flash 2018 Winner

It’s so interesting to see how Luke Whisnant, first prize winner in our 2018 Award created his novella-in-flash. His method has to be encouraging to other writers when he suggests how flexible this form is and that you can ‘find’ a novella-in-flash out of flash fictions you have already written. We’re interested that language, more than plot or character, is Luke’s first interest in all the forms of writing he does. Our 2018 Novella in Flash Judge Meg Pokrass, in her comments on his novella, was very impressed with his use of language. She writes “This author is a keen emotional observer, gifted in his specific, quirky and visual details, as well as in creating superb juxtapositions between sentences and fluid temporal leaps between chapters...”
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Michael Loveday
Novella-in-Flash 2019 Judge

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, and will be appearing both as a presenter and member of the team at this year's Flash Fiction Festival UK.
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Interview with
Molia Dumbleton
February 2018 Flash Fiction Third Prize

Molia Dumbleton won third prize with 'Why Shit is Still Like This Around Here and Probably Always Will Be' Our judge Tara L. Masih said it was ‘a precise and perfect’ micro and we agree.

Kathy Fish, who judged our February 2017 Bath Flash Fiction Award is renowned for sparking stories that get published and win contests in her Fast Flash intensive writing online course. Molia’s piece was partly inspired by attending one of these amazingly productive courses and also from a random event that stuck in her mind. Her advice to other writers of flash is to sometimes just let the writing ‘come out’ and if this was the case with her piece here, it has worked very well. She also has interesting things to say about finding a title – how it is worth thinking about them for a long time. We think her long title for this story adds much to the story itself and it’s interesting that other story titles reference Shakespeare and the Bible and enhance the layers of the stories in question. She also has another discussion starter in her view that collections can contain a mix of flash fictions and longer short stories. And why not? We’re certainly looking forward to reading her collection that contains both. Finally, we thank Molia very much for her kind words about the Bath Flash Fiction Award and for being ‘with us’ from Day One over three years ago. We love flash fiction, and enjoy helping to build a friendly writing community.
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Interview with Lee Nash
February 2018 Flash Fiction Second Prize

Our judge Tara L Masih, was struck by the tight writing style of ‘When the rubber hits the road’ by Lee Nash and the way so much is covered. Many decades are traversed in the one long paragraph and like Tara, we love the way the elements shape the piece, and show how the events that take place instigated by one real and one imaginary man in different centuries, are sometimes out of human control. Henry Wickham, who the story is about, is pictured below along with some pictures of rubber sap collection. Lee writes in several different condensed forms, and her recently published poetry collection Ash Keys includes haibun, sonnets, a prose poem and haiku. She also enjoys writing poems based on historical figures. We think it’s interesting to find a way into a historical character’s life by thinking of how they have overcome incredible hurdles and failures. She has a floating ‘muse’, pointing out that inspiration is all around, and that she combs through all manner of experiences to find an ‘entry point’. Take on her tip to read your flash again and again for syntax, vocabulary and rhythm and maybe try writing your own historical flash fiction for the next round of the Award, which closes in June.
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Interview with Jo Gatford
February 2018 Flash Fiction First Prize

Jo tells us how she moved from writing her prize winning story in her head while driving, repeating the words out loud and then shaping the story on the page later. A busy writer, with all sorts of projects on the go, she is drafting a second novel with an interesting theme about survival in an apocalyptic world, has given herself the challenge of making 100 submissions this year and also co-runs the inspiring Writers’ HQ which gives opportunities, encouragement and support to writers from all backgrounds and income brackets. Whenever she’s lost for inspiration in her own writing, she always returns to Shakespeare and points out that reading Shakespeare, or “Shakey P” as she calls him “will tell you everything you need to know about writing”. Her other great writing tip for those wanting to enter Bath Flash Fiction Award is to find the “fundamental nugget of human truth in a story; something that resonates with a reader, almost on an unconscious level.” I am sure Shakespeare would have agreed with that.
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On Being an Adhoccer
S.B. Borgersen

Sue is one of a number of authors who submit to our free micro contest Ad Hoc Fiction every week. We really appreciate her support and it's marvellous to see what good use she has made of entering. It was our intention in launching Ad Hoc Fiction to encourage people to write more short-short fiction and to read other people's work. Sue is so inventive and dedicated with writing and sharing her pieces – an event where people called out numbers to select a story for her to read from her ever-growing collection, a scarf she has had made with the Ad Hoc stories printed on it, writing while in hospital and forming the 'Adhoccers' group.

  • You have entered Ad Hoc Fiction since the beginning – I am not sure if you were one of the seventeen writers who entered the very first contest, in April, 2015, but you have submitted  most weeks since. Can you tell us what you like about the competition?

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Our New Anthologies
Travelling the World

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’.
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Interview with Anna Geary-Meyer
Lobsters Run Free in Berlin

We're glad Anna liked the lobsters on the cover of The Lobsters Run Free: Bath Flash Fiction Volume Two and seeing it first online lifted her mood on a frustrating day. Her powerful story with this title was short listed in the February 2017 round of the Award by Kathy Fish, our judge for that round. We thought it summed up many themes in the anthology, and for this reason we placed it as the final story in the book. We think it makes a fitting ending. The title went on to inspire the publisher's striking cover design.

Anna has some good tips for writing successful flash fiction.  She says that readers need 'to be transported from one state of being to another' and the best advice she was given about writing flash fictions was that they require 'movement and resonance'. Her story certainly achieves all these things. At the end of her flash fiction, the image of lobsters escaping and running free in an apocalyptic world is very memorable.
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