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Interview with Caroline Reid
October 2016 Flash Fiction Commended

Caroline Reid’s flash fiction, Last Dog, commended by Robert Vaughan in the October round, with it’s energy and passion, cries out to be read out loud. She says that her first love was music and growing up with a Welsh mother and an Irish father, and singing around a piano as a child, might have helped her strong sense of rhythm and enjoyment of performance. We love the photograph of Caroline’s dog and the description of the walks they take morning and evening. Many aspects of the environment are there, as with her story. It’s also great to know where our international entrants live, and how settings are different and similar. And how wonderful that Caroline, a free-lance arts worker, can take on arts collaboration projects worldwide. We’d like to think our Award could help make those connections between artists. Her writing advice for entrants is very helpful – don’t give up on a piece you love – keep sending it out everywhere. Submitting outside of your own country gives a story another chance to be read and published. We’re looking forward to the publication of our anthology with all the winning and a selection of listed stories in print.
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Interview with Julianna Holland
October 2016 Flash Fiction Third Prize

juliannaJulianna whittled down a longer story to create her beautiful third prize winning story, White Matter. Her voice is strong in this winning piece, with its wonderful use of language. We like her advice to other writers who might enter Bath Flash Fiction Award – stay true to your writing voice and style and don’t be put off by rejection. She points out how our subconscious lends us a vast bank of memory and imagination to draw on for new flash fictions.The challenge is how to shape that rich wealth of material into meaningful stories. Julianna’s writing group is important to her for feedback and increasing her productivity. Members of the group recommend books to each other and invite guests as well as critiquing each other’s writing. We’d be interested see more of Julianna’s work – the longer piece, her labour of love mapping the story of an elderly eccentric woman sounds intriguing. And of course we’d love to read more of her flash fictions.
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Interview with Christopher M Drew
October 2016 Flash Fiction Second Prize

So many different experiences and images went into the creation of The Perfect Fall Christopher’s striking second-prize winning flash fiction from our October round judged by Robert Vaughan. He shows us how meticulous his writing methods are, from the arrangement of the words on the page, to his many, many rewrites. He carves out the basics in a quick rough draft, then chisels in the fine details. This process can take a few months or longer. The finished result in his winning story demonstrates the attention to detail very well. It’s a story with several layers and we like his advice for others — "remember to write two stories: the one on the page and the one between the lines." Christopher also points out that ideas can come from the most unexpected places and multiply once you get started. You can find flash fictions in your longer stories if you ruthlessly cut down the words. We look forward to seeing more of his fiction, both the long and short pieces and hope his intriguing George and the Dragon comic fantasy tribute to Terry Pratchett gets completed and into print.
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Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine
by Diane Williams
Reviewed by Santino Prinzi

fine-fine-fine-fineFine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine (CB Editions [UK], 2016 / McSweeney’s Books [US], 2016) is the newest collection of short fiction from Diane Williams, the founder and editor of the literary annual NOON. Described by Lydia Davis as ‘one of the very few contemporary prose writers who seem to be doing something independent, energetic, heartfelt’, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine is a collection of challenging, but not impenetrable, flash fictions that examines their subjects with absolute precision.

‘The Skol’, possibly the shortest story in the collection, is about Mrs Clavey who is walking out to sea. It is the perfect example of a flash in which every single word is required, and each word contributes to the greater story being told, for example: ‘She didn’t intend to drink, but she did drink—more.’ This creates the impression that Williams’ language is stripped back, however, the almost minimalist style means that Williams creates imagery that is both concise and evocative without being superfluous. The fact Mrs Clavey didn’t intend to drink more, but continues to do so, reveals much to the reader about the nature of her situation without Williams needing to say more. When Mrs Clavey swallows a tiny amount of water, we’re told ‘It tasted like a cold, salted variety of her favorite payang cougou tea’, Williams demonstrates how the specific choice of words can provide a vivid image, as well as reveal more about the type of woman Mrs Clavey is.
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Interview with Helen Rye
October 2016 Flash Fiction First Prize

helen-rye-homeHelen entered her incredibly moving first prize winning story just before midnight on October 12th, the final day of our last Award, judged by Robert Vaughan. Her ancient computer kept crashing and nearly stopped her from entering and we’re glad to say the prize money made it possible for her to buy a new one, pictured in the photograph here. In this interview she tells us what the title of the story, One in Twenty-Three means – a deeply shocking and sobering fact. She also describes her writing life in the hotbed of talented writers in Norwich. Her supportive writing group played the theme tune to ‘Rocky’ when she walked in soon after her win! I think cake might have been involved too. Take note of Helen’s top tip for prospective entrants – don’t let a lack of self-belief stop you, just go for it.
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The Dog Looks Happy Upside Down
by Meg Pokrass
Reviewed by Santino Prinzi

the dog looks happy upsidedownThe Dog Looks Happy Upside Down (Etruscan Press, 2016) is the most recent collection of flash fiction from Meg Pokrass. All readers and writers of flash fiction should have encountered her writing at some point because she is so widely published in online and print journals, as well as appearing in many anthologies, such as A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed: The 2016 National Flash Fiction Day Anthology and Flash Fiction International. Pokrass has judged many competitions too, as well as judging the new novella-in-flash award, which closes at the end of January 2017. After reading The Dog Looks Happy Upside Down it is no wonder that Pokrass is held in such high regard within the flash fiction community: her prose is masterful.
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Banshee Literary Journal
Interviewed by Adam Trodd

bansheeBanshee is a print journal of exciting accessible, contemporary writing from Ireland and around the world, published twice a year – in spring and autumn – and features short stories, flash fiction, personal essays and interviews. The first issue was launched in September 2015 and Issue 3 is now available. Banshee is edited by three writers in their late 20s and early 30s, Laura Jane Cassidy, Claire Hennessy and Eimear Ryan.

    • You all come from different writing backgrounds. How does that inform your experience of editing a literary journal?
  • Even though we write different things, there's a lot of overlap in terms of the topics that interest us - which really becomes evident when we look at the many writers we all love. As editors we're not really thinking as writers but as readers – it wouldn't be helpful to think in terms of 'what we would like to have written' instead of 'this is brilliant, let's champion it!'
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    Interview with Kathy Fish
    Flash Fiction Award Judge
    October 2016 – February 2017

    kathy-fishWe’re delighted that renowned American flash fiction writer and teacher, Kathy Fish is judging our next award, which opens on November 1st.

    Kathy teaches flash fiction for the Mile High MFA program at Regis University in Denver. She has published four collections of short fiction: a chapbook in the Rose Metal Press collective, A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women (2008); Wild Life (Matter Press, 2011); Together We Can Bury It (The Lit Pub, 2012); and Rift, co-authored with Robert Vaughan (Unknown Press, 2015). Her story, “A Room with Many Small Beds” was chosen by Stuart Dybek for inclusion in Best Small Fictions 2016 (Queen’s Ferry Press).
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    Dots and Other Flashes of Perception
    Debut flash fiction collection by Santino Prinzi
    Review by Jude Higgins

    dots-and-other-flashes-of-perceptionForty six stories are included in Santino Prinzi's debut collection of flash fictions published by The Nottingham Review. Many of the characters in this diverse and fascinating collection see life from the periphery, longing to connect with others and finding this hard or impossible.

    Stories take place in cafes, parks, food and clothes stores, kitchens and parties and reveal the lives of (usually) young people in contemporary urban society. Prinzi's style is clean and precise – low on metaphor, simile and embellished language of any kind. This way of writing suits the subject matter and setting of the stories, which have no fluffy edges, although some are humorous and playful. Shelf Life is like that – a neatly crafted story following the path of a relationship all the way to its noir end as the protagonists wander around a bookshop morphing personalities as they select different genres of writing from the shelves.
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    The Best Small Fictions 2016
    Eds. Tara L. Masih & Stuart Dybek
    Reviewed by Santino Prinzi

    The Best Small Fictions 2016The Best Small Fictions 2016 (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2016) is the second instalment in this series of anthologies that pull together the very best in small fiction. To say this is no easy task is an understatement, one with which I can only begin to empathise. Tara L. Masih, series editor, highlights in her foreword to the anthology: “out of thousands of published small fictions, my staff and consulting editors and I narrowed down the field to 100”, to which the guest editor, Stuart Dybek, whittled this selection down to 45 stories. This feat is admirable in itself, but truly rewarding for readers of this anthology.

    An additional feature to this anthology are interviews offering a spotlight on a particular author and on a particular press, magazine, or journal. Both Megan Giddings, (formerly an Executive Editor at SmokeLong Quarterly, now co-fiction editor at The Offing mag and a recipient of the Kathy Fish Fellowship) and Texture Press, received five nominations and have two small fictions featured in this anthology. Not only is this an incredible achievement for both Giddings and Texture Press, but, and most importantly, when you read these pieces you see how their places are more than well-deserved.
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