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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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Charmaine Wilkerson
In Print with Bath Flash Fiction

Our second novella-in-flash award, judged by Meg Pokrass, closes at midnight 29th January 2018. Our first winner was Charmaine Wilkerson, an American writer, who now lives in Rome.

Her winning novella-in-flash, How to Make a Window Snake, was published in Summer 2017, by Ad Hoc Fiction, in our anthology of the same title. Also included in this anthology are flash novellas from the two runners-up, Things I Dream About When I’m not Sleeping by Ingrid Jendrzejewski and A Safer Way to Fall by Joanna Campbell. The anthology, which was launched at the inaugural Flash Fiction Festival in Bath in June 2017, has been selling well around the world. Here’s a photograph of How to Make A Window Snake taken by Charmaine in a café in Rome, complete with an authentic Italian cappuccino.
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Gather us up and bring us home by Shasta Grant
Reviewed by Jude Higgins

The ten short fictions in Gather us up and bring us home by Shasta Grant (Split Lip Press, 2017) centre on American small-town life in the 1980s or early 1990s. It feels like the characters could all know each other, have met in school, or at stores or local events, have driven or been driven around in an estate car, like the one pictured on the cover.

The title of the collection uses the last phrase from the final sentence of one of the stories, ‘Us Girls.’ This phrase fits very well with a theme in the collection. Many characters depicted are not ‘at home’ in their lives. In ‘Us Girls’, the mother has left and her young daughter, who now lives alone with the father, harms herself. Her so-called friends bully and taunt her on a sleep-over, find out exactly what she has been doing and make her life even more miserable and precarious.
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How to Write a Novella-in-Flash
Joanna Campbell

Joanna Campbell was one of the two runners-up in our inaugural Novella-In-Flash Award judged by Meg Pokrass earlier this year. Her novella A Safer Way to Fall plus How to Make a Window Snake by our winner Charmaine Wilkerson and Things I Dream About When I'm Not Sleeping, by the other runner-up, Ingrid Jendrzejewski, were published together in one anthology, in time to be launched at the Flash Fiction Festival in Bath in June 2017. Joanna wasn’t able to attend the event but we were very pleased that she could come and read at a Flash Fiction Evening of Readings at St James’ Wine Vaults, Bath in May. A Safer Way to Fall is an historical piece spanning traumatic events concerning a family pre and during World War Two, and the subsequent devastation wrought upon the family. She is pictured here reading ‘Counting’ a very tense and moving flash fiction from the novella, where one of the main protagonists is in a line-up facing a firing squad.

Below, Joanna tells us how she came to understand the form and discovered a thread, which she could form into a novella, from flash fictions she had written during the previous eight years.
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How to Write a Novella-in-Flash
Ingrid Jendrzejewski

Ingrid Jendrzejewski tells us how she compiled her brilliant novella-in-flash, Things I Dream About When I’m Not Sleeping, which was one of the two runners-up in the inaugural Bath Flash Fiction novella-in-flash Award judged by Meg Pokrass earlier this year. The anthology of winning novellas How to Make a Window Snake was launched at the Flash Fiction Festival in Bath in June 2017 and the picture here shows Ingrid reading from her novella at the festival with winner, Charmaine Wilkerson, listening. Everyone at this event was very moved by both their readings. How to Make a Window Snake the anthology containing the novellas by Ingrid, Charmaine and the other runner-up, Joanna Campbell, is available from the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop. The deadline for the second novella-in-flash award, also judged by Meg Pokrass, is on 29th January, 2018. Ingrid went through several stages, detailed below, before she finished her winning novella-in-flash.
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Interview with Nod Ghosh
June 2017 Flash Fiction Second Prize

  • Your wonderful story 'The Cool Box' won second prize in Bath Flash Fiction Award, June 2017 round judged by Meg Pokrass. Can you tell us how it came into being?

I’m an obsessive hoarder, so keep old e-mail chains. At 7:30 am. on June 10th, I sent the first draft to my critique partner, Auckland author Eileen Merriman. The story had come to me in a dream. I sent it with the following comment: ‘I have attached the flash, though I'm not sure if it's a bit like most of my paintings, fun to do, but of no use to anyone.’

Eileen’s critique arrived a few hours later, with a suggestion to send to Bath Flash Fiction Award. I’d had an urgent call out to the laboratory where I work in the interim, and was chopping up someone’s spleen or something when I saw her message. I nearly forgot about it until nearer the deadline.
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Interview with
Catherine Edmunds
October 2017 Flash Fiction Second Prize

A multi-talented creative artist, Catherine is an inspiration in many ways. Here she tells us how being immersed in the culture of former pit villages, and a vintage picture of boys playing outside Elsecar Colliery, prompted her second prize winning story ‘The Hierarchy of Substances.’ She’s a dedicated writer who begins writing early, continues on and off throughout the day and has many current projects on the go, including finishing a novel which she began in last November’s NaNoWriMo. She also writes poetry and talks here about the similarity between writing poetry and flash fiction… “the music and the flow of the text matters in both forms.” Catherine is a musician by training and an artist. We need to look out for her on Sky Arts ‘Landscape Artist of the Year’ where she is a contestant, having also been in last year’s ‘Portrait Artist of the Year.' We love her self-portrait reproduced here, and her drawing of a pit pony. And we like her advice for entrants to Bath Flash Fiction Award to "sock it to them with that first sentence."
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Interview with Nancy Stohlman
Founder of FlashNano

Nancy Stohlman is the author of the flash collection The Vixen Scream and Other Bible Stories (2014), the flash novels The Monster Opera (2013) and Searching for Suzi: a flash novel (2009), and three anthologies of flash fiction including Fast Forward: The Mix Tape (2010), which was a finalist for a 2011 Colorado Book Award. She is the creator and curator of The Fbomb Flash Fiction Reading Series in Denver, the creator of FlashNano in November, and she has been published in over 100 journals and anthologies including the forthcoming Norton anthology New Microfictions (2018). Find out more about her at nancystohlman.com
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Interview with Rose McDonagh
October 2017 Flash Fiction Winner

We were fascinated to read that our first prize winner, Rose McDonagh, is a late night writer and has written almost every day since she was fifteen. Her winning piece was drafted in a community writing group she runs, inspired from one of her own exercises. She says, although it’s not always about getting published, a story gets “half its life from its author and half from being read and understood by other people.” Many writers have commented on the meaning of 'Pony' to them on social media. It’s a story with much resonance. David Swann, our October round judge, said “Haunting and elusive, yet simultaneously plain-speaking and precise – a story I won’t ever forget and my clear winner. Tremendous.”
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The Best Small Fictions 2017
Edited by Tara L. Masih and Amy Hempel
Reviewed by Santino Prinzi

The third instalment of one of the most popular and esteemed series of flash fiction anthologies, The Best Small Fictions 2017 (Braddock Avenue Books, 2017), is an essential read for every flash fiction writer or reader. From Matthew Baker’s island of presidential doppelgangers to Harriot West’s ekphrastic haibun story about Van Gogh’s sunflowers, each of the pieces in this anthology proves that writers are not only continuing to produce high-quality flash fiction, but that the imagination and scope of flash fiction is far-reaching, whether writers choose to explore the uncharted or re-invent the wheel.

A wonderful aspect of this series is its author spotlight, which includes an interview with an author with either more than one story in the anthology or multiple nominations (and being nominated just the once is an achievement in itself!). This year’s spotlight author is Joy Williams, a renowned American writer. The two stories, taken from 99 Stories of God (Tin House Books, 2016) serve as a great opening to the anthology and as a taster of Williams’ engaging, stripped-back collection itself. ‘36’ tells the story of Penny and the house she and her husband lived in, a house that she despises and rents out after her husband’s death. The story is laced with wit, the language is stripped back to the bare essentials, and culminates in a final striking image that offers a spectacular opening to the anthology.
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