BIFFY50 2019-2020, Nominations

Thanks very much to TSS and this year's editors for again compiling the list of fifty Best British and Irish Flash Fictions (BIFFY50) published online between August 2019 and May 2020. We are very happy at Bath Flash to nominate 'Eight Spare Bullets' by Sharon Telfer which won first prize in the February 2020 round of our Award and Valentine' by Claire Powell, which was highly commended by judge Santino Prinzi. Read his comments on the stories in his judge's report.

Our final story of the three nominations allowed is 'The Wild West' by Francis McCrickard which won second prize in the October 2019 Bath Flash Fiction Award judged by Nancy Stohlman and you can read her comments here.
The authors live in the UK and we think their stories are wonderful examples of flash fiction.
Very best wishes to them all.

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Interview with Simon Cowdroy, Second Prize winner, February 2020 Award

With two weeks to go before the end of our 15th Award on June 7th, here's another fascinating interview in our winners' series, this time from Simon Cowdroy, second prize winning author in our February award judged by Santino Prinzi, to inspire all Last Minute Club writers. You can read Simon's wonderful story 'The Dissolution of Peter McCaffrey' here and it will be published by Ad Hoc Fiction in our end of year anthology along with the other winners, shortlisted and longlisted writers from our 2020 Awards. Simon tells us more about his writing process and his influences which include other writers like Australian Clive James and also the landscape in which he lives, pictured here. We asked him about his striking use of language and think his comment that he strives to use 'imagery derived from finding a powerful and unexpected way to frame the words' is very good advice for others who want to write memorable flash. We also like his other tips at the end of this piece and his suggestion to 'write as if it is your last chance to do so'. It was great to meet Simon at the Flash Fiction Festival last year and hope that when we hold the festival again (fingers crossed for such events), he can come again all the way from Australia, and we can hear him read it. Read in Full

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Interview with Erica Plouffe Lazure, runner-up 2020 Novella-in-Flash Award


Erica Plouffe Lazure was a runner up in the 2020 Bath Novella in Flash Award with her brilliant novella, Sugar Mountain .
You can read Michael Loveday's judge's comments on the novella in his report linked here. And Flash Frontier has posted a video of Erica reading a story from the novella which gives the flavour of the whole story, on the Flash Frontier You tube channel as part of the lead up to National Flash Fiction Day in New Zealand. In this fascinating interview, Erica talks about her writing process and how she finds time to write flash in her busy teaching year. Plus some great tips for those who want to embark on writing a novella-in-flash. We are very much looking forward to seeing Sugar Mountain in print, when it is published by Ad Hoc Fiction later this year. Read in Full

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Interview with Sharon Telfer, first prize winner, February 2020

    It's good to catch up with Sharon Telfer to find out more about 'Eight spare bullets', her second first prize win for Bath Flash Fiction Award, and about her writing in general. The first time Sharon won with another marvellous story, 'Terra Incognita' back in June, 2016, we learned she had been walking in the Welsh mountains and only found out about her success when she got home. This second time, she wasn't checking emails and social media because she was completing a big work project and discovered all the excitement at the end of the day!

    The 15th Bath Flash Fiction Award judged by Mary Jane Holmes ends in three and a half weeks on June 7th. Mary Jane gave some great writing tips in her interview with us and there's more tips from Sharon at the end of this interview and in the quote below, near the beginning. It is a wonderful piece of advice for the current situation we are in, and has a particular reference to Sharon's winning story.

    "...If you’re not writing for whatever reason, don’t force it and don’t despair. Those seeds are lying dormant, just like in the Svalbard vault. Give yourself time and what light and warmth and good soil you can. Germination always happens first unseen and underground.


    Good luck to everyone entering our 15th Award. Results will be out at the end of the June."

Read in Full

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Interview with Tracey Slaughter, Runner-up 2020 Novella in Flash Award

Tracey Slaughter's brilliant novella if there is no shelter was one of two runners-up in the 2020 Novella-in-Flash Award judged by Michael Loveday. You can read Michael's comments on the novella in his judge's report and more about Tracey on our winners' page.
We are asking the same questions of all our winners and commended authors and it is fascinating to read that Tracey's novella was inspired by a list of emergency instructions at work and particularly the one phrase 'if there is no shelter' that ended up being the title of the novella. For those writing novellas, Tracey has the great advice to 'Banish doubt and trust the voices and don’t give up on those beautiful damaged characters'. We are so looking forward to seeing her novella in print. It will be published by Ad Hoc Fiction later this year.

    Interview
  • Can you give us a brief synopsis of your novella in flash?
    if there is no shelter follows a young woman trying to pick up the pieces of home in the aftermath of an earthquake. As we trace the faltering steps she takes to try to restore her life, we discover the wreckage she was already leaving in her wake before the earthquake struck…a lover, a husband, the letter left stranded in a red-zoned building she cannot re-enter.
  • What inspired it?
    A poster pinned over the sink in the tea-room at work, where I found myself blinking, burnt-out between classes, clutching my cup with a thousand-yard stare – a stained & peeling list of emergency instructions that included the heading ‘If there is no shelter.’ That was it: somehow the heroine spoke, & started bringing her fragments to the surface…
  • I am sure readers who are interested in writing in this form would love to know more about your writing process. Did it take some time for you to arrive at the final order for example?

    Although the first pieces of this story arrived in intense, almost instantaneous flashes, conditions of life (which overturned not long after I embarked on writing) left the further construction of the work suspended, sometimes for months at a stretch. The forgiving form of flash (hallelujah!) could cope with the ongoing disruption, & allowed me to focus on each piece I could achieve within my narrow windows. In many ways, it even seemed to echo the chaos surrounding the heroine – I had to scratch for time, pick through scattered pieces, splice a story together from precious remains. In the end, it wasn’t so much order that I knew it needed to witness, as disorder, the truth of fracture – I had to trust that the story should be left to reflect shattering.
  • All this may have changed in the present circumstances, but do you have a special place/time to write where you live? Music on or off? Pets as distractions or muses?

Silence, distance, solace, isolation, refuge from the million other pressing demands of life: I can’t seem to write unless I’m alone with my characters, tuned to their voices, breathing in their fates. I remain in awe of anyone who can tap the keys at a café table – I’ve always been secretly convinced they’re faking it!!! But yes, the present conditions are a taste too much loneliness…& with working online the static has just come home!

  • And following on from the last question, if you like. If you had a soundtrack for your novella, what sort of music would be playing?
    The haunting dissonant industrial poetry of the artist I.E.Crazy – as soon as I heard her twisted original ballads I felt like my book was singing back at me!
    • Pitfalls and pleasures of writing in this form?
      Pleasures: that flash can take you in a rush, plunge you into a character’s senses, keep you fed on bursts of electricity, even when life holds scant time for sustained writing. I thrive on the little fixes it gives, the short stints it lets creativity off the leash, so there’s always a quick source of exhilaration in a schedule that sometimes doesn’t leave much breathing space. And pitfalls: I don’t know if there are any. I find that flash is the central atom of the short story mode, so it’s never wasted, whether the piece stays distilled in a single flash or keeps detonating in a series of ongoing explosions.

    • Your best tips for those wanting to embark on a novella in flash for our next Award?
      Banish doubt & trust the voices & don’t give up on those beautiful damaged characters & what they need to speak, not for an instant – I nearly caved-in & let go of this story, because it was largely composed during crisis, nearly listened to the offscreen murmurs of fears that were waiting to form a cold chorus. Shut that damned descant out the writing room & do it anyway. You can always fend them off for the space of the next flash.
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  • Interview with Mary Jane Holmes, First Prize Winner, 2020 Novella in Flash Award

    Mary Jane Holmes won our 2020 Novella in Flash Award, judged by Michael Loveday last month with her stunning novella in flash Don't Tell the Bees. Read Michael's comments about it in his judge's report. And you can also read more about Mary Jane, who currently also happens to be the judge of our 15th single flash fiction Award, on our winners' page. Mary Jane, who is a poet, prose writer and for many years a teacher of flash fiction and other forms, has had an extraordinary few years where both her flash fiction and poetry has achieved much recognition. Ad Hoc Fiction is delighted to be able to publish Don't Tell The Bees, which is her first novella. It's really interesting to read about what inspired the story, to see inside Tom, Mary Jane's writing caravan and to have her insight into the pitfalls and pleasures of writing in this form. We expect the novella to be out later this year.

    • Can you give us a brief synopsis of Don't Tell the Bees, your winning novella-in-flash?

      A stonemason climbs the steeple of the village church to mend the weathervane his father had made many years before and falls to his death, leaving a family to survive in a 20th century but feudal run rural backwater of western France. The story’s main focus is the youngest child, a girl with a love of maths, who has to negotiate poverty, sexism and the arrival of a new road into the village where she lives.

    Read in Full

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    Saboteur Award Shortlistings!

    It's amazing that we are shortlisted for the Saboteur Awards in five categories this year! Ad Hoc Fiction in The Most Innovative Publisher category, the Flash Fiction Festival in the Best Literary Festival category and the four books described below in the Best Anthology, Best Novella and Best Short Story Collection categories. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for us. We are very excited by all this emphasis on flash fiction in the Saboteur Awards. And if you love flash, the festival and these books, we'd be delighted if you could vote again for them to win.

    It is a first for us to have a Bath Flash Fiction Anthology in the shortlist for the Best Anthologuy. In previous years we have made the longlist. We love the title With One Eye On The Cows and the cover of this our fourth Bath Flash anthology. And the stories within are stunning. 135 micros from world wide authors. You can see the gallery of where the author copies were posted to here. And here's a review of it by writer Judy Darley. Read in Full

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    Ad Hoc Fiction Innovation

    We're thrilled that Ad Hoc Fiction, our small independent press, is shortlisted for the Best Innovative Publisher category in the Saboteur Awards, 2020. As a fun innovation to divert herself during lockdown, Ad Hoc Fiction Director, Jude Higgins has been 'dressing-up-to-go-nowhere' in outfits that colour co-ordinate with all our books.
    The gallery of 16 days of photos below showcase the books. And Jude added a 'bonus' picture with colours showing the Ad Hoc Logo when we learned we'd been shortlisted.

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    Ad Hoc Fiction plans to publish eight more novellas in flash this year, a Bath Flash Fiction Vol 4, a further single author collection by UK author Santino Prinzi and another one in the pipe line. And a first, a craft book, by Nancy Stholman. The Corona Virus has slowed down the publishing date for these. But everything else is operating normally. It is still possible to buy books directly from our bookshop
    This Saboteur Award shortlisting is a wonderful recognition of our work. We concentrate on publishing high quality short fiction available to buy directly in paper back copies from our online bookshop. And many books are also for sale as ebooks via Kindle or Kobo. All twenty books we have published are pictured here. In 2019 Ad Hoc Fiction published six Flash Fiction Novellas,'one small novel in small forms' by writers from the UK, USA and New Zealand, two single author flash fiction collections from UK writers and two anthologies, one containing micros from over 130 authors successful in the 2019 Bath Flash Fiction Awards and one containing over 80 micros from participants at the Flash Fiction Festival, UK. Last year, Ad Hoc Fiction won Best Publisher in the Creative Bath Awards, but this shortlisting is a wider recognition. And we are very excited. So thank you to all who voted for us to get to this stage and I hope you will vote for us again.

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    2020 Novella-in-Flash winners

    Many congratulations and more details below about our 2020 winner, Mary-Jane Holmes from the UK (who is also the judge for our June 2020 single-flash Award!) and the two runners-up, Tracey Slaughter from New Zealand and Erica Plouffe-Lazure from the USA.
    Read judge Michael Loveday's report on their brilliantly written novellas-in-flash to find out a brief synopsis of each of them, and his comments.They are all very different and it is wonderful to have such variety among the winners and the special commended novellas. We hope that all three of these winning novellas will be published later this year and we are so looking forward to seeing them in print.

    First Prize Don't Tell The Bees by Mary-Jane Holmes
    Mary-Jane Holmes is a writer, teacher and editor based in the Durham Dales, UK. She has been published in such places as the Best Small Fictions Anthology 2016 and 2018, and the Best Microfictions Anthology 2020 Her work can also be found in The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Spelk, Cabinet of Heed, Flashback Fiction, Mslexia, Fictive Dream, The Lonely Crowd, and Prole amongst others. She is winner of the Mslexia Prize (2018), the Reflex Fiction prize (Autumn 2019) and the Dromineer Fiction Prize (2014). In 2017, she won the Bridport Poetry Prize and her poetry collection Heliotrope with Matches and Magnifying Glass was published by Pindrop Press in 2018. She is currently studying for a creative writing PhD at Newcastle University and she has an unpublished flash collection knocking about that was recently short-listed for the International Beverly Prize for Literature. Her flash fiction 'Flock' was recently selected for Best Small Fictions, 2020.
    @emjayinthedale

    Runner Up: If There is No Shelter by Tracey Slaughter
    Tracey Slaughter is a poet and fiction writer from Aotearoa New Zealand. Her latest works are the volume of short stories deleted scenes for lovers (Victoria University Press, 2016) and the poetry collection Conventional Weapons (Victoria University Press, 2019). Her work has received numerous awards including the 2020 Fish Short Story Prize, second place in The Moth Short Story Prize 2018, the Bridport Prize 2014, and two Katherine Mansfield Awards. She lives in Hamilton, and teaches Creative Writing at Waikato University, where she edits the literary journals Mayhem and Poetry New Zealand.

    Runner-Up: Sugar Mountain by Erica Plouffe Lazure
    Erica Plouffe Lazure is the author of a flash fiction chapbook, Heard Around Town, and a fiction chapbook, Dry Dock. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Carve, Greensboro Review, Meridian, American Short Fiction, The Journal of Micro Literature, The Common's "Dispatches" series, The Southeast Review, Fiction Southeast, Flash: the International Short-Short Story Magazine (UK), Vestal Review, Wigleaf, Monkeybicycle, National Flash Fiction Day Anthology (UK), Litro (UK), and elsewhere. She lives and teaches in Exeter, New Hampshire, USA.

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    2020 Special Commendation Novellas-in-flash

    The standard was very high in the 2020 Novella in Flash Award judged by Michael Loveday and he chose five novellas as special commendations, which as well as the three winners, will also be published by Ad Hoc Fiction later this year.You can read comments on all the five novellas in Michaels' report. They, like the winners provide an amazing range and interpretation of the form. We are very happy that we are going to see them in print to add to our growing collections of novellas-in-flash available from the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop. Many congratulations to all.

    Elvis In The Backyard by Nicholas Cook (from the USA)

    Nicholas Cook’s fiction has appeared in Lost Balloon, Jellyfish Review, Midway Journal, Bath Flash Fiction Award, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for Best Small Fictions 2018. He lives in Texas.

    When It's Not Called Making Love by Karen Jones (from the UK)
    Karen Jones is a prose writer from Glasgow with a preference for flash and short fiction. She is addicted to writing competitions and is a perennial long/short-lister – Commonwealth Short Story Competition, Bath Flash Fiction, Bath Short Story, To Hull and Back, TSS 400, HISSAC– though she has reached the prize-winning stage with Mslexia, Flash 500, Words With Jam, Ink Tears and Ad Hoc Fiction. Her work is published in numerous ezines, magazines and anthologies. Her story 'Small Mercies' was nominated for Best of the Net, the Pushcart Prize and is included in Best Small Fictions 2019 and the BIFFY50 2019. She is an editor for the BIFFY50 2020.

    Tears in the Paku Paku by Eleanor Walsh (from the UK)
    Eleanor Walsh has BA from the University of Chichester / Thompson Rivers University (CA), an MA from Bath Spa University, and a PhD from the University of Plymouth, where she researched feminist literature in Nepal. Ellie has had short fiction, poetry, and travel writing published in journals in Canada, the UK and South Asia. She also wrote a play called A Patient Drug which was produced at Royal Holloway University. Her novella-in-flash Birds with Horse Hearts won the 2019 Bath Flash Fiction award. Ellie was also an Associate Editor for the journal Coldnoon Travel Poetics, where she wrote a column on South Asian literature.

    Something Lost by Louise Watts (from the UK)
    Louise Watts lives in Oxfordshire and works in education. She has published fiction in Ambit Magazine, Flash: An International Journal of Short Short Fiction, Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology and has been shortlisted in the Fish Memoir competition. Her poetry has been published in Raceme, highly commended in the Mslexia Pamphlet competition, shortlisted for The Plough short poem prize, and long-listed in the Poetry Society National Competition. Louise studied English at Cambridge University and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Oxford University.

    The House On The Corner by Alison Woodhouse (from the UK)
    Alison Woodhouse is a writer, teacher and a member of the Bath Short Story Award team. She completed an MA with distinction from Bath Spa University in 2019. During the same year she won both the HISSAC short story and flash fiction competition, Hastings Flash, Farnham Flash and NFFD micro. She has also won Biffy50, Limnisa Short Story, Mattermagazine Flash and Ad Hoc Fiction twice and was highly commended in Vernal Equinox Flash, Furious Fiction and Ilkley short story competitions. She has been short and long listed in Scottish Arts Club, Bare Fiction, Bath Flash Fiction Award, Reflex Fiction, TSS, The London Magazine, Retreat West, Mslexia and Words in Jam. Her stories are published in Leicester Writes, Cambridge Short Story Anthology, Reflex Fiction, Ellipsis Vols 3 and 5, NFFD Anthology, Earlyworks and Bath Flash Fiction Anthology, Vol 4.. Many other stories are available online.

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