Al Kratz
October 2017 Commended

What If Nothing Hurts Us More Than Imagination?

by Al Kratz

I finally went to see the doctor because it was easier than telling My Girl that I hadn't gone. It was easier than watching the disappointment grow. It was easier than admitting weakness. The ways she could move me were magical, but when the fire alarm sounded, I wished I had held my ground. I could just as easily die in a fire. These things happen all the time. I went to the doctor because My Girl had put her hands on me. She was magical that way too. But now on the ninth floor with a bunch of old people, stairs our only option, I thought, Oh great, are you happy now? You'll never get to touch me again. And then I thought, Come on, man. This isn’t all about you. Look at these people. What a loss we would be. And as if a wall of smoke had already done its deed, I had trouble breathing from the fifth floor down. She had put her hands on me, and I had asked her to say, O Captain! My Captain! But she just said, Shut up! This is serious! I went to the doctor because My Girl had felt something wrong. Right there in her beautiful hand, she had held a lump, small enough for fingers—my little life and pointless death. Or was it my little death and pointless life? What if it was just her imagination? What if it was the truth? I don’t know. After I opened the fire exit, after I felt alone in the parking lot, I caught my breath. I saw that I wasn’t alone. I saw everything I needed to see. These things happen all the time. The fire might have been a false alarm. I don't know. I didn’t stick around.

About the Author

Al Kratz lives in Indianola, Iowa with his fiancé, their three dogs, and any college kids that return to the nest. He is working on a short story collection and a novel. He writes fiction reviews for Alternating Current. He finished second in the February 2016 Bath Flash Fiction Award, and his story in Jellyfish Review was nominated for Best Small Fictions 2017. This year, he has had work in Ellipsis Zine, Train, (b)OINK, and forthcoming in Bull.

He blogs at alkratz.blogspot.com and tweets @silverbackedG

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November Flashathon
with Jude Higgins and Meg Pokrass

Sat. 25th November 
10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Free tea, coffee, biscuits.
Bring a packed lunch.

Trinity College
Stoke Hill
Stoke Bishop
Bristol
BS9 1JP

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November is the month of Nanowrimo – write a novel in the month of November – and for several years it has also been the month of Namicrowrimo (National Micro Writing Month). The goal is to write a flash fiction a day for the 30 days of November. In honour of this event, we’re holding an intensive flash fiction writing day. In the morning we’ll offer a series of prompts so you can complete several first drafts. In the afternoon, we’ll get you editing your pieces. If you’re a beginner come and try out the form, if you’re a flash fiction addict and have missed a few days of the November flash fiction challenge, this is a place to catch up. You’re sure to go away with at least six new micros.

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Flash Fiction ‘Noir’
Evening of Readings

Sat. 25th November 
7.30 pm – 9.30 pm
late bar, free snacks
St James' Wine Vaults
www.stjameswinevaults.co.uk
10 St James St
Bath
BA1 2TW
 

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A special November event in honour of NaMicroWrimo – National Micro Writing Month – where you’re challenged to write a flash each day for the month of November.

Now the nights are drawing in, come and listen to some darker-themed flash fictions. A variety of styles of short short fiction from two of our regulars Meg Pokrass and KM Elkes and four other guest readers – Damhnait Monaghan, Christopher Stanley, Jason Jackson and John Wheway. All writers will be reading for ten minutes each. There’s a break in the middle to buy drinks at the bar.

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Autumn Flash Friday

Friday 29th Sept. 
7.30 pm – 9.30 pm
late bar
free glass of wine
sweets and nibbles

St James' Wine Vaults
www.stjameswinevaults.co.uk
10 St James Street
Bath
BA1 2TW

FREE ENTRY  

 

Our founder, Jude Higgins, will be reading from her debut flash fiction pamphlet, The Chemist’s House, 13 flash fictions based on growing up in Mid-Wales. Published by V Press in June 2017.

Also reading – Meg Pokrass, Diane Simmons, Tino Prinzi, Conor Haughton and Alison Powell.

Come along, support Jude, and listen to some fabulous flash fiction. Everyone will read for ten minutes each with a twenty minute break half-way. We'd love to see you there.

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Interview with Amanda O’Callaghan
June 2017 Flash Fiction Winner

  • Can you tell us how your wonderful micro Tying the Boats came into being?

I once knew a woman who really did have a long hank of her hair in a drawer. I think it had been cut off when she was a child, but I have no idea of the background to the story. I’ve only recently remembered seeing it, and from the vantage point of many years I started thinking, “What on earth was that about?” It seemed to me that there was a tremendous amount of regret tied up with the act of keeping it. Of course, hair has always been a potent symbol in stories - of power, strength, beguilement, for instance - but, for me, “Tying the Boats” had to be about regret, the hair a symbol of something lost, of a warning unheeded.
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One in Twenty-Three
by Helen Rye
Nationally Published in Vietnamese

When I read Helen Rye's One in Twenty-Three on the Bath Flash Fiction Award's website, everything froze. I sat there with tears rolling down my face. I come from Vietnam where our natural beauty, homes and people were devastated by wars and conflicts. Many Vietnamese died because of bombs and then afterwards during their journeys on boats. I felt my Vietnam inside Helen's story. One in Twenty-Three is not just about one country or one person, it's about the evil of wars and the strength of the human spirit. I knew I had to translate One in Twenty-Three because I knew many Vietnamese would feel consoled by this story. As soon as I got Helen's permission and the permission from the Bath Flash Fiction Award, I started my translation work, refining it during the next week. My conversations with Helen helped me dive deeper into One in Twenty-Three. I submitted the final translation to the national newspaper Hà Nội Mới and it was immediately accepted. I am thankful to the Bath Flash Fiction Award for organizing such a meaningful writing competition that gives voices to those who need to speak. Thank you to Helen Rye for writing a story that makes me weep every time I read it. I'm delighted that all the commission associated with the publication of One in Twenty-Three in Vietnamese is donated to the Ban Mai scholarship program, to assist poor children of Vietnam in continuing their schooling.

I look forward to translating more of the prize-winning stories from the Bath Fiction Award.

About the Translator

Nguyen Phan Que Mai is an award-winning Vietnamese writer and translator. Fifteen of her books in poetry, fiction, non-fiction and translations have been published in Vietnamese and English. Que Mai’s first international publication, The Secret of Hoa Sen (poems, BOA Editions, 2014) received a Lannan Translation Award. Que Mai’s first novel in English is forthcoming with Algonquin Books (New York) in Spring 2019. For more information about her work, visit her website: nguyenphanquemai.com

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Interview with David Swann
Flash Fiction Award Judge
July – October 2017

David Swann’s flash fiction collection Stronger Faster Shorter was published in 2015. In 2016 he won the Bridport Flash Fiction Competition, his eighth success in a Prize that he judged in 2013. His other publications include The Privilege of Rain (based on his experiences as a Writer in Residence in jail, and shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award) and The Last Days of Johnny North, a collection of his prize winning short fiction. He is currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Chichester, where he teaches modules on fiction, poetry, and screenwriting. His ambition is to ride downhill in a bath.
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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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