Tag Archives: Ad Hoc Fiction

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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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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Judge’s report, Novella-in-Flash 2020

Michael Loveday, who is judging the Novella-in-Flash Award for the second year running, has been busy reading and re-reading the long list of twenty-seven novellas blind for the past seven weeks. We thank him very much for his very thorough work and can recommend anyone on the longlist or shortlist approaches him for his editing services if they want to do further tweaks to their novellas as he will have a good sense of them all. We agree with him that the standard was very high and we so appreciate all those who tackled this form of fiction and sent entries in to us in this our fourth year of the award. It is so exciting to see who the winners are this year. Many congratulations to our first prize winner, Mary Jane Holmes from the UK with Don't Tell The Bees and our two runners-up, Tracy Slaughter from New Zealand with If There is No Shelter and Erica Plouffe Lazure from the USA with Sugar Mountain. Michael has given special commendations to five authors this year. From the UK, Eleanor Walsh, our 2019 winner from the UK, with Tears In the Paku Paku, Alison Woodhouse with The House On the Corner, Karen Jones with When It's Not Called Making Love Louise Watts with Something Lost and from the USA, Nicholas Cook with Elvis In The Back Yard. We will post bios on all these authors on the website soon. Read Michael's initial comments in the first paragraph and his full report and comments on all the novellas-in-flash below that.
Michael's comments on the longlist

Every manuscript had genuine merits and I feel for those authors who haven’t made this shortlist; there were some very marginal calls.

My initial “long shortlist” of manuscripts I thought might make the final shortlist (based on a first read) had two-thirds of the novellas on it! There are some astonishingly good novellas in the list of fourteen. The overall consistency across the longlist made for some tricky/tough/brutal [delete as appropriate] decisions. My expectation is that many of these novellas, including some on the longlist, will eventually find publishers and that other readers will experience the same visceral thrill as I did when encountering these stories.

Michael's full report, April 11th 2020

The overall consistency of quality in the longlist this year made for a near-impossible judging process. Even beyond the shortlist of fourteen novellas, there are manuscripts on the longlist that I believe will interest publishers and with barely a little tinkering will read beautifully. It was noticeable this year, when compared to 2019, that many authors were now grappling with the novella-in-flash form almost as a novelist would – conjuring sustained story arcs across individual pieces, creating convincing ensemble casts of characters, and immersing the reader in fully developed world-building. This of course isn’t the only way a novella-in-flash can be written, but it did suggest an increasing commitment to treating the novella-in-flash form as something more than a collection of flash fictions – a unified story-world. Each novella on the longlist felt unique, utterly its own, and had qualities that drew the reader in. When judging, I’ve been trying to balance criteria such as readability, quality of characterization, linguistic surefootedness, flair, formal innovation, world-building, shaping of story arc, depth after repeat encounters, and insight into human experience. Looking at any single measure alone would surely create a different winner each time. It isn’t feasible to reach final decisions by any measurable ‘scientific’ process and ultimately judging comes down to such fractional margins that it’s almost absurd to proceed. I’m mindful that the process inevitably disappoints more authors than it pleases. It takes courage to write a novella and submit it to a competition, so my commiserations go to those who have missed out, including those who didn’t make the longlist that I read. It’s been a privilege to act as judge and I’m grateful for all the writers who were inspired to share their imaginative worlds during the past two years. I’m very glad that they made my role so difficult. Readers will have so much to enjoy and admire when this year’s manuscripts eventually make their way into the world.

Winner – Don’t Tell the Bees
The winning novella is a story of a young girl (called No-more) and a village community in France, around the time of the Second World War. It’s full of nostalgia for old rural ways, and, in passing, a nuanced description of the impact of industrial progress. There’s a charming fairy-tale quality, a satisfying come-uppance for a villainous character, and every page positively oozes with fondness for its characters. The novella adopts a classic novella-in-flash form, with each chapter a self-contained world of its own, a distinct moment in time, but its absolute originality is expressed in the characters’ eccentric qualities, the richly textured language, the blending of history with fable, and the way that its fragments collectively evoke the whole story of a village and way of life. Amongst a raft of brilliant manuscripts, this was the story I found myself most eagerly returning to, cherishing each time the writer’s deft skills.

Runner-Up – If There Is No Shelter
A remarkable story of a woman’s life in an unnamed city in the aftermath of a series of earthquakes. It’s written with claustrophic, relentless and urgent conviction. What’s most compelling is how the story is gleaned mostly through flashbacks, as though, like the city’s buildings, it’s been broken into fragments and we are picking our way through rubble. Gradually, like rescue workers, we uncover the situation of a hospitalized husband, a lover lost to a building’s collapse, and the tender domestic bonds the woman shares with her father and his colleague. Other haunting scenes leap out from the overall portrait of a ruined city – almost like twisted updates on Wordsworthian “spots of time” – a neighbour with a dead bird in a birdcage, a couple glimpsed making love in an office building at night, a street artist daubing impressions of the surrounding wreckage onto canvas. This is a dark, oppressive story but, through it, the writer explores how humanity responds to crisis – and has produced a metaphor for our own times.

Runner-Up – Sugar Mountain
A stunning sequence of stories about childhood shot through with irresistible yearning, beauty and humour. It’s written in a freewheeling prose that unfurls with detail after gorgeous detail piling up in the sentences. Quirky behaviour, teenage mischief, letdowns, unfulfilled dreams, romance – this novella really gets to the heart of what childhood feels like. The writer has a real gift for endings – chapter after chapter ends on a lovely resonating note that succeeds in creating the “speaking silence” of the unsaid – something so important to the experience of powerful flash fiction. Vivid chapter titles include: ‘Saved by DJ Big Man with Beard’ ‘This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’, ‘Why My Mother is No Longer a Hairdresser’ and ‘Why We Stole the Disco Ball from Satellite Skate’. A sentence from the latter offers a glimpse into this novella’s skillful evocation of childhood experience: “And then as the end of ‘Thriller’ began, I thought maybe this sparkle ball was a time machine, and all we had to do was skate backwards long enough to undo the awful of the awful week.”

Special Commendations –

I feel like each of these novellas deserves to be published. Although they didn’t quite make the top three, the quality of the writing was extremely high and they deserve a wide audience.

Special Commendation – Elvis in the Backyard
Simultaneously a narrative about family life and an affectionate boy-meets-boy love story. Quirky characters and written with a sense of humour and charm. Gotta love a story that mentions an Elvis wig.

Special Commendation – Something Lost
A clever and entertaining first-person tale of family strife and growing into adulthood, where the reader enjoys reading between the lines of the teenage boy’s narration. Funny, disarming and deep.

Special Commendation – Tears in the Paku Paku
An ambitious, startling psychological portrait of a teenage girl obsessed with the photo of a refugee from the Bosnian war. Haunting insight into the main character, written with elegant skill.

Special Commendation - The House on the Corner
Personal tremors large and small unsettle the foundations of a middle-class, nuclear family. Exquisite sentence-making, with each individual chapter beautifully sculpted and shaped.

Special Commendation – When It’s Not Called Making Love
Vivid, raw and immediate - a poignant story of a bullied and harassed girl’s struggle towards adulthood. Left me bruised and heartbroken. But also written with great wit –made me giggle many times.

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14th Award Round Up

Thank you very much to all the world-wide Flash Fiction writers who entered stories in our 14th Award. I's wonderful that so many people from around the world are writing flash fiction. Our entries increased again, this time to 1367. There were so many inventive stories, so many good ones to choose from to find our long list of fifty. Entries came in from the following thirty-one countries:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States

The last weeks of the Award were very busy and the Last Minute Club writers who, on the last day, 16th February, received their badge pictured here, this time a sunny yellow, were jostling at the door up until the very last seconds before midnight. We've produced badges for the last six awards and I am sure several writers have collected all of them.

Several different countries were represented in the long and short lists and this year, our five winners come from four different countries/continents. Many congratulations to our first prize winner Sharon Telfer, from the UK who has now won first prize twice, the last time in Summer 2016. She also had a story commended in February 2019. What a fantastic achievement! And many congratulations also to our second prize winner, Simon Cowdroy from Australia, who has had a story commended by us before, and third prize to Christina Dalcher from the USA, who was also a first prize winner in February 2019. Many congratulations also to Remi Skytterstad from Norway, who was highly commended and Claire Powell from the UK, also highly commended. All five stories are brilliant examples of flash fiction and you can read them on the winners' pages on this site and later in our print anthology.

It's always exciting to compile the first part of the year-end anthology and many long and short listed authors have already accepted our publication offer for the fifth BFFA anthology, which will be published in December this year, after all three yearly awards have been completed. We hope those who have booked for the flash fiction festival, 19-21st June and who are winners or listed writers, might like to read their pieces in our Open Mic Sessions. It is always great to hear them read out loud.

This time the Award turn around was even quicker than usual. We wanted to complete it by the end of February and we are very grateful to the reading team for dedicating many hours of reading during the life of the Award and in particular in the last few weeks and the final weekend and afterwards and for our judge, writer, editor and tutor and one of the Directors of National Flash Fiction Day UK, Santino Prinzi, for immersing himself in the longlist over several days to select the short list, find the winners and achieve a very fast result. He told us the whole process was a blast which he greatly enjoyed. Read his report and comments here.

The next Award judged by writer and writing tutor, Mary-Jane Holmes opens on March 1st and ends on Sunday June 7th. Results will be out by the end of June. We look forward to reading more flash fictions and be astonished, moved, humbled and amazed all over again.

Jude Higgins
February, 2020

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Anthologies Launched in Bath

On Saturday 8th February, at the full moon and on a blustery night, we launched Flash Fiction Three and With One Eye On The Cows, Bath Flash Fiction Award, Vol 4 both published by Ad Hoc Fiction, our small indie press, at the lovely St James Wine Vaults in Bath. We were delighted that eighteen writers were able to come and read their micros from the two anthologies. It was a fast-paced and fun evening. We had a double-book cover cake, wine, nibbles, a raffle and plenty of time for chatting. The room was packed with our readers, their friends and family members and our guests.

In the first half of the evening we heard micros published in Flash Fiction Festival Three written by festival director Jude Higgins, festival team members and volunteers, Judy Darley, Michael Loveday, Grace Palmer and John Wheway, festival participants, Dave Alcock, Andrea Harman, Felicity Cowie and Ruth Foster and festival presenter, Carrie Etter. A whole range of great little stories — many of them prompted by workshops at last year's festival.

In the second half, eight writers published in With One Eye on The Cows came to read their stories. And many travelled a long way.Several of these writers contributed photographs to our photo gallery when their books arrived. We were lucky to catch Fiona Mackintosh from the USA, on a visit to her family in England and Don Taylor came from Glasgow, Dide Siemmond and Clementine F. Burnley from London, Jeanette Sheppard from the Midlands, Leonie Rowland from Manchester and Santino Prinzi and Diane Simmons who live locally. More wonderful micros — winners, shortlisted and longlisted stories, selected out of our yearly total of over 3000 entries for the three 2019 Bath Flash Fiction Awards, last year judged by Vanessa Gebbie, Christopher Allen and Nancy Stohlman.

Michael Loveday sold raffle tickets with prizes of several books published by Ad Hoc Fiction, to raise funds for reduced cost places at the Flash Fiction Festival and we raised £45, enough to pay for one local writer, who is short of cash, to attend the pre-festival workshop on historical fiction by Nuala 0'Connor taking place from 2.00 pm - 5.00 pm on Friday 19th June, at our festival venue, Trinity College, Bristol. Contact us directly about this if you are a local writer on a low income and would like to take up the place. Nuala is a great teacher, historical novelist, short story and flash fiction writer.

The 14th Bath Flash Fiction Award closes in one week. And as usual we are looking forward to offering publication in our year-end anthology to the fifty longlisted writers in this round. The Festival is open for bookings and two-thirds of the places have now gone. We'd love to see you there!

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Round the World ‘With One Eye On The Cows’

Our fourth Bath Flash Fiction anthology, With One Eye On The Cows, title story by New Zealand writer Annette Edwards-Hill, who we've interviewed here, containing 137 micros from the 2019 Awards, was dispatched all over the world in December. Thank you to all contributors who posted pictures on social media of their anthologies, either with cows or other animals, real or not and in portraits. We hope we haven't missed out any pictures we saw and if you want to add any to the gallery. please let us know. The anthology is available to buy in several different currencies from the Ad Hoc Fiction Bookshop. And we thank Annette very much for inspiring the cover. We are very fond of the cow image and of the title.The anthology will be launched alongside Flash Fiction Festival Three, the anthology of stories from the 2019 Flash Fiction Festival, in Bath on Saturday, February 8th. It will be a fun and pacy evening, with about 12 authors from each anthology reading. Plus cake, wine and nibbles. If you want to come and listen, let us know asap. The next Bath Award, judged by Santino Prinzi, closes on February 16th and all fifty longlisted authors will be offered publication in our 2020 anthology, which will be published by Ad Hoc Fiction at the end of the year.

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Q & A with Annette Edwards-Hill, author of ‘With One Eye On The Cows’

The image of the cow on the Bath Flash Fiction anthology, Volume 4 is very popular and we love the title of the micro by Annette Edwards-Hill that inspired it.You will see on the gallery of pictures included on another post, that the book has been travelling all around the world to the contributors. Annette lives in New Zealand and it took a while to get there over Christmas but we are glad she's received it now and that her 'cattle' dog approves. You can find her story on the last page of the book, which is available from the Ad Hoc Fiction online bookshop, facing a black and white version of the cover image. Here in this Q & A with Jude, she tells us more about the story, the title and her writing.
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The Best Small Fictions 2020 Nominations

Each year, we nominate the full quota of five flash fictions for the prestigious The Best Small Fictions anthology from our winners selected by judges in our thrice-yearly Awards. For 2020 we are delighted to nominate 'Candy Girls' by Christina Dalcher, the first prize winner chosen by our February 2019 judge, Vanessa Gebbie, 'Cleft' by Gaynor Jones, the first-prize winner chosen by our June 2019 judge, Christopher Allen, 'Angie' By Marissa Hoffmann, the first prize winner chosen by our October 2019 judge, Nancy Stohlman, 'The Wild West' by Francis McCrickard second prize winner chosen by Nancy Stohlman from the October 2019 Award and 'Snow Falling Upwards' by Fiona J Mackintosh, chosen by Vanessa Gebbie from the February Award. All stories as well as being published online on this site are also published in With One Eye On The Cows our own yearly anthology, now published by Ad Hoc Fiction, which will be launched in Bath,Saturday, 8th February and is available to buy from our Ad Hoc Fiction online bookshop

It's also a privilege to be able to nominate five winners from our sister Award, the Ad Hoc Fiction micro contest from the winners voted for by the public in 2019 and published on the winners' pages of Ad Hoc Fiction. We have chosen, 'A Mad Max World' by Syliva Petter, 'Time Will Say Nothing But I told You So' by Alison Woodhouse, 'Lunch at Luigi's' by Linda Grierson-Irish, 'Push' by Henry Barnes and 'White Noise Playlists at St Bernadine Medical Center' by Charles Duffie.

Best wishes to all our nominees. We love all your stories! The Best Small Fictions 2019 is published now. It's a beautiful book and we are thrilled one of our last year nominees, Fiona J Mackintosh has her first prize winning story, 'Siren', published within it.

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2019 Flash Fiction Highlights

Thank you so much to everyone in the world-wide flash fiction community who supported all our enterprises in 2019 and helped them thrive. It's really been a great year for Bath Flash Fiction. We ran three more successful single flash fiction awards, our third novella-in- flash award, our third Flash Fiction Festival, hosted several reading events and Ad Hoc Fiction, our fantastic short-short press, published twelve new flash fiction books pictured above, which are all available to buy from the online bookshop in several different currencies. And, in a first for Ad Hoc Fiction, the everrumble by New Zealand based author, Michelle Elvy first published in the UK in June, 2019 and launched at the Flash Fiction Festival, is now published and available to buy in New Zealand. More details on our year-in-flash below:
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