Tag Archives: flash fiction festival

Out Now! ‘Birds With Horse Hearts’, ‘Homing’ and ‘The Roster’ – three winning novellas-in-flash

We launched three of the winning novellas-in-flash at the Flash Fiction Festival in Bristol 28th-30th June. Birds with Horse Hearts by Eleanor Walsh Homing By Johanna Robinson and The Roster by Debra A Daniel. You can now buy all these marvellous novellas in paperback from the Ad Hoc Fiction Bookshop. Just click on the book titles linked above to go straight to the correct bookshop page.

We were delighted that the first prize winner Eleanor Walsh and Runner-Up Johanna Robinson were able to attend the festival to read extracts from, and talk about their novellas. The 2019 judge, Michael Loveday chaired the panel which included Charmaine Wilkerson, who won the 2017 Award with her novella in flash How To Make A Window Snake and and Meg Pokrass, who judged the 2017 Award and whose novella Here Where We Live, is included in the Rose Metal Press Field Guide to writing a novella-in-flash. It was very interesting to hear from all these writers about the form.

Debra Daniel lives in the US, and wasn't able to attend the Festival, but all books were available in our festival bookshop and created much interest. It is so exciting to see three new examples of this fast developing genre. They are all brilliant reads and have had much advanced praise.

Birds With Horse Hearts takes us to the lowlands of contemporary Nepal and "explores the entangled lives of three women as they navigate grief, freedom and their own journeys to find people to call family and places to call home." Judge Michael Loveday said Homing, "an historical fiction encompassing the Second World War and telling the story of a Norwegian family from 1933 to 1970 has more epic sweep than many novels", and commented that The Roster, an "ensemble cast" novella, a superbly individualised, vivid, inventive and memorable sequence of stories about a teacher's pupils at a school is a story of immense charm with real emotional substance."

The 2020 Novella in Flash Award, judged again this time by Michael Loveday is now open for entries and closes January 12th 2020.

share by email

Nancy Stohlman Flash Fiction Award Judge July 2019 – October 2019

Nancy Stohlman is the author of Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities (finalist for a Colorado Book Award), The Vixen Scream and Other Bible Stories, the flash novels The Monster Opera and Searching for Suzi, and three anthologies of flash fiction including Fast Forward: The Mix Tape She is the creator and curator of The Fbomb Flash Fiction Reading Series, the creator of FlashNano in November, and her work has been published in the W.W. Norton anthology New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction and will be included in the 2019 Best Small Fictions. She lives in Denver and teaches at the University of Colorado Boulder as well as co-facilitates flash fiction retreats around the world. Find out more at www.nancystohlman.com

We sent Nancy these questions while she was at the end of her writing sabbaticaL. And since then we've seen her at the Flash Fiction Festival, 28-30 June, in Bristol, teaching and performing her flash. She ran some great workshops on performing work and we got to hear her read and saw her in a special video created by our last judge Christopher Allen and his husband. So much fun!

  • You have recently been on a writing sabbatical for three weeks. Can you let us know how it went? What was the most worthwhile thing about deciding to take some time out in this way? And has the time resulted in another collection ready to go?.

It was amazing (actually I’m in my final days right now). First of all I can’t remember being alone for 3 weeks—maybe ever. Really alone. So I went through a lot of creative levels—excitement, possibility, self-doubt, fear, breakdown, breakthrough, acceptance, and lots and lots of gratitude. I think my biggest discovery is how essential boredom is to creativity. I just wrote a whole essay about Holy Boredom here

But staying in the same place for a long time is different than the usual travel, where we are rushing past things and quickly taking pictures, barely skimming the surface. I recognize the townspeople now, they recognize me. We wave like friends passing on the street. I can spot the new crop of tourists, fleshy and pink and overeager. I’ve been here so long I know who the town crazies are, know that they are harmless. The waiter asks: how is your book, you find inspiration yet? Just today he brought me my coffee exactly how I like it before I even ordered. When I needed a new snorkel the shopkeeper takes it out of the wrapping—you pay me tomorrow he says.
Are you sure?
Did you come here to steal? You pay me tomorrow.
It feels like acceptance.

New manuscript? Let’s hope so…I’m leaving with a nearly completed draft of…something. Time will tell.

  • Can you tell us more about your collection Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities (which was recently a finalist in the literary section of the prestigious Colorado Book Award) and how it came about?

Yes, another crazy impulse that turned into something. As usual I didn’t set out to write a book, I just started writing the pieces as individuals and then collaging them and then realized that indeed I was writing a bigger story. Many of the pieces in Madam Velvet are my shortest ever—tiny stories, micros. And they started to play together and create a cabaret of their own, a variety show with an impulse running from beginning to end. A traveling freak show on the page.

I often use theatrics as a framework for my writing. I wrote another flash novel (published back in 2013) called The Monster Opera, where the story was an opera within an opera. Super weird. I’ve actually performed both Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities and The Monster Opera as full shows with full casts and original music composed by Nick Busheff. You can see clips from both these on the links.

And the Colorado Book Award—yes! I was especially excited because of course there was no flash fiction category so I submitted the book as a short story collection, which isn’t exactly right but close enough. Then I was told that all the short story entries were going to be combined with literary fiction and I thought: Well shit. Now I have no chance! So to have this book, this very strange, out of the box book, be a finalist in literary fiction, was a double and triple win for me and I feel for flash fiction in general.

  • I recently attended a writing retreat you led with Kathy Fish in Italy and saw you perform some of the pieces from this collection wonderfully. Reading a story outloud is always good for revision purposes, and do you think performing it as if to an audience might help a writer learn more about it?

We loved having you! And thank you — you not only got to see me perform but you got to see me accompanied by Nick, so that was an extra treat. And yes, because I have a performance background — I’ve been on various stages, singing, acting, etc—since I was 10 — it naturally bleeds into my work as a writer. I think it lends a certain ear for musicality, dialogue and timing.

Can we learn how to edit our work through reading to an audience? Definitely. Many times I’ve been reading something to an audience and instinctively know during the reading that a sentence is going on too long, or I need to change a word. And I’ll do that on the fly. Then, as soon as the reading is over I’ll make those same changes on the page. Pay attention to the audience’s cues: Where they laugh. If they didn’t clap at the end because they didn’t know it was over. Etc.

In 2013 I started the Fbomb Flash Fiction Reading Seriess in Denver (and helped facilitate the NYC spinoff in 2016 with Paul Beckman). One of my goals with that series, besides creating a dedicated showcase for flash fiction, was to help writers get better at reading their work. It’s not something that comes easily to a lot of people. But it’s so important.

  • You have been teaching flash for many years. Can you tell us more about your current online workshops and how writers may join them?

I’ve been teaching flash fiction since 2009 and teaching online flash workshops since 2012, and in that time there have been so many evolutions! In some of my earliest (online) classes we actually had telephone conference calls (!), which of course no longer worked once the students became international.

My online offerings for the summer are just about full. I’m about to launch a new Flash Novel class in July—it’s full with a waiting list we we’ll see how it goes. The best chance to work with me this summer is during my weekend workshop “Through the Back Door: Absurdism as a Way to Truth” hosted by Bending Genres August 23-25.

Monthly Online Workshops

I also have a Writing Flash Fiction self-paced generative workshop that has rolling registration—it includes 5 self-paced lessons with accompanying prompts, readings, and videos.It’s a great starter to flash and/or a jump start if you are feeling in a rut and want to shake up your creativity. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find it. It’s a good introduction to me as well. And then there are always the in-person workshops—I’ll be teaching with Kathy (Fish) and Randall Brown in Colorado this August. Unfortunately I’m beholden to the university schedule so I load up my classes during the summer and winter, mostly. But look for me to run FlashNano again in November (8th year!) and I’ll be offering a new crop of classes in the winter break Dec/Jan.

  • What do you like about teaching flash fiction?

Well, and I’m not alone in this, as a teacher it’s extremely helpful to guide students through entire drafts from beginning to end, something that’s tough with long works. And of course the best is the a-ha! Whether it’s the a-ha! of a new idea brought to fruition or the a-ha! of finally unlocking the key to a story that hasn’t worked yet (I’m crazy about revision). The great thing about teaching for so long is I have worked with writers who were new to flash fiction once, and then over the years I have watched them publish, then win awards, then publish books, then have those books win awards! It’s super rewarding.

But mostly I love being on the front lines of the flash fiction movement, seeing how this tiny little genre is changing all of literature, changing how we tell stories.

  • What sort of micros would you love to see among the entries?

That’s hard to say because I’ll just know it when I see it. I’ll tell you want I don’t want to see: stories that are trying too hard. Trying too hard to be: cute, clever, weird, poignant, traumatic, intense, etc. I can always see through that.

Actually, you know what I really want to see? The story that arrived for you seemingly out of the blue, the one you drafted in just 15 minutes because it just poured out of you, almost effortlessly, almost as if you weren’t the one writing it. That magical gift-from-the-muse story. Those are my favorite because they feel like they spring from a deep well of creativity that isn’t always easy to tap.

  • A tip for a writer finessing a micro of three hundred words or under?

I hesitate to give absolutes, like “don’t try to do too much in a micro”, because as soon as I say that then someone writes a story that does “too much” and it’s brilliant and it works perfectly. So in the end, write what wants to be written (see gift-from-the-muse story above). The story that chooses you as a midwife, not the other way around.

But my very favourite tip for editing in general is to cut the story in half. Then cut it in half again. I was first inspired to do this exercise by Bruce Taylor, and since then I have had many students do it and have done it myself many times. That doesn’t mean that either of the “cut” version are THE final version; the final version might be somewhere in the middle. But forcing yourself to make the hard decisions of what stays and what goes when you cut in half is extremely revealing. It’s an excellent way to get honest with ourselves.

share by email

Out today! ‘All That Is Between Us’, by K. M. Elkes and ‘the everrumble’ by Michelle Elvy

It's 22nd June and National Flash Fiction Day in New Zealand! On this auspicious day, Ad Hoc Fiction, our short-short press, which recently won best publisher category in the Creative Bath Awards, is thrilled to publish the everrumble 'a small novel in small forms' by Director of NFFD, New Zealand, Michelle Elvy and All That Is Between Us the debut flash fiction collection by K. M. Elkes from Bristol, UK, who was one of the judges for NFFD New Zealand's micro competition, MicroMadness which culminates today. We love these global connections from authors in different hemispheres. And is doubly exciting that Ken and Michelle are teaching workshops at the Flash Fiction Festival, Bristol UK next week 28-30th June and are launching their books there.


Both collections have received many glowing endorsements from well known flash fiction writers and teachers.

Here's one from Tania Hershman about All That Is Between Us

"I could dazzle you with well-chosen superlatives or make clumsy attempts to sum up K. M. Elkes' work, but really what I want to say is: This collection is so good. So very, very good. Whoever you are, whatever you like to read, you need these stories in your life."
Tania Hershman, author of Some Of Us Glow More Than Others

And one about the everrumble from Christopher Allen.

"A tour de force, Michelle Elvy's the everrumble is a profound, poetic constellation of notes on the Earth's ‘alive noises’, the hope that lives in the natural world. Zettie's story – all her moments of evolving, her capacity to listen, and her gift of becoming all the sounds of the earth – affected me to the core."
Christopher Allen, author of Other Household Toxins

You can buy both of these brilliant collections now in paperback in several different currencies for worldwide posting directly from the Ad Hoc Fiction online bookshop. Go straight to the bookshop page for All That Is Between Us by K M Elkes here and straight to the bookshop page for the everrumble by Michelle Elvy here. And you can also buy in digital format on Kindle via Amazon. Links to Kindle for each collection are on the bookshop page.

share by email

Flash Around the World in June!

June is busting out all over with flash fiction, so if you are not aware of the coming delights, here's a summary for you of what we know about the rest of the month. I am sure there is a lot more to add.

Sunday 9th June: In Bath, we have the closing date of the twelfth round of the Bath Flash Fiction Award for micros of 300 words. £1460 in prizes and judged by writer, writing tutor and editor, the amazing Christopher Allen. For those entering tomorrow, we will be sending out our famous Last Minute Club badges for anyone submitting during the day up until the midnight deadline. I think some people are collecting them! The picture of the February 2019 badge shows you what to expect as a late, and valued entrant. We also thank everyone very much for entering before the last day. The limit is 300 words max so you still have a little time to hone your flash and enter now.

13th June: Our small publishing press, Ad Hoc Fiction is a finalist in the publishing category of Creative Bath and the Award ceremony is in the evening of 13th June. Jude is going along with Diane Simmons, whose collection, Finding A Way, short-listed recently in the 2019 Saboteur Awards, was published by Ad Hoc Fiction in February this year, and Alison Woodhouse who won the Ad Hoc Fiction weekly micro competition last year. Her story 'Metamorphosis' which was shortlisted by Vanessa Gebbie in the February round of the Bath Flash Award will be published in the 2019 Bath Flash Fiction anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction. Wish us luck!

15th June: It's National Flash Fiction Day in the UK!. And events are talking place in Coventry. Our founder Jude will be on a panel talking about competitions and publishing with Steve Campbell from Ellipsis Zine, Ingrid Jendrzejewski and Diane Simmons. Stephanie Hutton and Ingrid Jendrzejewski are also offering workshops. The extremely popular Flash Flood will also happen during the day and about 150 flash fictions will be published about every ten minutes or so. Loads of brilliant reads.

22nd June Lots going on today! It's National Flash Fiction Day New Zealand and it's also publication day for two of the new flash fiction books published by Ad Hoc Fiction, the everrumble, 'a small novel in small forms' by Michelle Elvy, Director of NFFD New Zealand and All That Is Between Us by K. M. Elkes who judged the NFFD New Zealand MicroMadness contest. One shortlisted story a day is posted from 1st June until 22nd June, when the winner is announced.

You can pre-order the everrumble by Michelle on the paypal button on the post about her book, linked here and Ken's collection of flash fictions on the post about his book. Both collections are marvellous.

28th June -30th June The third ever Flash Fiction Festival UK is taking place at Trinity College, Bristol, UK! Workshops, talks, panels, readings, a raffle with great prizes including a week's retreat in Italy, and a weekend in Wiltshire near Avebury stone circles, festival long mini comp with prizes, bar, bookshop and opportunity to submit to a post-festival anthology. Some day tickets available at half the full price now. Booking finally closes next week, Friday 14th June.

Book launches at the festival! Michelle Elvy and K. M. Elkes books will be launched at the festival and Birds With Horse Hearts by our 2019 Novella in flash winner, Ellie Walsh and the 2019 runner up, Homing by Johanna Robinson, and The Roster by Debra Daniel, which was highly commended in the 2019 Award, will be published on 29th June and launched at the festival. We're thrilled that both Ellie and Johanna are able to attend and are participating in the panel hosted by Michael Loveday on the novella in flash, where their books will be launched. All these books will also be available to buy at the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop and in ebook formats on 29th June and we'll have the first peek at the lovely covers of the novellas then.

30th June We have a very quick turnaround for our Awards. Christopher Allen is judging the 12th Award, and Jude and Christopher will be announcing the winners live at the Festival where he is running workshops. Notifications will be posted online as usual.

share by email

All That Is Between Us
Debut flash fiction collection by K. M. Elkes

Ad Hoc Fiction, our short-short fiction press, is thrilled to publish All That Is Between Us, the dazzling debut flash fiction collection by Bristol-based author, K.M.Elkes. The collection "explores the complex fragility of human relationships, both the challenges of belonging and how much we risk to avoid being alone. It is a book of moments, evoking the beauty and comfort that connection brings, and the pain when it is severed."

All That Is Between Us, includes Ken's first-prize winning flash fiction, Extremities from Bath Flash Fiction Award, June 2018 and many more wonderful fictions and is highly rated by the eight well-known flash fiction writers quoted below. The art work for the stunning cover is by Bridport based artist, Suzanne Clements.
Read in Full

share by email

California Continuum by John Brantingham and Grant Hier

CALIFORNIA CONTINUUM, VOLUME 1: MIGRATIONS AND AMALGAMATIONS is "a nonlinear look at little discussed aspects of the history of California. Hier and Brantingham look as far back as California's geologic past, fast forwarding to the age of the mastodons, then to the time when only Native Americans inhabited this land and finally to the present age."

Review by Damhnait Monaghan
Last year at the Flash Fiction Festival, I attended a brilliant workshop on ‘Extraordinary Points of View’ led by American poets and flash fiction writers, John Brantingham and Grant Hier. My notes from their session contain many gems, including this tip for writing flash fiction: ‘cut straight to the character’s humanity.'

Brantingham and Hier have done just that in their recently published collection California Continuum (Pelekinesis, 2019). The characters in this collection are varied: a Japanese boy being sent to an internment camp; the daughter of a concentration camp survivor; gun crazy (and gun shy) boys; indigenous people of the distant past; and Mexican, Vietnamese, and other immigrants to California. Yet with all of them, we are taken right to the core of their thoughts and feelings. Read in Full

share by email

Michelle Elvy, published by Ad Hoc Fiction, June 2019

Ad Hoc Fiction is honoured to be publishing the everrumble, "a small novel in small forms" by Michelle Elvy. It's a wonderful and important work of fiction highly praised by the writers quoted below. The striking cover art is by acclaimed Ethiopian artist, Eyayu Genet.

"the everrumble is a poetic imagining of intense focus and sweeping ideas. Zettie’s story is fluid and in motion, transcending geographies and time. She stops talking, at age seven, and starts to listen – to the worlds she finds in language and books, and to the people and places she encounters as she moves across continents. Her silence connects her to people, to nature and to the elemental world. Magical and beyond boundaries, this collection focuses on small fragments, taking Zettie, and the reader, inevitably to the place where human history began."

We excited that the everrumble will be launched at the Flash Fiction Festival, UK on 28th-30th June where Michelle is running workshops, chairing a panel on Flash Around the World, introducing the latest Best Small Fiction anthology, and talking about flash fiction in New Zealand. And it will also be for sale from June from the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop in paperback in several different currencies and in ebook formats from Kindle and Nook. Read in Full

share by email

Ad Hoc Fiction’s Fourth Birthday

It's Ad Hoc Fiction fourth birthday! The micro contest opened for entries first on 15th April 2015 and the first winning story by writer, Nick Black was published on 22nd April, four years ago, today. Our big thanks to John at Ad Hoc Fiction, who runs the Ad Hoc Fiction contest; designs and publishes the Ad Hoc Fiction paper back and ebooks; administers the Bath Flash Fiction Awards, and who has been doing so much to help put flash fiction on the map in the UK and beyond. A lot has happened in the last four years and here are sixteen random Happy Birthday Ad Hoc Fiction Facts: Read in Full

share by email

Christopher Allen
Flash Fiction Award Judge
March 2019 – June 2019


Christopher Allen is the author of Other Household Toxins (Matter Press) and Conversations with S. Teri O’Type (a Satire). Allen’s fiction has appeared, or is forthcoming, in [PANK], Indiana Review, Split Lip Magazine, Longleaf Review and Lunch Ticket, among many other great places. Allen is a multiple nominee for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, The Best Small Fictions, storySouth‘s Million Writers Award and others. In 2017 Allen was both a finalist (as translator) and semifinalist for The Best Small Fictions. He is presently the co-editor of SmokeLong Quarterly and a consulting editor for The Best Small Fictions 2018.
Read in Full

share by email

Highlights from the book launches, 19th Jan, 2019

The gallery room at St James Wine Vaults, Bath was packed with readers, their friends and family and our guests for the joint launches of Flash Fiction Festival Two and Bath Flash Fiction, Vol 3, Things Left and Found By the Side of the Road. last Saturday, 19th January. We heard a wonderful variety of flash fictions from twenty-two readers in all, who had travelled miles from all over the country to attend. Bath Flash Fiction supplied wine and two 'book cover' cakes, which you can see Jude cutting up in the pictures, to celebrate the occasion. Everybody read brilliantly and we thank them very much for coming.

In the first half of the evening, ten writers, pictured in a group here, and who you can see individually in the gallery below, read their micros from Flash Fiction Festival Two, beginning with well-known flash writer, poet and Reader at Bath Spa University, Carrie Etter, who led a workshop at the festival and who is quoted recommending it as a place to be inspired on the back of the anthology.
Read in Full

share by email