I thought today would be appropriate for an update as it is exactly 2 months until National Flash-Fiction Day itself. Since the last bulletin a lot has been happening so I thought I would bring you up to date, tell you what's happening, and all the rest.
As you probably already know we have secured some Arts Council funding. This is not a huge amount but it has allowed us do some things that otherwise wouldn't have happened:
- We have put an anthology into production with 10 stories commissioned from all parts of the country. This will be edited by myself and Valerie O'Riordan and will include, and we are chuffed to bits about this: Jenn Ashworth, Tania Hershman, Vanessa Gebbie, David Gaffney, Emma J. Lannie, Jonathan Pinnock, Simon Thirsk, Nigel McLoughlin, Sarah Hilary, Eunice Yeates, Kirsty Logan and - in case you haven't heard me shouting it from the rooftops - Ali Smith! This anthology is also seeking submissions, and details are on the website (http://www.nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/anthology.html).
- Following on from the success of the Micro-Fiction competition (nearly 300 entries of an incredible standard and 10 very worthy winners) we are going to print promotional cards featuring the stories (http://www.nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/cards.html). If you are running an event or simply wish to promote the day in a very attractive physical form, please let me know (with a postal address) and I will forward a batch of cards to you once they're printed.
- On the same theme, we are also hoping to print some posters in a similar style. So, let me know if you want those as well.
- And we have been able to afford some professional PR help. This means that we can start spreading the word even further and will be able to help promote your events in the national and local media.
In the meantime the number of writers listed on the website has grown hugely. We still have space for more, so do get in touch if you are a published (in however small a way) flash-fictioneer and would like to be listed. In the near future, when I have time, I will be changing the layout of the 'Writers' page to provide a more usable A-Z listing, but also a listing by region. This has been requested by a couple of literature professionals (council and library people) as it will allow them to pinpoint their local authors and more easily book them for events. So that should be helpful!
We have also added a number of new events and competitions. However, we want more! Word is finally coming in from Scotland and Northern Ireland of things happening there, but the North East of England and - surprisingly - London are still empty. So, if you live in those areas, or know people who do, please think about setting something up or chivvying them along. We want to cover as much of the country as possible. And, if you live in areas with things already happening, please don't think you can't set up more events or, if you'd rather not, consider getting involved with what's already going on.
Just a word here about 'Closed' events. Some people - myself included - are running events which are limited to geographical areas or, even, to a particular institution or group. I would still like to know about these and to list them on the site. They will be listed as 'Closed' (as in, not open to the general public) but it would be good to show people they don't need to run large-scale public events. So, if you are planning something at your school, college, university, reading group, writing group, etc. which will only be open to the pupils/members, please do let me know. And, if you're not, why not think about doing so?
The 'International' section now has a few entries, but I'm sure we could have a lot more. So encourage your non-UK friends to get in touch for a listing.
We also now have a couple of new sections. One is for projects and magazines etc. So if you are doing something noteworthy and flashy online, let me know and we'll list you. Likewise, we have a section for videos. So if you have been caught on camera reading a flash, or something related, let me know and we'll add it to our site and our YouTube Channel.
As I mentioned above, we will be hitting the press soon, and hope to get some coverage. But it would help us immensely if you could use any contacts you have in the media - local, national, international - to spread the word. You can direct them back to me if you would rather not deal directly, but please let's start getting the word out there.
On that same theme, while we have a good band of followers on our social media outlets, we could always have more. So, if you are on Twitter, please follow us at @nationalflashfd and, as it's Friday, how about giving us a single tweet with a #ff or #followfriday tag in it, or otherwise encourage your friends to follow us and get involved. Likewise, if you haven't 'Liked' our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nationalflashfictionday, please can you do so and also share the link on your pages encouraging your friends to sign up too?
Additionally, if you run a blog or website, and would like an interview from me - or a piece of flash-fiction - then please get in touch. I think the time is right to start those kinds of promotions as the day is still far away enough to organise something but close enough to be tangible. Likewise, if you would rather interview one of our listed writers, please get in touch with me and I will pass on your request. I would ask you to go through me, even if you know the writer in question, partly to stop them receiving too many requests at once, but also so I can keep track and help promote the interview/post/thing on our various outlets.
And finally, a more personal call-out. I shall be hosting the 'official'(?) NFFD event on the day at central library in Southampton. This will consist of readings, talking about flash-fiction and the day, and the official launch of the anthology. If you are close enough to come, it would be great to see you. And if you are a writer of flash and would like to read at the event, please get in touch and I shall try to add you to the programme. Thanks.
And that's it for now. A big thank you to all of you for all you have done so far. National Flash-Fiction Day was just a silly idea I had, but now it's shaping up to be something amazing! With your help it can be big and beautiful, and build a platform to launch future years of National (and maybe even International) flashing!