Well, it feels as if it was only yesterday that we announced the longlist for our 100-word micro-fiction competition for 2017. And it was. But now, without having kept you waiting for too long, we're pleased to present the winners.
As I said in the last post, we had nearly 600 entries for this year's competition, and a word of thanks must again go to the judges – Anne Patterson, Kevlin Henney, Ingrid
Jendrzejewski, Angela Readman, Tim Stevenson and Rob Walton – for all of their hard work in reading through entries and making the difficult decisions.
Thanks to everyone who entered, and remember, if you weren't successful this time, there will be plenty more chances for you to be involved with National Flash-Fiction Day. Just go to the website at
Below are a list of the top ten stories, and below that we have shared the stories so you can see for yourselves what great winners we have. Each story will also be published on the National Flash Fiction Day website and in our 2017 Anthology. Please join us in congratulating these fine writers!
First Place Winner: ‘Fifth Grade’ by Brianna Snow
Second Place Winner: ‘Geology of a Girl’ by Stephanie Hutton
Third Place Winner: ‘As Liquid is Poured’ by Sherry Morris
Highly Commended Stories:
‘Brave’ by Catherine Edmunds
‘Mermaids’ by Sally Syson
‘Fireflies in the Backyard’ by Kayla Pongrac
‘Fawn’ by Sacha Waldron
‘Mango’ by Jennifer Harvey
‘The In-Between Hour’ by Christina Taylor
‘The Smoking Circle’ by Alison Wassell
First Place Winner:
by Brianna Snow
We learn that there are tubes inside of us with sleeping babies. One day, boys will wake them up. The babies will grow, open our bodies, and fall out. Until then, we’ll bleed—a baby’s death each month. Ms. Miller sits at her desk in the back of the room while the video plays. We turn to her to see if this is true. She’s holding her stomach with both hands. We look down and do the same.
Second Place Winner:
‘Geology of a Girl’
by Stephanie Hutton
Ella kept one pebble in her pocket and rubbed it down to sand, running the grains through her fingers. Stones sneaked in through holes in her shoes. Her legs turned to rock. She leant against the sisterhood of brick on the playground and watched girls skip together like lambs. A boulder weighed heavy in her stomach. She curled forwards by habit. Her head filled with the detritus of life.
A new girl started school in May with fire in her eyes. She whispered to Ella with aniseed breath ‘lava is liquid rock,’ then took her hand and ran.
Third Place Winner:
‘As Liquid is Poured’
by Sherry Morris
I visit far-flung friends who possess a dancing bear and a well-stocked vodka cabinet. We sit around the kitchen table in our coats, watching my breath form clouds. ‘At least the shot glasses are chilled,’ my friend says.I’m grateful for their hospitality and anticipate the warmth that begins in my belly and spreads outward. We drink to our health, sing melancholy tunes about lavender fog and eat dark bread. I no longer feel the cold. I will stay here. I won’t be missed there. There, people are replaced like vodka bottles. The bear twirls on hind legs and claps.
Highly Commended Stories:
by Catherine Edmunds
The man arrives in a car with dark windows. Father, who is brave, stands in the yard while the pigs squeal and run. The man pushes Father’s shoulder. The cockerel struts, the man raises his hand. Father shrinks.
I gather the others and we run down the stinking lane; I tell them Father’s play-acting, he’ll kill the man later. They like that. They’ve seen Father cut a squealer’s throat. I lead them away down to the mill race, into danger, but it’s just water, full of noise. Try to pick it up and it slips through your fingers.
by Sally Syson
The mermaids are much uglier than anyone had anticipated, slimy-haired and scabby with barnacles. They haul themselves up onto the sea wall, stinking like a barrel of prawns, and lie flashing their tits at passers-by. They snatch at the ankles of the small boys who dare to pelt them with chips and cans. Their language is appalling.
On Friday nights, when the promenade glistens with broken glass and the splintered remains of cocktail charms —pretty plastic mermaids in pink and green and blue —they retreat to the shoreline and gather along the water’s edge, hissing in the dark.
‘Fireflies in the Backyard’
by Kayla Pongrac
In the summertime, when these little roving lanterns covet my backyard, slicing their way through the darkness one flight at a time, I step outside and I extend my tongue, snowflake-style, so that I can jar and lid them inside my stomach. How I want to glow, too—how I want to become both the illuminated and the illuminator.
by Sacha Waldron
Taking the fawn had not been her initial intention. She was feeding it saltines from the palm of her hand, stroking his soft head. She liked the way his tongue felt on her skin. She was, she realised, running out of crackers and soon the deer would scamper off. Its run reminded her of a carousel – rising and falling.
She crouched down, opened her backpack and scattered some of the remaining crumbs inside. The fawn followed them. She zipped up her bag quickly. As she walked out of the park she could feel little hooves sticking awkwardly into her spine.
by Jennifer Harvey
Johnny tells me I’m sweeter than mango. He’s standing with his back against the wall, one foot up against the brickwork, like some fifties rebel.
Yeah? You like exotic fruit, Johnny? If I had the guts, I’d say this. Walk on by all sassy, like I owned him. Meet his gaze and wait for a reply.
Your move, Johnny.
But he made his move already. Watched me sat in the canteen, licking mango juice from my fingers.
One finger, two fingers, three fingers, four.
Smiling, ‘cos he knew it was him I was thinking of.
‘The In-Between Hour’
by Christina Taylor
While you sleep I’ll kiss all the boys I shouldn’t kiss and wear dresses that scream ‘You’re not going out in that!’
I’ll learn another language so I can talk about you behind your back. I’ll dye my hair blue then sneak out of the house to release the dogs. We’ll bark at the moon and set off car alarms.
In that hour I’ll skinny dip in the river and count the goose bumps on my arms. I’ll fly round the sun and eat cake for breakfast.
I’ll do all that but I’ll never say I love you.
‘The Smoking Circle’
by Alison Wassell
We lay in a circle on the field every afternoon, our heads together, school bags for pillows. She was the new girl, refusing to light up until we called her Goody Two Shoes. We stared at the clouds.
‘What would you do if you only had a week to live?’ someone asked. She answered first.
‘I’d write to everyone who’d hurt me. Tell them what I thought of them.’
She was the one who developed a forty a day habit. The letter came sealed with a lipstick kiss. I suppose we all got one. I shredded mine without reading it.