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Photograph of Sophie van LlewynWe are delighted to welcome Sophie van Llewyn to the National Flash Fiction Day team as this year's guest editor for the 2020 National Flash Fiction Day anthology.

She'll be joining NFFD Co-Director Ingrid Jendrzejewski in putting together this year's anthology of flash fiction from around the world.

We'll be announcing this year's theme in time for those of you participating in FlashNaNo projects this November, but in the meantime, you can get a better sense of Sophie's work by checking out Bottled Goods, her novella-in-flash that has been longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019 and for the Republic of Consciousness Prize.  You can also find links to her online publications on her website, sophievanllewyn.com.

Submissions for the 2020 NFFD Anthology will be open from 1 December 2019 to 15 February 2020.  Further details will be available on our Anthology Submissions page in November.

Welcome to the second in a series of interviews with this year's National Flash Fiction Day anthology editors and micro fiction competition judges! This week,  Santino Prinzi is in conversation with micro fiction competition judge and Costa Short Story Award winning author, Angela Readman. They talk about Angela's recently published debut novel, and Angela offers tips for writing brilliant flash fiction...

Santino: Welcome, Angela! Your debut novel, Something Like Breathing, has just been published by And Other Stories. Congratulations! Could you tell us a little bit more about your novel? 

Angela: Hello, and thank you! It’s about friends who live on an island, Sylvie and Lorrie, growing up in the 50’s. It starts with the words, ‘I’d tell you about Sylvie, but you wouldn’t believe me.’ I didn’t think I was going to write a novel when I wrote those lines, to be honest. I’d hoped it would be a short story. I’d had some lovely support for my story collection Don’t Try This at Home and really wanted to do another, but the characters wouldn’t let me. I found they all had so many stories within their lives, from a mother obsessed with Tupperware, to a grandfather who runs a distillery and refuses to wear matching clothes. I had to keep writing to find out who these people were. They kept on surprising me.

Santino: I can't wait to read it! Now, some people argue that writing short stories and flash fiction is a “good warm up” for writing a novel, which potentially ignores the different skills and qualities required to write these different forms. What are your thoughts on this? What freedoms or restrictions did you feel when writing Something Like Breathing that you don’t experience writing flash fiction?

Angela: I don’t like the idea that flash or short stories are practice exercises for writing something longer.  It sounds like the short form is somehow less valid. I don’t buy into that. Flash is its own art form and it’s amazing.  Novels are completely different. They both have their own challenges and aren’t trying to do the same thing. When I write flash, I’m after a glimpse of something, perhaps something I don’t understand instantly. It’s like catching something out of the window of a speeding car. 

Something Like Breathing by Angela Readman

With a novel, it’s more like being invited in to the house of a stranger. There’s space to look around and really get to know them. It was fascinating. I loved being able to see the characters grow over years in their lives. I found the challenge was there’s no Off switch when you spend that amount of time with characters. It feels like you carry them around with you wherever you go. I’d be in the supermarket and suddenly wonder if Sylvie likes tomatoes. I didn’t anticipate that. It was pretty intense. 

Santino: Many of your stories offer a sense of surrealism cemented in the normal every day, for example, your story ‘Attack of the Robot Grannies’ in last year’s anthology feels both otherworldly and of this world. Is blurring the lines of possibility something you enjoy doing in your writing? 

Angela: I love blurring the lines of possibility. I wouldn’t really describe my work as magical realist, it’s probably more realist magical, or everyday surrealism or something. The work’s grounded in the everyday, but anything could happen there. I hope it can anyway! I’ve written realist work, but I’m drawn to the strange. I’m not sure why. I think it’s something to do with a sense of limitation. I often write characters who seem limited by their location, status or circumstances, ordinary people with ordinary lives. I hate the idea that our opportunities should be limited though, whether it’s by where we live or social status, or whatever, so things that seem impossible always creep in.  The women in Attack of the Robot Grannies had such boring office lunches they just needed those grannies.

Santino: It sometimes feels like writers are under pressure to always be putting words on the page. Are there any other activities, cultural or otherwise, that you feel can be just as helpful to a writer? 

Angela: There’s a sense we should always be writing, but there’s only so long anyone can stare at a screen. It’s useful to do something completely different sometimes, like going to a museum or art gallery, standing still and really looking at something. I also started making things with felt last year. I wanted to try a craft I’d never tried and stick with it for a year. 

There’s something about accepting you don’t know anything and are just trying something out that can be freeing when you come back to writing. Rather than abandon work, or feel it should be perfect instantly, some of that feeling of just giving it a whirl is brought to the page. 

Santino: You won our very first National Flash Fiction Day Micro Fiction Competition and you have judged thousands of micros for us. What are your top tips for authors who wish for their micros to shine?

Angela: It has been a real pleasure to read so much flash. There’s no one way to write it. The joy is flash can be anything, traditional in structure or more experimental. It’s so surprising! The most common mistake I see is trying to fit too much in and generalising to fit it all in. Flash is powerful when it’s specific. It doesn’t need to explain itself. Trust your readers, with something so short it’s amazing how far they’ll come with you. Choose each word wisely and let that do the work. Write your flash, leave it, then go back and edit. Then edit again. Just to be sure, do that again until there isn’t a word you could change. 

 

 Angela Readman is the winner of the first National Flash Fiction Day competition. Her short stories have since been winners of The Costa Short Story Award, The Mslexia Story Prize and The Anton Chekhov Award for Short Fiction. Her story collection Don't Try This at Home was short listed in The Edge Hill and won The Rubery Book Award. In January 2019 her debut novel Something like Breathing was published by And Other Stories. She also writes poetry and is published by Nine Arches.

 

SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW OPEN for this year's National Flash Fiction Day Anthology and Micro Fiction Competition. Submissions close on 15th March 2019. For more information, please visit our Anthology and Competition pages.  

We are also trying to secure funding to offer free entries to disadvantaged and marginalised writers. If you would like to help us do this by donating entries, please contact us at nationalflashfictionday@gmail.com.

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Welcome to the first in a series of interviews with this year's National Flash Fiction Day anthology editors and micro fiction competition judges! This week, Diane Simmons talks with one of this year's anthology editors, Joanna Campbell, about her writing routine, her favourite book, and how she's hoping writers will respond to this year's anthology theme...

Diane: I know that as well as being a prolific writer, you are also an enthusiastic reader. Do you find that what you are reading affects your writing style? If so, does it mean that you perhaps read less than you used to do?

Joanna: Reading inspires me to work harder at refining my own style. I focus on how an author has achieved that perfect sentence, that realistic piece of dialogue, that breath-taking segment of description. If I do manage to discover where the magic lies, I will try to add that technique to my own work. I am a completely self-taught writer and everything I have learnt has emanated from reading.

Diane: As well as being a successful flash writer, you have published a short story collection, When Planets Slipped Their Tracks, and a novel, Tying Down the Lion. Do you have a favourite form?

Joanna: I don’t have a particular favourite because I love writing solely for its own sake. It’s the characters who appeal to me, whether they warrant a full-length novel, a novella, short story or a flash. Once I know who I’m writing about, the character lets me know which form they need. For example, I have abandoned many attempts at novels because the characters eventually made it plain they were more suited to a short story. On the other hand, Tying Down The Lion is a novel resulting from a short story which didn’t offer the reader a satisfactory ending, as if the characters were demanding more. However, although I can’t choose a favourite form, my novella-in-flash—A Safer Way To Fall—was the one which brought the most fulfilment. This is because of the thrilling moment when I realised that many of my flash fiction pieces revealed a strong, linking thread. It was an amazing discovery and my heart still beats faster to recall it now.

Diane: Can you tell us a little about your writing routine?

Joanna: I get up very early in the morning, between 4.30 and 5, and I might begin to write straightaway, but often I’m busy thinking or reading. There is also a lot of staring into space and a cup of coffee left to turn cold, but it feels productive. A little later on, I take my daughter to the station, then do a few jobs around the house and check emails. After that I write throughout the day until late afternoon. My husband usually works at home and we break for lunch together, but only for about fifteen minutes because we’re mentally still at our desks. At the end of the day, I never know how many words I’ve written. I just hope to finish with a sense of having made some progress, less in terms of quantity as quality.

Diane: Is there a book or story from your childhood that makes your heart leap a little when you think about it?

Joanna: Definitely, yes. The Prevailing Wind by Joan Lingard is the book which made me long to be a writer. I took it out of the library in 1973 and never returned it. I sometimes wonder how much the fine would be. It was a dreadful thing to do, but I simply couldn’t part with it. I still have it and always will. The smell of its yellowed pages, packed with old wafts of my father’s cigarette smoke, takes me back to that first daydream of writing my own book one day. It’s a novel about family dynamics, how people can so easily misunderstand one another, and the way hidden emotions can damage those you love and send your life—and theirs—off the tracks. It is set in Edinburgh, the beautiful city becoming a character in its own right. I have re-read it countless times and eventually treated myself to a second copy signed by the author. (I didn’t steal that one.)

Diane: This year’s theme for the anthology is ‘Doors’. Is there anything in particular that you’re looking for in a submission?

Joanna: I am excited to see the different and original ways in which the theme of ‘Doors’ is interpreted. Doors can signify all kinds of possibilities. None of us live without them. It’s vital to have a key to your own private haven, to block out the world and be yourself in a way that never happens in public. However, sometimes it’s equally vital to open your door and let other people into your life. Or to step outside, close the door behind you and re-enter the world. A closed door can represent both a trap and a refuge. Obstruction or admission. And think of how the crunch of footsteps on a path followed by a knock on your door can stir an entire gamut of emotions from relief to curiosity to fear. Who do you allow in and who do you keep out? I’m looking forward to finding out how our writers weave layers of emotional significance into this theme.

Joanna Campbell

 

Joanna Campbell is a full-time writer from the Cotswolds. Her short stories have been published in numerous literary journals, including Mslexia, The New Writer, Writers’ Forum, where she won the monthly competition four times, and The Yellow Room, as well as in anthologies from, among others, Salt Publishing, Cinnamon Press, The Exeter Story Prize, Rubery Book Award, Stroud Short Stories, Spilling Ink, Earlyworks Press, Unbound Press, Retreat West, The Bridport Prize and two volumes of The Bristol Short Story Award.

 

SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW OPEN for this year's National Flash Fiction Day Anthology and Micro Fiction Competition. Submissions close on 15th March 2019. For more information, please visit our Anthology and Competition pages.  

We are also trying to secure funding to offer free entries to disadvantaged and marginalised writers. If you would like to help us do this by donating entries, please contact us at nationalflashfictionday@gmail.com.

 

Submissions for the 2019 National Flash Fiction Day Anthology are now open, and this year will be more exciting than ever!

Our theme is filled with possibility…or not! Our theme can reveal secrets to us and it can keep danger hidden. Is our theme trying to keep everyone from getting in, or is our theme trying to keep you from getting out? Knock, knock, who’s there? It’s our theme: Doors!

We want you to open the door to stories wild with imagination. We’re looking for those creepy mysteries about doors we can’t find the key to. We want those funny tales of frustration when doors do exactly what they’re supposed to when we don’t want them to. Maybe the stories you want to share are about metaphorical doors, filled with the disappointment of doors that are closed to us or brimming with excitement at new opportunities. Whichever door you decide to write about, make sure it’s your best and that is fewer than 500 words!

The co-editors standing in the doorway of this year’s anthology are Joanna Campbell and Santino Prinzi. Submissions are open from Friday 4th January 2019 until Friday 15th March 2019, 23:59pm GMT.

Please read our submission guidelines carefully before submitting.


Santino PrinziSantino Prinzi is a Co-Director of National Flash Fiction Day in the UK, a Consulting Editor for New Flash Fiction Review, and is one of the founding organisers of the annual Flash Fiction Festival. His flash fiction pamphlet, There’s Something Macrocosmic About All of This (2018), is available from V-Press, and his short flash collection, Dots and other flashes of perception (2016), is available from The Nottingham Review Press. He is also a reviewer of flash fiction collections and novellas-in-flash for various outlets. As well as a nominee for the Best Small Fictions and the Pushcart Prize, his writing has been published in various magazines and anthologies, including Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Jellyfish Review, And Other Poems, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Airgonaut, Litro Online, Stories for Homes Anthology Vol.2 and many more. To find out more follow him on Twitter (@tinoprinzi) or visit his website: santinoprinzi.com

Joanna Campbell is a writer from the Cotswolds. Her short fiction has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies. For example, her short story, Upshots, won the 2015 London Short Story Prize. In 2017, Bath Flash Fiction Award published her novella-in-flash, A Safer Way To Fall. Her short story, Much, came second in the 2017 Exeter Story Prize. In 2018, Brad’s Rooster Food, shortlisted in the Royal Academy Pin Drop Award, was chosen for the Simon and Schuster anthology, A Short Affair. Her flash fiction has been widely published, including five times in NFFD anthologies. In 2017, Confirmation Class came second in the Bridport Prize, for which her short stories have been shortlisted eight times. In 2016, her solo collection, When Planets Slip Their Tracks, was published in hardback by Ink Tears and shortlisted for the 2016 Rubery Book Award and longlisted for the 2017 Edge Hill Short Story Prize. In 2015, Brick Lane published her first novel, Tying Down The Lion, which was longlisted for the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize. Joanna is working on two new novels, one of which, The Days Between The Hours, was judged second in the 2018 Stroud Book Festival competition. You can find her online at Joanna-Campbell.com.

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Hello everyone!

Well, it has been very, very difficult to make a decision, but Holly Howitt and myself finally managed to whittle down the nearly 300 submissions for this year's anthology to the final 50.

With no more fanfare, the names and stories are:

Amanda Oosthuizen - ‘Perfectly Black Sky’
Amanda Quinn - ‘Changing Light’
Ana Martinez - ‘The Veronicas’
Ariel Dawn - ‘Life Drawing’
Bart Van Goethem - ‘The Meaning of Life’
Becky Tipper - ‘The Art of the TV Chefs’
Beverly C. Lucey - ‘Peppermint Just the One’
Brendan Way - ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love’
C Norman - ‘The Lonely Heart’
Cathy Bryant  - ‘The Man with Hands Amid the Rich Tea’
Cathy Lennon - ‘A Forest of Hands’
Chris Connolly  - ‘Q&A’
Claire Collison - ‘Second Look: Goat With Lawnmower’
Claire Ibarra - ‘Scraps’
Clare Kirwan - ‘Finding Trainspotting’
Dan Powell - ‘Her 12 Faces’
Danielle McLaughlin - ‘The Woman in the Bowl’
David Gullen - ‘The Spade’
Diane Simmons - ‘Images’
Eabha Rose - ‘The Elephant Is Contagious’
Emma J. Lannie - ‘Annie’
Emma Shaw - ‘Shadows’
Freya Morris - ‘Feed a Fever’
H Anthony Hildebrand - ‘The Paper Oak’
Ian Shine - ‘www.medicaldictionaryforthewoundedheart.com/gonorrhoea’
J Adamthwaite - ‘Coffee’
James Coates - ‘Aspirations to Anonymity’
Jim O'Loughlin - ‘Celery’
Joanna Campbell - ‘Bright New Morning’
John Keating - ‘Vigil (After Bruno Schulz)’
John Paul O’Neill - ‘Autumn ‘
Judy Darley  - ‘Quench’
Kylie Grant - ‘Elsie Manor’
L.A. Craig - ‘Shoe Fly Baby’
Mark Kockelbergh - ‘Orpheus In The Underground’
Natalie Bowers - ‘Broom’
Paul Kavanagh  - ‘Religion’
R A Martens - ‘Omelettes’
Rachael Kealy - ‘Exile’
Sam Russell - ‘A Canvas Darkly’
Shelley Day Sclater - ‘In a Moment’
Siobhán McNamara - ‘Slipping’
Sonya Oldwin - ‘Orange ‘
Stella Turner - ‘Penitence   ’
Stephen McGeagh - ‘#’
Thaddeus Howze - ‘The Warden’
Thomas McColl - ‘Takeaway Poetry Joint’
Tim Stevenson - ‘The Almond Crumb Sofa’

Tracey Upchurch - ‘Rose Petal Eyes’

And each one is a little gem!

These will be appearing alongside stories commissioned from Jenn Ashworth, Tania Hershman, Jonathan Pinnock, Kevlin Henney, Vanessa Gebbie, Sarah Hilary, David Hartley, Alison Wells, Nuala Ní Chonchúir and Amy Mackelden, as well myself and Holly. 

We are currently working on a title for the book, and starting the typesetting process so that we can have the book ready for National Flash-Fiction Day on 22nd June. It will be available in print and Kindle formats. So, stay tuned for more information as we have it.

Thanks to all those who submitted, and sorry that we couldn't include more of you. 

All best
Calum Kerr - Editor and Director of National Flash-Fiction Day


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Hello again!


Well, the dust has settled, we have patched our wounds and salved our bruises, and we can finally announce the list of stories which have made it through into the first ever National Flash-Fiction Day Anthology.

The collection will be entitled Jawbreakers (taken from the story submitted by Jen Campbell) and is, well, just amazing!

The job of type-setting, proofing and publishing is already underway and we hope that the book will be available in the first week of May. Keep an eye on this blog, our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/nationalflashfictionday) and our Twitter feed (@nationalflashfd) for more news on that as we have it.

A big, big thank you to all of you who submitted, the standard was extremely high and we are just sorry we didn't have space to include you all. But, don't forget, there are many more opportunities (with others coming along all the time) listed on our site at http://www.nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/.

Now, without any more ado at all, here is the full list of pieces that will be in the anthology, commissions and accepted submissions:

Accepted Submissions:

‘Porcelain’ by Alex Thornber
Repetition’ by Amy Mackelden
Love’ by Benjamin Judge
Fiver’ by Bob Jacobs
Chemoids’ by Brian George
Arabesque’ by Brindley Hallam Dennis
Mauve’ by Carrie Etter
Peekaboo’ by Dan Powell
Cheese’ by David Gilbert
Marmite’ by David Morgan
Ciphers’ by Eli Goldstone
Elephant’ by Erinna Mettler
Boy’ by Jay Barnett
Jawbreakers’ by Jen Campbell
Blackhole’ by Jessica Patient.
Buttons’ by Kevlin Henney
Beauty’ by Kylie Grant
Superman’ by LA Craig
Rivals’ by Laura Wilkinson
Pink’ by Mark Sheerin
Wrapped’ by Martha Williams
Ash’ by Natalie Bowers
Favourite’ by Nathan Good
Bar’ by Nicholas Murray
Troll’ by Nick Garrard.
Inked’ by Rin Simpson
Ed! ’ by Rupan Malakin
Harps’ by Sal Page
Instructions’ by Sara Crowley
Summertime’ by Susan Giles
Celia’ by Susan Walker-Stokes
Shed’ by SJI Holliday


Commissioned Stories:

‘Quick’ by Ali Smith
‘Elsewhere’ by Alison Wells
‘Home’ by Calum Kerr
‘Bonding’ by David Gaffney
‘Bee’ by Emma Lannie
‘Waterman’ by Eunice Yeates
‘Fieldwork’ by Ian Rankin
‘Hammer’ by Jenn Ashworth
‘Camenbert’ by Jonathan Pinnock
‘Rapture’ by Kirsty Logan
‘Minutes’ by Nigel McLoughlin
‘Quinquireme’ by Sally Zigmond
‘Dinghy’ by Sarah Hilary
‘Natural’ by Sarah-Clare Conlon
‘Boom’ by Simon Thirsk
‘Stopwatching’ by Tania Hershman
‘Missing’ by Trevor Byrne
‘Space’ by Valerie O'Riordan
‘Flight’ by Vanessa Gebbie


And we will be including the winners of the Micro-Fiction competition too:

‘Relieving Mafeking’ by Alun Williams
Meredith’ by Amy Mackelden
The Worst Head in the World’ by Angela Readman
New Build’ by Clare O'Brien
Black Hole’ by Dan Carpenter
Sad Lover’ by Jason Bagshaw
New Shoes’ by Jenny Adamthwaite
She'll Leave You For a Man’ by Kirsty Logan
First Person’ by Martha Williams
Alterations’ by Tim Stevenson


Very many congratulations to everyone who made it in! It promises to be quite an amazing collection of stories. And thank you all for your support.

Submissions for the first NFFD Anthology closed last Tuesday and Valerie O'Riordan and myself have had a hard week reading through the 297 entries we received.


It's been a wonderful task, getting to read all your stories, but a hard one having to chose between them. Thank you to everyone who entered, we're so pleased you gave us such a difficult job!

Yesterday we finally managed to arrive at a Long List from which we will be choosing the final stories for the anthology. We managed to narrow it down to just under 90, and that has formed the list below.

Unfortunately, we now have to cut it still further to about half that number, which is going to be really tough, and probably cause us to argue and fall out!

This also means that some of you listed won't make it into the final selection, but we thought we would publish this list because we wanted you to know that even if you don't make it we really liked your story and it's only because of space that it's not going in!

We hope to finalising the list in the next couple of days, so watch out for more news, but now, without any more fanfare, here is the Long List:

Saved by Alex Josephy

Porcelain by Alex Thornber

Repetition by Amy Mackelden

Dare by Andrew Blackman

Endings by Angela Ramsell

Love by Benjamin Judge

Fiver by Bob Jacobs

Chemoids by Brian George

Arabesque by Brindley Hallam Dennis

Fun by Carly Holmes

Mauve by Carrie Etter

Waiting by Cathy White

Skyscraper by Charlotte Unsworth

Homeless by Colette Hill

Fat by Colin Watts

Peekaboo by Dan Powell

Cheese by David Gilbert

Threshold by David Hartley

Marmite by David Morgan

Burn by Denrele Ogunwa

Justice by Dorothy Evans

Retriever by Edward Price

Ciphers by Eli Goldstone

Recovery by Elizabeth Welsh

Courage by Emily Cleaver

Elephant by Erinna Mettler

Flight by Freya Morris

Manager by Gavin Inglis

Branch by Helen Ladderbird

Gum by Helen MacKinven

Thaw by Helen Pizzey

Bycatch by Holly Corfield-Carr

Rain by Isabel Rogers

Incoming by Jacky Taylor

Feathers by Jan Harris

Boy by Jay Barnett

Vertigo by Jayne Thickett

Jawbreakers by Jen Campbell

Potatoes by Jenny Adamthwaite

Blackhole by Jessica Patient

Cat-Cash by Joan Lennon

Calling by John Broken Willow

Watchdog by John Freebairn

Birdcage by Juliet Boyd

1800 by Katy Watson

Buttons by Kevlin Henney

Promotion by Kristian Jackson

Beauty by Kylie Grant

Superman by L.A. Craig

Rivals by Laura Wilkinson

Falling by Lorna Louise Hutchison

Procrastination by Maggie Storer

Skint by Mandy Taggart

Pink by Mark Sheerin

Wrapped by Martha Williams

Innocence by Michael Grafton

Cheesed by Michael Leonard

Whaler by Nasser Hussain

Ash by Natalie Bowers

Favourite by Nathan Good

Bar by Nicholas Murray

Troll by Nick Garrard

Tattoo by Nicola King

Misgivings by Norma Meechem

Crucifixion by Oscar Windsor-Smith

Freeman by Pauline Frisk

Rhubarb by Pauline Masurel

Kite by Peter Domican

Tarnished by Rachel Green

Space by Rhoda Thompson

Inked by Rin Simpson

Celia by Rosie Williams

Ed! by Rupan Malakin

Noose by Ryan Foster

Harps by Sal Page

Instructions by Sara Crowley

Unteachable by Sarah Schofield

Traditions by Shirley Golden

Zomband by Stephen Green

Crosswords by Stephen Partridge

Summertime by Susan Giles

Eyewitness by Susan Howe

Isolation by Susan Shipp

Shed by Susi Holliday

Valhalla by Tracy Fells

Misunderstanding by Vivien Jones