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We had to cancel our NFFD 2020 live event, so we've brought our celebration online. In our Flash Feast series, we've invited some flash superstars to share some videos and posts over the course of the weekend.

In this, our final Flash Feast of National Flash Fiction Day 2020 with Nik Perring, you can find out where we pinched the name for our 'Flash Feast' series.

Here is a link to Feast if you'd like to read along.

This wraps up our weekend of celebration for NFFD 2020.  Thank you so much to everyone who participated this year, and happy flash writing and reading throughout the year!


Nik Perring is a short story writer and the author of five books. His work has appeared in many fine places all over the world including Smokelong, Word Riot, 3 :AM Magazine, and The Fiction Desk. His re-telling Little Red Riding Hood, Carmine’s Fruit, won the Artificum Short Story Prize. It’s also been read on the radio, performed on the stage, printed on fliers and appeared, with Dave Eggars’, on a High School Distance Learning course in the US.

He has published the books: I Met a Roman Last Night, What Did You Do? (EPS, 2006); Not So Perfect (RoastBooks, 2010); Freaks!, co-written with Caroline Smailes (TFP/HarperCollins, 2012), A Book of Beautiful Words: Some Meanings and Some Fictions Too (RoastBooks, 2014); and A Book of Beautiful Trees (RoastBooks, 2015).

Nik is also an editor and a teacher of writing, working with both and adults and children, working in primary schools, high schools, colleges, universities and the BBC.

Last year, at our 2019 National Flash Fiction Day event in Coventry, we shared some flash written on the theme of 'epiphany' by men at HMP Wandsworth who were participants of Safe Ground's Flash Fiction Project workshops.  We've published these over at our online journal, FlashFlood as part of our Safe Ground series.  We'd like to revisit these stories this year as part of our online celebration of flash fiction in the UK.

You can find all fourteen of these stories on FlashFlood here.

We now welcome Safe Ground Programmes Manager Lindsay Murphy who tells us a bit about the background and philosophy of Safe Ground's Flash Fiction Project...

Safe Ground is a national arts organisation delivering high quality services and interventions in both prison and community settings. Our programmes focus on relationships and identity and use group work and creative techniques for participants to experience alternative perspectives, develop empathy and self-awareness alongside skills and competencies. We challenge people and communities to do relationships differently.

As an arts organisation, Safe Ground relies on the use of artistic practices and techniques to inform and support our programme design, delivery and evaluation. Our methodologies promote reflection, realisation and revelations. They provide participants with platforms for change and routes into transitions. Throughout our programmes moments of clarity can occur, awareness and understanding of situations can be enhanced and participants can find themselves with a renewed sense of the self. Often, participants in our programmes begin or develop skills in performance, drama and creative writing.

Part of our organisational ethos has always been to work in partnership wherever possible and appropriate. Since 2015, Safe Ground is proud to have been in a relationship with Essex University and in 2017 we coordinated a creative writing workshop with the men at HMP Wandsworth.

It was agreed that ‘Epiphany’ was appropriate as a narrative theme, to support the groups to explore moments of change and transformation, which are inherent in the work we do. These epiphanies or turning points can provide moments of clarity but can also bring up an array of issues, dilemmas, decisions to be made and pathways to be pursued. Over two, two-day workshops, a total of 12 men participated and each produced a selection of short stories for submission. Participants ranged in age from 23 to 65 and brought with them a vast diversity of cultural, educational and life experience. The flash fiction pieces produced by participants denote an array of lightbulb moments, of points of sharp realisation, of transparency and revelation.

Our colleague and design partner on this project was Jonathan Crane who writes:

“When the opportunity to work with Safe Ground in the design and delivery of a creative writing workshop for HMP Wandsworth arose, I was studying towards a Ph.D. at the University of Essex. At that time, I had just been researching the concept of ‘Epiphany’ in relation to short stories, and exploring the flash fiction form. To my mind, these elements seemed ideally suited for a creative writing project in a prison setting.

Flash fiction, I felt, could provide the participants with a short, accessible form with which they could experiment. Then, with the concept of epiphany as a central theme for the workshops, the men could be encouraged to reflect on their own experiences, as well as to explore their own realizations and transformations. Yet, more than this, by introducing the idea of epiphany as a focal point of change within a narrative, we could provide a structure which would help the men shape their own flash fiction.

Using Safe Ground’s methodologies, the workshops provided a supportive forum not only for discussion, and for the expression of ideas and experiences, but also for the sharing of work. We encouraged the men to read out their work, and to give constructive feedback on the work of others. This process then fed into a session on editing and drafting stories during which the men worked collaboratively.

When I began this project, I had hoped to share some writing technique with the participants, and to introduce them to a form which might enable their self-expression. In short, I wanted to help them to write, and to have their voices heard. I little knew that the men would embrace flash fiction so keenly and create stories which ranged from the minimalist dramatic short, to the lyrical prose poem, from the poignantly personal to the surreally comic.

It was a privilege and a pleasure to work with Safe Ground and the men in HMP Wandsworth. The men’s eloquence and honesty, their openness to discuss their experiences and insights, as well as to share their stories, not only dismantled my own preconceptions about prison and life therein, but also taught me to appreciate the small things that we so casually take for granted.

---

You can follow Safe Ground on Twitter @Safe_Ground.

In 2019, Makeda McMillan of Small Green Shoots took last year's NFFD Anthology theme of 'Doors' and developed it into a project called 'Glass Ceilings, Closed Doors' aimed at young men from her area, with a goal of developing flash and poetry 'pieces around the stereotypes and barriers they face being young, BME and from a deprived area that is spiking in terms of gun and knife crime'.

Makeda received funding from the Arts Council and delivered the project last year, and by last year's National Flash Fiction Day event in Coventry, she was able to share this video and these excerpts and images that came out of this project.

We are honoured that our 2019 anthology theme synergised with Makeda's project, and can think of no better way to celebrate National Flash Fiction Day than by taking time to read and listen to these young writers and artists.

You can find out more about Mikeda, her work and her project at https://www.makedamakes.co.uk/.

We have the same name, the same love of flash, and the same difficulties this year running our annual events due to Covid-19.  We're a completely separate organisation from National Flash Fiction Day New Zealand, but this year we're joining forces to celebrate flash fiction throughout the month.

Although most of NFFD UK's online celebration is condensed into this weekend, we'll be joining NFFD NZ for their events, which welcome flash fiction readers and writers from around the world. They are primarily celebrating on 22 June, but there are a number of things to look out for throughout the month.

Here's what's happening, though do check their events page for updates:

Online readings

  • YouTube reading series – featuring new books, journal editors, youth readers, NFFD judges past and present, Bath novella-in-flash readings, City Chairs and more
  • Micro Madness – June 1-22 micro readings from our annual international micro competition, with lockdown micros and no-theme micros – two per day!
  • Book Day – June 15, celebrating books published in 2020 from around the world

Panel discussions

  • The Language of Flash: A Roundtable with Journal Editors Around the World June 13, 9am NZ time – including:· Christopher Allen, Smokelong Quarterly (Germany)
    · Nuala O’Connor, Splonk (Ireland)
    · Grant Faulkner, 100 Words (US)
    · Meg Pokrass, New Flash Fiction Review (US)
    · Vaughan Rapatahana, Flash Frontier (Aotearoa New Zealand)
  • Imagination Unbound: Five Women on the Poetic Narrative Form June 14, 4pm NZ time– including:· Helen Rickerby, author of How to live (AUP 2019)
    · Anne Kennedy, author of Moth Hour (AUP 2019)
    · Nod Ghosh, author of Filthy Sucre (Truth Serum Press 2020)
    · Diane Brown, author of Every now and then I have another child (OUP 2020)
    · Gail Ingram, author of Contents Under Pressure (Pukeko Publishing 2019)
  • Best Small Fictions and Best Microfictions: an international reading June 20, 9am NZ time: a sampling of readers from the 2020 anthologies
  • Youth Voices June 21, 9am NZ time – readings and discussion from youth entrants in the 2020 NFFD NZ youth competiton

The June 22 Online Awards Celebration
livestreamed!

We are also excited to see so many international writers in the volume this year, including the following from New Zealand: Johanna Aitchison, Anita Arlov, Melanie Dixon, Jan FitzGerald, Alison Glenny, Kamala Jackson, Heather McQuillan, Nod Ghosh, Cherllisha Silva, Kirsten Strom and Iona Winter. BSF will be released later this year -- watch for news!

More about Best Small Fictions on The Sonder Press website.

NFFD 2020Join us from 7 – 10 pm BST for the virtual launch of the 2020 NFFD Anthology, Root, Branch, Tree.

Readings from the anthology will be posted on our YouTube channel and we’ll be celebrating with chat and virtual toasts on Twitter and our dedicated Facebook event. All welcome!

And of course, don't forget to pre-order the print edition or buy an ebook at the NFFD Bookshop!

National Flash Fiction Day has been celebrating flash since midnight, but Small Green Shoots is way ahead of us -- they have been celebrating all week!

Poster for Small Green Shoots

National Flash Fiction Day and Small Green Shoots are sharing a common 'family' theme this year, and we're excited to see all the fantastic new work that has come out of this intensive week of creativity. Do have a look at everything that's going on; you can find links to everything via Instagram @smallgreenshoots and Twitter @smallgreensh00t.

Small Green Shoots is an arts organisation dedicated to running transformational arts projects to improve life chances for young people.  It was founded in 2009 with aim of giving young people from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to engage with music and the arts, and to use these experiences as a springboard for their future. You can find out more about their story, their work, and ways to support them here.

Huge congratulations to everyone involved in Flash Fiction Week; let the celebrations continue!

 

 

 

We had to cancel our NFFD 2020 live event, so we've brought our celebration online. In our Flash Feast series, we've invited some flash superstars to share some videos and posts over the course of the day.

In our second Flash Feast, Jonathan Cardew of Bending Genres shares some insights about fun and form in flash...

 

Eighteen Bullet Points, or (re)Forming Flash,
Making It Not Crap

by Jonathan Cardew

  • If you are like me and you’re rubbish at writing and you’ve got nothing of real worth to say and you’re just counting down the minutes on this earth waiting for inspiration, then you might just need to form the crap out of your flash.
  • By form, I mean structure. By structure, I mean a straightjacket.
  • Paragraphs are a straightjacket.
  • But we’re bored of paragraphs, aren’t we?
  • When we write a well-structured paragraph, with a nice lead in and logical close, we want to kill ourselves, don’t we?
  • Every woman and her labradoodle has written a paragraph.
  • We are not every woman and her mixed breed canine.
  • So, we’re going to blow the pants off form!
  • We’re going to do what Jennifer Fliss does in Barren Magazine and we’re going to write a story on the side of a cleaning product bottle.
  • We’re going to forget about narrative ENTIRELY (well, not entirely) and we’re going to write a list of objects like Thaddeus Gunn does in Kenyon Review Online.
  • We’re going to madlib a story like Kim Magowan does in her flash over at Okaydonkey.
  • We’re going to read EVERYTHING at Diagram because form is the name of the game there, and we’re definitely going to read everything there right now this instant.
  • There is no such thing as crap writing.
  • We just sometimes need bullet points.
  • Bullet points are a liberation!
  • They keep going.
  • And going.
  • Also, paragraphs are fine.

Jonathan Cardew is a contributing editor for Best Microfiction and blog editor/ workshop leader for Bending Genres. His flash fiction appears or is forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, wigleaf, Passages North, Atticus Review, Craft Literary, Superstition Review, and others. Originally from the UK, he lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

 

For more craft articles and workshops on hybrid writing, check out the Bending Genres website.

 

The ninth annual National Flash Fiction Day UK has finally arrived!

Check back here from 8:00 a.m. for Flash Feast and Flash Focus posts, but in the meantime....

  • Put on your wellies: the 2020 Flood has started!  Join us at FlashFlood, NFFD's online journal for 24 hours of flash, with a new piece posting every 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Or, if you fancy some writing, get out your favourite pen!  We're posting one flashy writing challenge every hour over at The Write-In.  If our prompts inspire some new writing, you can send it to us by midnight Sunday (BST) for a chance to be published at The Write-In over the extended NFFD weekend.  (See our submission guidelines for full details.)
  • Pre-order the print edition or buy the ebook of our 2020 Anthology from our Bookshop in preparation for our online launch party this evening.
  • Want to see what else is going on?  You can check out our 2020 Roadmap for full details.

Happy National Flash Fiction Day 2020!

National Flash Fiction Day kicks off in less than four hours!  Here's what we've got going on tomorrow, and where you can find it.

FlashFlood

For 24 hours straight starting at 00:01 BST, we’re publishing one flash every 5 to 10 minutes over at NFFD’s online journal, FlashFlood.

The Write-In

Over at NFFD’s The Write-In, we’re posting a flash prompt every hour on the hour from 00:00 – 24:00 BST on 6 June 2020. You have until 23:59 BST on Sunday, 7 June to submit your responses for a chance of publication.

2020 NFFD Anthology Launch

Join us from 7 – 10 pm BST for the 2020 NFFD virtual anthology launch. Readings from the anthology will be posted on our YouTube channel and we’ll be celebrating with chat and virtual toasts on Twitter and our dedicated Facebook event. All welcome!

Flash Feast

We had to cancel our NFFD 2020 live event, so we've brought our celebration online. In our Flash Feast series, we've invited flash superstars Michelle Elvy, Jonathan Cardew, and Nik Perring to share some videos, posts and ideas on the NFFD newsfeed over the course of the day, starting at 10:00 a.m. BST.

Also, the legendary Jude Higgins is running a NFFD workshop for NFFD from 3:00 - 6:30 p.m. for those who managed to snag a place. Contact her directly to enquire about last-minute places.

Flash Focus

Throughout the day, we’ll introduce you to a few independently-run flash fiction projects carried out by individuals and organisations across the UK. Keep an eye on our newsfeed to find out more about these brilliant projects, starting at 9:00 a.m. BST.

Beyond 6 June...

We’re coordinating with National Flash Fiction Day New Zealand to continue the celebration of flash through the month. Their full programme of events can be found on the NFFD NZ website.

We're gearing up for our virtual launch of the 2020 NFFD Anthology tomorrow, but in the meantime, here's a sneak peak at the beautiful cover featuring art by our artist-in-residence, Jeanette Sheppard.

Huge thanks to Jeanette, and huge thanks also to Sharon Telfer who kindly let us use the title of her flash for the title of this year's anthology.

We'll be celebrating the anthology online tomorrow with readings from the anthology which will begin posting on our YouTube channel at 7:00 p.m. BST and carry on celebrating until 10:00 p.m.

Feel free to join us for chat and a virtual toast to our authors in our dedicated anthology launch celebration on Facebook.

Enjoy!