Celebrating all things ‘flash’!
Tomorrow is National Flash Fiction Day, a day started in May 2012 by Calum Kerr to celebrate the rise of the fiction genre increasingly known as flash fiction. And a post recognising the day seems appropriate as I seem to be immersed in flash fiction at the moment.
The idea behind flash fiction – also described as very short short stories, micro-fiction, sudden fiction, palm-sized stories, among others – has been around for a long time, but it is only latterly (partly as a result of the internet) that its popularity has grown and been widely celebrated.
Ernest Hemingway is credited with one of the most famous flashes with the six-word story: For Sale – baby’s shoes. Never worn. However, many other famous writers have engaged with this particularly challenging literary form. The difficulty lies in the fact that despite its brevity, the basic fictional elements that underpin the short story and longer fiction: character, setting, conflict, resolution, still need to be in place, even if only by implication.
For the second year running, I’ve been involved with the Worcestershire Literary Festival Flash Fiction competition. Following an item about micro-stories that I heard on Radio 4 just before Christmas 2011, I discovered the name of Calum Kerr who wrote a flash-a-day for a year and who also initiated the project to set up a day devoted entirely to the genre. I was intrigued as I had recently been experimenting with very short fiction and the idea for the Worcestershire Literary Festival Flash competition was born!
Calum Kerr agreed to share the judging with me – and we were off! The first competition was very successful with entries from all over the world. The photo shows Calum and me with last year’s winner, Amy Rainbow.
The success of last year’s competition was repeated this year, again judged by Calum and me. It culminated in a wonderful event last Saturday where a selection of the short and longlisted stories were read, together with the three winners being announced. Calum and I both read flashes of our own at the event, and this year, Calum’s lovely wife, Kath – who has undertaken her own year-long flash challenge – also read one of hers.
My mind is also preoccupied with future flash events. My flash fiction ‘Dexter’s Lover’ was one of ten winners in this year’s Fish Publishing competition, and in July I’ll be travelling to Ireland for the West Cork Literary Festival where the Fish anthology with the winners of the short story, poetry and flash fiction competitions will be launched – and I’ll be reading ‘Dexter’s Lover! Spiffy, or what?!Tags: flash fiction, National Flash Fiction Day