National Flash-Fiction Day launches with call for short story submissions
Wednesday 16 May will see the first-ever National Flash-Fiction Day, with big names joining a packed schedule of events taking place around the UK to celebrate the short-short story.
After receiving the news last week of a successful bid for Arts Council England funding, National Flash-Fiction Day has been launched with a call for submissions for new stories to be included in an anthology published to coincide with the May date. The successful entrants will see their work published alongside pieces by famous authors, including Whitbread Prize winner Ali Smith. Submissions of flash fiction between 150 and 500 words long are invited by 10 April. Full entry details can be found on the NFFD website: nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.
In May, there will be readings, spoken word, open mics, flash slams and guerrilla storytelling, and, in the run-up to the actual day, there will be workshops to help hone those flash fiction-writing skills and a number of open competitions for people to put their pieces to the test.
Flash fiction writers from around the UK are involved in the live literature events and competition judging, including critically acclaimed and award-winning authors David Gaffney, Valerie O’Riordan, Vanessa Gebbie, Tania Hershman, Kirsty Logan and Nik Perring, plus various flash fiction collectives and event organisers, including Manchester’s Bad Language and FlashTag, Oxford’s Eight Cuts, Lancashire Writing Hub and For Books’ Sake.
Flash or micro fiction is not a new form – Ernest Hemingway famously wrote a six-word story (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn”) – but it has seen a resurgence in popularity recently. The term encompasses short pieces of fiction, no more than 1,000 words in length, and often much less. Despite the limited wordcount, flash fiction manages to pack in expansive plots, complex characters, and a whole variety of styles and themes.
There are already national days for the short story (in December) and for poetry (in October). Flash fiction writer Calum Kerr – who is currently writing a piece a day for a year for his Radio 4-featured Flash365 project – thought that flash fiction needed its own day and decided somewhere in the middle would be best, hence 16 May. And so the idea was born.
National Flash-Fiction Day Director Calum says: “Since coming up with the idea, the whole thing has taken off in a way I could never have expected. Events are springing up all over the country and people are really excited. This is forging a community of flash-fictioneers and also bringing flash fiction to many people who might never have heard of it before. The day itself promises to be amazing.”
National Flash-Fiction Day is supported by Arts Council England. The official website – which has details of all the writers, events and competitions, along with useful information about flash fiction and writing tips – can be found at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk, and the official Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute news can be followed @nationalflashfd.