Flash, ah ah! Saviour of the Literary Kitchen Festival!

Fancy performing on the Literary Kitchen Festival stage? Literary Kitchen Festival returns for a second year to Peckham, 12-18 October: a riot of writers, artists, musicians, publishers, agents and dogs. And we need your 300 word flash fictions.

Flash fiction is a very short story, from a heartrending 6-worder such as Hemingway’s “For sale: baby shoes, never worn”, or a more wordy 1,000 words. There are no rules.

So how can you make a teeny tiny story pack a punch? Here’s what short story writer David Gaffney[1], suggests:

  1. Don’t use too many characters
  2. Start in the middle
  3. Make sure the ending isn’t at the end – i.e. avoid leading up to a punchline
  4. Sweat your title
  5. Make your last line ring like a bell (i.e. reverberate in the mind of the reader after they’ve finished reading the story)
  6. Write long, then go short (i.e. don’t be frightened to edit and cut)

Fifteen stories will be chosen from this Open Call by our wonderful judges: poet and short story writer Eley Williams, and researcher and poet Prudence Chamberlain. Stories will be read at the Fest Flash event, Sunday 18 October, 1-1.30pm, as part of the All Tomorrow’s Publishers indie publishing fair.

So what are our judges looking for? Check out this great advice form Eley. “The best flash fiction encapsulates characterization, conflict and atmosphere with clarity and precision. If you feel like descriptions are jostling for the reader’s attention on the page, or that dialogue is crammed together in order to aid exposition, try removing them entirely from the draft and consider whether they are really necessary. Micro fiction should be short, sweet bait for the reader: weigh the balance of each word within your sentence(s) and make sure that every single one of them earns their place and position in the text. Too many adjectives, for example, might make the pace of the piece lag. Don’t resort to cliché unless you are playing with the stereotypes of language. Overall, try and see the word-count as a generative constraint rather than a stricture: be bold, and be deft!”


So get writing.

Email your submission to literarykitchen@gmail.com, with Fest Flash and your title as subject line. Please don’t put your name on your piece, as the stories will be judged anonymously. Submittees must be available to read at the event: The Peckham Pelican, Sun 18 Oct, 1-1.30pm. Deadline: 20 September. Good luck!

Our judges:

Eley Williams has had work printed in 3:AM MagazineAmbit and Prospect journals and has a collection of short stories forthcoming from Influx press. She has twice been shortlisted for The White Review Story Prize, and is editor of the prose-poetry journal Jungftak.

Prudence Chamberlain is a researcher whose creative and critical work draws on feminism, affect theory and experimental poetics.  Her poems have appeared in 3:AM, HYSTERIA, Poems in Which, Jungftak and Luna Poetry.

If you feel inspired and want to take a 10 week short story course, the next Literary Kitchen Writers’ Workout course starts Monday 19 October. Check out the info here: http://www.literarykitchen.co.uk/courses/writers-workout/


Andrea Mason

Literary Kitchen Festival Director

[1] Gaffney, David, 2009. ‘Get Shorty: The Micro Fiction of Etgar Keret’ in Short Circuit, ed. Vanessa Gebbie. Salt, London.

To view the full programme and to book please visit: www.literarykitchen.co.uk/festival


2 thoughts on “Flash, ah ah! Saviour of the Literary Kitchen Festival!

  1. Pingback: September Fornightly Round-Up II | ShortStops

  2. Pingback: September Round-Up III | ShortStops

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