Spring 2019 Winners & Choose Your Own Entry Fee

Reflex Fiction - Flash Fiction - Spring 2019 Winners - ShortStops

Reflex Fiction is a quarterly international flash fiction competition for stories between 180 and 360 words. We publish one story every day as we count down to the winner of each competition.

Spring 2019 Winners

At the end of June, we published the three winning stories from our Spring 2019 flash fiction competition as chosen by Alison Moore. Here are the winners and links to the stories:

First Place: Cooped by Andrew Stancek
Second Place: Big Strong Giant by Billy Cowan
Third Place: Happicabs by Night by Izzy Paprika

You can read Alison’s thoughts on the winning stories here.

Summer 2019 Long-List

We’ve also just published the long-list for our Summer 2019 competition and have started publishing stories as we count down to the announcement of the winners at the end of September.

Autumn 2019 – Choose your own entry fee

We’re also accepting entries for our Autumn 2019 competition. For this round, we’re delighted to have 2018 Guardian ‘Not the Booker’ Award shortlisted writer Naomi Booth as our judge.

For this round of the competition, we’re inviting you to choose your own entry fee. If the suggested entry fee of £7 is prohibitive, just pay what you can afford. If you’d like to support a writer who can’t afford the full fee, why not add a pound or two? More details on our website.

Here are the important details:

Prizes: £1,000 first, £500 second, £250 third (or the equivalent in your local currency)
Entry Fee: Choose your own
Entries close: 31 August 2019
Judge: Naomi Booth

SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY

 

Fictive Dream call for Submissions

Fictive Dream is open to submissions and, as always, we’re interested in short stories with a contemporary feel (500 – 2,500 words). We especially like stories that give an insight into the human condition; stories that focus on those moments that change people’s lives. They may be on any subject. They may be challenging, dramatic, playful, exhilarating or cryptic. Above all, they must be well-crafted and compelling.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

See our submission guidelines here.

We’re looking forward to receiving your best work!

Laura Black
Editor

Website www.fictivedream.com
Twitter @fictivedream
Instagram fictive.dream

Writing Soul Etchings

Writing Soul Etchings

Sandra Arnold lives in New Zealand. She is a novelist, non-fiction and short story writer. Her short fiction has been published and anthologised in New Zealand and internationally including Bending Genres, Connotation Press,  Flash Frontier, Spelk, Fictive Dream, New Flash Fiction Review and Bonsai: Best Small Stories from Aotearoa New Zealand. Her recent awards include  finalist in the 2018 Mslexia Flash Fiction competition and the 2018 University of Sunderland Short Story Award. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and twice for Best Small Fictions. Her third novel, The Ash, the Well and the Bluebell (Makāro Press, NZ) and her first flash fiction collection, Soul Etchings (Retreat West Books, UK) will be published this year. https://www.sandraarnold.co.nz

Three years ago a poet friend told me about the upcoming New Zealand National Flash Fiction Day. At that point I hadn’t read any flash fiction and I said I was sceptical that a story could be conveyed with much depth in just a few hundred words. He, on the other hand, a practitioner of the prose poem, enthused about the flash form, which he defined as being similar to prose poetry with a narrative arc. He recommended that I read Flash Frontier, an online journal established in New Zealand in 2011 by Michelle Elvy. The journal’s 250 word gems captivated me enough to want to investigate further. In the process I discovered a whole world of flash fiction complete with supporters hailing it as the future of literature, critics decrying it as the death of literature, and others dismissing it as a passing fad of the internet generation.

Although flash fiction has become more prominent since the advent of the internet, its roots go back to ancient times. For the kind of ‘slice-of-life’ flash fiction commonly published today Charles Baudelaire’s prose poems are credited with being the precursor. In more recent years many accomplished writers are turning to the form for the challenge of conveying the greatest possible effect in the fewest possible words. There are now hundreds of online journals, as well as literary prizes and print publications that include or focus exclusively on flash. The position of marginalised obscurity it once occupied  has long gone.

After the conversation with my poet friend I decided to set myself the challenge of trying to write in this intriguing form. At that time I was working on my fourth book, a novel titled The Ash, the Well and the Bluebell. While the two forms are completely different, I found that writing flash helped me to think more about the weight of  words in my novel. Writing flash is good discipline for writing in any form.

After publishing work in various journals around the world and being placed in competitions I approached Amanda Saint of Retreat West in the UK to ask if she was interested in publishing the stories as a collection. To my delight she was. Amanda suggested taking out some of the stories so that the fifty seven left in the collection formed a cohesive whole with connecting themes.

Many of the stories deal with social dislocation, other-worldliness, loss and grief. Others explore memory, love, the search for belonging and new possibilities. The  ideas for these stories came from a variety of sources – newspapers articles, fragments of overheard conversation, images and memories, but a few appeared out of nowhere, almost fully formed.

An example of this is The Gatherers. This appeared one day as I walked by the river with my dog. The sky was blue, the Southern Alps glittered with snow, the tracks were covered in wildflowers, and the only sounds were bees and birds and the dog splashing in the water. Unannounced, The Gatherers arrived.

The distress of a bird unable to help her fledgling when it fell from the nest triggered Waiting Lists. A visit to a spooky second-hand shop with one-eyed dolls, stuffed animals, and a massive carved bed with enclosed wooden sides resulted in Whistle on the wind, my lad. Early one morning I opened the curtains  and saw a golden hot air balloon drifting over the Canterbury Plains  towards my house. It looked beautiful, but it also triggered a memory of being in a hot air balloon accident  twenty five years before. At that time the pilot was inexperienced, and when a fierce wind blew up he was unable to deflate the balloon quickly enough to land safely. It crashed to the ground and was dragged on its side by the wind at top speed towards a lake. No one was killed although most of us were injured. The memory of that accident surfaced after I sighted the golden balloon and I wrote The Golden Balloon, giving it an ending that could so easily have happened.

An experience my youngest daughter and her friend had one night observing a strange object in the sky while lying in their sleeping bags in a paddock with their horses inspired Soul Etchings, which became the title of the collection. A painting she did of a girl who was part tree with green hair, feet like roots and arms like branches was the inspiration behind The Girl with Green Hair. Esbos Boo came from a dream of a child named Esbos Boo who was hiding in a forest The name was so intriguing I wrote it down as soon as I woke up. When I started writing his story I saw he had blue skin.

I have picked just a few examples of how the stories in my collection began. It isn’t difficult to find ideas. Ideas are everywhere. The challenge is in creating fiction out of them. Flash fiction is defined as a complete story between 100 and 1,000 words. Because of this restriction much of the story must be implied rather than stated, but there must also be enough to deliver a moment of clarity, a punch to the gut, a stab of recognition. I hope the stories in Soul Etchings achieve that.

 

Soul Etchings by Sandra Arnold

The Autumn 2019 Reflex flash fiction competition is open

Autumn 2019 - Reflex Fiction - Flash Fiction Competition - shortstops

Reflex Fiction is a quarterly international flash fiction competition for stories between 180 and 360 words. We publish one story every day as we count down to the winner of each competition.

We had a fantastic response to our Summer competition: 413 entries from 25 different countries. We’re busy reading and judging in preparation for announcing the longlist on 1 July. In the meantime, the next round of the competition is now open for entries. In the interest of making the competition more inclusive, we’re trialling a choose your own entry fee system for this round. Visit our website for more details.

We’re delighted to have Naomi Booth, 2018 Guardian ‘Not the Booker’ Award shortlisted author acting as judge. Here are the important details:

Prizes: £1,000 / £500 / £250 (or the equivalent in your local currency)
Entry fee: Choose your own
Deadline: 31 August 2019
Judging: September 2019
Longlist announced: 1 October 2019
Judge: Naomi Booth
Submissions: via our online entry form.

Witches Sail in Eggshells by Chloe Turner

Witches Sail in Eggshells coverWe’re excited to announce our first publication under the Reflex Press banner. Witches Sail in Eggshells by Chloe Turner is a collection of seventeen short stories and is available to order now through our website. You can also read a taster story from the collection, ‘Hagstone’, online here.

Liars’ League: INFINITY & BEYOND short stories, Tuesday 11th June

Infinity symbol or sign. Abstract night sky background

WE HAVE LIFT-OFF! Liars’ League‘s sci-fi-flavoured special to commemorate 50 years since the moon landings features five forward-looking stories exploring the ultimate theme. Teleport into The Phoenix, Cavendish Square on Tuesday 11th June to experience deep spacetime-travel tourismcryogenics gone wrongvanishing clones, astronautical ambitions and a terrifying game of Murder in the Dark …

INFINITY & BEYOND WINNING STORIES
London 2025 by Wan Shinfah NEW AUTHOR, read by Cliff Chapman
Proxima Centauri by Oliver Parkes NEW AUTHOR, read by Greg Page
How to be an Astronaut by Alice Franklin, read by Gloria Sanders
The Martlet by Abigail Lee, read by Lois Tucker
Frozen Futures by Rhys Timson, read by Tony Bell

Usual NASA rules apply: doors open at 7pm for a 7.30 start and tickets are £5 on the door (currently cash only, sorry, but there’s a cashpoint 2 minutes away). Entry includes a programme, participation in our infamous book quiz where fantastic science fiction can be won, and of course all the Flying Saucers you can eat. Drinks and food are available at the bar throughout. There’s no pre-booking, but tables for four or more can be reserved by calling 07808 939535.

The venue is the downstairs bar at: The Phoenix Pub, 37 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0PP

Accessibility note: Access to the basement is via stairs: there’s no lift, sadly. The Phoenix is 5 minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus tube station, which is on the Victoria, Bakerloo and Central lines

Issue 13 available + call for submissions

Issue 13 of The Nottingham Review is now available to read online here!

Featuring original short fiction by Jason Jackson, Chelsea Stickle, Richard Berry, Spencer Litman, Sudha Balagopal, Jim Toal, Gerard McKeown, Emily Zido, Alicia Sometimes and Emma Venables.

Call for submissions

We are also now open for submissions of fiction between 100 and 3000 words (no theme) until the end of June. Submission guidelines can be found here.

Fictive Dream Call for Submissions

Fictive Dream is open to submissions and, as always, we’re interested in short stories with a contemporary feel (500 – 2,500 words). We especially like stories that give an insight into the human condition; stories that focus on those moments that change people’s lives. They may be on any subject. They may be challenging, dramatic, playful, exhilarating or cryptic. Above all, they must be well-crafted and compelling.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

See our submission guidelines here.

We’re looking forward to receiving your best work!

Laura Black
Editor

Website www.fictivedream.com
Twitter @fictivedream
Instagram fictive.dream

Dive in to Weekend of Words

Manchester’s iconic Victoria Baths is open for writing business on Friday 7, Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June 2019, when the heritage pool and washhouse complex will be echoing with original voices thanks to a brand-new festival, Weekend Of Words.

As well as writing workshops – including flash fiction with Some Of Us Glow More Than Others author Tania Hershman at the helm – immerse yourself on Saturday with six brand-new short stories, specially commissioned for the event and taking the Baths as their jump-off point.

Grab a drink and a deckchair, sit back and enjoy a backdrop of magical projections and the writers in your midst: Victoria Baths’ inaugural Writer-in-Residence Sarah-Clare Conlon, Kate Feld, co-host of literary podcast The End Of All Things, Sawn-off Tales flash fiction master David Gaffney, Phil Olsen of Sabotage Reviews, Somerset Maugham Award-winner Joe Stretch, and Lara Williams, author of short story collection Treats and novel Supper Club.

All the ticketing links for Saturday’s events are here; wade in.

Weekend Of Words also marks the official launch of the Victoria Baths Splash Fiction Competition, complete with cash prize. Anyone can take the plunge – find out more here.

 

Fictive Dream Call for Submissions

Fictive Dream is open to submissions and, as always, we’re interested in short stories with a contemporary feel (500 – 2,500 words). We especially like stories that give an insight into the human condition; stories that focus on those moments that change people’s lives. They may be on any subject. They may be challenging, dramatic, playful, exhilarating or cryptic. Above all, they must be well-crafted and compelling.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

See our submission guidelines here.

We’re looking forward to receiving your best work!

Laura Black
Editor

Website www.fictivedream.com
Twitter @fictivedream
Instagram fictive.dream

How Fiction Works: A Study of Narrative Using Works by John McGahern

Linenhall Library, Belfast. May 13 & 14, 2019. 10am–5pm, both days.
Claire Keegan will direct this fiction writing course using works by John McGahern to explore and demonstrate the mechanics of writing and narrative structure.

1. The Leavetaking

2. “Christmas”

3. “Parachutes”

4. “The Conversion of William Kirkwood”

How do stories begin? How and why does an author make an incision in time and build tension? How is a reader drawn into a narrative? Why is a reader sometimes not drawn in at all? Keegan will discuss the structure of a narrative and go into what she calls the much-neglected middle, the trunk of the story. Are endings natural? Why do stories need to end, to find a place of rest? The discussion around endings will focus on falling action, emotional consequences and inevitability. Participants will also examine the differences between the short story and the novel. This course will be of particular interest to those who write, teach, read or edit fiction — but anyone with an interest in how fiction or reading works is welcome to attend. To book your place, contact ckfictionclinic@yahoo.com  Tuition is £300. A 50% deposit secures.

 

IMG_3242 (1)

Claire Keegan’s story collections include Antarctica, Walk the Blue Fields and Foster (Faber & Faber). These stories, translated into 17 languages, have won numerous awards. Her debut, Antarctica, was a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. “These stories are among the finest stories recently written in English,” wrote the Observer. Walk the Blue Fields, her second collection, was Richard Ford’s Book of the Year in 2010, and won the Edge Hill Prize, awarded to the strongest collection published in the British Isles. Foster won the Davy Byrne’s Award, then the world’s richest prize for a single story. New Yorker readers chose Foster as their story of the year. It was also published in Best American Stories is now on the school syllabus in Ireland. Keegan has earned an international reputation as a teacher of fiction, having taught workshops on four continents.

Call for Submissions: Pixel Heart Literary Magazine – Issue Three: Nature

Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 20.09.08

Pixel Heart Literary Magazine is currently open for submissions for its third issue, on the theme of ‘Nature’.

The magazine publishes flash fiction (under 750 words), poetry (of any length), and short stories (1,000 – 2,500 words).

There is no submission fee, and submissions are open to all – experienced and new writers alike.

Pixel Heart Literary Magazine is dedicated to publishing writers who are disabled, LGBT, and/or writers of colour, as well as writers from a working-class background. While all submissions will be considered with great care, if writers state in their submission email that they are any of the above, then their submission will be given a little extra attention.

For our more specific submission guidelines and info on how to submit, please click here. Submissions for Issue Three are currently open until midnight BST on May 31st, 2019. ❤

Masterclasses and author talks for short fiction lovers

For five years Novel Nights has been at the forefront of live lit in Bristol & Bath, programming author talks with authors like Maggie Gee and Nathan Filer.

This year we’re launching masterclasses, taught by experienced academics and writers. Tom Vowler will teach our first class, From Spark to Flame: Forging The Short Story on 27th April.  Tom is short fiction editor at Unthank Books, has published two short story collections and his third novel is out soon. He teaches at Arvon Foundation and Plymouth University.

“A masterclass to unlock some of the mysteries of this dazzling literary form. Aimed at both emerging and published writers, the class will explore how stories are crafted, how you can bring them to life, give them voltage and vitality.” 

On September 8th, Vanessa Gebbie will lead a day-long flash-fiction masterclass in Bristol. Tickets in advance.

“An in-depth look at flash fiction, aimed at any writer who is interested to start or continue an exploration of this sparkling form. You will create  many fresh pieces thanks to tried and tested games and exercises –  your tutor never asks you to share your writing, so you are unencumbered as you play freely and focus on meeting your new characters, voices and forms within forms.” Vanessa Gebbie has won awards for both prose and poetry, including a Bridport Prize and the Troubadour. Author of ten books, including five collections of short fictions, two of poetry and a novel, she is also commissioning and contributing editor of Short Circuit: Guide to the Art of the Short Story (Salt).

Novella-in-flash author talk 

On May 11th we’ve invited Michael Loveday, judge of the 2019 Bath Novella-in-Flash Award, to discuss writing a Novella-in-Flash and to share insights into the judging process.

Tickets only £8.50 from Novel Nights. Square Club, Bristol. BS8 1HB. Flash writers are welcome to submit to read

 

 

 

Reflex Fiction Winter 2018 Winners!

Summer 2019 - Reflex Fiction - Flash Fiction Competition - ShortStops
Reflex Fiction is a quarterly international flash fiction competition for stories between 180 and 360 words. We publish one story every day as we count down to the winner of each competition.

Winter 2018 Winners

At the end of March, we published the three winning stories from our Winter 2018 flash fiction competition as chosen by David Swann. Here are the winners and links to the stories:

First Place: The Endless Conversation With My Mother by E L Norry
Second Place: Still Warm by K M Elkes
Third Place: Heartwood by Johanna Robinson

You can read David’s thoughts on the winning stories (and many of the long-listed ones) here.

Spring 2019 Long-List

We’ve also just published the long-list for our Spring 2019 competition and have started publishing stories as we count down to the announcement of the winners at the end of June.

Summer 2019 Open for Entries

We’re also accepting entries for our Summer 2019 competition. For this round, we’re delighted to have Desmond Elliott Prize winner Claire Fuller as our judge. Here are the important details:

Prizes: £1,000 first, £500 second, £250 third (or the equivalent in your local currency)
Entry Fee: £7
Entries close: 31 May 2019
Judge: Claire Fuller

SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY

Liars’ League BEFORE & AFTER story readings – this Tuesday April 9th

rollercoaster crop text

As Brexit looms (or does it? who knows …?!) long-running, award-winning live literature legends Liars’ League have selected six superb stories of choice & change to take your mind off it all at our BEFORE & AFTER show on Tuesday 9th April. There are escapes & tippingpointscats & cowssex & deathpoetry & fistfightsyoga & porn, the Berlin Wall & a fishtank full of ghosts. And it’s STILL only £5 entry, which includes a programme, our infamous book quiz, and free birthday cake because we’re 12 🙂

WINNING STORIES for BEFORE & AFTER
Last Rites by Jess Worsdale, read by David Mildon
Namaste Bitches by Ana Soria, read by Keleigh Wolf
Counterfiction by Tim Aldrich, read by Tim Larkfield
The Poetry of Jenny by Gerard McKeown, read by Zach Harrison
No East or West by Mark Sadler, read by Silas Hawkins
Olena’s Scalpel by Alan Graham, read by Patsy Prince

Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30 start and tickets are a fiver on the door (currently cash only, sorry, but there’s a cashpoint across the street). Drinks and food are available at the bar throughout. There’s no pre-booking, but tables for four or more can be reserved by calling 07808 939535.

The venue is the downstairs bar at: The Phoenix Pub, 37 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0PP

Accessibility note: Access to the basement is via stairs: there’s no lift, sadly. The Phoenix is 5 minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus tube station, which is on the Victoria, Bakerloo and Central lines.

P.S. Want to submit a story for our next event, Infinity & Beyond? Deadline is Sunday 5th May and all the details are here

Fictive Dream Call for Submissions

Fictive Dream is open to submissions and, as always, we’re interested in short stories with a contemporary feel (500 – 2,500 words). We especially like stories that give an insight into the human condition; stories that focus on those moments that change people’s lives. They may be on any subject. They may be challenging, dramatic, playful, exhilarating or cryptic. Above all, they must be well-crafted and compelling.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

Look at our submission guidelines here.

We’re looking forward to receiving your best work!

Laura Black
Editor

Website www.fictivedream.com
Twitter @fictivedream
Instagram fictive.dream

Palm-Sized Press call for submissions

laptop-3

Those of you who have been with Palm-Sized Press since the end of 2017 know that we put together a small zine of flash fiction and art. This new magazine will also incorporate articles on writing and craft, and we’ll be looking into opportunities to include submissions and events listings, interviews, and more.

PALM-SIZED PRESS: A NEW CHAPTER

We are so excited to launch our new bi-annual magazine! Issues will be available in print and digital forms. With this new venture, we will also be re-releasing the Retrospective zine – so keep an eye on our website and social media for updates.

Contributors who have work chosen for the issue will receive a small payment. In order to make this possible, there will be a small submission fee of $2, but with it you can submit as many pieces as you’d like for the summer issue. Submission fees will be processed through our new Patreon page (through contributions on any tier), but you can also use the Paypal link in our submissions forms.

We’ll be accepting:

  • Flash fiction, up to 500 words
  • Articles on writing and craft
  • Art

Deadline: 19 May

To submit your work, use the forms located on our Submissions page.

The Summer ’19 Reflex flash fiction competition is open

Summer 2019 - Reflex Fiction - Flash Fiction Competition - ShortStops
Reflex Fiction is a quarterly international flash fiction competition for stories between 180 and 360 words. We publish one story every day as we count down to the winner of each competition.

We had a fantastic response to our Spring ’19 competition: 394 entries from 19 different countries. We’re busy reading and judging in preparation for announcing the longlist on 1 April. In the meantime, the next round of the competition is now open for entries. We’re delighted to have Claire Fuller, the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize winner, acting as judge. Here are the important details:

Prizes: £1,000 / £500 / £250 (or the equivalent in your local currency)
Entry fee: £7
Deadline: 31 May 2019
Judging: June 2019
Longlist announced: 1 July 2019
Judge: Claire Fuller

Submissions

Submissions should be made via our online entry form.

Rules

Stories must be fiction, must be the entrant’s own work, and must be between 180 and 360 words inclusive. See the Reflex Fiction website for full Rules.

Fictive Dream Call for Submissions

Fictive Dream is open to submissions and, as always, we’re interested in short stories with a contemporary feel (500 – 2,500 words). We especially like stories that give an insight into the human condition; stories that focus on those moments that change people’s lives. They may be on any subject. They may be challenging, dramatic, playful, exhilarating or cryptic. Above all, they must be well-crafted and compelling.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

Look at our submission guidelines here.

We’re looking forward to receiving your best work!

Laura Black
Editor

Website www.fictivedream.com
Twitter @fictivedream
Instagram fictive.dream

Liars’ League: LOVE & LUST Valentine special, Tuesday 12th February

love & lust

Are you lonesome tonight? Does your lit need a light?
Do you like booze and fiction and art?
Do you find Valentine’s weighs on hearts and on minds?
Would you like us to uplift your heart?

Then look no further, because Liars’ League has found six pulse-pounding stories for our (just pre-)Valentine’s event, LOVE & LUST, and you can hear them all for just a fiver! On Tuesday 12th February our professional actors will read brand-new fiction featuring pagan bonfires, lustful teens, scarlet knickers, ill-advised one-night stands, fish suppers, sex at the Imperial War Museum and (naturally) the end of civilisation – and we’d love you to be there.

WINNING STORIES FOR LOVE & LUST
A Shared History by Seth Marlin NEW AUTHOR, read by William Teller
Fish-fish by Cherry Potts, read by Math Jones
The Wicker Heart by Alan Graham, read by Peter Kenny
The Red Satin Flag of Resistance by Mark Sadler, read by Silas Hawkins
Soul Searching by Liam Hogan, read by Keleigh Wolf
Lili of the Valley of the Shadow by Derek Ivan Webster, read by Alex Greenhalgh

As usual, doors open at 7pm for a 7.30 start and tickets are £5 on the door (currently cash only, sorry, but there is a cashpoint across the street). Drinks and food will be available at the bar, though there are also free Loveheart sweets and the infamous interval quiz features red-hot brand-new books to be won! There’s no pre-booking, but tables for four or more can be reserved by calling 07808 939535.

The venue is the downstairs bar at:
The Phoenix Pub
37 Cavendish Square
London W1G 0PP

Accessibility note: Access to the basement is via stairs: there is no lift, sadly.

The Phoenix is 5 minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus tube station, which is on the Victoria, Bakerloo and Central lines.