Wednesday, 25 May 2016

NFFD 2016 Competition Results

Well, it only seems a little while ago we were announcing the longlist for our 100-word micro-fiction competition for 2016. And it was. But now, without having kept you waiting for too long, we're pleased to present the winners.

As I said in the last post, we had over 500 entries for this year's competition, and a word of thanks must go to the judges - Cathy Bryant, Kevlin Henney, Cathy Lennon, Angela Readman, Tim Stevenson and Rob Walton - for their hard work in reading through and making the difficult decisions.

Thanks to everyone who entered, and remember, if you weren't successful this time, there will be plenty more chances for you to be involved with National Flash-Fiction Day. Just go to the website at to find out more.

Below are a list of the top ten stories, and below that we have shared the stories so you can see for yourselves what great winners we have. Please join us in congratulating these fine writers!

First Place Winner: ‘The Jumper’ by Anne Patterson

Second Place Winner: ‘A One-Word Yet Possibly Longer-Than-Necessary Personal Essay Dedicated to My Soon-to-Be Ex-Boyfriend Who Doesn't Believe Me When I Tell Him I Can Write Something This Short That Sums up Everything There Is to Say about Our Relationship, Our Future Together, and His Allegedly Legendary Sexual Organ’ by Ingrid Jendrzejewski

Third Place Winner: ‘Storm’ by Gemma Govier

Highly Commended Stories:
‘Jessie Learns How To Keep A Secret’ by Alison Wassell
‘Illumination’ by Judi Walsh
‘When Words Aren’t Enough’ by Lucy Welch
‘Christmas’ by James Watkins
‘Always One’ by Tracy Fells
‘Notes’ by Elaine Marie McKay

‘Energy Efficient, Extremely Slim, Easy to Install’ by Ed Broom

First Place Winner: 
‘The Jumper’ 
by Anne Patterson

I fell in love with a jumper last Christmas. A wool-nylon-mohair mix picked up after the Christmas do. On the bus home, I slipped it on. Mmm; aftershavy, inky, lagery with a touch of exercise. If it were a scent it would be ‘Office Party’. A group email might have led to a request to pop it into internal mail, so I hung on. I kept it in bed; close in winter; further away in summer; like a lover.  This Christmas, I’ll wear it. Underneath I’ll wear nothing. If he asks for his jumper back I’ll give it to him.  

Second Place Winner: 
‘A One-Word Yet Possibly Longer-Than-Necessary Personal Essay Dedicated to My Soon-to-Be Ex-Boyfriend Who Doesn't Believe Me When I Tell Him I Can Write Something This Short That Sums up Everything There Is to Say about Our Relationship, Our Future Together, and His Allegedly Legendary Sexual Organ’ 
by Ingrid Jendrzejewski


Third Place Winner: 
by Gemma Govier

First there was the shock of soft raindrops on my cheeks and nose, then cold, damp shoulders, thighs, knees.  I felt if I ran I could protect my warm skin.  It even rained inside my mouth as I pushed against the wind.  Finally, with misted glasses, I am sodden.  My socks squelch in my shoes.  I slow down my pace.

When you finally said you were leaving, I was calm.  It's not being wet, you see, it's the process of getting wet.

Highly Commended Stories:
‘Jessie Learns How To Keep A Secret’
by Alison Wassell

‘She’s a secret scribe,’ teased Jessie’s mother. Fuzzy and mellow from her first wine Jessie took poems from the box under her bed and offered them as a birthday gift. In the morning they lay in a pile beside her egg and soldiers. Jessie’s mother kissed the top of her head.

‘I liked the one about the old lady best,’ she said. This was how Jessie learned that no place is truly secret, nobody to be trusted. The old lady poem had not been among those offered.

Jessie keeps her poems in her head now, where they can’t be found.

by Judi Walsh

It’s dark, and the bus is late. In the house opposite, the woman talks with big gestures. The man turns his glass, half a revolution at a time. He shouts and starts to leave. As he brushes past, she folds into her seat like she has a slow puncture. She wipes something from her face: a tear, or spittle perhaps? The bus arrives. “Oi, missy!” the driver shouts, and I flash my card at him, racing upstairs to the back. I just manage to see her, arms extended, mouthing something, no, singing something, twirling by herself.  

‘When Words Aren’t Enough’ 
by Lucy Welch

He was like too many words crammed into a box.  He'd come into the cafe every morning for breakfast with all those words tangled together behind his eyes.  The P of Pain looping round the S bends in Loss, caught within the sharp angles of the A of Anger.   He'd do the crossword and I'd imagine him looking through clues for the key to let the words out.  He'd leave it behind, unfinished.  One day we worked on it, all the staff, to the last square, and gave it back next morning.  That was when he first sang for us.

by James Watkins

First we dug a hole in the snow. Mama stepped into it naked; we filled snow back in around her feet. She put her arms out and Papa draped tinsel all around while I tied back her hair. We hung a bauble from each nipple and I looked for the fairy to tie to her hairband. I couldn't find it, but attached a small figurine of the Virgin Mary instead.

On Christmas Day, Tom Raye the competition judge declared that ours was certainly the most desirable tree and, according to Papa, had thought so every weeknight for the last month.

‘Always One’ 
by Tracy Fells

There’s always one. The nutter on the bus. An old lady, with tight white curls like finger rolls, takes the seat behind you. She starts plaiting your hair. Bit of a cheek, you think. What if your religion prohibits plaits? What if hair plaiting sets off your narcolepsy? Her breath smells sweet like pineapple chunks. You twist round to point out how she needs a licence to do that, lady! She moves to another seat, but her fingers still fiddle at the back of your neck. The other passengers shift and stare, as if you’re the one.

by Elaine Marie McKay

She placed the first of them where he would see, then turned from the starkness of its expectation. Later, with taciturn understanding, he wrote on the square of paper in uncomplicated letters. DOOR.

In time, the house was a patchwork of butter-coloured spaces that he filled with the concrete of - FRIDGE, CHAIR, TELEPHONE, SANITARY TOWELS.

For him, scouring the chaos of domesticity, stripping it back to its very foundations so that it could be marked with simplicity, became soothing.
In the evenings, he relaxed, sitting close to her amongst their words, stroking her hair, drinking sweet tea from CUPS.

‘Energy Efficient, Extremely Slim, Easy to Install’ 
by Ed Broom

Trap 3 rasps like Hitchens in hospital before I twig that he’s pulled the old cough ‘n’ flush and bounding off the blocks so I slam the bolt and make like Bolt and flick my belt to give him the Six Nations and I’m rinsing when he dead-legs me down on the tinned Ambrosia tiles but I weeble up to double pump his eyes with naturally derived lemon mint hand wash and Haystacks him into the unfavoured middle Armitage Shanks leaving yours truly to dress, wash and claim my rightful appointment with the Dyson Airblade VI. It’s a great drier.

NFFD 2016 Competition Longlist

Hello Flash-fans,

Well, we're just one month away from the Day itself, and what better time to announce the longlist of stories selected by our judges from this year's Micro-Fiction competition.

These are the stories which were voted most highly by a consensus of the judges, making them the best stories out of the over 500 entries we received. Congratulations to those listed below, and to those who didn't make it: thank you for taking part and supporting National Flash-Fiction Day. Competition was fierce and we hope you will try again, and possibly take part in the other NFFD activities.

And so, with no further ado, in alphabetical order, here is the longlist:

‘A One-Word Yet Possibly Longer-Than-Necessary Personal Essay Dedicated to My Soon-to-Be Ex-Boyfriend Who Doesn't Believe Me When I Tell Him I Can Write Something This Short That Sums up Everything There Is to Say about Our Relationship, Our Future Together, and His Allegedly Legendary Sexual Organ’ by Ingrid Jendrzejewski
‘Absence’ by Richard Holt
‘Always One’ by Tracy Fells
‘By ear’ by Sharon Telfer
‘Christmas’ by James Watkins
‘Energy Efficient, Extremely Slim, Easy to Install’ by Ed Broom
‘Epidemic’ by Alice Ruth Pickersgill
‘Flounder’ by Joanna Campbell
‘Gone to War’ by Frances Gapper
‘Illumination’ by Judi Walsh
‘Jessie Learns How To Keep A Secret’ by Alison Wassell
‘Notes’ by Elaine Marie McKay
‘Past Caring’ by Freya Morris
‘Play away’ by Linda Grierson
‘Saved for Later’ by Jonathan Pinnock
‘Send Later’ by Adam Trodd
‘Somewhere in between we all must choose. Enough diesel to move frontways or Limp back to Dada. Make the choice. He’s waiting with his fingers curled tight. ’ by Caroline Grebbell
‘Storm’ by Gemma Govier
‘Swing’ by Chris Connolly
‘The Birth of the Baptist’ by Fiona J. Mackintosh
‘The Cartographers’ by Jon Stubbington
‘The Father of Octopus Wrestling’ by Frankie McMillan
‘The Jumper’ by Anne Patterson

‘When Words Aren’t Enough’ by Lucy Welch

Congratulations again to all who made it through. We're collating the final results now, and hope to announce the winners and runners-up later today.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Happy National Flash-Fiction Day 2015!

It's all happening, on this Day of Flash.

Well, here it finally as. After months of frenetic preparation the day has arrived. This is the 4th National Flash-Fiction Day. The 1st happened in 2012 and featured a book, an online journal, and a host of events. Since then, it;s got bigger and better and more and more people have been involved. Next year will be our 5th, so we need to think of something special to mark the occasion, but for now, here's your run down of what's happening today.

First, as soon as you've read this why not head over to our Facebook page or our Twitter feed to check out the stories coming thick and fast from the FlashFlood journal? There is one every 10 minutes for the whole day, a total of 144 fabulous stories.

And if you're rather write than read, then The Write-In is open once again, for one day only. So get scribbling!

If that's not enough, our new anthology, Landmarks, is now available in paperback from Amazon for a special NFFD price of just £5.99 (usually £7.99). It's also available on Kindle for just 99p

In addition, you can get the following Kindle books FREE or DISCOUNTED for today!
(Please check the price before purchasing, Amazon's offers system doesn't always play well, and we wouldn't want you to pay when you don't have to!)

NFFD Anthologies:
2014 - Eating My Words
2013 - Scraps
2012 - Jawbreakers

Quick Change by Debbie Young.
Mr & Mrs Flash by Calum & Kath Kerr
28 Far Cries by Marc Nash
Rapture and what comes after by Virginia Moffatt
The Book of Small Changes by Tim Stevenson
31 by Calum Kerr
Apocalypse by Calum Kerr

If that wasn't enough, there are actual real events happening all over the place! There are too many to mention here, so go to our Events Calendar to see what's happening, and maybe pop along to something near you, or take part in one of the online events.

I will be attending the FREE workshop, FREE Foyles reading and (sadly not free) drinks events in Bristol again this year. If you can, why not come along and say 'Hi'. I will be weighed down by copies of Landmarks, so you can always pick up yours there.

I'd like to take this chance to say a quick thank you to the judges from our Competition: Cathy Bryant, Cathy Lennon, Angela Readman, Kevlin Henney, Tim Stevenson and Jon Pinnock; Angi Holden for co-editing the anthology; Amy Mackelden, Tino Prinzi and Tim Stevenson for all their behind-the-scenes work; my co-editors of FlashFlood: Susi, Shirley, Annette, Cassandra, Susan and Caroline. And to everyone else who has pitched in, organised an event, written a story, retweeted a bit of news, or whatever. And special thanks to Kath, my wife, for putting up with all the tantrums it takes me to get this day organised.

You are all stars, fairies, unicorns, or otherwise mythical beasts of your choice.
Thank you!

Whatever you're doing today, I hope you have a wonderful time. National Flash-Fiction is such a celebration of the short short story, and it's all for you.

Thank you.
Calum Kerr
National Flash-Fiction Day 

Friday, 26 June 2015

Did you hear that?

Like sleigh bells in the distance on Christmas Eve, something special is approaching...

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Presenting... Landmarks.

Our 2015 anthology now has a name and a face.

It is called Landmarks,and we owe our thanks to Ian Shine for letting us borrow the name.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

National Flash-Fiction Day Anthology 2015

Well, it's been a tortuous job to winnow the 200+ submission down to our selection, but Angi Holden and myself have finally managed it. And so we are pleased to announce that the stories in this years anthology will be as follows:

A Curious State of Affairs  by  Ingrid Jendrzejewski
A Secret Weight  by  KM Elkes
Bad Geography  by  James Coates
Colouring In  by  Shirley Golden
Coming Back to Primorsk  by  Anna Nazarova-Evans
Countdown  by  Susan Howe
Devil's Mountain  by  Joanna Campbell
Dinner and Geography  by  Keith Gillison
Disputed Zone  by  Barbara Leahy
Double Geography  by  Jane Cooper
Forty Seconds  by  Katie Stevens
How The Earth Began  by    Jenny Woodhouse
Her geography    by  Rob Walton
Holiday Photograph  by  Else Fitzgerald
I Am Maps*  by  H Anthony Hildebrand
Keeping in touch  by  Amanda Quinn
Landmarks  by  Ian Shine
London  by  Tracey Upchurch
Love  by  Nik Perring
North  by   Michelle Elvy
On Location  by  Jon Volkmer
On the Beach  by  Kate Mahony
Pen Y Fan  by  Susan Carey (Angela Williams)
Petty Larceny at the Grocery  by  Beverly C. Lucey
Postcards  by  Mike Scott Thomson
Re:Help  by  Sandra Kohls
Saharan Shades  by  Santino Prinzi
Spinning the Bottle  by  Timothy Mark Roberts
Sweet Gestures  by  Chris Stanley
The Beautiful Game  by  Sonya Oldwin
The Blue House  by  Cath Barton
The Gambler  by  Richard Holt
The Next Island  by  Jamie Hubner
The Owner  by  Bart Van Goethem
The Psychiatrist's Shoe  by  Nod Ghosh
Toy Soldier  by  Pauline Masurel
Tunnels  by  Marie Gethins
Tunnels  by  Isobel Victoria Newham (Vicky)
Useless Without The Other Half  by  Vanessa Savage
Wall Map  by  Emeline Morin
Welcome to All Souls’ Park  by  Gemma Govier
Who Can Hear The Screaming  by  Kirsten Anne McKenzie
Would It Kill You to Smile, Blanca Gomez?  by  Nuala NĂ­ ChonchĂșir
You Promised  by  Cath Bore
Love in Different Time Zones  by  Jane Roberts
A Place in Time   by  Ruth Doris
Five Travellers in a Small Ford   by  James Norcliffe
Scattered (After Mike Blow's Aeolus)   by  Emily Koch
The Somewhere Road  by  Alex Reece Abbott
Third Shadow  by  Tim Stevenson
Hilary Is the Winters of Keith's Discontent  by  Kevlin
We Endure  by  Cathy Lennon
How Can I Get You to Dance?  by  Angela Readman
Ultima Thule  by  Jonathan Pinnock
Travels in Ink  by  Angi Holden
Your Body Is Terrain They Can Map Now (Not That That Helps You, Much)  by  Amy Mackelden
A Face in the Crowd  by  Calum Kerr
Saddle Stitch  by  Michelle Keefe
I am East  by  Sarah Hilary
Fingers Crossed  by  SJI Holliday
Fable  by  Oli Morris

With the winning and commended titles from the Micro-Fiction Competition:

Fly  by  Rob Walton
i want someone who loves me so much they don't care about grammar  by  Laura Tansley
A Weekend Away  by  Diane Simmons
The Pacifist  by  Nick Triplow
Marks and Sparks  by  Ian Shine
Spreading The Chaos  by  Mark Newman
A History Of Ants In The Sugar Bowl  by  Julie Sawyer
Maturity  by  Jude Higgins
Stiff  by  Joanna Campbell
And A Bottle Of Rum  by  Garreth Wilcock

Congratulations to all who made it in. Commiserations to those who were unsuccessful. 

We are currently working on the title and the cover, and those will be announced as soon as can be!

Thanks to all who took part, to Angi for helping to select the stories, and to Amy and Tino for their amazing work.

More soon...

Calum Kerr
Director of NFFD

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

NFFD Micro-Fiction Competition Winners!

Well, the judges have sweated and grumbled, but in the end we managed to get them to make a decision, and we're pleased to announce the winning 10 stories from this year's over-300 entries to the Micro-Fiction competition.

The only stipulation was that the story should be 100 words or fewer and I think you'll be amazed at what they achieved.

The top three will win packages of books and cash, and all ten will appear in this year's anthology, which will be available for National Flash-Fiction Day on 27th June.

Congratulations and thanks to all who entered for making the judges' jobs so hard, and extra congratulations to our winners!

by Rob Walton

I’m rushing to push my lunch box in to my bag when I see these two who must be flying a kite on the green triangle outside the school because she’s holding a length of string, showing him how to thread it through his fingers, but then I realise she’s teaching fly fishing with no river for miles and the nearest polluted anyway and I look again, and she’s reading him Ted Hughes and he’s hanging on every word as he casts better than anyone I’ve ever seen, and we all realise that rivers are just a bonus extra.

I want someone who wants me so much they don’t care about grammar 
by Laura Tansley

On a canker of a concrete wall in a ground-up grey car park the colour of chewed gum a lover paints in lower case ‘your nicer than my wife’ above the butt bumper of a blue Fiesta. Each morning it waggles its way out of the space like a preening duck presenting. And when the bay is empty I lie on the earth to feel the heat of tires, the smoked breath of exhaust fumes and high-humidity whispers.

A Weekend Away 
by Diane Simmons

When I struggled off the train, you laughed, ‘You’ve brought rather a lot.’
In formal hall, I copied how others ate, tried not to grimace at the musty wine. At the theatre, you laughed when an actor spat into the audience. I tried to look like I thought it funny.
I tried to enjoy the beer you bought me in Trinity College bar, tried to like your boisterous friends, was pleased when one asked, ‘What are you reading?’
I didn’t understand why everyone laughed when I replied, ‘The new Ian Rankin.’
But when you laughed, I understood you.


Marks and Sparks 
by Ian Shine

Her online dating profile said she was into M&S, so I proposed we meet up at our local shopping centre. I've been helping her with her dyslexia for a few months now, and she's been giving me the time of my life.

The Pacifist 
by Nick Triplow

Old man Wilson, he calls himself a pacifist. Exchanges opinions and anecdotes for drinks at the Danny’s Bar: a cut price raconteur preaching non-violence. Last night I discovered he carried a loaded .38 in the pocket of his reefer. I said, ‘How d’you square it, this turn the other cheek shit, with the thirty-eight?’

He boot-heeled his cigarette, gave a smile that showed gaps where teeth used to be. ‘Wouldn’t feel right bein’ a pacifist without it.’

"But— "

He pulled it, cocked it and rested the business end against my forehead. ‘See son, how peaceful that makes you feel?’

A History of Ants in the Sugar Bowl 
by Julie Sawyer

“Little blighters are back again” Stan said. “Look” he added, finger stabbing the sugar bowl. Margo looked. “This‘ll teach ‘em” Stan muttered, pouring boiling water from the kettle into the frosted glass, grunting with satisfaction as a dozen or so agonised black forms caught mid-syrup. Margo imagined she could hear their tiny screams. “You’ll have to ant powder the place again” she said. Stan glared at the offending bowl and harrumphed, before stomping out to the shed. Touching the recently emptied matchbox in her pocket, Margo watched him go; knowing that she now had a whole afternoon to herself.  

And A Bottle of Rum 
by Garreth Wilcock

"Then the Pirate Queen sliced my ribs with her cutlass and I fell to the deck as she left."
He lifted his gown to show the gruesome scar to his niece.

"So how did you get off your ship and into Papworth Hospital?"

"Glad you asked. Mermaids towed my ship to shore, and my parrot stole a mobile and called 999."

"Daddy says you had a double lung transplant, and you might be confused. Because of morphine."

Morphine, yes, but not confused. Just not ready to tell a child that he was breathing with treasure from a dead man's chest.

Spreading the Chaos 
by Mark Newman

He is taking groceries into the house, an obedient little puppy; his wife directing him as if this is something that needs supervision.
Out the window she yells 'oi, shit brains. I've had the abortion, so screw you, have it all your way'.
He looks on with a bemused expression, a lost little boy, unsure which way to turn. His wife punches him on the shoulder; still he holds her gaze.
She winds the window up; gives a mock salute and drives away.
She has never seen this man before. This is just something she does; spreading the chaos.

by Jude Higgins

I'll avoid sitting on cold flag stones, swimming on a full stomach, going out with wet hair, bringing lilacs into the house or trusting men whose eyebrows meet in the middle.
I'll wear a dress – sometimes heels, attend my degree ceremonies, get a proper job, stay married, have babies, cook roast dinners, celebrate Christmas, visit relatives, hold family gatherings, stop causing arguments. Be kind.
I'll do what I want, even if my mother wants it too.
Even if it makes me happy.

by Joanna Campbell

When our Rose wouldn't put her arms in the sleeves of her best frock, Mam wept. Not just because of wanting Rose beautiful, but on account of the photographer charging by the minute.
“We’re up to a week’s housekeeping already,” Mam hissed, pinching Rose’s cheeks to raise a bloom.
I imagined four loaves, three quarts of milk and a string of prime sausage floating out the window.
Rose were right starchy-stiff. I couldn't twist her arm.

So I crouched behind and pushed my arms through her sleeves, lacing my fingers, just how our Mam wanted the corpse to look.