Thursday, 25 July 2013

Shipshape and Bristol Flashing by Kevlin Henney

[We asked Kevlin Henney to talk about the Bristol NFFD workshop and readings which served as the main events for this year's day. He said 'yes' and here it is...]

Isn't it odd, I thought, that there are no flash-related events in Bristol on National Flash-Fiction Day? This was 2012, the first National Flash-Fiction Day was happening and Bristol — a happening place in terms of flash fiction, judging by theKissing Frankenstein & Other Stories collection and the number of local authors flashing their short shorts — seemed to be marking the day with a curious lack of happening on the day. How come?

And what was I doing on NFFD 2012 instead? Driving from Bristol to Oxford to slam flash at the first flash slam, presided over by renowned flash author Tania Hershman, who also lives in Bristol. We were there because Oxford was one of the places where things were happening... but by being there, we weren't in Bristol.

The penny dropped. If I wanted something to happen in Bristol for NFFD 2013, then I might have to (1) suggest it and (2) help organise it. A group of us — me, Tania,Sarah HilaryPauline Masurel and Deborah Rickard — got together to make it so.

This year's NFFD was the day after the summer solstice, following the shortest night with a day of the shortest fiction, which conveniently placed it on a Saturday. Convenient until you realise that if you're planning an event on a Saturday in summer, you're also competing with weddings and the like for event space. We reckoned on a couple of events, an afternoon writing workshop and an evening reading event, and through trial and error and luck and generosity found venues for both. Bristol Central Library generously gave us the use of a meeting room for the afternoon and The Lansdown pub in Clifton has an upstairs space with great ambience and decent acoustics.

To really make sure we got NFFD to happen in Bristol, we managed to persuade Mr NFFD, Calum Kerr, to join us for the day. Tania and Calum took the afternoon workshop, leading twenty people — the room's stated capacity! — through discussion and critique, reading and writing, and tea and coffee. The evening brought rainshine, thirteen readers and a room of people ready for a goodnight story or two.

One of the best things about flash spoken-word events is the range and number of stories and readers you can pack in. After five minutes of most short stories you're often still in the foothills of the story; with flash, you've been taken to the peaks of one, two or three whole stories, and you're on to the next reader. Not sure if a story is to your liking? Like buses, wait a couple of minutes and another will be along. But there were no duff stories or readers. In addition to the motley organisers and Calum, we had readings from Anna BrittenKen ElkesPaul McVeighNick Parker,Jonathan PinnockClare Reddaway and Tim Stevenson. Calum also read a couple of stories by other authors from Scraps, the hot-off-the-press NFFD anthology.

Was it good? Was it fun? Do you wish you'd been there? See for yourself. Hope to see you in Bristol next year!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Post-Match Roundup

Well, hello everyone,

It's been just over a week since The Day, so I thought I would catch you up with what happened then and what has happened since. 

Of course, we launched our new anthology, Scraps, and that has done incredibly well. We have exactly 5 copies left from our original printings. 

However, we also have it on Kindle and now, as a print-on-demand book from Amazon, so it will be available in print for ever! (It says 'out of stock' but if you order one, they print it and send it, so don't be put off.) This last option might be more attractive for those outside the UK as it will result in reduced postage costs, especially in the US, and even more so if you get free shipping from Amazon Prime.

If you are interested in any of those versions of the book, then the links are:

(With the Amazon links, change the to .com or whatever, for your local site.)

We also, of course, had FlashFlood running throughout the day. It was about 140 stories long, making a rate of one every 10 minutes or so. You can still read all the stories, and those from previous issues, at FlashFlood

And then, there were the events. I was at Bristol, where a wonderful time was had by all, but much else was happening. Below is a range of blog links to fill you in on other happenings - reviews, stories posted, all kinds of things!

'The Monster Under My Bed' - Ro Smith

NFFD Shrewsbury - Pauline Fisk

Stories from Shrewsbury

'Final Words' - Damon Lord

NFFD - Katy Wheatley

NFFD Bristol - Grace Palmer


NEW Flash Fiction Competition from December House

Flash Fiction on Youtube - Marc Nash

Edinburgh Evening News 

NFFD - D Thomas Minton

'Dry Throat' - Lucy Montague Moffatt

NFFD - Dave Hartley

On a more personal note, NFFD saw the launch of my first full length collection, Lost Property. To celebrate its publication I have set off on a blog tour where I will be posting stories, being interviewed and writing articles about NFFD, my writing, and my thoughts on Flash-Fiction in general. If you think that might be interesting, you can follow the tour on Facebook at

And so, all that is left is to to wrap the ribbon around this year's day and call it finished. Thank you to all who helped with the various activities, to all the writers and organisers of events and competitions, and to all the readers who make what we do so worthwhile.

Specific thanks from me must go to:

The Micro-Fiction Competition judges:
Cathy Bryant, Tom Gillespie, Kevlin Henney, Emma Lannie, Kirsty Logan and Angela Readman.

My co-editor on Scraps, Holly Howitt. And Amy Mackelden who did all the real work. Without her, the book just wouldn't have happened!

To Tim Stevenson for website and book cover design help.

To Kevlin Henney (again!) for organising such a great event in Bristol. 

And, of course, to the good Lady Flash, Kath Kerr, for help and support beyond all reason, with NFFD and everything else.

And, that's it, I'll go now before I start weeping and thanking God.

Have a good year, keep your eyes peeled for all things flash, some of which are likely to come from us, spread the word about the books and everything we do, and put the date of 21st June 2014 into your diaries now!

All best