Flash fiction—also known as short short fiction, sudden fiction, or “a smoke long” fiction—has been around since Aesop’s Fables, but it’s never been more popular, with magazines and websites now dedicated solely to it. It even has its own national day on 16 May.
In this Litro Lab episode, I talk to flash fiction writers David Gaffney (Sawn-off Tales, Salt, 2006), Tania Hershman (The White Road and Other Stories, Salt, 2008; My Mother Was an Upright Piano, Tangent, 2012) and Calum Kerr, Founder of National Flash Fiction Day (NFFD), about what makes great micro fiction. We also hear some of their work, and those of Vanessa Gebbie and Franz Kafka.
“The Cares of a Family Man” by Franz Kafka
Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir, from A Country Doctor, 1919.
Read by Greg Page
“Who’s the Boss” by Calum Kerr
Read by Richard Koworld (@koworld )
“Of Human Kindness (Buenos Aires)” by Vanessa Gebbie
Read by Claire Lacey
Inspired? Enter Litro’s Flash Fiction Competition
We are partnering with the Confucius Institute and the School of East Asian Studies of the University of Sheffield to hold a China-themed flash fiction competition, which opens today. Deadline is 3 October. The winner will receive a £200 cash prize, be published in Litro Magazine, and have the chance to attend a short course in Chinese language at the Sheffield Confucius Institute. Runners-up will receive £100 and £50 respectively. More info here.
Flash Fiction Workshop with Tania Hershman
Meet the fabulous Tania Hershman and learn how to write flash fiction. Great for beginners, poets or anyone wanting inspiration.
At Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, 14-15 John Street, Bath, Avon BA1 2JL.
Thursday, 11 October; 6:30–8:30pm; £28. Book here.
Emily Cleaver is Litro’s Online Editor. She is passionate about short stories and writes, reads and reviews them. Her own stories have been published in the London Lies anthology from Arachne Press, Paraxis, .Cent, The Mechanics’ Institute Review, One Eye Grey, and Smoke magazines, performed to audiences at Liars League, Stand Up Tragedy, WritLOUD, Tales of the Decongested and Spark London and broadcasted on Resonance FM and Pagan Radio. As a former manager of one of London’s oldest second-hand bookshops, she also blogs about old and obscure books. You can read her tiny true dramas about working in a secondhand bookshop at smallplays.com and see more of her writing at emilycleaver.net.