We had nearly 500 entries to our inaugural Flash Fiction Competition and we were blown away by the high standard of the entries we received. After much deliberation among the judges, we’re delighted to announce the winners, those who made the shortlist, longlist and the honourable mentions who were well in the running until the final stage of judging.
We’d also like to mention the creative writing charity, First Story – £1.00 from each entry (£484 in total) has been donated to First Story to help them continue their excellent work.
Right, time to unveil the winners (click on the title to read the entry).
First Prize: Elvis is alive and he lives in Belfast by Letty Butler
Letty is an actress and writer from Sheffield. Thematically she’s drawn to exploring humanity in all its complex, messy glory and writes across multiple genres. Last year she won the BPA Prize for her debut novel Escape Artists and was shortlisted for The Bridport Prize in two categories, as well as Bath Flash Fiction, Cranked Anvil and Mslexia. She has just published her first non-fiction book The Jobbing Actor with Nick Hern Books.
Second Prize: Something Fishy by Diana Gittins
Diana Gittins is a writer and poet who was born in the USA and moved to the UK when she was 14. She’s become increasingly interested in short fiction and creative nonfiction. Recent publications are The Colour Pink published by mironline.org, My Life in Animals in On the Seawall (ronslate.com) and Wild Oregano and Thyme in Under the Gum Tree. She lives in a 17th century cottage in East Devon with her partner, cat and visiting ghosts.
Third Prize: To Dust by Mike Kilgannon
Mike Kilgannon is a teacher and dad living in Sheffield. Mike grew up in St Helens, Merseyside and has been scribbling in secret ever since. His flash fiction piece The Hercules Reopened won 2nd place in the 2019 Bridport Prize.
Here are the other stories/authors that made it into the top 10 of the competition (click on the title to read the entry, where applicable).
Tuireann’s Message by Alex Reece Abbott
A New Zealand-Irish writer, Alex’s stories span genres and forms. A Penguin Random House WriteNowfinalist and Irish Novel Fair, Arvon, Northern Crime and HG Wells prize winner, her work is often a finalist, including in the Sunday Business Post/Penguin Prize, Bridport, Mslexia, Arvon, Word Factory, Cambridge, Grindstone, Maria Edgeworth, Tillie Olsen and Lorian Hemingway prizes. Her stories are widely anthologised, including in Best Small Fictions (2022), Bonsai: Best Small Stories from Aotearoa New Zealand, The Broken Spiral (UNESCO Dublin City of Literature Read) and Heron (Katherine Mansfield Society) among others.
To my wife by Barnaby Davis
Barnaby Davis is a teacher who has been working internationally for the last fifteen years. He has worked around all around the world, from Egypt to China to Romania, and is currently based in Norway, where he has come to the realisation that snow really isn’t that great. He writes for fun in his spare time.
Some are born with silver spoons in their mouths. Michael Forester was born with a pen in his hand. He writes at the fulcrum of perceived reality in metaphorical fiction and inspirational non-fiction. His books can be viewed at his website, michaelforester.co.uk and he is also on Facebook here.
Michael’s life journey has taken him from charismatic Christianity, through a miraculously survived suicide attempt and into a spiritual awakening, through the onset of profound deafness and the life-changing arrival of a hearing dog.
Hop and Scotch by Marie Gethins
Marie Gethins’ work featured in NFFD Anthologies, NANO, Banshee,The London Magazine, Australian Book Review, Reed, The Lonely Crowd, and others. Selected for Best Microfictions 2021, BIFFY50 2020, Marie is a Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, British Screenwriters Award nominee and she is an editor for Splonk.
The Caterpillar by Amy Goodenough
Amy Goodenough is a writer, academic, feminist and mother whose path was changed forever by her experience of domestic abuse and its aftermath. She now uses her writing and studies to explore, among other things, the experience of women surviving domestic violence and their secondary victimisation by the police and the family courts. If you’d like to read a sister piece to the Caterpillar that was published (under a pseudonym) by Lacuna last year, CLICK HERE.
The Spirit of Things by Nora Studholme
Nora Studholme was born and raised in the countryside of Virginia, where she grew her roots wandering forests, always with a book in hand. Now, she is astonished to re-discover on a daily basis that she lives in beautiful Florence, Italy, where she writes, reads, eats pasta, and discovers glimmers of stories hiding everywhere.
The Tragic Clogging of Filters by Abigail Williams
Originally from Leeds, now living in Devon, Abigail Williams writes flash and longer fiction. In 2022 she placed 3rd in the Bath Flash Fiction Award, won the Flash 500, the Cranked Anvil Short Story and the Evesham FoW Short Story competitions. She was listed in other prizes including the Reflex Press and the Oxford Flash Fiction and had words published in Popshot Quarterly and Riptide journal. She was delighted to be nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was thrilled to graduate with a Distinction for her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Exeter. She is currently in a stand off with the first draft of a novel.
Here are the authors whose entries were very much in the mix to make the shortlist and which really stood out from the crowd.
Barbara Black (for two entries)
Chris Cottom (for two entries)
Daniel A. Wood
F. M. Philip
H M Hulme
Sara Maria Greene
Here are the authors of entries that just missed out on making the longlist but which the judges decided should be commended.
A.L. Mullins, Aimee Parrett, Alison Wassell, Amelie Padfield, Ava Sedgwick, Brigitte de Valk, Caroline Rowles, Cathy Cade, Charlotte Husnjak, Christine Breede, Damian Brunner, E C Rooney, Elizabeth Ann Dinsdale, Emma Swarbrick, Eve Turner, Georgia Cook, H.J. Russell, Helen Gould, Helen Van Dongen, Iain McGrath, John Cladefield, Jonah Jones, June Cadogen, KB Holm, Letty Butler, Liz Champion, Marie Gethins, Megan ni hIci, Michael Forester, Michael Mcloughlin, Niamh Mac Cabe, Rachel Burrows, Rayna Haralambieva, Richard Smith, Rowan Evans, Sagar Doshi, Sam Parry, Sarah Bennett, Shirley McIntyre, Sonny Turner, Thea Lyngseth, Tilly Lavenas, Tom Somerfield, Toyo Odetunde, Warren LaSota
A note to the other entrants
If you entered our first-ever writing competition and your name does not appear above, please do not be too disappointed. The judging of creative work is by its nature subjective and there were literally hundreds of very good, well-written entries that didn’t quite make the cut for our judges on this occasion. Please do not view this as a rejection of your work or your talent.
It is always worth having a read of your entry and see if there is anything you think you could do to hone it or change it that might make it more appealing/shocking/interesting/emotionally engaging… and then there is no stopping you entering it in another competition in which it might well achieve success. To create something that didn’t exist before is a win for the author and indeed the universe. So please keep writing, keep creating. We thank you all for entering.