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So, here in the UK there is National Poetry Day (Oct 3), National Short Story Day (Dec 21st) and National Short Story Week (Nov 11th-17th), not to mention all the other national days and weeks (National Library Day, National Engineers Week, National Dairy Week, and the newly-launched National Waiters Day, to name a few!) A year ago the indomitable writer Calum Kerr decided to launch the world’s first National Flash Fiction Day, a celebration of the very short story. This year’s event is this Saturday, 22nd June.
So far this year’s festivities have already seen Issue 3 of the Flash Flood Journal publishing a veritable deluge of excellent flash stories for a 24-hour period, and issue 4 will be doing the same on June 22nd with even more. Flash enthusiasts outside the UK have joined in the excitement with Flash Mob: The International Flash Fiction Day Blog Carnival and Competition, the results of which will be announced on June 22nd, and New Zealand has declared the same day their National Flash Fiction Day.
Coming back to the UK, there will be a number of events taking place around the country, including a flash fiction workshop (run by Calum and myself) and then an evening of readings in Bristol, an event pairing writers with artists in Cardiff, a flash competition and reading for 99-word stories in Dublin, a unique gathering of Scottish spoken word groups in Edinburgh, a flash fiction workshop led by Amy Mackleden in Hartlepool, and a flash fiction writing session and open mic in Shrewsbury. What a wonderful line-up!
There is also a National Flash Fiction Day anthology – Scraps, edited by Calum and Holly Howitt, which is now available as an ebook and will be available as a paperback from June 22nd onwards, following up on the awesome Jawbreakers anthology last year.
Says Calum: “As last year, people are very enthusiastic for National Flash-Fiction Day. We learned from last year, and events are more targeted. We have produced a new anthology which has taken something of a turn for the experimental. All in all, it’s a little smaller in scope this year, but the range and variety is even more exciting.”
I’m very excited, I adore the very shortest of short stories. Wherever you are, have a happy National Flash Fiction Day!
Watch flash stories read aloud on last year’s National Flash Fiction Day at the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse.
Tania Hershman is the author of two story collections: My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions (Tangent Books, 2012), a collection of 56 very short fictions, and The White Road and Other Stories (Salt, 2008; commended, 2009 Orange Award for New Writers) . Tania's short stories and poetry are published or forthcoming in, among others, Five Dials, Stinging Fly, Tears in the Fence, PANK magazine, Smokelong Quarterly, the London Magazine, and New Scientist, and on BBC Radio. She is writer-in-residence in Bristol University's Science Faculty and editor of The Short Review, the online journal spotlighting short story collections and their authors. Tania teaches regularly for the Arvon Foundation and gives workshops on short stories, flash fiction and science-inspired fiction. Check out her website here.