A Flash Flood of Fiction

Weaving Wings by Judy DarleyTomorrow, Saturday 6th June 2020, marks National Flash Fiction Day UK, and I’m thrilled to have one of my stories take part. All day long, flash fiction stories will be published in the Flash Flood, and my tale Weaving Wings, a favourite of mine from my collection Sky Light Rain, will appear at around 8.40am BST.

I’m particularly thrilled as this year, thanks to lockdown, the hard-working team at NFFD headquarters received an unprecedented number of high quality submissions – 1,650 in total!

You can pop in at any time from 00:01 BST on 6th June to dip a toe in the torrent. From the chatter on Twitter it looks like there will be some shining examples of the flash fiction form to sweep you along.

You’re also invited to take part in the The Write-In this year. Throughout Saturday 6th June, the team will publish 24 flash prompts — one every hour from 00:01 to 23:59 BST.

“Submit your responses by 23:59 BST on Sunday 7th June for a chance to be published at The Write-In.  Writers of all levels of experience welcome!”

Pandemic prompt – distance

Tesco line-up_by Judy Darley

Remember when we used the word ‘social’ without following it with ‘distance’? Those two words once added up to an oxymoron, but it’s become normal with a speed that daunts me.

Can you write a timely story in which two strangers make a connection in a supermarket queue, despite, or because, of social distancing rules?

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud.com to let me know. With your permission, I may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Enter The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize

Terra Nostra Tropical plants cr Judy DarleyWasafari magazine invites submissions of Poetry, Fiction and Life Writing for The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize. Supported by Queen Mary University of London and Routledge, the winners of each category receive a £1,000 cash prize and will be published by Wasafiri in print and online.

The prizes include the chance to take part in the Chapter and Verse or Free Reads mentoring scheme in partnership with The Literary Consultancy (dependent on eligibility).

Shortlisted writers will be published online with Wasafiri and may be eligible for Free Reads mentoring also.

The prize closes on 15th June 2020.

Find full details of how to enter at www.wasafiri.org.

This year, Penguin editor Simon Prosser will judge fiction, Guardian journalist Aida Edemariam will judge life writing, and award-winning poet Raymond Antrobus will judge poetryPublisher and poet Kadija Sesay is chairing the judging panel.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley(at)ICloud(dot)com.

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A short story – Shadows and Shine

The BeautifullestI’m thrilled that my flash fiction story ‘Shadows and Shine’ has been published in The Beautifullest: Pure Slush Vol. 17. It’s a slightly twisted tale of sibling rivalry between two brothers.

Here’s a line from my story:

‘A spare key to the woman’s house hangs in their hallway. He wants to see what happens if he enters while she’s out.’

The publication features flash fiction, poetry and essays by 89.
Various other eBook formats will follow in the coming weeks.

Pandemic prompt – thank you

NHS thanks by Judy DarleyThroughout the Covid-19 pandemic, one of the most heart-warming, spirit-lifting, tear-jerking responses has been the weekly applause for our wonderful NHS and other key workers.

The overflow of gratitude has been criticised by some, however, including key workers themselves, who’ve pointed out that it shouldn’t take a crisis of this magnitude for their hard work to be valued.

Can you spin this into an impactful tale?

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud.com to let me know. With your permission, I may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Book review – Stillicide by Cynan Jones

Originally written as a commission for BBC Radio 4, this spare, vivid book conjures a time when drinking water has become a rare and precious commodity.

Cynan Jones describes Stillicide as a collection of interlinked short stories. Each provides additional viewpoints and textures to the overarching examination of a future in which water is commodified.

As with all of Cynan’s writing, individual sentences have been honed into missiles, designed to carry and deliver information and emotion in the most efficient way possible, with the spaces on the page designed to make their impact all the more resonant.

Far from being bleak, the chapters or stories are a comfort to climb into, as each is understood from inside a single character’s mind. There’s an unexpected but welcome sense of being sheltered by their grey matter, and of gazing outwards at the strange, thirsty world they inhabit. A meditative quality seeps from the pages, even as the themes themselves ripple with injustice and quiet rage.

The space Cynan has created is far enough removed to give him the freedom to invent at will, yet close enough to remain dauntingly recognisable.

Continue reading

Enter Frome Festival Short Story Competition

Frome rooftopsFrome Festival Short Story Competition welcomes submissions, with a deadline of 31st May 2020.

This small Somerset town of layered roofs is set roughly between Bath and Taunton has become a hive for writers, with the  annual festival featuring writing residencies throughout the small, characterful shops, and street performances seemingly on every corner.

This year’s judge is author, Daily Mail journalist and broadcaster Bel Mooney.

The competition costs £8 to enter. You can purchase a detailed critique of your work for an additional payment of £47 per story.

Stories may be on any theme, but must be between 1,000 and 2,200 words in length, not including the title.

First prize is £400, second prize £200 and third prize £100.

There will also be special awards for writers living within a 25-mile radius of Frome Library, in a bid to support and encourage local writers.

The Frome Festival is well worth visiting for its own charms, especially the incredible busking that takes place throughout the narrow streets.

For full details visit the competition website.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley(at)iCould(dot)com.

Need some words?

Frisbee dog by Wolfgang Hasselmann on UnsplashWhen I’m not playing Frisbee with fictional characters, I’m working as a contract communications manager and freelance features writer.

I produce and manage execution of content strategies, populate websites, advise on branding, and launch and revitalise social media channels.

This includes producing engaging targeted features for consumer magazines and B2B titles as well as digital content, newsletters, brochures, press releases and social media copy, primarily aimed at boosting brand loyalty and inspiring readers to try something new.

If that sounds like something that could help you or your business, drop a line to judydarley@icloud.com

Pandemic prompt – empty

Help Us Keep Your Psrks_by Judy DarleyIn horror films there are few things creepier than an empty playground, or one where the chains of a single swing squeak in the wind, sans child.

The only life I’ve seen in this local play area has been the presence of two men mowing the grass. It struck me as infinitely hopeful, this act to maintain the area in hope children will soon play here again.

Can you weave a story from this scene?

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud.com to let me know. With your permission, I may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Enter the Bridport Prize

Laugharne mossy treeThe Bridport Prize, one of the UK’s most prestigious writing competitions, is currently seeking submissions of short stories, flash fiction, poems and debut novels.

The deadline for all competition entries is 31st May 2020.

Bridport Prize artwork cr Paul Blow

Image by Paul Blow

Poems may be up to 42 lines in length. The entry fee is £10. The winning poet will receive £5,000.

Short stories may be up to 5,000 words long. The entry fee is £12. The winning short story writer will receive £5,000.

Flash fiction may be up to 250 words long. The entry fee is £9. The winning flash fiction writer will receive £1,000.

Novel extracts may be up to 8,000 words long. You must also supply a 300-word synopsis, which should be the first page of your entry. The fee is £20.

First prize is £1,500 plus mentoring by The Literary Consultancy and consultations with literary agent AM Heath and publisher Tinder Press.

Judges

Emma Healey, author of Elizabeth Is Missing, will judge novel submissions.

Mimi Khalvati, founder of The Poetry School, will judge poetry submissions.

Novelist and playwright Nell Leyshon will judge short story and flash fiction submissions.

Don’t forget to check out the resources section of the Bridport Prize website.

Find full details and enter your creative works at www.bridportprize.org.uk.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley(at)iCloud(dot)com.