Micro-Fiction competition invites entries

Buttons cr Judy DarleyI’m a fan of flash fiction that packs an emotional wallop ­– such a challenge to achieve in only a handful of words!

National Flash-Fiction Day returns on 16th June 2018, and celebrates this short-short form in all its glory.

As part of the build up, their annual Micro-Fiction competition is open for entries of 100 words or fewer. There is no minimum word count.

The deadline is 23:59 (UK time) on 17th March 2018, so you just have time to string a few powerful, carefully selected words together. No problem, right?!

This year, entries are free. You’re invited to submit up to three flash fictions on any theme.

Find competition rules, terms and conditions, and the full list of prizes at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/comp.html




Flamingos and Ham – flash fiction

Flamingos and Ham by Judy DarleyMy very short dystopian tale Flamingos and Ham has been published by Ellipsis Zine Two. It offers a glimpse of a future that a certain D. Trump esquire would undoubtedly heartily approve of, and was inspired in part by 2017’s heartfelt Women’s Marches and the Pussyhat’s that provided a vivid flash of pink to the ensembles.

Ellipsis Zine TwoYou’ll need to buy the magazine to read the story in full (or wait for my next short story collection to come out in 2019 – squeee!). Here’s a sneaky taster:

Flamingos and Ham by Judy Darley

I was 12 when the ruling came in, banning certain words, colours, and clothing. It seemed farcical at first. My mum and dad laughed in disbelief as they watched the news.

“How can they outlaw pink?” Dad hooted. “What about flamingos and… and, ham?!”

Mum grimaced. “How can they forbid hats, and wool? What are they afraid of?”

Neither mentioned the words considered inflammatory. I think they understood even then that to utter them aloud could be dangerous.

Buy Ellipsis Zine Two.



Enter The Bare Fiction Prize 2017

Almunecar cr Judy Darley

The excellent folks at Bare Fiction are inviting submission to their creative writing awards. This year Wayne Holloway-Smith judges the Poetry category (max 40 lines), Naomi Booth judges the Flash Fiction category (max 500 words), and Adam O’Riordan judges the Short Story category (max 3,000 words).

First, second and third prize winners in each category will receive £500, £200 and £100 respectively, plus two highly commended entrants will receive £25 each.

Fee per entry is £5 for poetry, £6 for flash fiction, and £8 for fiction, with a £2 entry discount for magazine subscribers.

There’s no theme, but bear in mind that the British periodical aims to “offer a platform for new creative writing across poetry, fiction and plays to encourage writers who are testing their boundaries to stretch themselves creatively.”

The deadline for all entries is 31 October 2017. Find full competition details here.

New Flash Fiction Review invites submissions

Arnos Vale tangle tree cr Judy DarleyThis attractive online magazine caught my attention thanks to the alumni of excellent contributors, including Jude Higgins, and the editor’s apparent passion for brief, splendid, often whimsical works.

Founded in 2014 by author and editor Meg Pokrass, they describe themselves as “an online magazine devoted to flash fiction and prose poetry.”

They are open for submissions under 1,000 words in length until September 12th 2017. How could you resist?

Happily, simultaneous submissions are encouraged. If your piece has been accepted elsewhere, simply withdraw it from the Submissions manager.

Find full details here: newflashfiction.com/our-guidelines-2/

A flash about a dragon

Bamboo forest by Judy DarleyA dragon flies into a bar.


I’m thrilled that my story Flightless has not only been published on the Micro Madness website for National Flash Fiction Day NZ, but has been placed third in the Micro Madness competition!

The competition organisers asked if I mind it being read aloud at the festival events in New Zealand – of course I don’t mind, I only wish I could be there!

You can read it here.

Submit crime fiction to a Flash Bang contest

Pink water pistol cr Judy DarleyDid you know the phrase ‘flash in the pan’ originated with the priming of guns? I didn’t either before discovering the Flash Bang contest.

They’re seeking 150-word submissions of short crime fiction that packs a helluva punch, and emphasises the skill of flash fiction in utilising the skill of surprise and illumination in an artfully condensed package – one you may not wish to open without guidance from a bomb disposal squad.

Deadline for entries is midnight BST on 3rd March 2017.

Prizes of this writing contest

  • 1st prize is two weekend passes to CrimeFest 2018 (access to all interviews, panels and receptions, exc. accommodation, dinner, travel)
  • 2nd prize is one weekend pass to CrimeFest 2018
  • 3rd prize is a special CrimeFest delegate bag with books and other goodies

In addition to the above, all those on the shortlist will be invited to attend the Crime Writing Day on Friday 19 May 2017, when the winners will be announced.

Rules of this writing contest

Max 150 words. No minimum. Title not included in word count. One entry per person. £2 entry fee to cover admin, to be paid via PayPal. No entries from established crime authors, please. No other restrictions apply, but you’ll want to be able to attend CrimeFest in Bristol, UK, in May 2018 if you win.

Find full details of how to enter at flashbangcontest.wordpress.com/about-flashbang-2017/

The longlist will be published 7 April 2015. Shortlist will be published here 21 April. Winners will be announced at CrimeFest15, 14-17 May 2015. Good luck!

Flash Frontier wants your flash fiction

MINE grotto skylightFlash Frontier is a marvellous online journal of short fiction. Every month the editors invite submissions on a particular theme designed to get your creative nodes firing.  You can, as they say, “use the theme in any way you desire. Follow it as closely or broadly as you desire – the only stipulation is that your tale should “evoke the idea.”

Previous themes have included Science and Sky (my story Altitude appeared in the latter, along with some wonderful pieces from other writers.

The current call for submissions is for the February issue, and is on the theme Remnants. The deadline is January 31st 2017.

Now the important stuff. Your story must be no more than 250 words in length. This is crucial: 251 words will disqualify you.

Submissions are due by the last day of the month for the following month’s issue. Each issue will appear mid-month.

For full guidelines, themes and to read previous issues, visit www.flash-frontier.com.

Submit short stories on Change and Stasis

Windmill Hill City Farm pigs cr Judy DarleySubmissions are now open for issue #2 of The Ham Free Press. The themes for the issue are Change and Stasis – a great start to your writing year!

“The world, and its inhabitants, seem to be going through a period of profound change at the moment, physically, socially, and politically, and we want to explore the creative response to this change in our next issue,” say the editors. “On the other hand, we might be wrong, perhaps things aren’t changing that dramatically, perhaps things just happen in cycles, maybe we’ve been here before? Are there certain constants, unchanging and stable, whilst the world around us seems to transform?  We don’t know, we’re very confused, but we’re awfully excited to receive your submissions based on this prompt.”

Send up to three short stories or flash fictions up to a maximum of (4,000 words max for short stories, 1,000 max for flash fiction) and poems up to a maximum of 60 lines (the shorter the better). “We will accept up to five poems per submission and if we think they’re good enough we’ll publish them all, so go mad.”

Intriguingly, The Ham also accept any work of an epistolary nature, whether it be letters from readers, real life correspondence, “or fictional correspondence. Make us laugh, make us think, make us question our very existence.”

Send all submissions to thehamfreepress@gmail.com, but before you do so, take a moment to visit The Ham’s website and read the full submission guidelines.

Flight Journal seeks writing inspired by cities

Bilbao Bridge cr Judy DarleyFlight Journal is calling for short story writers to submit their micro fiction up to up to 500 words in length. The chosen writers will receive £25 and have their work professionally published.

The theme for the issue is The City: Isolation and/or Togetherness.

We would like to read a range of voices and tones, particularly those which can move or amuse (or both!). Everything else is left completely open for you as a writer to interpret,” say editors Marianne Tatepo, Sara Jafari and Shreeta Shah. “In some instances we may choose works that we would like to develop with the author through one-to-one conversations and edits. Please bear this in mind when submitting your stories.”


  • Published and unpublished writers are both welcome. Any genre or style is welcome.
  • Your work must be no more than 500 words long (the emphasis for Issue 3 is on micro fiction), and should not have been published before – on your personal blog, other websites, or in print.
  • Flight Journal accepts submissions written in English from anywhere in the world (however, you must have a UK bank account for payment).
  • Only one story per submission.
  • Your work must be submitted as a Word document.
  • Submissions will be judged ‘blind’ so please do not include any biographical information or your name within the text, or with your submission.

To enter please submit your story via Submittable by clicking here

The deadline is 31st October, 11.59pm (as in the last minute of that day).

I spotted this opportunity on the excellent Short Stops.

Book review – Songs Without Music by Tim Stevenson

Songs Without Music coverAuthor Tim Stevenson is a master of the final line, turning a tale on its head with a few carefully chosen words. Throughout his collection of “flash-fictions and curiosities” (what an enticing sub-head!), in just a single page or so Tim creates worlds that feel like close parallels to our own, where our own fate, and how to avoid (or embrace) it, is shown up in eerie technicolour. Human nature is spotlit and dissected, not only in the tales themselves, but through toying unsettlingly with our preconceptions, so that we’re caught off-step without even realising we’ve been led astray, as in Feral Oxide and in An Artist’s Impression.

I’m not a great devourer of sci-fi, but literary thought-provoking futuristic tales please me as much as any well-wrought fairytale, and Stevenson is particularly adept at these. Mother’s Milk is gorgeously chilling, ending with a satisfying pinch of justice, while The Mr Jones Emulator raises questions about what it is to be a person, while remaining a soothingly jolly read.

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