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Monday musings on Australian literature: Australian flash fiction initiatives

May 18, 2015

It seemed sensible to follow up my review last week of Angela Meyer’s collection of flash fiction, Captives, with a selective survey of some Australian initiatives for this sort of fiction.

While flash fiction is not new, the internet does seem to be giving it renewed life. An online search will reveal many sites and blogs – individual and communal – on which writers can post their pieces. Here, though, I will focus on more “organisational” support for the form in Australia.

  • 52-Week Flash Fiction Challenge, on Facebook: Created, as far as I can gather, by Australian children’s author Sheryl Gwyther, this is an open flash fiction challenge, which means anyone from anywhere can post a story. Her definition is 20-500 words, and she has set a topic word for each week of the challenge. By way of example, the first three for this year, which started in March, were “silk”, “basic”, “sermon”.
  • Antipodean SF‘s Speculative Flash Fiction: AntiSF is a site “devoted to the online publication of short-short science/speculative fiction stories”, which they define as having an upper limit of 1000 words. You can read their flash fiction online. Everything they’ve published – flash fiction, reviews, and other short works – can be found at their Pandora archive.
  • Australian Horror Writers Association’s Flash and Short Story Competition: Entries are about to close for this year’s competition, but if you’re quick there’s still a chance. For the AHWA, flash fiction can be up to 1000 words. The winner of their competition will receive paid publication in the Assocation’s magazine, Midnight Echo, and an engraved plaque.
  • Fellowship of Australian Writers (Qld) Flash Fiction Competition: For FAWQ’s competition, flash fiction needs to be under 250 words, and “must have a beginning, middle and an end. It must also have conflict and resolution”. The theme for 2015 is “Harvest”. Hmm … that might get some creative juices going! There are two prizes of $100 and $50.
  • Flashers: An initiative of Seizure, Flashers promotes itself as the “online home of Australian flash fiction”. They publish new pieces, of 50 to 500 words, every week. They describe flash fiction as work that “could be written in an hour and read in a minute”, but they also recognise that it has “peculiar challenges – and authors have to make every word count”. This means to me that it often isn’t written in an hour, that it takes time to hone those words! But, here is the good news – at least it sounds good to me – Seizure actually pays for the pieces it publishes. Just $50, but a start eh? This payment is due to the support of the Australia Council.
  • Spineless Wonders, run by UTS alumni, states that they publish “the only annual anthology of microliterature (including Flash Fiction) in Australia”. Spineless Wonders cover the gamut of what they call “brief” fiction, that is, “short story, novella, sudden fiction and prose poetry”. Since 2011, they have sponsored The joanne burns Micro-Lit Award. For the 2015 award, won by Nick Couldwell, pieces had to be no more than 200 words, and meet the theme “out of place”. The winner and finalists will be published in an anthology titled, yes, Out of place. The prize also included $300.
This brief list represents only a slice of the action out there, but I’ve enjoyed sussing out what I think is a variety of ways in which the form is supported and promoted. I’d love to hear of sites you know and love.
14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2015 2:45 am

    Wow, quite a lot of places available for flash fiction publication! I had no idea. It does seem a form perfect for the internet though.

  2. May 19, 2015 10:11 am

    Thanks for this post Sue. I’m sending a link to a number of fellow writers who I think will be interested and who may not have heard of some of these initiatives.

    • May 19, 2015 9:08 pm

      That’s great Karen Lee. I’m thrilled to think my post might be of practical value to some writers.

  3. May 19, 2015 4:33 pm

    This is great. I’m currently studying Flash Fiction with Randall Brown and “met” the wonderful Kathy Fish two weeks ago in a course. In my writer’s group some of the authors were wondering about publishing opportunities in Australia – so I’ll investigate your links now. Maybe most are for Austrlians only, but it’s still interesting.

    • May 19, 2015 9:15 pm

      Caroline, I love that you think my links could be useful. They are all Australian initiatives, but at least one seems to be open to any writers. I’m not sure about the others.

  4. May 19, 2015 4:51 pm

    I shall ensure my mate Irene in Qld gets this: she’s a good flash fiction writer !
    I thank you on her behalf, Sue. 🙂

    • ian darling permalink
      May 19, 2015 6:57 pm

      I will try to follow some of these out. What a great title for a site of this nature – Spineless Wonders!

    • May 19, 2015 9:16 pm

      Thanks M-R. I’m thrilled that some people are finding my list useful.

      • May 20, 2015 11:27 am

        Why ? – just about everything you write is useful, you foolish woman !!!

  5. May 22, 2015 12:33 am

    You’ve just intro. me to this term and genre. I’ve never heard of it and have to go back to your previous post to find out the definition. However, still not too sure how this genre is different from other forms of short fiction. And btw, do they have flash non-fiction? I interested to explore that. 😉

    • May 22, 2015 8:11 am

      Good question, Arti, re flash non-fiction. Probably, form-wise, flash fiction is much the same as “the” short story but I think by giving a name to very short stories it gives them authority and recognition. It would probably be hard for a 200 word story to compete with a 2000 word one in a competition for example, and perhaps even to compete for inclusion in an anthology, although theoretically, it should be quality of the writing not length that matters.


  1. Captives, by Angela Meyer | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

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