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Flash Fiction Prize 2024: RESULTS

Winners

Short-list

Long-list

 

From all of us at Fish, thank you for entering your flashes. Congratulations to the writers who  were short or long-listed, and in particular to the 11 winners whose flash stories will be published in the Fish Anthology 2024.

The launch will be during the West Cork Literary Festival, Bantry, Ireland – 15 July. Venue: Marino Church, 6.30 pm. It is a free event and all are welcome.

 
 

 


 

Winners

Here are the 10 winning Flash Fiction Stories, as chosen by Michelle Elvy, to be published in the FISH ANTHOLOGY 2024.

Comments on the flash stories are from Michelle, who we sincerely thank for her time and expertise. 

 

 


 

FIRST PLACE

Fish Flash Winner 2024Messiah: by Kate O’Grady

A story that feels energetic and unbound, but is finely crafted, about individual anguish and loss, and collective responsibility and guilt.  The reader is caught from the very start – from the opening lines that suggest innocence alongside a more sinister sense of hysteria. And by the end, the collective ‘we’ can’t be escaped; we feel, eerily, hope in the remembering but also intense regret. We see the cruelty of children, the human potential for bullying. The tone is controlled as it moves from early antics to serious concerns for survival, as it shifts from past-tense memories to present-tense grief. The extended saviour metaphor is created in the dark spaces between fantasy and reality, and the use of second person – and the unforgettable image of the greatcoat and Docs – builds both tension and tenderness. A beautifully haunting story that surprised me and did not let go.

 

 

SECOND PLACE

Fish Flash Fiction 2nd Prize 2024Starship Borders General:  by Susan Shepherd

This story begins simply enough but before you know it you’re in a whole community, an entire world. And even if dead serious, the language is lively and playful: a baby’s heart-shaped nostrils, son singing ‘You are my sunshine’ and the fishmonger, with ‘a turmoil of porpoises rolling in the blue carpet tiles of his wake’. The neatly ordered details in this narrative make it memorable: a father’s departure and a mother’s ‘mock croc handbag’; the whirr of the radiology machine and the memory of a cake with buttercream paste. This is sensory writing invoking the maddening present and the dreamy past, the borders fluid; despite the intensity of death or near-death in the ward, there is an overall feeling of jubilation at the unexpectedness of life. The final phrase sticks: ‘the colour of delicious’. It’s not where we think we are heading, and it’s just right.

 

THIRD PLACE

 

Fish Flash Fiction 3rd 2023Blue Moon Memory: by PS Duffy

The casual voice invites us into this story; it’s familiar and comfortable. But this is not a comfortable story. What begins as a seemingly romantic encounter moves through a maelstrom of emotions, flashing backward and forward, tangling images and feelings in a brief moment of contact. The moment blurs to memory, and the story is alive with living and re-living. Here, a play with words that shows the uncertainty of the narrator-character, but also the careful rhythms of the writing:  ‘when you stumbled, when I stumbled, when we stumbled into, I don’t know, the best of us’. What is striking is not only the story (of now, of then, of the residue of surviving), but the way this story is written, (the fragments, the repeated  ‘remember?’), even as we are reading something so vivid as a moment that lives somewhere in the realms of darkness, rescue and salvation.

 

 

EIGHT HONORABLE MENTIONS (In no particular order)

 

Fish Flash Fiction Prize 2023: winnerA Story in 300 Words :  by alfie lee

 

 

 

Fish Flash Fiction Prize 2023: winnerComing of Age:  by Jo Nestor

 

 

 

Fish Flash Fiction 2023: winner

THE Interrogation of Lauren Lundgren:  by Alan Falkingham

 

 

 

Fish Flash Fiction 2023: winnerPivot Point:  by Judith Brown

 

 

 

Fish Flash Fiction 2023: winnerThe Importance of Firm Upholstery: by Fionnula Simpson

 

 

 

I Follow: by Seamus Scanlon

 

 

 

Nicole Love: Fish Flash Fiction Prize 2024, winner.Things That Hurt:  by Nicole Love

 

 

 

Blue Light:  by RJ Dwyer

 


Notes from Michelle Elvy:

What a delight to read the submissions for the 2024 Fish Flash Fiction Prize, and what an honour and a challenge to make selections. The work I read demonstrates the way the form can be stretched, shaped and synthesised to create new imaginative views. Most pieces I read dealt with the landscape of human emotion and folly. Some read like traditional stories, some were like prose poems – all took risks in one way or another. The ones that engaged difficult subjects did so with an inquisitive and sometimes playful nature, also tenderness and grace. The works I selected for inclusion are the ones I returned to several times, and then several times again.

Some of them play with voice and form, from the deceptively simple backwards narrative of ‘A Story in 300 Words’ to the intimate second-person storytelling of ‘Coming of Age’ and the spare and poignant dialogue in ‘I follow’. Some explore the collisions and ruptures between people; despite the sometimes jaunty writing style,  ‘No Idea’, ‘The Importance of Firm Upholstery’ and ‘The Interrogation of Lauren Lundgren’ navigate complex terrain. Some stand out for the way they land: in ‘Blue Light’, ‘Things That Hurt’ and ‘Pivot Point’, the reader is left in a state of quandary, or wonder.

In the works selected, I found new ways of sensing realities, and what lies just beyond reality. Compelling is the way these fictions explore language, too. Each of the top three presents a steady and strong voice; there is writerly control while also a sense in each story that the edge is there to explore. These are big stories, whole worlds.

Writers of flash fiction are a fearless lot – and these stories prove that.

Michelle Elvy

 


 

A LITTLE ABOUT THE WINNERS:

Kate O’Grady is Irish by birth, but now roams the hills of Stroud, Gloucestershire trying to come up with ideas for stories. In fact she is obsessed with stories, the reading of them, and the writing of them. She also likes to eat bagels and lox with cream cheese. Her favourite short story writers are Lorrie Moore, Kevin Barry, Claire Keegan, Joy Williams and Wells Tower. Her favourite bagels are from Katz’s Deli in New York.

 

Susan Shepherd lives in the Scottish border town of Hawick, famed for producing medal-winning haggis and Scottish national rugby players. A journalist and poet – she won the Fish Poetry Prize in 2022 – Susan enjoys belting out hymns at the local Baptist church on a Sunday, and pushing her new granddaughter round the park in her pram. She is partial to Guinness, live music and the sound of oystercatchers along the river Teviot.

 

PS Duffy lives in Minnesota, where she misses sailing on the North Atlantic, yet, oddly, feels very much at home. Her publications include a memoir about her family’s time in 1940s Wuhan, China, where she was born, and The Cartographer of No Man’s Land, a WW I novel set in France and Nova Scotia. Published in the U.S., Canada, Israel, and the UK, it was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, which recognizes the power of fiction to promote peace.

 

alfie lee discovered gravity and invented french kissing. when he’s not circumnavigating the globe on his solar-powered chimichanga he’s making stuff up. you can find them at alfielee.com.

 

Jo Nestor, retired Adult Educator, writes fulltime. She won the 2020 Leitrim Guardian Literary Award, has twice long-listed for FISH memoir competitions, and was shortlisted for Allingham Festival in 2023. Jo’s writing features in A Word in Your Ear – Roscommon New Writing Anthology 2019-2023, as well as several editions of the Roscommon broadsheet Autumn Leaves. Her well-received book reviews are available online at www.writing.ie . Despite global despair, she chooses to live in hope.

 

When Seamus Scanlon won the Fish Flash Fiction Prize with The Long Wet Grass (2011) he thought he had arrived (in West Cork). When the story became a one act play (2014) he thought he had arrived (on Broadway).  When the story became a film (2015) he thought he had arrived (in Hollywood). When the play was translated into Japanese and staged in Tokyo (2018) he thought he had arrived (in the East). Will the Beauty Curse (2022) finally lift his arrival curse? Stay tuned www.seamusscanlon.com

 

Alan Falkingham currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, but originally hails from England. He is a published author of micro and flash fiction, short stories and occasional poetry. He has completed 2 full length novels. Alan’s 80,000-word dark mystery, Clearwater Lake, is represented by Meredith Bernstein. When not writing, Alan spends his time being ordered around by his two teenage daughters, guzzling craft beer with his partner, Gina, and following the latest sporting mishaps of Leeds United. 

 

Judith Brown, born the eldest and only girl of five learnt early in life to seek out solitude. Then after a few years of marriage had solitude forced on her as a young widow. Even today, being alone is a natural preference apart from every other day when it’s not. 

 

Fionnula Simpson is a writer, researcher, and teacher who is drawn to experimenting with poetry and prose. In her spare time, she likes to run (fairly slowly) and cook (rather poorly). She recently earned a PhD in English Literature from the University of Galway.

 

Nicole Love  is a bit of an odd blend. Malted in Scotland. Mashed in Belgium. Fermented in Singapore. Distilled in San Francisco. Aged in Boston. Shelved in Edinburgh. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh and has a gentle obsession with scotch, surrealism, linguistics and cultural oddness.

 

RJ Dwyer is a writer and doctor, currently pursuing an MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. His stories have featured in thi wurd Magazine, The Interpreter’s House and the 2024 Anthology of the Federation of Writers (Scotland), among others. An extract of his novel-in-progress was shortlisted for the Moniack Mhor Emerging Writer Award. He has also worked as part of the editorial team for three books released by indie publisher thi wurd.

 


 

Short-list:

(alphabetical order: 31 stories)

 

The Interrogation of Lauren Lundgren

   

Alan Falkingham

 

A Story in 300 Words

   

alfie lee

 

Flash Fiction

   

alfie lee

 

What You Don’t Know Can Kill You

   

Amy Blau

 

Just a moment

   

Ciaran Fitzpatrick

 

Singles Night

   

Faye Stevenson

 

The Importance of Firm Upholstery

   

Fionnula Simpson

 

Fingers Crossed

   

Jacky Willett

 

Starry Mourning

   

Jaime Greenberg

 

Faceoff

 

 

Jim King

 

Coming of Age

 

 

Jo Nestor

 

Pivot Point

   

judith brown

 

Messiah

   

Kate O’Grady

 

The Blind Man

   

Katherine MacGloin

 

Wear your Pink Coat

   

Katherine William-Powlett

 

Fireworks

   

Kim Gravell

 

Leave Granted

   

L Khasanshina

 

Newborn Mother

   

Mary Butler

 

The Sweep

   

Michelle Bitting

 

Car keys

   

Nat Pree

 

Transient Household Contacts

   

Nat Pree

 

The Ritual

   

Natalie Morphet

 

Things That Hurt

   

Nicole Love

 

The maths lesson

   

NIROSHA GUNATILLAKE

 

Blue Moon Memory

   

P.S. Duffy

 

Blue Light

   

RJ Dwyer

 

I Follow

 

 

Seamus Scanlon

 

No Idea

 

 

Seamus Scanlon

 

Wings

 

 

Sean Murphy

 

Starship Borders General

   

Susan Shepherd

 

 

 


 

Long-list:

In Alphabetical order (124)

Rehab

AK~ Kaiser

The Interrogation of Lauren Lundgren

Alan Falkingham

STATIC ON THE LINE

ALEX REECE ABBOTT

flash fiction

alfie lee

A Story in 300 Words

alfie lee

The Door

Alison Bundy

A Stick of Incense

Alison Bundy

How Good Is Our Universe?

ALISON GROVE

What You Don’t Know Can Kill You

Amy Blau

The 52-year old man who turned into a cliché

Anita Lehmann

The Argument

Ariane Sherine

Polka Dot Cardi

Belinda Moore

A small diver and a very large pool

Bernard Steeds

1970s Kiev

Breda Nathan

Just a moment

Ciaran Fitzpatrick

Apricity

David Micklem

Try

David Rhymes

Singles Night

Faye Stevenson

The Importance of Firm Upholstery

Fionnula Simpson

I’m up here

Frances Fischer

Family Violence

GAY LYNCH

Thanks. No.

GAY LYNCH

Mapping the Madness

Geraldine Walsh

A Swarm of Boys

Harriet Whitehead

Adieux, Henri

Helen Bar-Lev

Fluid of the Animal Body

Ian Lee

Fingers Crossed

Jacky Willett

Starry Mourning

Jaime Greenberg

Mind the Gap

James Garvey

Faceoff

Jim King

Who’s Greg Badger?

Jonathan Sellars

Can’t Kill the Spirit

Jude Higgins

Pivot Point

judith brown

The Holler

Judy Luttrell

Safe House

Jupiter Jones

To the Little Old Archivist Who Lives in My Head

Kaitlin Roberts

Messiah

Kate O’Grady

The Blind Man

Katherine MacGloin

Wear your Pink Coat

Katherine William-Powlett

Shaxton’s Law

Kathryn Aldridge-Morris

The Drop

Ken Byrne

The difference between you and a drone pilot

Kevin Walsh

Fireworks

Kim Gravell

Leave Granted

L Khasanshina

Attendance: 9th Grade English, 8.00 am

Lana Holman

Buck

Laura J. Bobrow

Family – a collection of disparate memories

Lesley Bungay

Bone

Louisa Scott

Unrepairable

Louise Henriksen

But I’m Here Now

Luanne Castle

Subterranean Tears

Luka Bulajic

The CV

Maeve Shaw

Newborn Mother

Mary Butler

A Second Chance

Matthew Nicholls

Au Revoir, World Crisis

Michael Russell

The Sweep

Michelle Bitting

Car keys

Nat Pree

Transient Household Contacts

Nat Pree

The Ritual

Natalie Morphet

 

 

Things That Hurt

Nicole Love

Decimation

Nikki Barrowclough

The maths lesson

NIROSHA GUNATILLAKE

Paper Dolls

Orla Russell-Conway

Blue Moon Memory

P.S. Duffy

(In)(Complete) Relationship Conversations

Pernille A Egidius Dake

If András Were a Soldier

Peter Dorward

That Day When …

Peter Rodgers

Just Breathe

PJ Lemer

PATTY’S ROAST CHICKEN

Rachel Fowler

CARRION CALL

Rae Cowie

Mariachi Pantomime

Randy Osborne

Blue Light

RJ Dwyer

The God of Diversity

Robert Paterson

Shall we call this just a Viennese Encounter

Saara Kahra

I Follow

Seamus Scanlon

No Idea

Seamus Scanlon

%

Sharon Boyle

According to Wikipedia, Most Damelflies Emerge in Cool  Daytime Conditions

Sherry Morris

Case Closed

shirley larkin

Fishface

Stephen Gallagher

Starship Borders General

Susan Shepherd

Swiped

Tim Fywell

Dave

Wiebo Grobler

Left Out

William MacFarlane

Déjà Vu

William Natale

Dymphna

Yanna Papaioannou

The Unbreakable Egg

Zoe Arena

 

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News & Articles

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  Winners Short-list Long-list     Here are the winners of the Fish Poetry Prize 2024, selected by Billy Collins, to be published in the Fish Anthology 2024. Below you will find short biographies of the winners and the Long and Short Lists. From all of us at Fish we congratulate the poets whose poems […]

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Flash Fiction Prize 2024: RESULTS

10th April 2024
Winners Short-list Long-list   From all of us at Fish, thank you for entering your flashes. Congratulations to the writers who  were short or long-listed, and in particular to the 11 winners whose flash stories will be published in the Fish Anthology 2024. The launch will be during the West Cork Literary Festival, Bantry, Ireland […]

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Winners Short-list Long-list   On behalf of all of us at Fish, we congratulate the 10 winners who’s memoir made it into the Fish Anthology 2024 (due to be launched in July ’24 at the West Cork Literary Festival), and to those writers who made the long and short-lists, well done too.  Thank you to Sean […]

Launch of the Fish Anthology 2023

12th July 2023
Tuesday 11th July saw the launch of the 2023 Anthology in the Maritime Hotel, Bantry. Nineteen of the fourty authors published in the anthology were there to read from their piece, travelling from Australia, USA and from all corners of Europe.             Read about the Anthology More photos of the […]

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