Games and ideas for writers with example responses.
Vanessa’s knowledge, perception, and kindness make each interaction a delightful step into greater confidence and skill as a writer.
~ Trudi Y Taylor PhD
This book is a ‘must get’ for every writer who’s got stuck, wants to kickstart their inner creativity and have fun doing it. Joining Vanessa’s workshops was the best investment to grow my writing confidence and the creative games pushed me to achieve top marks in my writing degree and get published. Join in and see where it takes you!
~ Rosie Mowatt
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-46-9; 152mm x 229mm; 174pp
A Learning Curve‚ is profoundly moving and one of the best novellas-in-flash I have read. Kaneen explores the psyche and emotion of someone going through what some might see as everyday pain that many people might experience. However, the compassion of the writing allows readers to understand how extraordinary the lives we all live, are. She finds that which is human and moving and universal and gives it voice. This is an exceptional book.
~ John Brantingham, Inaugural Poet Laureate of Sequoia and Kings Canyon and former Professor of English at Mt. San Antonio College.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-48-3; 133mm x 203mm; 112pp
Fiona McKay’s debut novella-in-flash, the stunning, seductive, and gut-wrenching The Top Road, combines the lyricism of literary fiction with the palpable tension and propulsive force of a crime thriller…Written in immaculate, exquisite prose, delving deeply into themes of friendship, family, grief, and guilt, McKay’s debut is not just an extraordinary piece of fiction writing; it is utterly unputdownable…
– Kristen Loesch, author of The Porcelain Doll
Fiona McKay draws us into the consciousness of a small boy… People can underestimate the intelligence and sensitivity of children, and these stories can become overly sentimental. Not so here. The writer understands what it is to be a child in a way that Dylan Thomas and Charles Bukowski did. She also draws us into the consciousness of a fox… In the tradition of Virginia Woolf’s Flush, she uses the perspective to complicate our understanding of the story…
– John Brantingham, Judge Bath Novella-in-Flash Competition 2023
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-46-9; 133mm x 203mm; 108pp
“Prodigal uses the form to its full advantage. The author of this novella-in-flash understands the iceberg theory (that what we see in a brief scene can suggest a much fuller and complex reality) in a way that few writers do. The writing suggests the years of struggles it takes to become a woman, both the good and the bad. We are given insights into the small details of eating disorders and painful relationships. We understand what it means to grow and the difference between adulthood and adolescence through the small moments – what a haiku writer might call the moments between moments.”
~ John Brantingham, writer, teacher, editor and judge of the 2023 Bath Novella and Flash Award
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-42-1; 133mm x 203mm; 126pp
Haibun—the ancient Japanese form combining haiku and prose—has, over the past decades, been adopted and adapted by writers worldwide. Yet, despite its dynamic growth, much about the form remains misunderstood. In Haibun: A Writer’s Guide, three experienced editors and writers explore what goes into a good haibun and how its components (title, prose, haiku) connect to spark new insights and epiphanies. The authors also trace the history of English-language haibun, demonstrate the ways in which a haibun can resonate with readers, and illustrate how writers are pushing the boundaries of the form without losing its essence. With dozens of examples, resources, and writing prompts, Haibun: A Writer’s Guide will lead you to a new understanding and appreciation of this ever-evolving form.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-40-7; 152mm x 229mm; 120pp
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April, 1979. Three women, striving to flourish under the shadow of the moor…
In her troubled youth, Barbara hitch-hiked over the hills to legendary Northern Soul clubs, where wild nights of dancing allowed her to swirl away, free from herself. Now, years on, she’s stuck in hospital, secretly relieved to have found a place safe from the Yorkshire Ripper’s murderous rampage.
But Barbara’s 13-year-old daughter, Shell, defies the fear that has gripped their valley. As free-spirited as her mother was, she’s keeping tabs on all the shady blokes in her town who could be the Ripper…
Meanwhile Mrs Trivet, the fierce family matriarch, goes on driving a battered pie van over the hills, offering lifts to the hitch-hikers who remind her of her daughter: lonely misfits, workless strangers, teenage vagrants…
‘A novella that opens with lines by Halldor Laxness and a simple idea: a dandelion striving to live. And that is the intricate charm of this story: inside the mythical and dark structure is the simple idea of how to live. It’s a story of ‘soft things in hard places’.’
– Michelle Elvy, author of the everrumble.
‘The funny and surreal collide so perfectly in David Swann’s work. If you haven’t read any of his flash, you’re in for a treat. I’m jealous of you.’
– Jonathan Cardew, Connotation Press.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-34-6; 133mm x 203mm; 160pp
‘Essence unpeels a set of characters through quiet, precise details to reveal what lies beneath. It’s a rich exploration of cause, effect and connection that is unflinching and beautiful at the same time.’
—Stephanie Carty, author of The Peculiarities of Yearning
‘Essence stands out for its structure and control. I admire the way it plays with the meaning, through its subsections, of the phases in the characters’ lives, and the way it shifts reader focus and expectations. This novella demands patience, in all the right ways.
—Michelle Elvy, author of the other side of better
‘Chris Drew’s beautifully distilled prose leaves no room for distraction or false impression. He writes simply, with clarity, and truly to the heart of each piece. Each flash is a cross section of the human condition, a tap on the heart. All told with a simplicity that reads easy but lingers.’
—Peter Jordan, author of Calls to Distant Places
‘In Essence, Drew makes the most of the possibilities offered by the novella-in-flash form: one story, a shared history, that fans out to reveal the individual struggles and triumphs of six siblings. A tale of breaking and recovering, soaring and falling, Essence contains a perfect balance of complexity and simplicity. Each reader will take something different from this ultimately uplifting book.’
—Johanna Robinson, author of Homing
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-36-0; 133mm x 203mm; 70pp
A novella that weaves in and out of a family life, and the events of the day, some dramatic (fires and space exploration), some mundane (a mother’s habitual pulling at her eyelashes, a father’s obsession with a cat). Slowly, the writer builds expectations around what’s in store; there’s NASA and the Florida beach and the moon shot and the war in Vietnam.
~ Michelle Elvy, author of the everrumble and the other side of better.
The twenty-nine interlinked stories in Sheree Shatsky’s Summer 1969 locate the reader in a place and time that’s both poignant and powerful. The events of that summer – the Manson murders, the first moon landing and Vietnam – are background accompaniment for the characters as they move through their daily lives: the slowly unraveling father, the spendthrift mother and a neighbor girl named Jane who’s sent away to juvenile detention after torching the family home. At the heart of these stories is the narrator, the daughter on whom nothing is lost, an insightful witness to the beginnings and the ends of things. Each of these stories feels like an exquisitely detailed jewel, assembled to form this powerful crown of a novella.
~ Sarah Freligh, author of We and Sad Math
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-38-4; 133mm x 203mm; 58pp
Over seventy short-short stories to marvel at, in this, the fifth anthology in the rainbow series from Flash Fiction Festivals, U.K. These stories are written by presenters and participants from around the world who came to the online flash fiction days and the flash fiction festival in-person weekend in 2022. Inventive, heart-warming, fun, tragic and thought-provoking, there’s so much to inspire in this latest anthology of festival flash fictions.
“It’s been a pleasure being involved with the weekend festivals since 2017. I’ve found it exciting and rewarding to help bring together so many writers and to watch connections and friendships being formed. I hope that the festival continues to flourish and inspire!”
~Diane Simmons, UK based writer and Flash Fiction Festival Co-Director 2018-2022
“The Flash Festival experience was life-affirming! The workshops, prompts, panels and readings have turbo-charged my flash flow and meeting all those friendly fellow flashers in the flesh was unforgettable (in a good way).”
~S. A. Greene, UK based writer.
“Jude Higgins and Diane Simmons have created a Mecca for the world of flash. It was an exciting treat for this relative newbie to mingle with leading exponents of the genre from both sides of the Atlantic. There was a rich buffet of terrific workshops – including on the novella in flash – and the chance to meet fellow flashers previously seen only online or in print. Sign me up for the next one!”
~David X. Lewis writer based in Ferney-Voltaire, France.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-32-2; 133mm x 203mm; 120pp
The seventh Bath Flash Fiction anthology, Dandelion Years, contains brilliant flash fictions of 300 words or under by 132 winning and listed writers in the three international awards in 2022. Many different subjects and themes are covered. Read these stories to be inspired by this exciting, challenging and experimental short-short prose form by writers from many countries around the world.
The Bath Flash Fiction Award judges said:
“I was presented with a long list filled with amazing stories. I loved every single one, so whittling down to twenty for a short list felt like an impossible task.”
~Karen Jones, writer, editor and teacher from the UK.
“The long list provided excellent examples of how stories can start and how they can grip a reader through conflict, through character, through precise and beautiful language.”
~Tommy Dean, writer, editor and teacher from the US.
“There was something to admire in every story on that long list, and the selection was brilliantly varied – some made me laugh, some made me think in a different way, some took a piece of my heart, while others made me swoon at their boldness and originality.”
~Emily Devane, writer, editor and teacher from the UK.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-10-0; 133mm x 203mm; 168pp
2022 has seen little relief from seismic world events but again we were impressed and delighted by the range and quality of stories submitted to this year’s international competition.
Our ninth BSSA anthology presents the twenty short-listed and prize-winning stories, traversing lifelong friendships, audacious middle-aged women, the perils of house-sitting pets and a yearning for alien intervention. They range from absurd and darkly funny to raw and vulnerable to wise and poetic and showcase just what the short story form is capable of.
‘It speaks to the reputation of the Bath Short Story Prize that the stories had such variety in genre, plot and style with impressive quality and I very much enjoyed reading them.’
2022 Judge, writer Paul McVeigh, author of The Good Son
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-30-8; 133mm x 203mm; 196pp
“It Felt Like Everything is as tender as a new bruise. This heartfelt novella-in-flash is told through the perspectives of teenagers Kate and Marin, who are on the cusp of becoming—confronting desire, anxiety and loneliness—in an emotional journey that’s acutely felt and courageously navigated. Each narrator is rendered distinctly real and vulnerable; each emotion held just under the skin and ready to spark. K.S. Dyal’s flawless prose overflows with surprising turns of phrase and a keen observation of human behavior that inspires us to ask not only how we view each other, but also how we view ourselves.”
— Sara Hills, author of The Evolution of Birds
“K.S. Dyal’s stunning novella-in-flash, It Felt Like Everything, is a gorgeous exploration. Divided into two distinct parts, this book delves into the lives of teenagers Kate and Marin, their stories separate, yet intersecting. With sinuous language, the author imbues the mundane with magic, making the young characters’ lives sparkle and glow. K.S. Dyal has the marvelous ability to make tiny actions explode into defining moments. This book is about hair dye and party pills, about flip phones and Shakespeare, about ignited feelings and yearning, about confusion and discovery, and, ultimately, about love. What’s particularly remarkable about this novella-in-flash is the intricate, detailed set of illustrations by the talented author that punctuate the text like so many gems. This is a book that will be treasured by the reader.”
— Sudha Balagopal, author of Things I Can’t Tell Amma
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-26-1; 133mm x 203mm; 88pp
The Regeneration of Stella Yin is an imaginative and bold tour de force…This highly innovative novella-in-flash invites the reader on an enigmatic journey of love, loss, and artificial intelligence. Loesch’s expertly breadcrumbed trail feels akin to glimpsing movement under dark water. In turns both haunting and humorous, the high level of craft makes this ambitious novella immensely re-readable and thoroughly unforgettable.
— Sara Hills, author of The Evolution of Birds
Loesch’s mastery of craft is apparent from the first sinister page, as the reader is compelled forward in an urgent rush to unravel the secrets of these oh-so-human characters. Only after a surprising turn does the reader realize the gorgeous prose has been cleverly engineered at the syllabic level, where every word—every punctuation mark and letter—is a finely honed clue. This is a thinking-person’s story, a story of transcendence, of survival, of the singularity, told with breathtaking precision and grace.
— Myna Chang, award-winning author and host of Electric Sheep SF
Kristen Loesch is unafraid to stray from traditional structures and forms. Loesch employs the use of purposeful repetition and offers sharp, striking truths about Chinese culture, expectations, self-identity, self-image—but at the heart of it all, the inability to escape grief. There is a lulling cadence to the writing that carries readers forth with great speed…This is a book that takes fractured parts and makes them whole.
— Ai Jiang, author of Linghun
Speculative, experimental and extraordinary, The Regeneration of Stella Yin is a hugely enjoyable sci-fi-psychological-thriller-murder-mystery enigma of a novella-in-flash…Loesch’s astonishing prose never fails to reel us in: sometimes rhythmic and intensely lyrical, sometimes shockingly visceral, though always playful. But are we playing along or being played with?
— Michelle Christophorou, author of Kipris
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-24-7; 133mm x 203mm; 104pp
Danny expected to escape his shabby seaside hometown, but things go awry when Grandpa’s dementia worsens, and Danny must leave school and fend for himself. He develops a crush on the indifferent and elusive Gryff who, riffing on Dante’s Inferno, offers to guide him through the petty corruption and exploitation that underpin the town’s tourist trade. Danny begins working for brothers Earl and Rex Silverman who are involved in a dispute with rival business owner, Hector Quinn. This escalates in a series of tit-for-tat arson attacks – with Danny and Gryff on opposing sides.
‘This story explores a town and its people, both “perpetually in the process of re-invention”. It’s a jaunty roller-coaster ride, taking the reader through young Danny’s world as he gets lost and found and lost again. There’s pleasure and pain, guilt (some of it, inevitably, Catholic) and more guilt. Anti-heroes and superheroes, too. There are layers of this world, peeled back so we can see – and touch, hear, smell, too (sometimes it’s a dirty world). The writer has a sense of the sensual, in the grittiest manner. And it’s about longing, too – and the burn of temptation.’
~ Michelle Elvy, author of the everrumble and the other side of better
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-28-5; 133mm x 203mm; 122pp
A woman and her partner strive to come to terms with loss. A succession of miscarriages pushes their relationship to breaking point, and they become immersed in the rhythms of both the natural world and the imagined world in order to try and make sense of the apparent randomness of life’s events.
A quiet story about loss and enduring hope, and it manages the themes with an easy touch.
~ Michelle Elvy, Bath Novella-in-Flash Award 2022 Judge/
A powerful, beautifully written novella-in-flash about a childless couple’s shared suffering and journey towards survival.
~ Tim Robinson, author of The Orphans of Hatham Hall, Northside Press
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-22-3; 133mm x 203mm; 78pp
Arthur, a sensitive soul, navigates his life in academia with wit and insight that belies his own self-doubt. Told through a series of flash stories, Arthur’s search for love and acceptance means setting boundaries with his controlling mother, battling gender dysphoria, and struggling to overcome his biggest challenge – internalized hatred of his own fat, female body.
“In a series of fragmented moments that cut close to the heart, this bold yet tender novella explores Arthur’s journey of self-identity, from female to male, as he negotiates parental and societal expectations in the search for acceptance and freedom. Finnian Burnett’s confident, unflinching prose shines on the page, with characters hewn so sure and sharp we can sense the edge of a knife blade. This novella is hugely relatable and inexplicably moving, always bending towards hope. The Clothes Make the Man feels like a homecoming.”
Sara Hills, author of The Evolution of Birds
“This is a story that examines external and internal truths: how people see an individual, and how the individual explores the Self. It’s also worth noting the novella’s title here – fitting in the way it is declarative, yet drawing the reader’s attention to questions around the outer wrapping and what lies beneath.”
Michelle Elvy, Bath Novella-in-Flash Award 2022 Judge
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-18-6; 133mm x 203mm; 58pp
“This is such a brilliant collection. Nick Black’s prose is shining, muscular and glittering with unforgettable images. Each piece takes the reader into the depths of humour, tragedy or menace with skilful sparsity of words and mastery of language. A bold new voice, and a must-have for your bookshelves.”
~ Catherine Menon, author of Fragile Monsters.
“Dystopian, anarchic, witty, subversive – a Nick Black story is instantly recognisable and never to be forgotten. This collection of his flash fiction zings with energy and knife-sharp voices that both disturb and disarm, but there is also a haunting gentleness that will linger with you long after you put the book down. Positive and Negative is a tour de force of everything flash fiction can be.”
~ Fiona Mackintosh, author of The Yet Unknowing World.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-12-4; 133mm x 203mm; 152pp
All Their Favourite Stories is a novella that sets up an ensemble cast of characters and invites us into their world(s). This is a place of great empathy and energy – we are taken to The Flowered Hill, a rest home for the elderly where we gain an understanding of the lives of the residents and carers, both present and past. And all is never as it may seem – which we are shown from the very beginning, when the first story carries the weight of history, and the meaning in (mis)pronunciation of a name, and (mis)communication across the space between two people. The writer applies varying voices and styles across these flashes. We watch characters as they encounter each other, and as they sift through memories.
~ Michelle Elvy, author of the everrumble and the other side of better.
This ultimately uplifting novella-in-flash, whose predominant narrator is Maria, a Polish immigrant, explores one indefatigable woman’s struggles to find connection and meaning through her work in a UK residential home. There is much to admire in Slawka’s authentic voice, and what really shines through is Maria’s determination to listen to, cherish and give voice to the older people she cares for, despite the difficulties she experiences with management and her home life. Never trite or sentimental, the tender stories and human connections revealed through these pages will warm even the most cynical of hearts.
~ Michelle Christophorou, author of Kipris.
The tiny portraits of the staff and residents of The Flowered Hill are pitch perfect throughout Slawka G. Scarso’s, All Their Favourite Stories. You’ll know many of the people in this beautifully paced novella-in-flash, and will recognise those we like, love and loathe, all eking out what remains of their lives and stories. Each of the thirty-three closely observed chapters illuminates seemingly mundane incidents, crafting a universal story that tugs on both emotions and memories.
~ El Rhodes, carer for elderly parent, and award-winning writer and facilitator.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-20-9; 133mm x 203mm; 102pp
Winner of the 2022 Bath Novella-in-Flash Award
For one young woman, a new city, a new family, a new start. But for the family, the newcomer brings her own changes. Will the language lessons, weaving through their lives, help them truly connect?
‘This novella captivated me from the start, with the suggestion of unreliable memory. From there, a natural rhythm develops, with stories flowing like water. The world we enter is a world of new experiences, new people – an education… the storylines glide, skim, sometimes sink below the surface and then emerge again. It is a sure hand that writes this novella-in-flash, and the dreamlike quality of the writing floats from page to page.’
~ Michelle Elvy, author of the everrumble and the other side of better.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-16-2; 133mm x 203mm; 74pp
‘Tim Craig is a master of microfiction. With enviable confidence, Craig spins the most varied, playful and poignant tales. The stories in this collection, most a single tight page of killer prose, all deserve revisiting again and again and again.’
— Christopher Allen, author of Other Household Toxins and Editor of SmokeLong Quarterly
‘Nothing combines wit and woe as seamlessly as a Tim Craig story. Loss underlies even the jauntiest of his pieces. This is the essence of good storytelling — while the reader chuckles, a subtle ache remains. Now You See Him is flash fiction at its quintessential best.’
— Fiona J. Mackintosh, author of The Yet Unknowing World.
‘Now You See Him is a sharp, intelligent collection of flash fiction, written with a lapidary’s precision. Tim Craig’s crisp, clean prose is refreshing and full of heart. There are glimpses of Barthelme in his examination of human frailties and life’s absurdities. Craig proves himself a master of the form, managing the delicate balance of moving from dark hilarity to tragedy and back again. He holds back just enough to urge the reader to reflect on what is left unsaid and to appreciate that there is always more to the story than a first glance holds.’
— Janice Leagra, Editor of Janus Literary.
‘Once I’d finished reading Now You See Him, Tim Craig’s debut collection, I immediately wanted to read it again. These very short fictions are like beautiful intricate puzzles, with many layers and threads to unravel. The stories reveal the devastating nature of human existence with great observational skill and wit. I was frequently moved, yet often snorted with laughter. Tim has a unique voice. Not to be missed.’
— Jude Higgins, author of The Chemist’s House.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-14-8; 133mm x 203mm; 90pp