Clearly Defined Clouds : Jude Higgins

This brilliant new collection by Jude Higgins showcases her mastery of condensed storytelling. Subtle, nuanced, and full of depth, Clearly Defined Clouds is run through with dreams and magic, the unexpected and the playful (see the Greek god piloting a paraglider). Higgins’ characters are peculiar, intelligent, flawed, and seeking. There’s an exquisite balance of richness and white space in these stories that feels profound, electric. It takes an abundance of skill to create the worlds Jude Higgins does in so few words. But beyond the obvious command of craft, her very particular worldview and wry understanding of human nature are delightfully on display here. No one else could write these stories just the way she does. To all who love flash fiction, and especially to students of the form, I can’t recommend this collection highly enough.
— Kathy Fish, author of Wild Life: Collected Works.

Clearly Defined Clouds is a wise and playful collection of short fiction, drenched in humor, ache and delight. The natural world hums through these stories which explore the emotional complexity of human relationships, including couples mis-communicating with flags, a child stealing baby Jesus, Jack and Jill as teenage hippies, and Persephone in a Zoom call. In turns both absurd and tender, these wildly inventive narratives are imbued with layers of meaning, keen observations and cinematic details, from the smallest earwig to a bluebell forest and a clogged toilet. Jude Higgins is an extraordinary writer with boundless imagination, and this highly memorable and deeply affecting collection is one to both savour and celebrate.
— Sara Hills, author of The Evolution of Birds

Jude Higgins is a master of flash fiction, and Clearly Defined Clouds is a brilliant collection. What I love about her work is that every piece both captures something magical and evokes wonder for her readers. Sometimes it is infused with surreality or magical realism such as when Persephone gives advice on Zoom to people who are learning to endure the loneliness of the Covid 19 lockdown or when Jill considers Jack years after the events of their song. Sometimes it captures the magic of the everyday with a yarn bomber or the child of a sick father playing with his father’s childhood teddy bear. What she always does, however, is find those moments for better or worse that make the world different and beautiful, those moments we often shut our eyes to, and she has us meditate upon them in a way we never have before.
— John Brantingham, author of Life, Orange to Pear

In Clearly Defined Clouds Jude Higgins demonstrates her enormous talent for writing small tales that often surprise and take the reader off in unexpected directions. Each story in this imaginative and engaging collection is exquisitely composed and satisfying. Highly recommended.
— Diane Simmons, author of A Tricky Dance

Anyone familiar with the work of Jude Higgins will be delighted by her latest collection of short-short fiction, Clearly Defined Clouds, and those who are new to her work will soon become fans. In these small tales she exudes wisdom and a deep understanding of human foibles and frailties as well as our capacity to forgive and accept that the best others can do is sometimes more than enough. The stories are at times tender, comic, eviscerating, wistful, nostalgic and hopeful. They repurpose mythology and folklore, revisit first love, reflect on older love. Relationships grow stale, conversations wither or are misconstrued, only to be renewed in another story by startling, moving moments of grace and love. The characters in these stories are often in a state of flux, but even when the future is uncertain, it is suffused with a vibrant life force. The final line of the last story ‘Before the Diggers Come’ perfectly encapsulates this gorgeous collection: If we join all chinks of hope together, they make a necklace that can’t be broken.
— Alison Woodhouse author of The House on the Corner

Paperback ISBN 978-1-912095-77-3; 133mm x 203mm; 146pp

Relase Date: 8th July
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£12.99 GBP

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Nose Ornaments : Sudha Balagopal

When Sudha Balagopal describes food, you get hungry. When she describes sadness, you feel tears in your own heart. And so it is with Nose Ornaments, this finely crafted family saga of Lakshmi, and her daughter, Savi, and Savi’s daughter, Mini. Spanning years and geographies and cultures, we see how each woman lives in her particular time. So much changes in terms of men and marriage and work life. It’s a testament to how women adapt and blossom. But even more than that, it is the exquisite detail of Balagopal’s writing which is so precise and sensory, you may very well feel that you are not just reading this beautiful story, but living it as well.
— Francine Witte, author of RADIO WATER and The Way of the Wind

Sudha Balagopal’s Nose Ornaments spans three generations of strong women who don’t succumb to their circumstances, who make decisions, and who have the agency to turn unfavorable situations into opportunities. These are women who seek, women who resolve, women who guide. Throughout the story, Sudha, with her skill and sensitivity, examines the delicate relationships between mothers and daughters that, despite love, are fraught with complexities and misunderstandings. It is an emotional ride filled with hope and sensory details. Not to be missed.
—Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar, Author of Morsels of Purple and Skin Over Milk

Sudha Balagopal takes us on a journey spanning three generations and two continents, dealing love, heartache, tradition, and surprise in supercharged miniature doses. Each story in this novella pops with poignancy, with beauty, and with profundity. I loved reading this book and want to read it again.
—Michael Czyzniejewski, author of The Amnesiac in the Maze: Stories

Relase Date: 27th June
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Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-62-9; 133mm x 203mm; 94pp

£10.99 GBP

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Marilyn’s Ghost : Jo Withers

A reporter who sees her as nothing but a meal ticket
A rookie cop dazzled by her fame
A seasoned police inspector who’d seen it all before
A man’s voice on the phone
Pills and champagne on the nightstand
Photographs from a disconnected life
Stories from the death scene of Marilyn Monroe – daughter, wife, starlet, legend, ghost…

Relase Date: 27th June
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Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-58-2; 133mm x 203mm; 60pp

£10.99 GBP

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Hereafter : Sarah Freligh

Hereafter is a gorgeous and devastating triumph. This award-winning novella follows Pattylee’s journey from early motherhood through the fog of bereavement after she loses her teenage son to brain cancer. Infused with surprising imagery and textured, poetic language, Sarah Freligh guides us through the oft-fractured landscape of grief and memory, time and hope. This is prose that sparks with remarkable depth and emotional honesty. In her signature micro-style, Freligh delivers a true masterclass of the novella-in-flash form.
— Sara Hills, author of The Evolution of Birds

Sarah Freligh is a foremost voice, if not the foremost voice, in the world of micros – those deceptively small stories that explode beyond their word counts. Her ability to squeeze an entire universe into a story the size of a hand is on full and glorious display in Hereafter where Freligh has micro’d her way into perfection. This is a poignant novella, with Freligh’s signature working class protagonist, in this case Pattylee, whose world is a quiet tornado of grief. Written in that blend of accessibility and exquisitely shaped poetic imagery that is so present in all her writing, Sarah Freligh’s Hereafter will tear you up from the inside-out. And then you will want to read it once more to feel the ache all over again.
— Francine Witte, author of RADIO WATER and The Way of the Wind

Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-60-5; 133mm x 203mm; 60pp

£10.99 GBP

Relase Date: 27th June
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Flash Fiction Festival Six

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 978-1-915247-56-8; 133mm x 203mm; 126pp

£10.99 GBP

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The Weather Where You Are : Bath Flash Fiction Volume Eight

The eighth yearly anthology of stories from the thrice-yearly Bath Flash Fiction Awards. 134 fantastically varied flash fictions of 300 words or under. Dip in to be surprised, astonished and inspired. Our judges said the following:

“…a compendium of so many gorgeous tiny tales, varied in styles, in subject matter, in approach, in geography, in history.”
Sudha Balagopal, judge for the February Award and author of the Novella in Flash Things We Can’t Tell Amma

“…many stories beautifully structured and beautifully written; some evoked powerful and/or tragic historical events; several found new and clever ways to harbour time-worn human truths and experimented with form and language in ingenious, original ways.”
Tim Craig, judge for the June Award and author of the flash fiction collection Now You See Him

“I spent a long while…holding my breath as I read, reveling in the wide range of characterizations, voices, settings, and structures.”
Sara Hills, judge for the October Award and author of the flash fiction collection, The Evolution of Birds

Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-54-4; 133mm x 203mm; 170pp

£11.99 GBP

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The Bath Short Story Award Anthology 2023

There are nineteen exceptional stories in our tenth BSSA anthology, all shortlisted in our 2023 Award. Our judge, Farhana Shaikh, founder of Dahlia Publishing, said this about them:

“The writers shortlisted in this year’s Bath Short Story Award have understood this: that each component part must work in harmony, be in service to a story that must entertain… In my selection I have chosen the stories that resonated with me, the ones that having read them for a third or fourth time still surprise me in some way; where I found something beautiful, quiet, raw, that let me forget just for a moment that it was forecast to rain for the whole of next week. So, these are the stories that stuck with me, and didn’t quite let go. I hope you find as much joy in them as I do.”

Paperback ISBN 978-1-915247-52-0; 133mm x 203mm; 168pp

£10.99 GBP

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51 and a half : Vanessa Gebbie

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

£12.99 GBP

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A Learning Curve : Jan Kaneen

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

£11.99 GBP

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The Top Road : Fiona McKay

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

£11.99 GBP

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Prodigal : Anna M Wang

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

£11.99 GBP

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Haibun – A Writer’s Guide : Roberta Beary, Lew Watts, Rich Youmans

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

£13.99 GBP

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The Twisted Wheel : David Swann

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

£13.99 GBP

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Essence : Christopher M Drew

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

£10.99 GBP

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Summer 1969 : Sheree Shatsky

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

£10.99 GBP

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Flash Fiction Festival Five

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

£10.99 GBP

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Dandelion Years : Bath Flash Fiction Volume Seven

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

£11.99 GBP

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The Bath Short Story Award Anthology 2022

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

£9.99 GBP

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It Felt Like Everything : K.S. Dyal

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

£10.99 GBP

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The Regeneration of Stella Yin : Kristen Loesch

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

£11.49 GBP

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