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About the Prize

Thank you to everyone who entered the 2022 New Flash Fiction Prize! Money raised for this keeps New Flash Fiction alive with WordPress, Submittable, and Web Hosting. We really appreciate your support.

This year’s judge, Leonora Desar, has chosen a winner and three runner-up entries and we are happy to also have 5 other stories from our shortlist in this year’s Prize Issue.

Congratulations to all!

2022 New Flash Fiction Prize Winner

Sandwich by Sara Cappell Thomason

2022 New Flash Fiction Prize Runners Up

I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours by Eliot Li

Morse Code by Elizabeth Cabrera

Electric Storm by Kathryn Aldridge-Morris

Judge's Report from Leonora Desar

“Sandwich” gripped me with its honesty: “I thrilled at his desperation,” says the narrator of their ex.

Immediately I’m drawn in: the narrator loves how clueless their ex is when it comes to getting their daughter school-ready. The narrator is smug and moreover, they admit it. They aren’t perfect. And this makes the piece feel real.

Details make the banal extraordinary: We see the “cheese in tubes like little horns of plenty,” feel the narrator’s pain like a “bright balloon.” 

We remember: this ex-husband, how he once treasured the narrator enough to keep their sandals like a “talisman.” 

I believe in this narrator. I feel their ache. This is the kind of piece I love—where I never feel I’m reading fiction.

“I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours” suspended me in its reality. Suddenly I was back in what felt like the 90s, an era where, to avoid false negatives, you had to wait months to test for HIV. This is the piece’s clue—along with landlines—that we are reading of a different time. 

The sentences are short and simple and honest and potent in their plainness—I didn’t know if I was reading CNF or fiction, but I never questioned whether the narrator was authentic, there were no moments that startled me out of the piece, that gave me that cold shower sensation of fuck, this isn’t real.

Like “Sandwich,” I believed in this piece utterly—in the narrator and the “you.” I believe that they are out there, somewhere, whether in the past or some alternate fictional world, moving closer on a squeaky mattress.

“Morse Code” is a language junkie’s dream. It reminds me of why I fell in love with writing—and with reading. How when I was at work, I’d try to stay stone-faced and hide my excitement, pretending I was just focusing really, really hard on an Excel spreadsheet—and not on the latest Karen Russell story hidden underneath. 

I fangirled over the Russell-rivaling prose—”hair…the color of a crow’s feather,” the idea that a soul could be “lighter than soap bubbles in a child’s bath.”   

And that ending. Holy moly. That image of the narrator, “the size of an ear of corn,” pressing against their mother, reassuring her. 

By the time I finished reading, I too was seeing “gauzy stars.” 

“Electric Storm” stunned me with its cinematic visuals. I felt like I was watching a European film. The writer reminded me of a set designer, sprinkling the scene with props. 

We have the tactile sensation of “broken tiles,” the visual of “dead mosquitoes.” The image of a nude man—“the highest thing around,” beneath an electric storm. I could see the narrator’s discarded flip-flops, the thunder “like a bedsheet shaken.” 

I could feel this moment, this pool, the inside of the mother’s boyfriend’s thighs.

August 3, 2022

Special Issue: 2022 New Flash Fiction Prize

Sandwich by Sara Cappell Thomason

I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours by Eliot Li

Morse Code by Elizabeth Cabrera

Electric Storm by Kathryn Aldridge-Morris

The Wonder of a Sea Sponge by Marina Hatsopoulos

The Watchtower Seasons by Rosaleen Lynch

From Zero to Infinity by Carol Ann Parchewsky

For A Summer They Lived Underwater by Cathy McArthur-Palermo

Do you ask to be married to a dress by Mandia Pattnaik

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