About the Prize
Thank you to everyone who entered the 2023 New Flash Fiction Prize! Money raised for this keeps New Flash Fiction alive with WordPress, Submittable, and Web Hosting. We really appreciate your support.
Congratulations to all!
Judge's Report from Sara Hills
It was such an honor to be invited to judge this year’s New Flash Fiction Prize, and choosing the winners from a short list of ten proved challenging. This was a wildly diverse group of stories, each compelling in its own way. I read and reread them many times over. The ones I ultimately chose held up to repeated scrutiny, revealing more with each reading—stories that continued to shadow me as I went about my days.
“Bog Iron” had me from the start with its quiet, contemplative tone and undercurrent of darkness, juxtaposing a child’s point of view with the danger of the bog and a creation myth involving a giant. The attention to craft was evident from the opening skeletal description of “curlews and skylarks in dancing poses” to the arresting sensation of “ghosts of wattle and daub men rushing through the hot tap.” The author of this piece understands the power of leaving early, abandoning us in the dark bog on the precipice of a final action. It’s a story I couldn’t help but return to, not only for the striking imagery and otherworldliness, but because it haunted me in the pondering of every possible outcome.
“Fulfilling” filled me up with its surreality and air-quoted humor, even as we come to uncover the source of the mysterious fluff that collects in the margins of Kate’s life. I loved the comical dialogue, “Are our tests shedding, Miss? Do you keep snakes at home?” along with Kate’s harsh response, revealing her as a fully-imagined character, honest in her imperfections. The structural build in this piece expertly moves from lightness to heavier themes. This is a relatable, finely-crafted story with a hollow ache that carries through from its precise title to its resonant end.
“The Storyteller of Aleppo” lured me in with its dream-like magic. I admired the tenderness and scope of this story as it follows a refugee couple from the nervous innocence of early love to their cramped surroundings in a refugee camp. In addition to the gorgeous alliteration, the streamlined structure weaves past and present with effortless concision. I envied the close intimacy of lines such as, “Here… at this mole, in this cove formed by your collarbones. This is our home.” While it’s ultimately a hopeful story, the watery ending leaves an open question of what sort of future actually awaits them.
Issue 30: 2023 New Flash Fiction Prize
Bog Iron by Shane Larkin (Winner)
Fulfilling by Fiona McKay (Commended)
The Storyteller of Aleppo by Donna Obeid (Commended)
Stranger in the Bright Light by Jennifer Lai
Itinerary by Richard Holinger
Yayoi Kusama’s Yellow Pumpkin Swept Away By Typhoon Lupit by Melissa Llanes Brownlee
Men Like Them (Marks Park, Sydney, 1988) by Kathleen Latham
No Chocolate For You by Lynn Powers
Magic Fingers by Elizabeth Fletcher
Love Lies Bleeding by JP Relph