In the meantime, we caught up with guest judge, Lara Williams. Here she talks about her short story collection, her favourite writers, and the key to good flash fiction.
What are some of your favourite flash fiction stories and writers?
I love Lindsay Hunter and Diane Cooke. Lindsay Hunter’s flash fiction has such a brutality to it, both in the content and the delivery. Her stories have such hard, solid edges. There’s this quite exciting absence of gentleness. Diane Cooke’s stories are more tricky; they’re often quite domestic narratives, but kaleidoscopic, and totally dislocating.
What are you hoping to see/read in these flash fiction entries?
Something I like about Diane Cooke and Lindsay Hunter’s work, is that the brevity of their fiction is necessary to it. I like flash fiction that doesn’t fill in the blanks, that drops and tears you out.
We love Treats, your debut short story collection, especially And So It Begins in Litro. It's raw & honest all the way through, this woman figuring life out, ending on such a simple image. What draws you to write short stories and flash fiction?
I’ve not written many short stories since publishing the collection, really - but at the time I felt a small urgency to write short stories. I think maybe they appeal to my more controlling, fussy instincts - you can zoom out and see their edges. I’ve been writing and editing my novel for the past couple years, and it feels such a wildly different experience of writing.
What advice do you have for newcomers to flash fiction – what’s important to remember?
I think one of the great things about writing flash fiction is that the risks are minimal, it’s not like getting 20,000 words into a novel and realising its not working. It seems a gigantic platitude, but I think flash fiction offers you the chance to lean in to your instincts, to experiment with your voice and style.
Lara Williams is a writer based in Manchester, UK. Her debut short story collection Treats was published by Freight Books in 2016; and was published in the US by Flatiron in October 2017 under the title A Selfie As Big As The Ritz. The collection was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize. She has published short fiction in Lenny Letter, Electric Literature, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Litro, Little Fiction and Metazen. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Her novel Supper Club is forthcoming in Spring 2019 from Hamish Hamilton (UK) and Putnam & Sons (US). She has had essays, feature and culture pieces published by The Guardian, The Independent, New Scientist, New European, Times Literary Supplement, Dazed & Confused, Vice, Oh Comely, and others. She is a graduate of the Manchester Writing School.