Monday 11 July 2022

Flash fiction festival, 2022

I took the plunge and attended the Flash Fiction Festival - a packed 2 days where I went to talks by Ingrid Jendrzejewski, Venessa Gebbie, Stephanie Carty, Carrie Etter, Nancy Stohlman, and KB Carle, ably organised by Jude Higgins, Diane Simmons et al who kept the atmosphere friendly. People from several countries were there. It was structured like an academic conference, with parallel sessions of talks and workshops. It was at a theological college in Bristol - with a bar and karioke. Not much accommodation available, so I camped on their lawn (telling the kids I was festival camping). About 100 delegates all told. I'd met a few of them already and knew a few others by name, so I networked without trouble for a change.

While I was waiting for the first session to begin and the presenter was trying to get projection working, she said "give me a command line and I'm fine". She mentioned emacs. It made me feel at home.

Flash has emerged over the last few years. It's still finding a place for itself (though of course it's been around since Kafka, the Bible etc). It's interesting watching a new "genre" in the process of carving its niche - some people come to it from the poetry world, and some from short stories. People say that the quality has shot up over the last decade. There are quite a few Flash books out now. I've also seen books that are explicit poetry/Flash and short-story/Flash combinations.

A term that I heard in 3 sessions which I hadn't heard before was "hermit crab" where content slips inside a (perhaps unrelated, perhaps ironic) form. A piece called "Recipe for War" can be set out as a recipe. There are many standardised templates that can be used as forms - instructions for games, adverts, letters, shopping list, school reports, horoscope, crosswords, etc. Pieces like this used to appear in poetry magazines, but that always seemed a miscategorisation to me.

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful to attend a literary festival of any kind - I've almost forgotten what they are like. I really must must must... make the effort to meet with more writers again (other than students I occasionally tutor ) soon.