Flashin' Slam in Brighton Town

Speaking of spoken flash fiction, I decided to give myself a few extra grey hairs and take part in the Flash Lit Fiction Slam as part of Brighton Digital Festival: a mini literary death match that pitched nine writers against each other (in a most non-competitive and supportive manner) with 300 word flashes. To my intense disappointment there was neither nudity nor actual bodyslamming involved, but nonetheless it was a night full of awesomesauce - witty one-liners, gut-punching plot twists, clever lyricism and a mind-blowing intermission performance by The Organ Grinder's Monkey: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-8gJKmn5Ig&w=560&h=315]

The other authors, in case you feel like a bit of stalking, were:

Brian Bell

Tom Briars (@Tom_Briars)

Wendy Ann Greenhalgh (@storyscavenger)

Kevlin Henney (@KevlinHenney)

Bradford Middleton (@beatnikbraduk)

Marc Nash (@21stCscribe)

Amanda Oosthuizen (@amandaoosty)

Laura Wilkinson (@ScorpioScribble)

The judges were Dave Swann (author and senior lecturer on Creative Writing at the University of Chichester) and Juliet West (novelist, poet and short story writer whose book, Before the Fall, will be released in 2014)


Aided by a large whiskey, I flashed. A story called: They're Talking About Your Cervix Again. And my hands and my knees shook like a hobbit-sized earthquake.

There were stories about murder, piggy-back races, aphasia, more murder, art criticism, shadows, ghosts, flashing (the proper kind) at trains, war zones, and meditation tapes.


The judges decided that they wanted to hear everyone read again which was marvellous because the thought of so many unread tales was unbearable. So off we went again. Stories about bingo and road-kill chickens, ballet shoes and smoking on the beach, bank queues and soul-sucking jobs.

Wendy Ann Greenhalgh

Mine was called Stifled and was actually a misformed poem, stretched out into an angry little flash about skin and speaking and swallowing down the things you're not allowed to say.


The judges cut us down to three finalists (and I was one of them! <happydance>) and we read one last time. Marc Nash wrote about a Geisha's faltering traditions and tools in a changing, war-torn Japan; Wendy Ann Greenhalgh's story was about a woman's longing for a baby and the transformative golden light found in an Italian piazza; my flash was called Compass and followed a journey of a girl to a mother, moved and formed by magnetic forced in the air around her.


...was Marc, and well-deservedly so. He brought three starkly-different stories to the night and delivered them with a style that was gripping, hilarious and disturbing - often at the same time.

Marc Nash

Second place went to Wendy with her lyrical snapshots into the lives of her characters and a voice you could fall in love with.

And so it follows that I would be third, taking home Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing as a prize, and extremely chuffed too.


If the author links above aren't enough, check out the work of Shirley Golden, a slam audience member and finalist in the Flash Lit Fiction Twitter comp. Read the entries and the #flf13 stream here.

Paragraph Planet is another way to get your flash fix by submitting a 75-word paragraph to the daily creative writing website, run by Richard Hearn, one of the FLF organisers. There are also a few more days left of the Geo-Writing competition as part of the Brighton Digital Festival, and Brighton Grit Lit (@brightongritlit) will be returning in December.

You should also follow Amy Riley (@miss_scribbler), Tara Gould (@EthicalBizTara) and Tim Lay (@TimLay) who helped the whole night run smoothly and are generally awesome.

Is that everyone? Is that enough love? In case it's not, I'll leave you with this brilliant unspoken video performance of Marc Nash's story, Just Aphasia Going Through that blew my frickin' mind last night. Enjoy.


Posted on September 27, 2013 and filed under Competitions, Flashes, Inspiration, Reading.