At Fincham Press we publish, among other things, an annual student anthology. I’ve chosen my favourite tiny pieces of flash, most under 500 words [definitely under 1000] for your delectation.
In no particular order, the first is ‘Not Tonight’ by Charlotte Byrne (Purple Lights, 2016). Imagine the bingo. A special talent for accents. Imagine Bryne’s prose-flow, like a DJ on a mic, except she’s telling you about an extraordinary night in the ordinary life of a woman like yer gran. Chips in, quids in, triumphant. Byrne’s first novel, Folked Up, a comic YA ‘folk fantasy’, will be published in 2020 by Crystal Peake Publishing.
Second up is ‘One of Those’ by Nika Cobbett (Screams & Silences, 2015). This blistering tale about a child on holiday with her father astonishes me each time I read it. Cobbett is already so wise about humanity, and her ability to hold a sacred, quivering space for pain is impressive. By the time that kid makes it out into the dirty sea, “rubbish rolling in and out on wave tips”, I am in tears.
Number Three is ‘Sitting Between’ by Haleh Agar (The Unseen, 2017) A younger man, a dark aeroplane, and a blanket all taken together sounds sordid, but I’m pretty convinced is going to be the one who breaks your heart in 2020. Agar has tremendous restraint and her work is instinctively, effortlessly sexy, which is exactly how sexy should be. Her first novel Out of Touch will be published in 2020 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Our penultimate shout-out is ‘White Walls’ by Steph Elliot Vickers (In Which Dragons Are Real But, 2018). Vickers writes about sadness exquisitely, and this story is no exception. It witnesses the fall-out of a marriage gone wildly bad, but more than that it is a story about how sensitive children cope with pain and a slicing condemnation of the present welfare state in Britain.
Finally, read Rebecca Shoulders’ ‘Steady’ (The Box, 2019). Shoulders uses an extended and delicate metaphor to examine the abiding nature of companionship, choosing her words with a deft hand. She can do dark and she can do light and trees and tea and the telly in front of the sofa, and most of all, she can do quiet love.
All Fincham Press anthologies can be bought on Amazon.co.uk or directly from the publisher at https://fincham.press/catalogue/, because that way you support a small press!