“FLASH Fiction” is the flavour of the decade in writing circles and Canberra is about to see a whole weekend devoted to it.
Written in all genres – romance, thriller, horror, sci-fi, and even non-fiction – Flash Fiction, according to the director of the festival, Suzanne Kiraly, is about “saying more with less… when you only have 500 words to express yourself you have to learn to be precise.”
Flash Fiction, she says, can be a complete narrative story under either 2000 words, 1000 words or, for her purposes, 500 words or less and is also known as micro fiction, short-shorts, very short stories, sudden fiction, postcard fiction and nano-fiction.
Kiraly started the event in April last year and says it’s suitable for emerging, mid-career and even senior writers.
Writing is a solitary affair, she believes, and those who’ve made a name for themselves often say it involves an element of luck, but she’s certain there are things a writer can do to increase the chances of making it.
Mixing with what she calls “the crème de la crème of the writing world” is one way, so she’s got on board a line-up of writers in different genres to give “Flash” 30-minute accounts of their literary journeys and to participate in workshops and panel sessions.
Bookended with performances by Canberra singer-songwriter, Fred Smith, there’ll be Graeme Simsion, author of “The Rosie Project”, Canberra novelist Marion Halligan (“Always good value,” Kiraly says), south coast poet Gabrielle Journey Jones, crime writers Anne Buist, Jack Heath and Karen Viggers, who as we have reported in “CityNews”, is making it big in France, with an estimated 800,000 sales for her 2016 novel “The Lightkeeper’s Wife”.
Children’s author Suzanne Gervay, who was MC last year, will run a workshop this time around. Social commentator Bettina Arndt gets two sessions, not only about her journey but about her experience holding her own auction for one of her books.
Unlike the big book festivals, which anyone can attend, Kiraly says this one, is “a writers’ festival for writers” with professionally oriented sessions on editing and publishing, pitching story ideas and distributing and marketing work.
There’ll also be a short story competition from which the selected winning stories will be published in a book edited by Irma Gold. They did the same thing last year and the result book will be launched on the weekend.
One of the quirkiest highlights will be a pitch session, which will be “like literary speed dating”, where a maximum of 20 writers get five minutes each to pitch their stories to members of a panel of publishers.
The weekend will open on the Friday evening with the exceedingly popular “Tales after Dark – storytelling for grown-ups” session, where professional actors read out short stories on which the audience gets to vote.
Flash Fiction Fun Festival, East Hotel, Kingston, April 26-28. Bookings and program details at aussiewriters.com.au