Friday, 25 May 2012

Slamming Flash

It came. It happened. It went. It went well.

What am I talking about? National Flash-Fiction Day.


As well as the build-up to it, which involved many competitions and activities, including the Jawbreakers and Kissing Frankenstein & Other Stories anthologies, there was a lot happening on the day and the days that followed.

One of my shorter flashes, a drabble-and-a-half entitled "Plans for Tonight", was part of the NFFD FlashFlood, a deluge of flash fiction of all shapes and sizes throughout the day. I couldn't attend the official launch of NFFD and Jawbreakers in Southampton, with author readings from the book, so instead I sent a video of me reading "Buttons", my Jawbreakers story, to be shown at the event.

A coincidence of timing meant that in the days following I also had a couple of other flashes appear online: a dribble-and-a-half, "I Think I Get It", at Paragraph Planet and a longer piece, "The Cambridge Arms", at Every Day Fiction. The week before also saw "So You Think You Can Cook?" appear in Word Gumbo.

The main highlight of my day, however, turned out to be the Oxford Flash Slam. My luck began when I found a parking space a couple of hundred metres from the Albion Beatnik Bookstore. If you know anything about driving (and parking) in Oxford, you'll know such serendipity is a mere stone tablet short of a miracle.

The host and brainparent of the flash slam was Dan Holloway, who applied the poetry slam format to flash fiction. Presiding over the event was Tania Hershman, who offered praise and comment on each reading plus a couple of readings of her own. To judge the fourteen slammers Dan spontaneously and successfully press-ganged Paul Askew, Rebecca Emin and Ingrina Shieh-Carson. The judges had a tough job: the standard of fiction and reading was very high and the styles of writing and delivery were varied enough to confound many obvious criteria for comparison. The good news is that everything about the evening was a lot of fun, from the readings to the judging, from the compèring to the comparing, from the ambience to the audience.

I will also confess a certain fondness for the result. My reading of "So You Think You Can Cook?" and a drabble qualified me as one of the three who went through to a final round, in which I read "Plans for Tonight" and a longer piece. I won. An intoxicating result that I don't think affected my driving on the way back, although Tania may be the better judge of that as I gave her a lift back to Bristol.

You can read other more detailed — and less biased — accounts of the event from Dan Holloway, Tania Hershman, Rebecca Emin and Peter Domican. Thanks to all involved for an enjoyable evening!

4 comments:

peterdomican said...

Less biased? Not sure but your win was well deserved It was a fantastic event and very enjoyable to meet and hear other writers.

Sarah Snell-Pym said...

It was a great event - the way you delivered your stories was great as well :)

It was a great evening - good to have met you guys

Sarah/Saffy

Kevlin Henney said...

Thank you! Yes, it was a very sociable event and a pleasure to meet and hear everyone.

Rebecca Emin said...

I'm not sure how I have only just found this post, and indeed your blog, but I am very glad to have found it.

It was great to see you slam in Oxford, your delivery was brilliant, and the stories were too.