Tag Archives: Bob Thurber

2018 Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize Shortlist

Ten days and ten entries remain. We are pleased to release the Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize shortlist. Listed below are the authors whose stories will be considered, by flash-master Bob Thurber, in alphabetical order.

Amy Neufeld
Jen Knox
Kate Felix
Kate Felix
Liz Cox 
Liza Potvin  
Nicholas Christian  
Rob Taylor   
Robert Runté
Ron. Lavalette   

The list is shorter, and the stakes are higher. Best of luck to these ten flashes of fiction!

 

2018 Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize Longlist

A hummingbird sighting always feels a little bit magical, and with the many entries for this year’s Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize, we are feeling awe-struck! We’re pleased to announce the longlist:  the top 27 entries listed alphabetically by author last name. Authors listed twice have two entries in the longlist.

Alex Reece Abbott
Ariel Basom
Lauren Bentley
Nicholas Christian
Liz Cox
Kate Felix
Kate Felix
Marissa Fischer

Aleisha Hendry
Terrence Huntington
Jen Knox
Jen Knox
Ron. Lavalette
Kim Martins
Jenn Marx
William P. Masters
Gabriella Morrison
Sadi Muktadir

Amy Neufeld
Liza Potvin
Robert Runté
Megan Rodgers
Rob Taylor
Annis Teller
Annis Teller
Hannah van Didden
KT Wagner

Thank you to everyone who entered! The shortlist will be revealed in July, and the winners, picked by Bob Thurber, will be announced July 15th.

Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize Closes June 15th!

One week left to enter the Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize, so polish up your flashiest flash fiction for submission!

Looking for inspiration? Peruse these snippets from past Hummingbird Contest winners. All that furious fluttering should get the juices flowing.

2017 Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize Winner, Issue 17
‘Just Down the Hall’
by Jeanette Topar

Truth was, Mrs Cole had become a little afraid of 902.
Late in the evenings she’d hear 902’s footsteps slide across the tiled hallway, hesitating
outside her door. “Is this my place?” her neighbour would ask. Mrs Cole would mute the
volume on her TV and hold her breath as she sat quietly in her tidy living room waiting for the woman to shuffle away. The last few times Mrs Cole had encountered her, 902 was wearing nothing but a gray slip that blended with the colour of her skin and matched her hair — she appeared little more substantial than a shadow or dust mote hovering in the hall.

2016 Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize Winner, Issue 13
‘Xuefei and his heart’
by Rebecca Wurz

Xuefei sat on a metal stool in the corner of the operating theatre. He’d been awake all night, and now, sitting in the quiet of the deserted room, he felt drowsy. He had transported the heart of the criminal executed at dawn from the prison infirmary to the university hospital’s surgical suite, built especially for this demonstration. American transplant surgeons, collaborating with Chinese colleagues, were scheduled to do the first heart transplant on Chinese soil.

2015 Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize Winner, Issue 9
‘The Last Neanderthals’
by Christina Crocker Escribano

You say, No one is going to eat us, but I know better. The path of the forest is necklaced in footprints. The surface of the snow is scuffed and bloodied. They left no remains of skin or bone, just a fistful of hair that looks like our own. We stop and watch, for a long time, as if the blood was an outline, a shadow, a spirit blooming in the ice. You say the soul lifts from the body, but I see that it doesn’t.

2014 Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize Winner, Issue 5
Here I Lay Down My Heart
by Rob Taylor

Hayim lifted Mima toward the dhow.  The captain knelt, grabbed her by her armpits and lifted her up, then lowered her into the hull.  Hayim tossed in his duffle bag and for a moment, in the thin skim of ocean and sand that skirts Bagamoyo, stood apart from all that mattered in his world.  Then he hoisted himself on board. Mima was already playing with the livestock and making friends with the other children. In the weeks since their arrival in Tanzania she had learned a mouthful of Swahili and was now in full song.  Samaki! Kuku! Mbuzi! she pointed and guessed, and the children laughed and nodded and were impressed.  Hayim climbed atop a mound of rice bags, maybe seven or eight deep, and pressed his duffle bag into the curve of the hull, punching it here and there with his fists, pounding out their shape.  Between punches images of Tel Aviv flashed in his mind — their old apartment, the table and chairs, dishes and books he’d filled it with. Those few weeks when Mima had gone to preschool and life had felt normal and the word normal had plumped with meaning.  Then Hayim lay down and his mind cleared.

The 2018 Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize close June 15th. We hope to see your submission soon!

Read Hummingbird Contest winners and runners-up of years past in Issue 5, Issue 9, Issue 13, and Issue 17.
 Issue 5,  Winter 2015
 Issue 9, Winter 2016
 Issue 13, Winter 2017
 Issue 17, Winter 2018

 

Winner of the Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest 2018

Anticipation has built to a buzzing frenzy, and we’re happy to announce the winner of the 2018 Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest, sponsored by Duotrope and judged by flash fiction master, Bob Thurber. Like us, he felt the competition was stiff and each story possessed merit.

Do send along my cheers and congratulations to all the finalists. I was impressed by their fine efforts and obvious talent.  – Bob Thurber

Coming in as the honourable mention for this year’s contest is Alex Reece Abbott with her flash fiction piece, ‘Alphabet Soup’.  Bob Thurber had this to say about the piece:

I found ‘Alphabet Soup’ to be brave and daring, an inverted and upended 2nd POV narrative that is engaging throughout.

The winner of the 2018 Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest is ‘Lullaby, Valentine, Paper Crane’, by R S Wynn. Bob Thurber tips his hat to the author:

Such a neatly crafted package, wicked fun to read. Consisting of five animated portraits with a small cast of quickly drawn characters frozen in familiar and alarming poses, it spills across the page, causes one to blink, and question, and remember. Like any good short work, poetry or prose, it’s a joy to reread just to appreciate the fresh flavor all over again.

 

We look forward to unveiling ‘Lullaby, Valentine, Paper Crane’ in the Issue 19 of Pulp Literature, and encourage our readers and authors in the Vancouver area to drop by our Spring Launch this evening at the Cottage Bistro, where shortlisted author Jude Neale will give us a reading along with local authors Genni Gunn, Michelle Barker, Angela Rebrec, Susan Pieters, JM Landels, and special guest CC Humphreys.

To everyone who submitted their flash fiction, we thank you for your commitment to the craft and hope to see you next year!

Pulp Literature Spring Launch

Friday 16 March, 6 – 8pm
The Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street, Vancouver
FREE, but please RSVP on Eventbrite

 

Pre-order your copy of Issue 18 and save $2.
If you are picking your copy up in person, use the code LAUNCH to avoid shipping charges.

Here’s the Buzz: The 2018 Bumblebee Shortlist

Are we getting excited yet?  The winner of the 2018 Bumblebee Shortlist will be announced at our Spring Launch party this Friday at the Cottage Bistro.   In the meantime we’re delighted to announce the shortlisted stories.

The 2018 Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest Shortlist

‘Alphabet Soup’ by Alex Reece Abbott

‘Breaking the Ice’ by Natalie Persoglio

‘Cinnamon Grace’ by Jude Neale

‘Crow Funeral’ by Alex Reece Abbott

‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ by K W George

‘Gross Motor’ by Sara Mang

‘Inciting Insight’ by Soramimi Hanarejima

‘Lullaby, Valentine, Paper Crane’ by R S Wynn

‘Special People’ by Alex Reece Abbott

‘Third Date’ by Nicole Vuong

Familiar Names

Congratulations to all these amazing authors.  The stories are judged blind, so we have no idea who the authors are until after the shortlist has been selected.  That said there are some familiar names that have come up.

Triple congratulations to Alex Reece Abbott who managed to catch our eye with three of her stories!  Regardless of the results of this contest, Alex’s piece ‘My Brother Paulie: A Domestic Space Oddyssey’ was an honourable mention for the 2017 Raven Short Story Contest and will be published in Pulp Literature Issue 19, coming out this summer.

Poet Jude Neale has been shortlisted for the Magpie Award for Poetry more than once, and her poem ‘About Light’ was published in Pulp Literature Issue 13, Winter 2017.  We’re delighted to see her short fiction also make the cut.

Soramimi Hanarejima has also been shortlisted for several our contests and his whimsical short story ‘The Theft of Confidence’ can be found in Pulp Literature Issue 17, Winter 2018.  You can pick up this and other back issues at our Friday launch.

We hope you’ll join us this Friday for the public announcement judge Bob Thurber’s pick for best flash fiction!

Pulp Literature Spring Launch

Friday 16 March, 6 – 8pm
The Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street, Vancouver
FREE, but please RSVP on Eventbrite

 

Pre-order your copy of Issue 18 and save $2.
If you are picking your copy up in person, use the code LAUNCH to avoid shipping charges.

 

 

 

 

‘Simple Decoration’ by Bob Thurber

Forget your last minute shopping and enjoy this timeless Christmas story offering from the reknowned Bob Thurber.

Simple Decoration

by Bob Thurber

It was all Jack that Christmas.

On the drive across town I thought of nothing else. Not my ex-wife, whose car I had begged to borrow, or my daughter experiencing her first Christmas without me.

My headlights carved tunnels in the slanting snow. I found a clear spot in a tow zone and bumped up onto the curb. I left the engine running, headlights on, not caring if I ever saw that car again.

My key still fit. I let myself in, stomping snow from my boots. It was late. I was embarrassed. All the real work had been done.

Phil was there. Arthur, too. They had repositioned the bed, set its angle, laid Jack out neat and cozy. On a pedestal table, dead center of the carpet, stood a two-foot tree, some of its branches dripping wet snow.

“The roads are treacherous,” I told the room.

Someone coughed. Arthur, I think.

He was huddled by the bed, holding Jack’s hand as though it were a tiny bird. Phil was behind him, sipping from a mug with my name on it.

“So what’s the word?” I said. “What do they say?”

I reached under my scarf and fingered the collar of my coat.

“They? They don’t know anything,” Arthur said.

Phil rocked, and shrugged. “Tonight. Tomorrow. Who knows?”

“I do. I know,” Arthur said. “He’ll die in the morning. He’ll die on the day Christ was born.”

My nerves burned cold as I approached the bed. Someone, probably Arthur, had stacked Jack’s prescription bottles into a useless pyramid. I had to tuck my elbow to avoid knocking them over. No one said anything as I kissed Jack on the forehead and slowly backed away.

“That’s new,” I said, nodding at the tree.

“Fifteen minutes old,” said Phil, tilting his watch to catch the light.

“Phil stole it from the side yard.” Arthur said.

“Roots and all,” Phil said.

I started to smile, then thought better of it. I leaned my face into the tree. I touched a pine needle with my nose.

“Tell me,” I said. “Either one of you uncomfortable with my being here?”

Phil shrugged. “You have a right,” he said. “I guess.”

He was staring at Arthur, at Arthur’s back.

“I don’t care,” Arthur said. He was studying Jack’s hand as though something were written there. “Though I used to. I used to care very much. Enough to hate you both.” He turned his head a little; his eyes were closed. “I suppose none of that makes a bit of difference now.”

I shrugged out of my coat.

“Let me help you with that,” Phil said.

* * *
It was in a hallway closet, a closet meant for coats, that we found the wicker basket full of garland and tinted-glass ornaments, and some embroidered things Jack’s mother had made.
Hers was a story we’d forgotten to remember.

She’d been dead almost forever but in her last days had crocheted tiny stockings, little candy canes, macramé angels, a few fat-faced Santas with cotton balls strategically placed.

Fine needlework!

All with a loop of yarn so you didn’t need hooks. Just snatch up a branch and slip the thing on, easy as a ring.

Like fools we used it all.

We emptied that basket, crowding everything in, overlapping when we had to. Then we settled back, sipping cocoa and admiring our handiwork.

The air grew hot with our breathing and the thick smell of pine.

I sunk into a fat chair, closed my eyes and fell asleep — for a minute or an hour.

When I woke the windows were full of light, and the tree looked gaudy and cheap — far too flashy for our friend who hated glitz.

I complained out loud. And first Phil, then Arthur, agreed.

And with fresh cups of cocoa in one hand we stripped that tree bare, except for the garland and a single yellowed angel whose yarn had snarled.

God, we were tired. Each of us needed a shave. The three of us yawned like lions as we circled that tree, planning to start again, to keep it dignified and simple.

But then Jack fluttered an eye, turned his head on the pillow:

“Perfect,” he whispered.

So we left it that way.

 

Bob Thurber is our judge for Pulp Literature’s annual Bumblebee Contest, which opens in January.  His short stories can be read in Pulp Literature Issues 3, 6, and 12, and are available on Amazon. And yeah, we like his latest look. The eye patch is totally bad-ass, like his stories. This Firebox Fiction’ originally appeared in Night Train Magazine in 2003 and was performed on U.S. National Public Radio (KRCB) in December 2004.

Want Bob to read your story?  Enter the Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest …

The Bumblebee Contest Shortlist

Drumroll, please.

Writers and readers and other good folk, it is with great pleasure that we announce the shortlist for the Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest.  Choosing between so many excellent stories was a challenge, but at last we narrowed the entries down to ten.

Here are the authors and stories, listed alphabetically by author’s first name:

  • Charity Tahmaseb, “Lucky”
  • Ingrid Jendrzejewski, “Crushed Velvet”
  • Jay Allisan, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”
  • Katie Gray, “The Pit”
  • Laura Taylor, “A Royal Institution”
  • Leslie Wibberley, “The Weight of Time”
  • Melanie Cossey, “Even Steven”
  • Soramimi Hanarejima, “The Utility of Mandatory Hilarity”
  • Tristan Marajh, “Roshan”
  • William Kaufmann, “Bedside”

Congratulations to these three authors!  The winner chosen by our judge the brilliant Bob Thurber will be announced tomorrow …

PS:  Poets, don’t forget that the earlybird entry fee rate for the Magpie Award for Poetry ends tomorrow too!

 

 

North Pole Blue

A Story by Bob Thurber

This Christmas tale comes with a bite, as all Bob Thurber stories do.  For more, go to bobthurber.net, and look for some of his short sharp stories in Pulp Literature issues 3, 6, & 12.

The first time I saw Santa’s eyes they were the same pale green as the plastic holly my mother hung on the door on a hook she left up all year, and the rawness of the flesh around them was the same blood-shot red as actual holly berries, which are technically ‘drupes’ and contain the plant’s seeds.  The second time I saw his eyes (a year later, same store, after waiting in a line for nearly an hour) they seemed larger, but less round, and their color had cooled to the crystal blue you find in glacier ice — which, at the time, I called North Pole Blue — and this made sense, even though I was only six, still too young to understand the density and compactness of anything so old as a glacier.  That was the year Santa asked my name, and, when I stammered Bobby, he said, “Ah. Bobby. Of course.”  As though we were old friends.

The third time I sat on Santa’s lap and looked up into the old man’s eyes they had changed dramatically, become far less wrinkly and slightly almond-shaped, with pupils the burnt brown of old acorns.  I got a good long view because Santa was focused on the camera the whole time, fidgeting like he had someplace better to be, and he repeatedly scratched the same spot of his beard; in a faint and tired voice he asked what ‘big gift’ I wanted for Christmas, and though I don’t remember what I said, I do recall that he didn’t acknowledge the request, or in any way signal that he had heard, so when I climbed off his lap I felt less sure of everything.  Oddly, my mother always liked that picture the best because of the shy, inquisitive, almost contemplative expression on my face, plus the camera’s flash put a dot of sparkle in my left eye, so there is, I will admit, a dreamy magical quality, but it’s purely an illusion, a trick of light, because my absorption at that moment was really my gut-wrenching disturbance at the weariness I saw on the man’s face, and my utter confusion at his not remembering me.

Years and Christmases and more photos went by.  Santa took to wearing glasses with wire frames made of gold or silver, which I liked.  Though, whether I looked through their lenses or above them, I’d be lying if I said I glimpsed anything other than vagueness.

The last time I had an up-close, personal view of Santa’s face I avoided his eyes entirely, focusing on his nose, which had not only widened and flattened but now contained tiny broken veins like intersecting highways on a roadmap.  He asked how old I was and I said ten.  He asked what I wanted for Christmas and I said, “A pocket knife.”

He shifted me slightly on his lap.  “You a Boy Scout?”

I wasn’t, though I wanted to be.  But I felt he didn’t need to know that.

His breath rolled out the smell of coffee and cigarette smoke.  I turned my head, found my mother behind the elfish-looking girl working the camera.  Mom was waving, trying to get me to smile.  She’d painted her nails a garish Christmas green, and I didn’t like the color.

Right before the flash went off Santa pulled me closer and I felt his beard brush against the top of my ear.  “You know,” he said, “you’re a little too old for this crap.”

And that man, I’m certain, was the real deal.

Nothing but troubleBob Thurber’s short story collection Nothing But Trouble is now available at bookstores everywhere.

Pulp Literature’s Pushcart Nominees

We love all the stories in our magazine, and choosing which ones to submit for prizes is like choosing between one’s children.  But we only get to nominate six pieces for the Pushcart Prize, and this year’s nominees are:

  • ‘Stalk’ by George McWhirter (Issue 9)
  • ‘Taraxicum Officinale’ by Mary H Auerbach Rykov (Issue 9)
  • ‘Uncanonical Murder’ by Carol Berg (Issue 10)
  • ‘Vellum’ by Andrea Lewis (Issue 10)
  • ‘How to Write a Successful Obituary for a Superhero’ by Matthew Hooton (Issue 11)
  • ‘If You’d Like to Make a Call, Please Hang Up’ by Bob Thurber (Issue 12)

We have our fingers crossed and we wish these authors all the best of luck as we send their stories off.

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To read these fine stories you can purchase all four digital versions of the 2016 issues for only $15 on the Something Novel Kickstarter (select the Digital Sampler).  But hurry — only until 11pm today!

The Affirmative Action Submissions Opening

The recent US elections revealed an ugly underbelly of fear and bigotry that surprised the world and has terrified many marginalized groups across the country.  We here at Pulp Literature feel for our American friends, most of whom are not racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, or anti-immigration.  And while we can’t open Canada’s borders for you, we can open submissions.

To balance the rhetoric coming from south of the border, we are calling specifically for stories that give voice to the rest: to queers, women, immigrants, indigenous people, disabled people, and people of colour.  We want stories by and about humans of all shapes and sizes: feminist, LGBTQIA, people of colour, Métis, First Nations, differently-abled … any and all segments of the population historically lacking representation in the mainstream.

12-issue-spiralBut what if you happen to be a straight white dude?  We’ll still read your stuff, but it will help to have a character with at least one of the above attributes, and who is convincingly portrayed.  Don’t think it can be done?  Read Bob Thurber’s ‘Wager’, PE Bolivar’s ‘The Lament for iCarus’ and Rob Taylor’s ‘Here I Lay Down My Heart’.  They’re all astoundingly beautiful stories by white North American men writing outside their own experiences.

Submissions will be open from November 15th – 30th.  Writers, poets, artists, send us your best and most diverse works.  We invite you to self-identify if you like.  We’ll look forward to your voices!

Submissions Guidelines here.

To read a sample issue, back our Kickstarter campaign at the $5 level.  We’ll send you your choice of back issue right away, no money down.