Tag Archives: Bob Thurber

The Brilliant Hummingbirds

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2016 Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction, as chosen by the master of flash himself, Bob Thurber.  Here is what Bob has to say about the finalists:

hummingbirdissue7Nice job, all of you. A superior batch of finalists. I enjoyed so many of them.  Here are my final selections

Winner:
‘Xuefei and his Heart’ by Rebecca Wurtz
for its solid writing and wonderfully intriguing surreality

First Runner-up:
‘Painted Nails’ by Jenna Park
for its painful voice and understatement

Second Runner-up:
‘Scathed’ by Holly Woodward
for its wild energy and insistence

As always with these contests the senior editors indulge themselves by honouring an additional story that caught their eyes.  This year the Editor’s Pick is ‘Better Watch Out’ by Anna Belkine.

The winner and first runner-up will be published in Pulp Literature Issue 13, Winter 2017, and we hope to find space for the second runner-up and Editor’s Pick in that or future issues.

Thanks once more to Bob Thurber for taking on the judging, and congratulations to these brilliant writers!

Jen, Mel & Sue
Pulp Literature Press

 

 

Save

The Hummingbird Longlist

Thank you to all the wonderful storytellers who submitted to this years’ Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize.  Every year the number of quality stories grows, making our jobs as first judges ever more difficult.  This year we brought in a fourth prelimary judge, Katherine Howard, who helped us narrow our longlist down to 30 excellent pieces.  In no particular order the top thirty are:

  • Saturday in the Penthousehummingbirdissue7
  • Xuefei and his heart
  • Harmless
  • Silk
  • Arabesque
  • Golden Snowflake
  • Painted Nails
  • Neighborhood Watch
  • Funerals
  • Looking East from Heckethorn
  • My Brother’s Therapist
  • Texture of the Sea
  • In My Drawer
  • Scathed
  • Refugee Circus
  • Now You See It
  • Animal Eyes
  • Still Your Mother’s House
  • In the Valley of the Sun
  • Fall on Your Knees
  • Better Watch Out
  • Chameleons
  • Hell in Paradise
  • Whale in the Park
  • Them Bones, Them Bones
  • Ford
  • Button
  • The Deathbed
  • Venetian Blind
  • Ascending
  • A Mailman Drinking a Milkshake
  • Early Harvest
  • Waiting
  • The Yellow Blanket
  • The Wedding of the Junk Dealer’s Daughter

Congratulations to these authors who will remain anonymous until our final judge, Bob Thurber, has finished his deliberations, and to all the writers who submitted stories that made our job so difficult, yet enjoyable.

Stay tuned — we will be publishing the shortlist and the winners on July 15th!

Save

Save

Save

Meet the Judge: Bob Thurber

Pulp Literature invites short story writers from around the globe to enter our Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize.  It’s a humdinger of a contest,  judged by one of the sharpest pens on the planet, Bob Thurber.

Nothing But TroubleBob’s a short story writer’s short story writer, yet his works could be printed on the backs of beer cans to make you laugh. (Hey, now there’s a good marketing idea…) His flash fiction frequently wins online kudos at 50-Word Stories and his story collections are available on Amazon. His gritty novel Paperboy is being re-released this month by popular demand.  Bob’s stories have been printed in issue 3 and issue 6 of Pulp Literature, and he’s agreed to be our feature author for Issue 12.  (Yeah, we’re fans.)

Bob has blogged advice about the “Anatomy of a MicroFiction” on his website, but we thought it better advertising to just give you a taste of his own medicine:

Guillotine Guys
The guillotine guys handed out silk neckties and scarfs to the men and jeweled necklaces to the women. These items had belonged to previous prisoners. To the families they sold Band-Aids and iodine, steel needles and surgical thread, all in a boxed set with a pamphlet full of bad advice.hummingbird5

Think you can do better? Don’t let Bob have the last word! Get those contest entries in to us ASAP.  $300 goes to the best short fiction we can find, up to 1000 words. The deadline is June 15th, but entries are limited to 300, so get yours in now.  Enter the Contest Here!

Bumblebee Brilliance!

bumblebee1Congratulations to our Bumblebee Micro-fiction Award winner, John Meyers! We had a swarm of entries, but final judge Bob Thurber was able to pick the story that carried the most weight per word count. Thank you to all our entrants for the hours of entertaining stories. To view John’s story in final form, in either print or digital version, order your copy of Issue 11 now! But because we aren’t so cruel as to make everyone wait that long, here’s the winning entry in all its glory.

Motorbike, by John Meyers

Fingers crossed, heart fluttering, you’re waiting for a redneck Hercules named Chuck to kick start his dusty Harley. Finally the motor catches, sending vibrations up the back of your baby chick neck, confirming in your seven-year old mind that this greasy-haired teenager with blood on his cowboy boots is god.  

What’s the Buzz?

bumblebee1Microfiction is the grey zone between poetry and prose, in my books. It all depends on how you read your words.  Do you memorize the lines and slam them from a stage?  Then it’s poetry.  If you write with your own blood and slip the page under the door of your ex-wife?  Then it’s flash fiction, or micro if you’ve restrained yourself (or run out of blood).

Microfiction is ambivalent, is cross-genre, is both/and.  It’s like the fuzzy cuddly bumblebee that could, of course, sting you and kill you if you are allergic.  Bumblebees usually don’t, but they could; they are built better than honey bees, and don’t die after they sting.  So humans have the option of killing the poor insect first, squishing it to mushed proteins on a sidewalk.  Or you can do what my local librarian has done, and tattoo the little critter on your arm. Bob Thurber

All this is to say, we’re open for entries for our Bumblebee Microfiction Contest until February 1, 2016. If you want to brush up on the jewels of the genre, look no further; our final judge Bob Thurber is an acknowledged master of the craft, and you can see his delicate gems in Pulp Literature Issue 6, online at 50 Word Stories, and through his Amazon books.

Th51UBPQnoHgL._AC_UL115_is contest is free. In addition to a full year print subscription of Pulp Literature, the winner will receive a personally signed copy of Nickel Fictions by Bob Thurber.  It that doesn’t sound like honey for the soul, not sure what will.

Pushcart Picks

At the end of our second year of publishing, we look back at 2015 and admire the works we have printed.  It’s a bit like when I tucked my kids into bed, and thought, what amazing creatures.   That lasted about two minutes, then I went back in and told them to go to sleep.  Fortunately, our four volumes of stories are much better behaved than my children, alice_munro_stampalthough some of the works are trying to creep off the shelves and earn international recognition …

It is my pleasure to announce five writers nominated by Pulp Literature for a Pushcart Prize, in an envelope mailed with three Alice Munro stamps for good luck.  Our nominations:

Rob Taylor, Hummingbird Award Winner,  ‘Here I Lay Down my Heart’ – Issue 5

Kate Austin,  ‘Wax-Winged Icarus’ –  Issue 6

Bob Thurber, ‘Beauty Takes Care of Itself’, and ‘The Manufacturing of Sorrow’ Issue 6

Wally Swist, ‘What is Essential’ – Issue 7

Diane Tucker, Magpie Poetry Winner, ‘Cafe Petirossa’ – Issue 8

Congratulations to all our nominees.  We hope those visiting our website will have their curiousity piqued and venture to read some of these favourites.  In every issue, there are more treasures to be had and more nominations we wished to make, were we allowed a greater limit.

2015 Winners of the Hummingbird Prize

We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 Hummingbird Prize!

‘The Last Neanderthals’ by Cristina Crocker Escribano

Judge Bob Thurber says of this story:

In less than 700 words, ‘The Last Neanderthals’ depicts the precarious situation of an ancestral couple trying to survive tumultuous changes beyond their control. It’s a succinct and pithy glimpse of a people on the brink of extinction.  From the title on we know the ultimate outcome of what the story’s narrator suspects though he can’t quite grasp or articulate it.  The piece is atmospheric, prickly, tragic and satisfying. 

Congratulations to Christina, who wins the $300 prize.  Her story will be published in the Winter 2016 issue of Pulp Literature.

Runner up: ‘Dream House’ by Jennica Broom

In Bob’s words:

Dream House is playful, darkly whimsical, and daring good fun that becomes progressively more unnerving as it unveils a serious real-world soreness.

Jennica wins $75, and her story will be published in Issue 9 as well.

We have also chosen two Editors’ picks, stories that stuck with us:

‘Vellum’ by Andrea Lewis

‘Chipping’ by Jono Naito

As with last year’s Editors’ Picks we hope to offer these authors standard story contracts within the next year.

711L71ogtQLWe’re very sorry to keep everyone waiting until 2016 to read these such great stories.  In the meantime please enjoy the free e-book on offer from our hard-working contest judge.  Bob Thurber’s novella Cinderella She Was Not won the 2006 Meridian Editor’s Fiction Prize, one of Bob’s very long list of credits and awards.  We can’t thank Bob enough for his time spent on a tough decision regarding the winning entries; perhaps our readers can thank him with a review or a nod on their social media.

We were extremely impressed with the quality of the stories that came in this year, and it made choosing the winners hard!  For those who paid the additional fee for editiorial feeback, your critiques will be arriving by email soon.

We hope your pens and keyboards are hard at work generating stories of equal quality for the Raven Contest, which opens September 1st!

 

 

Hummingbird Shortlist

We’ve had some fabulous entries for the Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction — so fabulous that we had a hard time culling the stories for our final judge.  In the end, we sent a shortlist of 26 gems for Bob Thurber to pick from.  The winners will be announced on Wednesday, but in the mean time we want to congratulate these shortlisted authors for transfixing us with their wordcraft:

  • hummingbirdissue7Sarah Scott – ‘A Luminous Veil’
  • Tim O’Leary – ‘Adolf’s Return’
  • Jono Naito – ‘Chipping’
  •  Laura Carter-Stone – ‘City in the Hills’
  • Mike Glyde – ‘Dinner with Geoff’
  • Jennica Broom – ‘Dream Home’
  • Mason Boyles – ‘Escaping from Handcuffs’
  • Fred Waiss – ‘Extra-terrestrial Sex’
  • Melanie Whipman – ‘Heartless’
  • KT Wagner – ‘Hunted’
  • Andrea Lewis – ‘I Mean Everything in my Life up till Now’
  • Brittany Ackerman – ‘Into the Hudson’
  • Jonathan Naito – ‘Listerine’
  • Mark Russell Gelade – ‘Sour Times’
  • Grace Ayers Brewer – ‘The Bathroom Floor’
  • Michael Donoghue – ‘The Demise of Great Expectations’
  • Elizabeth Barton – ‘The Game’
  • Cristina Crocker Escribano – ‘The Last Neanderthals’
  • Laurie A Jacobs – ‘The Saffron Lover’
  • Pedro Ponce – ‘The Scales of Judas Iscariot’
  • Kai Kiser – ‘The Stoop’
  • Matthew Chabin – ‘Tito Uncanny’711L71ogtQL
  • Jim Geist  – ‘Turing Test’
  • Peter DeMarco – ‘Vacation’
  • Andrea Lewis – ‘Vellum’
  • Ace Baker – ‘Wave Runner’

To celebrate the Hummingbird Prize, our kind and generous judge, Bob Thurber, is posting one of his prize-winning novels as a freebie next week, July 13th -17th.  Cinderella She Was Not is modern, dark, and insightful. Check it out!

And if you are inspired to get in on the action for a $500 prize, start penning your entry to the Raven Short Story Contest now.  We open for entries on August 1st!

A Taste of Last Summer

The Hummingbird Contest closes on Monday. Do you have your stories in yet?

Our contest judge is Bob Thurber, master of short fiction.  To inspire you to inspire him, here are a few paragraphs from ‘Wager’, the first of his stories to be published in Pulp Literature.

I’m in this story, though only because I have to be, and I’ve taken liberties to keep my appearance to the barest minimum.  The truly important people are Tony and Phil.  You’ll need to excuse them both, especially Phil.  The poor bastard’s a wreck, jittery from lack of sleep, fuelled by too much coffee.  He hasn’t bathed, shaved or eaten since Thursday’s late afternoon breakfast, when he was chewing on a slice of rubbery bacon, commenting to Tony, his roommate and life partner, how premium quality, centre-cut bacon really should not be cooked on a paper towel in a microwave.

That’s when the phone rang and Phil answered.

The caller’s voice was flat, cold, nonchalant to the point of sounding breezy.  It was a voice right out of a Hitchcock thriller, in that moment right before some woman screams.  After a brief, rather one-sided conversation full of ugly and melodramatic references to shattered bones, torn flesh, broken teeth, the caller said, “Imagine how it’s going to feel to have both your eyes scooped out with a soup spoon, you deadbeat faggot.”

Issue 3 coverWant to read the rest? You can pick up the ebook version of Pulp Literature Issue 3 for just $2.99 for the month of June, and the print version is $3 off as well!  Click here to order.

Celebrating Summer!

We love summer!   After all, Pulp was born on a sunny deck on Bowen Island in July of 2013, and our earliest graphics featured books and beer on the beach.  While we eagerly await issue 7, we thought we’d celebrate the start of summer by offering back issues of last summer’s offering, Issue 3, on sale for the month of June.  Pulp & Prosecco

For this month only you can get the Summer 2014 issue, with stories by Governor General Award-winning playwright Joan MacLeod,  Hummingbird Prize judge Bob Thurber, as well as  Laird Long, Deborah Walker, Conor Powers-Smith, Fred Zackel and more.  Only $12 for print, and $2.99 for ebooks both here on our website and on Amazon. Crack open a cold one and get a head start on summer reading now!

Issue 3 cover