The Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize is open! But catch that earlybird now — entry fees go up on May 15th. Guidelines are here.
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:
Nice job, all of you. A superior batch of finalists. I enjoyed so many of them. Here are my final selections
‘Xuefei and his Heart’ by Rebecca Wurtz
for its solid writing and wonderfully intriguing surreality
‘Painted Nails’ by Jenna Park
for its painful voice and understatement
‘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
We’re pleased to announce the finalists of the 2016 Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction!
- ‘Saturday in the Penthouse’ by Liana Jahan Imam
- ‘Xuefei and his heart’ by Rebecca Wurtz
- ‘Funerals’ by Jamie Grove
- ‘Refugee Circus’ by Stephen Frech
- ‘Painted Nails’ by Jenna Park
- ‘Neighborhood Watch’ by Yasmina Madden
- ‘In My Drawer’ by Patricia Berry
- ‘Now You See It’ by Nancy Ludmerer
- ‘Waiting’ by Jesse Sensibar
- ‘Scathed’ by Holly Woodward
- ‘In the Valley of the Sun’ by Gleah Powers
- ‘Fall on Your Knees’ by Nancy Ludmerer
- ‘Whale in the Park’ by Stephanie Vernier
- ‘Chameleons’ by Curtis VanDonkelaar
- ‘Better Watch Out’ by Anna Belkine
- ‘Them Bones, Them Bones’ by Colin Thornton
- ‘Wedding of the Junk Dealer’s Daughter’ by Jesse Sensibar
We tried to keep the list to 15, but these stories were all so good it would be too hard to leave any one of them off the shortlist. Congratulations to these fine authors, and stay tuned for the announcement of the winner on Friday!
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 Penthouse
- Xuefei and his heart
- Golden Snowflake
- Painted Nails
- Neighborhood Watch
- Looking East from Heckethorn
- My Brother’s Therapist
- Texture of the Sea
- In My Drawer
- 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
- Hell in Paradise
- Whale in the Park
- Them Bones, Them Bones
- The Deathbed
- Venetian Blind
- A Mailman Drinking a Milkshake
- Early Harvest
- 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!
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.
Bob’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:
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.
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!
Writers love feedback. No, let me clarify: Good writers love feedback. I have just finished sending out critiques for Hummingbird contest entrants who paid an extra $15 to get comments back. In addition to the magazine earning some spare change in the process, we’ve also earned deep thanks from most of the writers. To quote one author, “I can’t thank you enough for your kind words and thoughtful, measured critique … your feedback really does help me see how it can be the best version of itself.”
I get rather chuffed about this kind of thanks. (Translation of ‘chuffed’ for North Americans: very pleased indeed.) In fact, it’s rather addicting. When we began sending out rejections two years ago, I took pains to write a personal note to each author, giving a bit of a reason for the rejection, or a tip on how to improve the story. I often received notes of thanks.
Those days are over. Until now, I’ve been able to review every comment from every slushpile reader and moderate every response that gets sent out to our loyal submitters. I’ve enjoyed making friends along the way. But the price to the magazine has been high. It has taken long hours to sift so carefully through every submission — time that could be better spent on workshops, marketing, and editing our accepted content.
For this reason I regret to say we will no longer be giving personal feedback with every submission. This means the editors will have more time to do higher level editing, writing, and promotion for the magazine. It also means that authors who would like feedback from an editor have a choice of paying the extra fee during our contests, or outright hiring us, with proceeds going to the coffers of our non-profit press. We also have the fabulous Brewer award level on our Patreon page that lets writers get 20 pages of critique every three months.
Susan Pieters is our acquisitions and developmental editor. She looks forward to the next round of submissions, which is opening soon!
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.
We’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!
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:
- Sarah 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’
- 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!
We’re extending the Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction deadline till noon (Pacific time) today, June 16th, as we work to process the entries we’ve received. You’ve still got a few hours to get them in!
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.”