Congratulations to these wonderful poets for being selected as top picks for our Magpie Prize! This is an impressive pool of talent, and we are honoured to have such an embarrassment of riches in our contest. We will unveil the winner on Thursday, so stay tuned! Our poets, in random order:
Ada Maria Soto
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!
Our contest is officially open! You’ve a fortnight to enter the Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction for a discounted pittance, so sharpen your quills! Pen us a story that will cut our senses to the quick, or dull them with delight! Our 1000 word contest is limited to 300 entries, and until May 14th, just $10 will get you a chance of earning a solemn nod from final judge and flash fiction icon, Bob Thurber. The $300 or $75 awards are definite incentives, but let’s not kid ourselves. The real reward is the thrill of knowing for one moment, you owned the stage. With words, you served the world up on a plate, and we bit.
Tell your friends! Tweet the news! Show your support of lit mags by entering the contest. Or, if you can’t write worth beans, buy an issue or two. We promise to intrigue and delight!
Due to full mailbox issues here at Pulp Lit central we’ve extended the deadline for the Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest to Monday 18 August. That means you’ve got all weekend to get your stories in to us.
Heck, with a little caffeine, you can probably write two stories under 1000 words in that time, and double your chance of winning $300 and eternal fame!
It’s all about the ending. Novels get quoted by their first lines; in flash fiction, it’s the last line that goes down in history. It carries the punch, like a bee sting.
With a flash fiction story, you don’t begin in medias res–you begin at the final scene. You leave just enough time for the reader to latch on to your opening, and then you are off. You don’t explain (you haven’t time) but you leave clues, and every detail is smoking-gun important.
The tone can be intense with foreboding or calm with post-catastrophic hindsight. Like an instant replay done in slow motion, the narrator rewinds us through the crucial scene, the climactic event, carefully re-examined because it decides the game.
The goal of flash fiction is to spin the reader around in a complete circle of transformation leaving us dizzy, or upside down. We look again at the title and it reads differently, its secret exposed. We are left to gasp into our coffee mugs, unsettled, and changed.
Last chance to enter our Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest is Friday August 15th!
When I grew tall enough to stand at eye-level with the hummingbird feeder that my grandmother hung on her porch, I would put on the red bandana she always wore to work in the garden, because I knew that my best chance to go unnoticed was to pretend to be my grandmother. Even the birds innately knew she was harmless and generous and good. I covered my hair like a cowboy Aunt Jemima and stood still, two feet from the hanging bottle of red syrup. I would try not to move my head, using my peripheral vision to spot an incoming bird. There would be a darting movement nearby, a first fly-by, to test my resolve. But if I held still, the bird would return, and I would hear it before I would see it: a steady thrum, louder yet softer than a bee, faster and more even than a helicopter. If I held my breath, it came close to examine me, hovering in mid-air, head cocked at an angle. As I write this, I realize I should have been afraid. That needle-like beak, ready to pierce down the throat of flowers, was inches from my eye. Maybe I thought I could blink fast enough, or maybe I was too focused on the shimmering colours on the bird’s neck. Some had green and gold dragon tones, others were purple, metallic and bright. I had my favourites. I made wishes on them like candles before they darted away to the feeder, drinking my grandmother’s nectar. They were wild things, greedy to eat despite their dainty size and slim beauty. They were speed and economy of flight, both mysterious and to the point. When they flew away, they were never quite gone. I would remain motionless to see if they would return, and for years after, they linger in my mind. Even now, in my drawer of keepsakes, my grandmother’s red handkerchief still smells of her sweet gentle hair and kind deeds, and of hummingbirds that were never mine.
Today, as we open our Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest, write like a hummingbird. Be elusive, daring, and breathtakingly beautiful. Short fiction up to 1000 words in any genre, limited to 300 entries. A $300 prize and eternal fame await!
JJ Lee, our brilliant Issue 2 author of “Built to Love”, is launching a new CBC radio show this morning! The topic is fashion, but fashion with the kind of insightful commentary only JJ can provide. As readers of Measure of a Man know, JJ goes beyond what you wear to reveal the message behind the material. Deny it as we might, it is true that what we wear expresses who we are. (Yes, even as rebellious as I try to be right now, typing this blog post in $9 shorts and a well-worn shirt, I can see the story behind each item, and I would trust no one but JJ to decipher the message!)
But wait! Before you rush off to tune in to JJ’s show, writers should note that JJ has graciously agreed to judge our summer literary contest. Get your pens ready! The First Annual Hummingbird Award for flash fiction opens July 1st. Only 300 entries accepted! You’ve been given fair warning! (Details on our contest page.)
Okay, NOW you can go and tune in to JJ’s show on CBC Radio 1, airing Tuesday mornings at 11:30 and Thursday evenings at 11:00.