Category Archives: Contests

The Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest Closes Saturday

Just a few 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.

2018 Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize Winner, Issue 21
‘The Angler’
by Nicholas Christian

It’s said Jeki la Njambe has one crow’s foot and an antelope’s hoof besides. Jeki, they say, huddles around little liver-pecked fires, has one arm and it’s a real Misha. They say he fishes with it and you’ll know it’s that time by the smell of wet maple and iron-wood, or the whistling of hollow bamboo. Sure, they ramble such as it’s cooked, but you don’t go blaming a fire for making smoke. So just gather your ears from the field. I’m to straighten things, if my name ain’t Jeki la Njambe, and I tell you I know the right of it …

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 2019 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, Issue 17, and Issue 21.
 Issue 5,  Winter 2015
 Issue 9, Winter 2016
 Issue 13, Winter 2017
 Issue 17, Winter 2018
Issue 21, Winter 2019

 

Announcing the Winners of the 2019 Magpie Award for Poetry

The scent drifting from our window sill must have let you know the pies are done … and the results are finally in.  We have a Magpie Award for Poetry to dish out! Contest Judge Renée Sarojini Saklikar mulled it over, sampled each offering, and came to these conclusions:

Kudos to all the entrants for a strong showing in a short-list of 10 poems, each with merit . I enjoyed the intelligence, beauty, wit, and ambition of each of the poems on this year’s short-list. Here are my three top choices.

First Place Winner: ‘A Short History of Space Travel’ by Susan Haldane:

Everything works in this finely wrought poem filled with metaphorical layers, weaving together myth, space, and gorgeous imagery.

The title situates us into a narrative arc, comprised of four specific prose poems whose sentences end in line-breaks timed to please both eye and ear (no easy feat).  We are entranced by the poem’s atmospheric pulse that merges prose with lyricism, and takes us on a journey of parallel, closely observed moments, each one evoking something far larger than the created snap-shot.  “If we are made of stardust, we are made of ashes too.” I couldn’t stop thinking about this poem! I want to meet its maker!

First Runner Up: ‘whiskey breath’ by Jack Waldheim

I loved the audacity of this unabashed ‘country ‘n’ western’ style lyric columnar. A song of heart-break, whiskey, cats, dancing: a whole ecosphere of longing, just made for saying out loud, thanks to precise line-breaks. This poem stayed loose on my tongue, with each line falling into the next.

Second Runner Up: ‘The Last of the Iron Lungs’ by Roxanna Bennett

A most excellent title, enticing us into this long concept poem.  Its metre is a bit like blank verse, with over-flowing four-line stanzas that utilize a wonderful poetic device, the ‘drop down line’.  That movement on the page instills in our eyes a visual space that adds to the overall experience of the poem. (see Dylan Thomas in his poem,Fern Hill’).

The striking thing about this poem was the way the ‘factoids’ of the Greek myth were used to evoke a kind of fable-warning about our current eco-crisis as well as share the story of a speaker with a disability.  

Renée Sarojini Saklikar

You can’t keep the magpie down, much like these winning poets, whose poems are as tenacious and flashy as this contest’s namesake.  See them in all their glory in Issue 24, due out this autumn.  And for those of you who identify with another flashy avian creature, the Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize is just around the corner, opening May 1st.

About the Judge

Renée Sarojini Saklikar recently completed her term as the first Poet Laureate for the City of Surrey, British Columbia. Her latest book is a BC bestseller: Listening to the Bees (Nightwood Editions, 2018). Renée’s first book, children of air india, (Nightwood Editions, 2013) won the 2014 Canadian Authors Association Award for poetry. Renée co-edited The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them (Anvil Press/SFU Public Square, 2015,) a City of Vancouver book award finalist. Renée’s chapbook, After the Battle of Kingsway, the bees, (above/ground press, 2016), was a finalist for the 2017 bpNichol award. Her poetry has been made into musical and visual installations, including the opera, air india [redacted].  Renée was called to the BC Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor, served as a director for youth employment programs in the BC public service, and now teaches law and ethics for Simon Fraser University in addition to teaching creative writing at both SFU and Vancouver Community College. She curates the popular poetry reading series, Lunch Poems at SFU and serves on the boards of Event magazine and The Capilano Review and is a director for the board of the Surrey International Writers Conference.   Renée belongs to the League of Canadian Poets and The Writer’s Union of Canada (TWUC) and is active on the TWUC Equity Committee. She is currently working on an epic-length sci-fi poem, THOT-J-BAP, that appears in journals, anthologies and chapbooks.

The 2019 Magpie Award Shortlist

Let’s cut to the chase; you’ve been waiting to hear about the Magpie Award for Poetry results for a while now! We offer up the shortlist as a means of compensation for the weeks of suspense. Poets are listed alphabetically by last name.

Kelli Allen
Roxanna Bennett
Chelsea Comeau
Susan Ford
Charlene Kwiatkowski
David Ly
Pattie Palmer-Baker
Roger Vickery
John Waldheim
Cara Waterfall

Congratulations to the shortlisted poets, and many thanks to all those who submitted, as well as to our hardworking first judges Emily Osborne and Daniel Cowper!

Now we really hate to do this, but this is a tough field of competitors and the final results are going to be in the oven a bit longer.   We hope to release the names of the winner and runners up of the 2019 Magpie Award for Poetry, as chosen by final judge Renée Saklikar within the next week.  Please be patient as the shortlist bakes to a delicious golden brown!

 

The Winner of the 2018 Raven Short Story Contest is …

Cheryl Wollner of Boca Raton, Florida for

Girls Who Dance in the Flames

Judge CC Humphreys, had this to say

The competition standard was very high. There wasn’t a bad story amongst them, and they were varied, with several in different styles pushing this one close.

I liked many things about ‘Girls’. The language was completely believable, with dynamic metaphors drawn from the narrator’s crazed imagination and steeped in the Southern Gothic world from which she comes. ‘come back home stained with his child’; ‘but I’ve cut my lifeline real long, long and round my hand like a ribbon ‘cross a Christmas present.’; ‘she talked all sand’. So many others. Yet the elegance of the writing never detracted from the flow of the story just swept me into another, so different world. The construction was good too, a steady development to the fiery climax.

The narrator’s voice was strong, clear, twisted, disturbing. Very well realized, and completely believable. I kept thinking that she might back away from her extremity, but she kept upping it.  A lot to cram into a five page story. Yet it held me throughout, had a clear arc, and left a disturbing aftertaste.

So well done. It will stay with me and I have no hesitation, despite other strong contenders, of awarding it this year’s Raven.

– CC Humphreys

Congratulations to Cheryl Wollner, who wins the $300 prize, and whose story will be published in Pulp Literature Issue 22, Spring 2018.   Many thanks to CC Humphreys for his careful reading and for returning to judge this year’s Raven Contest.  And as well, thank you to all the entrants who provided such excellent stories and made our job and Chris’s so much harder …. and yet so enjoyable!

https://cchumphreys.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/image-2.jpg?resize=123%2C185

CC (Chris) Humphreys has written more than a dozen novel for adults and young adults, including the Arthur Ellis winner, Plague.  His latest book, Chasing the Wind, is available here.

2018 Raven Short Story Contest Shortlist

November 15th draws near, and soon the winner of the 2018 Raven Short Story Contest will be announced! As the days grow shorter, so to does the list of contenders. Below, listed alphabetically by author first name, are the authors whose stories have made the shortlist.

Cheryl Wollner for ‘Girls Who Dance in the Flames’

Colin Thornton for ‘Ten Minutes in Maine’

Erin MacNair for ‘Camping with Narwhals’

Jody Hadlock for ‘She Walks Alone’

KW George for ‘Shadows’

Kate Felix for ‘Fingered’

Kim Clark for ‘Pissing in the Pocket of the Lone Arbutus Estates’

Margot Spronk for ‘The Web’

Shanon Sinn for ‘The Proposition’

Stephanie Vernier for ‘Cashew Milk’

The big reveal from judge CC Humphreys is just around the corner.  Sign up for the Pulp Literature newsletter to receive updates on our submission windows or future contests.

 

2018 Raven Short Story Contest Closes Soon

Channel your inner raven and bring us your cleverest short stories! The Raven Short Story Contest is open until October 15th, and we want to see what inventive short stories you have hidden in your nests.

Our Judge

CC Humphreys, prolific author of The Jack Absolute Series, Shakespeare’s Rebel, Plague, and Fire, along with the newly released Chasing the Wind, returns to judge the 2018 Raven Short Story Contest. Past winners include ‘The Tape’ by Elaine McDivitt (Issue 18), ‘The Handler’ by Pat Flewwelling (Issue 14), ‘Black Blizzard’ by Emily Linstrom (Issue 10), and ‘The Inner Light’ by Krista Wallace (Issue 6).

Enter Now

First prize in the Raven Short Story Contest is $300 and print and e-publication to a loyal international readership. The 2018 winner will be announced November 15th! Previously unpublished short stories of up to 2500 words will be considered–enter before midnight, October 15th!

 

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

 

2018 Magpie Award for Poetry Winners

Last week we promised a surprise you would not want to miss, and today’s the day. Of our shortlist, three poems caught Renée Sarojini Saklikar’s eye for the fifth annual Magpie Award for Poetry. Without further delay, here are her picks and comments.

2nd Runner-up – $50 prize

‘My desk’ by Angela Caravan
“An ambitious poem, which needs some attention to line breaks and form. That being said, the language intrigues.  The possibility of what the language is attempting here: admirable.”

First Runner-up – $50 prize

‘All I Need is a Chair, My Red Piano, and’ by Christine Leviczky Riek
“I Enjoyed the dense construction, which leads reader into the world of the poem, telling a story of loss and longing, using repetition of key phrases and a great evocation of a particular time and place.”

Winner – $500 prize

‘Leather wraps both our shoulders, and I will call you my lungs, my falconer, guidepost’ by Kelli Allen
“I read this lovely poem as a sonnet with its fourteen line construction and those interesting, rhymic two line couplets cascading a series of stories in image. Wonderful!”

These poems will appear in Pulp Literature Issue 20, Autumn 2018.  Congratulations to our winners, and a huge thank you to Renée Sarojini Saklikar for serving as this year’s judge. Thank you as well to all our contestants for your participation and suppourt!