Flash Fiction Festival

February 21-27

Register Now

Join Literary Cleveland virtually online for our first ever February Flash Fiction Festival. Over the course of seven days you will work with some of the best flash fiction writers and editors in the country to draft new pieces, share your work, and learn where and how to publish. Register for individual programs or sign up for the full conference and save. Registration deadline: February 14.

Kickoff Panel Discussion

Sunday, Feb. 21 from 7:00-8:30 pm ET

Festival workshop leaders and flash fiction writers K-Ming Chang, Tyrese Coleman, Christopher Gonzalez, and Amber Sparks will discuss craft, the writing process, and the state of flash fiction today.

Amber Sparks Workshop

It’s People, IRL: Stealing from Advice Columns to Create Rounder Characters

Monday, Feb. 22 from 7:00-8:30 pm ET

 

Advice columns, Reddit r/relationships, Ask a Manager—they’re not just entertaining, they’re also a perfect place to mine for human inspiration when writing your characters. You’ll learn here how to be inspired (without stealing anybody’s life outright) by these columns into creating better, weirder people to populate your fiction. We’ll work together on finding ways to show weakness, strength, and make your characters believable by making their motivations as muddy and strange as they are IRL. We’ll create a set of ways to show character and you’ll leave with a new character profile you’ll hopefully be inspired to write into a story.

Christopher Gonzalez Workshop

The You of the Story: Writing the Second Person in Flash

Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 7:00-8:30 pm ET

From a direct address to how-to stories, the second person in fiction is more than just a gimmick. Maybe you, as the writer, need to distance yourself from your narrator in order to write the story; or maybe you want the reader to feel fully immersed in the narrative, in character. Together we will discuss when and why the second person might be the best vehicle for a flash story, read examples from a diverse pool of authors, and play around with this often maligned point of view.

K-Ming Chang Workshop

Experimental Exercises in Voice, Form, and Tone: Generating First Drafts that Surprise Us

Wednesday, Feb. 24 from 7:00-8:30 pm ET 

In this generative class, we will read innovative flash pieces together and participate in writing exercises. The prompts will inspire us to play with our language and explore the ways in which flash fiction can be expansive and specific, mythic and concrete, personal and the political. We will think about voice, desire, form, and possibility. This class is ideal for those who are busy and want to carve out some time/space in their lives to generate first drafts and start new pieces, as well as for those who feel stuck in their current writing and want to challenge and surprise themselves.

Tyrese Coleman Workshop

"The Moment of Being" and"The Shift": Narrative Movement in Flash

Thursday, Feb. 25 from 7:00-8:30 pm ET 

What makes flash prose different from a scene or vignette? Narrative. The magic of flash is the creation of a narrative, complete in its own way, with an identifiable beginning, middle and end, accomplished within 1,000 words or less. But how does one accomplish such a feat in such a short space? This workshop will discuss the two main tenets of developing narrative movement in flash, beginning inside a "moment of being" and creating a "shift." Virginia Woolf coined the term to describe moments within a character's life when they are aware of the inner workings, their connection to the patterns hidden within the moments of non-being permeating daily life. The Shift is a subtle method of writerly craftsmanship that reveals an epiphany, acknowledging and revealing the importance of the moment. In this workshop, you will learn about both concepts, how to identify them in flash, and learn ways in which to incorporate these elements in your work through in-class exercises. 

Flash Fiction Open Mic

Friday, Feb. 26 from 7:00-8:30 pm ET 

Join host and flash author Michael Garriga to hear writing from your fellow festival participants and to share your own new work.

Editor Roundtable on Publishing

Saturday, Feb. 27 from 10:00-11:30 am ET 

Join the editors of some of the top flash fiction journals in the country to learn what they look for in submissions and how to get your own work published. Editors include Tommy Dean of Fractured Lit, Sherrie Flick of SmokeLong Quarterly and the forthcoming Flash Fiction America anthology, and Maureen Langloss of Split Lip Magazine.

Image by Cleveland artist Justin Michael Will.

Join Literary Cleveland virtually online for our first ever February Flash Fiction Festival. Over the course of seven days you will work with some of the best flash fiction writers and editors in the country to draft new pieces, share your work, and learn where and how to publish. Register for individual programs or sign up for the full conference and save. Registration deadline: February 14.

Kickoff Panel Discussion

Sunday, Feb. 21 from 7:00-8:30 pm ET

Festival workshop leaders and flash fiction writers K-Ming Chang, Tyrese Coleman, Christopher Gonzalez, and Amber Sparks will discuss craft, the writing process, and the state of flash fiction today.

Amber Sparks Workshop

It’s People, IRL: Stealing from Advice Columns to Create Rounder Characters

Monday, Feb. 22 from 7:00-8:30 pm ET

 

Advice columns, Reddit r/relationships, Ask a Manager—they’re not just entertaining, they’re also a perfect place to mine for human inspiration when writing your characters. You’ll learn here how to be inspired (without stealing anybody’s life outright) by these columns into creating better, weirder people to populate your fiction. We’ll work together on finding ways to show weakness, strength, and make your characters believable by making their motivations as muddy and strange as they are IRL. We’ll create a set of ways to show character and you’ll leave with a new character profile you’ll hopefully be inspired to write into a story.

Christopher Gonzalez Workshop

The You of the Story: Writing the Second Person in Flash

Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 7:00-8:30 pm ET

From a direct address to how-to stories, the second person in fiction is more than just a gimmick. Maybe you, as the writer, need to distance yourself from your narrator in order to write the story; or maybe you want the reader to feel fully immersed in the narrative, in character. Together we will discuss when and why the second person might be the best vehicle for a flash story, read examples from a diverse pool of authors, and play around with this often maligned point of view.

K-Ming Chang Workshop

Experimental Exercises in Voice, Form, and Tone: Generating First Drafts that Surprise Us

Wednesday, Feb. 24 from 7:00-8:30 pm ET 

In this generative class, we will read innovative flash pieces together and participate in writing exercises. The prompts will inspire us to play with our language and explore the ways in which flash fiction can be expansive and specific, mythic and concrete, personal and the political. We will think about voice, desire, form, and possibility. This class is ideal for those who are busy and want to carve out some time/space in their lives to generate first drafts and start new pieces, as well as for those who feel stuck in their current writing and want to challenge and surprise themselves.

Tyrese Coleman Workshop

"The Moment of Being" and"The Shift": Narrative Movement in Flash

Thursday, Feb. 25 from 7:00-8:30 pm ET 

What makes flash prose different from a scene or vignette? Narrative. The magic of flash is the creation of a narrative, complete in its own way, with an identifiable beginning, middle and end, accomplished within 1,000 words or less. But how does one accomplish such a feat in such a short space? This workshop will discuss the two main tenets of developing narrative movement in flash, beginning inside a "moment of being" and creating a "shift." Virginia Woolf coined the term to describe moments within a character's life when they are aware of the inner workings, their connection to the patterns hidden within the moments of non-being permeating daily life. The Shift is a subtle method of writerly craftsmanship that reveals an epiphany, acknowledging and revealing the importance of the moment. In this workshop, you will learn about both concepts, how to identify them in flash, and learn ways in which to incorporate these elements in your work through in-class exercises. 

Flash Fiction Open Mic

Friday, Feb. 26 from 7:00-8:30 pm ET 

Join host and flash author Michael Garriga to hear writing from your fellow festival participants and to share your own new work.

Editor Roundtable on Publishing

Saturday, Feb. 27 from 10:00-11:30 am ET 

Join the editors of some of the top flash fiction journals in the country to learn what they look for in submissions and how to get your own work published. Editors include Tommy Dean of Fractured Lit, Sherrie Flick of SmokeLong Quarterly and the forthcoming Flash Fiction America anthology, and Maureen Langloss of Split Lip Magazine.

Image by Cleveland artist Justin Michael Will.

This festival takes place remotely online via Zoom

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Our Instructors

Amber Sparks

Amber Sparks is the author of several short story collections, including The Unfinished World and Other Stories, and I Do Not Forgive You (Liveright). Her essays and fiction can be found widely in print and online, in places like The Paris Review, NYMag, Granta, and Tin House.

Christopher Gonzalez

Christopher Gonzalez is the author of the story collection I'm Not Hungry but I Could Eat, forthcoming from SFWP in fall 2021. His writing has appeared in the Nation, Catapult, the Millions, Best Small Fictions 2019, and elsewhere. He is a fiction editor at Barrelhouse and lives in Brooklyn, NY, but mostly on Twitter @livesinpages.

K-Ming Chang

K-Ming Chang / 張欣明 is a Kundiman fellow, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. Her debut novel Bestiary (One World 2020) was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and named a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. Her micro-chapbook BONE HOUSE is forthcoming from Bull City Press in 2021, and her short story collection, RESIDENT ALIENS, is forthcoming from One World.

Tyrese Coleman

Tyrese L. Coleman is the author of How to Sit, a 2019 Pen Open Book Award finalist published with Mason Jar Press in 2018. She is also the writer of the forthcoming book, Spectacle, with One World, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Writer, wife, mother, attorney,and writing instructor, she is a contributing editor at Split Lip Magazine and occasionally teaches at American University. 

Tommy Dean

Tommy Dean lives in Indiana with his wife and two children.He is the author of a flash fiction chapbook entitled Special Like the People on TV from Redbird Chapbooks. His dystopian flash chapbook is forthcoming in November 2021 from ELJ Editions. He is the Editor at Fractured Lit. He has been previously published in the BULL Magazine, Atticus Review, The Lascaux Review, New World Writing, Pithead Chapel, and New Flash Fiction Review.

Sherrie Flick

Sherrie Flick is a senior editor at SmokeLong Quarterly; she served as series editor for The Best Small Fictions 2018, and is co-editing Flash Fiction America (W.W. Norton, 2022). She is the author of the novel Reconsidering Happiness and two short story collections Whiskey, Etc. and Thank Your Lucky Stars. Her work has appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Flash Fiction Forward, New Sudden Fiction, and New Micro.

Maureen Langloss

Maureen Langloss is a lawyer-turned-writer living in New York City. She serves as the Editor of Online Issues and Flash Fiction at Split Lip Magazine. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Cutbank, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, The Journal, Wigleaf, Witness, and elsewhere. She received the Copper Nickel Editor’s Prize for Prose in 2020.

Michael Garriga

Michael Garriga is the author of the flash fiction collection, The Book of Duels (Milkweed Editions). His writing has appeared in The Southern Review, Oxford American, New Letters, and Best American Small Fictions, 2015. He is also co-founder and -editor of the online journal, Fiction Southeast, which is dedicated to flash fiction.  


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