NZ Flash Fiction Day takes me back to a missing book: the deadline looms



Years and years ago I bought an anthology called Sudden Fiction and I loved the way the writing fell on the page in bright drops. Were the miniature pieces agonised over and crafted to a sweet and shiny essence or were they a quick and vital shedding of narrative (stream-of-conscious-like)? Tiny. Surprising. Saporous. I don’t remember such details and I can’t find my weather-beaten copy but I do remember the way the anthology sparked my attention.*

Nowadays, look each way and you find Flash Fiction.

Poet Michelle Elvy is a key supporter and writer of Flash Fiction in NZ. Many other NZ poets move between poetry and the lure of flash-fiction territory: Frankie McMillan, Owen Marshall, Mary McCallum, Rachel Fenton, Caoillin Hughes, Elizabeth Welsh, Gail Ingram, James Norcliffe.


National Flash Fiction Day is New Zealand’s celebration of the shortest form of fiction writing, on the shortest day of the year.

The 2015 NFFD competition opens Feb 1 – April 30. See the competition page for information and guidelines.

The 2012, 2013 and 2014 competitions were great successes with 300 entries each year. You can find the winners from previous years by clicking on the tabs at the top of the page.

In past years, National Flash Fiction Day has been celebrated with prize-giving ceremonies and presentations by the judges as well as readings in various hotbeds of flash all across Aotearoa.

Events will be posted on the website as they are put together this year.


website here




*Ha! I went online and discovered this:  ‘Here Are 70 of the very best short-short stories of recent years including contributions from such contemporary writers as Raymond Carver, Leonard Michaels and John Updike; a few Modern Masters as Hemingway and Cheever; and an assortment of talented new young writers. Sudden Fiction brilliantly captures the tremendous popularity of this new and distinctly American form.’ The book was published in 1983 so I was living in London. Maybe I left it there. I am sure there were women in it! But I can’t recall.


1 thought on “NZ Flash Fiction Day takes me back to a missing book: the deadline looms

  1. Michelle Elvy

    Wonderful mention of flash and poetry, Paula! Many thanks for including NFFD in your series.How fun to see your own story about an early introduction to the micro form, too. Those earlier versions of Sudden Fiction, published by W W Norton (, for example) set a high standard from the beginning. And how curious to read they were then what was called ‘a distinctly American form’. Not so any more, as flash around Aotearoa demonstrates. And then there’s W W Norton’s latest anthology, just released earlier this month, called Flash Fiction International, which includes, among others, two NZ poets: Frankie McMillan and James Norcliffe. Superb writing in these collections.

    Link to Flash Fiction International here:

    Thank you!



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