This is a project to encourage young and fledgling LGBT+ writers to explore their creativity through writing short stories and narrative poems.
Flash Dances aims for 100 such items and will also include contributions from established members of Gay Authors’ Workshop.
There has been a huge surge of interest in Flash Fiction in recent years: that is, stories and narrative poems of under 1000 words and sometimes even under 300 words. It's a form where you convey a world, a situation, in miniature. We have seized on it as an ideal introduction to writing, and we are offering a variety of ways to encourage those who are uncertain of their abilities.
Flash Dances is open to all LGBT+ writers, wherever they are on the spectrum, and regardless of previous experience. You can write about anything you like, and submit your work in one of three categories:
We are also organising writing workshops in conjunction with this project which will be held on four Wednesday evenings from 27 March to 17 April 2024 from 5.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. at Westminster Reference Library. These are to support and encourage new writers in their first steps and the writers of the stories, which come out of the workshop, will be helped to shape their work for publication.
We are running a competition for each category, with a small prize of £40 each.
The judges are:
V G Lee
She has published five novels and two collections of short stories. Her writing has appeared in numerous and diverse publications including Poetry Review, Diva Magazine, Beyond Bedlam (Anvil), The Lady Magazine and more recently The Guardian.
In 2012 she was nominated for a Stonewall Award, 2014 brought the Ultimate Planet Award for Best Established Author, and in 2017 she was runner up for Diva/YLVA Publishing Literary Prize for Fiction. In 2022 she was long listed for the BBC National Short Story Award.
V G Lee is a judge for the prestigious Polari Book Prize and also the Hastings Literary Festival Short Story Prize.
Jake came to prominence with The Long Firm trilogy which was set in the steamy underworld of the 1960s and dominated by the Krays. Two of these books became a TV series.
He has more recently explored other aspects of gay history, in the tour-de-force of 18th century slang The Fatal Tree, which switchbacks between the gay molly houses and the escapades of the slippery Newgate Houdini Jack Sheppard and his companion in thievery, Edgworth Bess. His novels are characterised by enormous compassion and a kind of melancholy.
In addition, all contributors will be given free membership of the Gay Authors Workshop, which provides access to readings, supportive criticism by fellow writers, and a regular newsletter.
The best way to explain the possibilities of this form is to give a few examples by the editors:
The Giveaway (under 300 words)
Shell Shock (200 words)
The Dinner Party (400 words)
Why not try your own hand and send us your contribution. But first read the Competion Rules.
Publishing is an expensive business, and mainstream publishing is largely a stitch-up chasing ever-paler imitations of the latest best-seller. Enslaved to fashion, it increasingly excludes those outside a university-educated elite, rewarding only those whose conformity flatters their own and their readers' self-regard.
Paradise Press is bucking that trend to highlight marginalised voices and reflect the authentic experience of LGBT+ life. In order to produce Flash Fiction we need to raise about £1,200.
The problem we have, which is endemic to small publishers of books and magazines, is that the outlays always come before any income. Typesetting, design, printing, and publicity have to be paid in advance, while sales are always top sliced by free review copies for giving out, booksellers' commissions, distributor percentages, etc.
Books produced in small numbers virtually never make any profit; we are contemplating a print run of 200 initially.
If we do have any income from the project, we will plough it back into Paradise Press for future book projects and development work.
So, we are turning to our friends to make it happen. If you believe in the future of LGBT+ literature, please support us.
See our crowdfunding page to give your support. (It will be live from 18 February to 14 April 2024).Back to Top
Gay Authors Workshop is looking for new members to write for their forthcoming anthology of LGBTQ+ poetry and compositions focused on the experience of change, transformation, epiphany and the pivotal moment, queer alteration and the question of timing, courage, evolution, and growth.
Current GAW members are, of course, also invited to take part.
The anthology will be edited by David Flybury and Hastie Salih, author of the romantic lesbian thriller Dahlia and Carys.