Micro Madness

100-word stories for 22 days

Welcome to the 2022 Micro Madness Long List!

Micros are listed alphabetically by title.

Note: If you find your story on the long list, please share and celebrate, but please do not name your story as judges are still deliberating. Thank you and congratulations!

A Brief History of My Telephones
A Grand Jeté is a Split in the Air
A Life Recorded
Answer to her Question
Bug Test
Bye Bye Baby
Cold Open
Dandelion Wishes
Doubt kicks in on the world’s longest flight
End of season
Euplectella aspergillum, a love story
Everyone knows Darcie’s going to die on her knees waiting for him to say it
How to Prepare Supper for an Absent Lover
Human-Bird Bubble
Lạc Long Quân; Where shop after shop sell enamelled house numbers
My Dog Won’t Shit in the Rain
One wild night
Picnic at Lady’s Bay, Kawau Island
Sybil’s Signals
The Conundrum of Too Many Kims
The countertop
The Drive to Experience Weightlessness
The Hunger
The Man Who Has His Picture Taken at Sears and Never Comes Back
The Offering
The Procrastinator
The Tempest Inside
The Temptation of Apples
The Wind and The Moon
Things I Saw and Felt Whilst Balancing a Tower of Pebbles on the Beach the Day I Finished my Finals
Uncle Ian
Waimate Cowboys
Who pushed Humpty the D?
Wild Horses
You Broke Your Mother’s Heart

Meet this year’s wonderful judges…

Rose Collins has a Masters in Creative Writing from Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters (2010). Her short stories and poems have been published in journals and anthologies, including Sport, Turbine/Kapohau, the Poetry NZ Yearbook 2019, Flash Frontier, Sweet Mammalian and 4th Floor. She won the 2020 Micro Madness competition (no-theme category) and has been shortlisted for the Bare Fiction Prize (2016), the Bridport Prize (2020) and the takahē Monica Taylor Poetry Prize (2020). Her debut poetry manuscript is currently in the shortlist for the John O’Connor Prize for Best First Book of Poetry. Rose was the 2018 Writer in Residence at Hagley College and has taught creative writing to children and teenagers at the School for Young Writers. She is a some-time litigation lawyer, a beekeeper and a mother of two and she lives in Te Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour, New Zealand with her family.

Meg Pokrass is the author of eight collections including Spinning to Mars (winner of the Blue Light Book Award, 2021) and The Loss Detector (Bamboo Dart Press, 2020). Her work has been widely published internationally in literary journals and has been anthologized in three Norton anthologies of the flash fiction form. She is the Series Co-Editor of Best Microfiction and Founding Editor of New Flash Fiction Review. Meg’s most recent collection is a collaborative book of fabulist microfiction,The House of Grana Padano, co-written with noted America prose poet Jeff Friedman, (Pelekinesis, 2022). She lives in Inverness Scotland, and teaches flash fiction both online and in person. Find out more at megpokrass.com

Enjoy the 2021 Micro Madness winners… 

June 22


Tom O’Brien – London, UK 

Father Buried Queenie in the Small Field

Tim pushed the brown stained keys on his grandmother’s valve radio into place, to feel the click.

The inside lit up and he put his nose against the mesh to visit the futuristic city inside. Smelled burning dust. If little spaceships flew between the tubes and pillars, he would have been delighted, not surprised.

But today he needed it to make noise. He twisted the dial to move the red wire between London, Luxembourg and Athlone but static and haunted music wouldn’t block out the slice of shovel into hard earth as his father buried Queenie in the small field.

Tom O’Brien is an Irishman living in London. His Novella-in-Flash Straw Gods is published by Reflex Press and he has Homemade Weather due out this June as the winning entry in the Retreat West Novelette-in-Flash competition anthology. Ad Hoc Fiction will be publishing another Novella-in-Flash, One for The River, later this year. His flash fiction and short stories can be found in print in various anthologies such as Blink-Ink and Bath Flash Fiction (forthcoming) as well as many sites around the web including Ellipsis Zine, Reflex, Spelk and 50-Word Stories. He’s on Instagram and twitter @tomwrote. His website is www.tomobrien.co.uk

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June 21


Rob Walton – Whitley Bay, UK 

Brautigan Banquet

She gives the dirty smoke-stained copy of Richard Brautigan’s Revenge of the Lawn to Michael at number 7.  She knows he has lost, knows he is lost.  He smells it, washes his hands, puts it down, picks it up. At night, he circles, crosses out, underlines words, puts it on her doorstep, knocks, retreats. She ticks and crosses next to his annotations and draws stick figures in the margin.  One is clearly Michael, smiling.  He draws a Chinese take-away banquet and sends it back.  She sketches chopsticks and tea.  He phones.  She grins, looks for another book.

Rob Walton grew up in Scunthorpe, and now lives in North Shields. His short fiction and poetry for adults and children appears in various magazines and anthologies. His flashes have been published by 101 words (US), Bangor Literary Journal, Blue Fifth Review (US), Flash Frontier (NZ), Ham, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Number Eleven, National Flash Fiction Day anthologies, Paper Swans, Popshot, Pygmy Giant, Reflex, Spelk and others. He is a past winner and current judge of the UK’s National Flash Fiction Day micro-fiction competition.

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June 20


Cristina Schumacher – Hamilton, Waikato, Aotearoa New Zealand

The Consequences of a Change

We were all at home when the floor started to move. The wood began to bulge where the chandelier cast its brightest light. Initially it seemed like a reaction to moisture, how it swelled, but it didn’t stop there. In our house a mountain began to form. Perplexed, we watched as it grew. Purposefully. Some added ladders and steps to its sides. Some stared, day after day, unwilling to believe their eyes. Still others turned their backs on the mountain, but for them life became a kind of hell. Because you cannot ignore the topography of where you live.

Cristina Schumacher is a Brazilian New Zealander who works as the Language Programme Director of EarthDiverse, a Hamilton-based organisation that provides diversity education and training. She has published several manuals, textbooks and methods for Brazilian learners of foreign languages and acted as a consultant to large international companies. While Cristina’s first publication was a flash fiction book, Depois de Séculos (Centuries After), it took her almost half of her lifetime and a new life in New Zealand to get back to publishing fiction. This flash piece emerges from this pleasurable turn in her career as an author.

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June 19

Karen Jones – Glasgow, Scotland

Last Visit

We know Mum’s crazy because she believes people used to have coffee meetings where they chatted and laughed and drank things called cappuccino and flat white and mocha, and that some of the coffees had frothy patterns on them, and coffee made you kind of high.

State Coffee is black. State Coffee makes you calm. State Coffee is the correct coffee.

In the home – she calls it a prison – Mum asks for hot milk and, using a tiny whisk, froths up something like her fantasies. She smiles, beckons us to, “Look!”

We’ll report the illegal whisk. And the smiles.

Karen Jones is a flash and short story writer from Glasgow, Scotland. Her flashes have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, and included in Best Small Fictions 2019. She’s Special Features Editor for New Flash Fiction Review. Her novella-in-flash, When It’s Not Called Making Love, is published by Ad Hoc Fiction.

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June 18

Russ Bickerstaff – Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Just Relax

I just want you to know that nothing is wrong. I know that it probably sounds weird coming from a total stranger, but I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about me. I’m talking about how nothing is wrong and I’m not doing anything wrong. Because I’m not doing anything right now. (At least…nothing that I can identify right now.) Nothing is wrong because I’m not responsible for anything that I’m doing right now. Nothing is wrong that I can do anything about because I’m not doing anything that I have any control over. Just try not to worry.

Russ Bickerstaff is a critic and author living in Milwaukee, WI.

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June 17

Sudha Balagopal – Phoenix, Arizona, USA

The Picture of Meditation

The yogi at the Grand Canyon; a jogger by the rim.

The yogi in a headstand on the cliff, a man on the path hollering about the hovering hawk.

The yogi, eyes closed in meditation, cannot hear the runner’s shouted warnings about the steep incline into red-shaded canyon.

The yogi, defying gravity, remains still—as the screeching bird circles, as the runner slides on gravel, as dislocated rocks stut-stut-stutter to the bottom.

The yogi in the inversion offers up naked feet onto which the hawk swoops and alights, then preens his feathers in the light of the rising sun.

Sudha Balagopal’s short fiction appears in Monkeybicycle, Matchbook, Smokelong Quarterly and Split Lip Magazine among other journals. She is the author of a novel, A New Dawn. Her novella-in-flash is forthcoming from Ad Hoc Fiction.She has been nominated for Best Small Fictions and the Pushcart Prize and is listed in the Wigleaf Top 50. Her micro, first published in The Dribble Drabble Review, will appear in Best Microfiction 2021 More at www.sudhabalagopal.com

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June 16

S J Mannion – Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand

A True Romantic

I met a man. And on meeting him, on simply being interested by him, I am rejuvenated.  I am reminded of who I was and am and still could be. And though age and experience have only made me more vulnerable, I am reminded of the eternal benediction of the promising encounter.  And of course, the tenacity of hope.  I am reminded that even now, perhaps even especially now, I still believe in love.  I still believe that one can be centred in two.  That each one can be centred in two.  I still believe in the whole damn story.

S J Mannion is an Irish writer living in New Zealand. When she can she writes – when she can’t she reads. “It takes a long time to make a short tale.”

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June 15

Marjory Woodfield – Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand

In the Night Library

Lucy walks through the wardrobe. Lamplight casts shadows. Mr Tumnus wears a red knitted scarf, carries parcels wrapped in brown paper.

Pascal’s red balloon takes him all the way to Bagan. Below the rooftops of Santiago de Compostela  pilgrims sing and hold scallop shells. St James casts a net. Too far away to see the balloon. Across the desert falling stars are close enough to catch.

He cuts a square of pure darkness to take home to his mother in their perfectly clean apartment high above a Paris street, where she sweeps and throws open windows to catch the light.

Marjory Woodfield has been published by the BBC, Atrium, Blue Nib, The High Window and others. She was awarded third prize in the 2020 Yeovil International Literary Prize and commended in the Ver Poetry Competition.  She’s been shortlisted for the Cinnamon Literature AwardBath Novella-in-Flash Competition and Proverse Poetry Prize. In 2019 she won the Dunedin Robert Burns Poetry competition and appeared in Pale Fire (Frogmore Press) Best Small Fictions (Sonder Press) and with one eye on the cows (Bath Flash Fiction). Currently, she is the recipient of a Cinnamon Press (UK) writing bursary. 

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June 14

Bayveen O’Connell – Dublin, Ireland 

Romeo and Juliet

He proposed with a grenade ring, and welded my wedding bouquet from broken chains. Making vows in the rubble, we gave each other garlands of bullet casings. In the presence of jolted spirits, rotting flesh and broken bones, we danced a rat-a-tat tango through a mine field.  With hipflasks of blood, ours and theirs, his and mine, we toasted our union. While in my belly, a white dove stirred.

Bayveen O’Connell has words in Fractured Lit, Janus Literary, Splonk, Bending Genres, the 2020 National Flash Fiction Day Anthology (UK), The Forge Lit and others. She won third prize in the Janus Literary Story Prize 2021 and received a Best Microfiction nomination in 2019. She lives in Dublin and is inspired by myth, history and travel. @bayveenwriter

June 11

Vivian Thonger, Kerikeri, Aotearoa New Zealand   

Years passed, we never mowed the lawn and the front door still stuck

Summertime homework: in bikinis, blankets on grass, munching fragrant apples off the tree, my sister’s cat stretched alongside.

The balcony, purple-perfumed, wisteria-wrapped—where I’d sometimes hide and cry. But also: the giant pink bath where we could both lie submerged, entwined, mermaid-haired.

My roaming hamsters gnawing at Mum’s Scandinavian furniture. She swore at them, brandishing her tiny glass of neat vermouth, and we sang, raucously, along with the stereo: Silence is Golden, Golden, Golden.

We drank in visitors: lodgers, family, colleagues. Every suppertime, the house, our sanctuary, opened its arms.

And one day, inevitably, Dad turned up.

Poet, writer and actor/performer/percussionist, Vivian Thonger hones her skills with several virtual and actual Northland groups, including the mighty Bay of Islands Writing Group. She’s working on a chopped-up memoir with her sister Caroline.

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June 13

Denise Bayes – Barcelona, Spain 

The Lure of Sequins

Sweep on a shimmer of turquoise eye shadow.

Sequins and tulle piled in the dressing up box. José enveloped his body, parading across the playground.

Remembers his infant teacher’s spiteful words to Mama. Angry tears accompanied him home.

‘My boy. Un bicho raro.’

Attach false eyelashes.

‘No son of mine…’

Fluttering lashes flicker over the purple bruise. Dad’s fist exploding his teenage son’s cheekbone. Distance has failed to fade scars within.

A slick of crimson lip-gloss.

Tears threaten his careful maquillage. José brushes away the sadness, smiles at his reflection. Sashays into the embrace of the anonymous city streets.

Denise Bayes is an English primary school teacher living in Barcelona, Spain. She writes flash fiction and short stories, and has had some success in Writing Magazine, Retreat West and Flash 500. The power of Zoom has allowed her to be a virtual member of Harrogate Writers’ Group during the past year. 

June 13

Desna Wallace – Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand  

Rubbish Day

On the day of your funeral twelve black rubbish bags lined the footpath outside your home. I watched from my bedroom window as the bin man heaved your belongings up and over the side of the truck into oblivion. Your funeral took fifteen minutes and of all the conversations we’d had over the last twenty years, the last one stayed with me. My family don’t care, you said. Course they do, I said, but like everything else, you were always right.

By day Desna Wallace is a school librarian and tutor for the Write on School for Young Writers. She loves putting pen to paper whenever she gets a chance and seeing what happens next. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand

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June 12

Sam Payne – Plymouth, UK   


When he’s done with the silent treatment, Carl insists on a trip to the Grand Canyon. It’s not his thing, but he loves you and God knows he’s just trying to make an effort here.

A ranger smiles, tells you to be careful near the rim. The ground beneath your feet is paper thin.

Carl wants to know why you’re always flirting with other men.

You apologise, yet his words are as cold as the Colorado River and they’re carving your body into a new shape but you’re not the Grand Canyon, you’ll not be beautiful when he’s done.

Sam Payne holds a BA in English Literature from The Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Teesside University. Her work has appeared in Spelk, Reflex Fiction, Popshot Quarterly and Unbroken Journal. In 2020, she won 1st prize in Flash 500 and placed 3rd in the Bath Flash Fiction Awards.

June 12

Caroline Thonger – Switzerland


He’s not hanging in a tangle of hooks and pulleys
No purple bruises on his face
No arm plastered no pelvis encased in bandages
I’m not shocked walking into the soulless hospital ward
My nostrils are not twitching with odours of
Disinfectant and morphine and despair and death
His voice does not croak out a faux-cheery greeting
Belying the seriousness of his injuries
The doctors have not denied his mental state
My mother is not estranged from him
She has not refused to accompany me
I’m not twenty-one
Not missing my sister
Dad has not jumped under a train

London-born Caroline Thonger lived for thirty years in Stratford-upon-Avon, working as a multi-lingual tourist guide. Spare-time writing included assistant editor on Writers’ Forum; editor of various inhouse magazines; co-founder of the Stratford Writers’ Festival. Published in the UK in 2007, her book The Banker’s Daughter is a biography of her German grandmother. Since emigrating to Switzerland in 2008, Caroline has freelanced as translator/proofreader; as Chief Editor of Hello Switzerland, and then of Offshoots 13. Recent editing work has included collaborating on Offshoots 15. Currently co-writing a book with her sister in New Zealand, Caroline’s passion is skiing/snowshoeing in winter, mountain hiking in summer—when not volunteering as Secretary of Geneva Writers’ Group.

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June 11

Jenna Heller – Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand  

The Mirror

White t-shirt, sleeves turned up, loose black pants. Dancing, twisting, and the way she moves is like a murmuring or the swirling heat of a Nor’west wind arching out on the Canterbury plains. Short hair, side-swept. Mesmerising. Definitely queer. Tilted. The face in the mirror… You can’t not look. Eye candy. You are spellbound. Full of bluster and smooth confidence. You wink. She winks. You fall into her eyes. Your eyes. Trace the jawline. Your jawline. Caress the curves. Your curves. Pull up the t-shirt. Your t-shirt. Unbutton the pants. Your pants. Lock eyes. Your eyes. Breathe. Then fly solo.

Jenna Heller won the New Zealand National Flash Fiction Day competition in 2020. Her writing appears in Best Small Fictions 2020 and 2021. She is a tutor at WRITE ON: School for Young Writers in Ōtautahi and she is hard at work on her first short fiction collection.

June 11

Pam Morrison  – Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand 

That Path

The pathway to number 4 is riddled with hieroglyphs, uneasy with meaning. Scribbling who knows what up the pitched concrete. One hundred and five years will do that to a path. Make calligraphy with a heaving unedited pen: hoar frosts slapping ice on every spurt of weed. Then between times, mad heat that keeps beating on and on. Plus the slam of man boots, the rattle and metal of wheelbarrows. Such a heft and haul to get up that broken, shitty old path. Only for the stone-hearted, surely. Stand on a crack marry a rat. That’s that! No way out.

Pam Morrison is a Dunedin-based former journalist who has turned her hand to creative writing. She was a Regional Winner in the New Zealand Flash Fiction competition 2019 and her stories have been placed second and third in the London Independent Story Prize and Flash 500 Competition respectively. Her work has also been published in the Bath Flash Fiction anthology.

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June 10

Aaron Blaker – Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand 

The parsley in Aleppo looks like the parsley in Dunedin

In a room overlooking a garden, boy-men sit together.

Fatima, though, sits with her mother.

The boy-men step forward singly, recount what they’ve learned, in this room, in the camps.

Fatima rises, flows beyond them, speaks of six years waiting for life to begin. Her mother weeps, not understanding a word.

Afterwards, Fatima kneels, picks parsley for the evening meal.

Aaron Blaker lives and writes in Ōtepoti Dunedin. He works with international and refugee background students at Otago Polytechnic, where this micro is set. This is close to the shortest story he has yet written.

June 10

Mary Thompson – London, UK 

Nothing but X

When on the brink of her new normal, people offered advice, practical tips they knew would help, tips she could have read in books or online. If only she’d wanted.

‘I am your manual,’ they said. ‘Your handy little guide to death. Hearing is the last sense to go, you know.’

But what she longed for was the hoot of a barn owl on a Welsh hill at dawn, the gentle contracting of a feline claw or a hamper overflowing with Prosecco, Manchego and sea-salt crackers from a village in Devon, with a handwritten note that said nothing but X.

Mary Thompson is an Academic English teacher from London. In 2020 she won a BIFFY 50 award (Best British & Irish Flash Fiction), and her story, ‘The Swan, the Sheep and the Bejeweled Mirror’, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her piece, ‘Ladybird’, was included in Best Microfiction 2020 and her flash collection, ‘Reality Raw’, was Highly Commended in Ellipsis Zine‘s 2020 competition. Mary tweets at @MaryRuth69.

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June 09

Mike Crowl – Oamaru, Aotearao New Zealand  

An attempt at Cancel Culture

That a fellow academic would speak so demeaningly!

I ‘don a mantle of faux righteousness, and even fauxer courage,’ to quote a writer I recently read. Of course, L’Académie Française would disdain fauxer, which goes against all their glorious grammatical rules. L’Anglais maltraite un mot français!

I ignore the academic’s jibe. Jibe: an American colloquial noun.

Wait, it’s also a verb: to shift from one side to the other when running before the wind, as a fore-and-aft sail or its boom.

As my Jibist is now doing. Mouth running. Voice booming.

I close my eyes. Think scholarly thoughts.

Mike Crowl is a writer, pianist and composer, now in his eighth decade. Since 2014 he has published three children’s fantasies for middle-grade readers, and has written a non-fiction title on dealing with prostate issues. He’s been working on a fourth children’s book for the last two or three years, and it continues to refuse to lay down and do as it’s told. His flash fiction has appeared frequently in the Flash Frontier pages. After living most of his life in Dunedin, he recently moved – unexpectedly – an hour and a half north to Oamaru. 

June 09

Anita Arlov – Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland   Aotearoa New Zealand 

Half Bianca

I stopped vacuuming where the hall carpet ended and the floor dipped to her bare boards. Some Saturdays she took the hint.

I heard her bed migrate from centre – where I could catch a glimpse – to behind the door swing.  She picked out a feature wall in Pillar Box red.  Swapped her wardrobe for a strung broomstick.

She left home. It’s been a year.

Down come the nets. The vacuum discovers curiosities under her bed. A starfish stud. That lost dream catcher.

Test pots soothe the bloodshot wall. Apple Pulp. Black White. Even a Half Bianca.

Anita Arlov writes poems and flash and occasionally judges comps and runs workshops. She hosts the monthly gig Inside.Out Open Mic for Writers. Anita won the Divine Muses Emerging Poet Competition in 2017, and convened a team that staged the NZ Poetry Conference & Festival-Auckland 2017. In 2018 she gained first place in NZ’s National Flash Day Competition and placed second in the June 2019 Bath Flash Fiction competition. She is widely published in journals and anthologies including Bonsai: Best Small Stories from Aotearoa/NZ, Best Microfiction, Best Small Fictions, Flash Frontier, The Phare, takahē, Best of Auckland 2020 and Eight Poems 2020https://authors.org.nz/author/anita-arlov/ 

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June 08

Sherry Morris – Scottish Highlands, UK  

How to Manage Every-Other-Saturday Lunchtime with His Kids  

Ensure each child selects a drinking glass *first*. Then choose yours.

Favourites change swiftly. You’ll always pick wrong.

Justify why:

you don’t have Coco Puffs, Pringles and J2O on hand,

          tea towels hang near the cooker, not the sink,

plates sit on the first shelf, not the second.

Recognise there’s no satisfactory answer to these hurled questions.

Sit statue-still and morgue-silent while they peek and glare at you—their preferred method of communication.

When they sneak upstairs, rifle through your toiletries, pocket your lipstick, perfume samples and travel-size creams, let them. One day they’ll understand you didn’t steal their dad.

Originally from America’s Heartland, Sherry Morris writes prize-winning flash fiction and short stories from a farm in the Scottish Highlands where she watches clouds, pets cows and scribbles words. In 2020, she joined the BBC Scottish Voices writer development programme and is working on a script. She is a Northwords Now board member and reads for the wonderfully wacky Taco Bell Quarterly. Her first published short story was about her Peace Corps experience in Ukraine. She posts her work on www.uksherka.com and Twitter: @Uksherka

June 08

Diana Burns – Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand 

Face down

After the picnic she lay face down on the grass, her giant eye at the level of the daisies, breathing in the sweet scent of summer.

Her eye watched a disciplined army of ants carry off the feast of sandwich crumbs. She could destroy their intricate organisation with one heavy step. Was this how it felt to be God? To decide who lives and who dies?

No. There was no plan to it. No decision. Her mother, like the ants, had just trudged on, doing her dutiful best with crumbs, till she couldn’t anymore. Till she ran out of summers.

Diana Burns is a writer, journalist and trainer from Wellington. She loves words and language in all its forms, and has written numerous articles and short stories. She hopes to write a novel, and will probably spend the rest of her life trying to be a better writer.

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June 07

Claire Beynon – Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand   

As in all things, the key is balance

I might not want to be as much of an Eeyore as I am but it may be my fate to be the grey donkey in the room. Gravity’s a bitch for those who can soar. I agree. Yet gravity seems to be the defining force of my nature and a physical fact to boot.

I’ve been thinking how differently you and I approached yesterday’s pruning. There is in you a large measure of instinct; in me an equal element of control.

So intent were we both on doing right by the rhododendron, we failed to consult with the mistletoe.

Claire Beynon is a Dunedin-based artist, writer and interdisciplinary researcher. In addition to her solo practice, she works collaboratively on a diverse range of projects with fellow artists, writers, scientists and musicians in New Zealand and abroad.

http://www.clairebeynon.com | http://www.manyasonemao.com

June 01

Martin Porter – Jersey

The Dream Catchers

They found a way to capture dreams and sell them, packaged into boxes wrapped with shiny paper fastened by glamourous ribbons. The more they sold, the more people demanded. When the boxes were opened the dreams would fly out and vanish as if they had never existed.

Some people left the boxes on shelves, hoarding them greedily, wanting more. Some opened them and lost everything. Some claimed the boxes were empty, but could not prove it. They kept on selling the boxes of dreams.

At night they rested, sleeping their dreamless sleep. And in the daytime, there they would lie.


Jersey born Martin Porter recently moved to the UK from Whangārei, New Zealand. He has been active in the micro-prose community over the last decade, as well as writing poetry. His work has been published in journals in Britain, USA and New Zealand, most recently in the “Take Flight” poetry collection, published in New Zealand.

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June 06

Tim Saunders – Palmerston North, Aotearoa New Zealand


We weren’t allowed to see him in hospital.

We weren’t allowed to have a proper funeral.

He was here, then he was sick, then he was gone. They sealed him in a coffin, adjusted the elastic bands that held their masks in place.

We held our own funeral. In the kitchen. Like a birthday party, but the opposite. We stood around framed photos, black and white and colour and flat.

We sang sad songs until Mum said, ‘Enough. Sad songs only say so much, and we need to save some for Christmas.’

Tim Saunders farms sheep and beef near Palmerston North. He has had poetry and short stories published in Turbine|Kapohau, takahē, Landfall, Poetry NZ Yearbook and Flash Frontier, and he won the 2018 Mindfood Magazine Short Story Competition. He placed third in the 2019 and 2020 National Flash Fiction Day Awards, and was shortlisted for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. His first book, This Farming Life, was published by Allen & Unwin in August 2020.

June 06

Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar, Columbus, Ohio, USA  


You tell them she’s taking a nap after crawling around the house, poking her hands in the rice canisters, digging mud from the flowerpots, but the neighbors don’t listen. Neither does your husband. Women sprinkle her with jasmine incense and wrap her in a white shroud. Your husband carries her out in his arms. You run after him but women hold you back. You hear her, crying at a distance. You rattle her maracas to pacify her but the wails grow louder. You shake the toys harder and harder. Then, smash them against the wall. Little beads spilling everywhere.

Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar is an Indian American writer. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, Reflex Press, Flash Fiction Online and elsewhere. Her work has been highly commended in National Flash Fiction Day Microfiction Competition, earned an honorable mention in Flash Fiction Magazine Editor’s Choice Award, and longlisted in SmokeLong Quarterly Grand Micro Contest. She has been nominated multiple times for Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best Microfiction awards. She is currently an editor at Janus Literary. More at https://saraspunyfingers.com. Reach her @PunyFingers

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June 05

Abha Iyengar – New Delhi, India

The Marriage Question

I am losing weight in my boyfriend’s house. I cannot order pastries, he tells me. I am desperate for him to pop the marriage question. I don’t expect him to get down on his knees or slip a ring through my finger, though I know a friend who had all this. She posted all the photos on Insta.

I cannot step out. His uncle, living in the house opposite, should not see me. I am sitting here, not going out, not eating anything sweet. I don’t want to think of a canary, or a cage, or the two together.

Abha Iyengar is an award winning, internationally published poet, author, editor and British Council certified creative writing mentor.  Her flash fiction has appeared in Vestal Review, Jellyfish Review, Flash Frontier, Blink Noir, Pure Slush, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Spark, The Asian-Australian Anthology of Short Fiction and others. Her flash fiction was a finalist at Flash Mob 2013, an international event. ‘Flash Bites’ (Authors Press, 2013) is a collection of her flash fiction, and ‘Many Fish to Fry’ (Pure Slush, Australia, 2014) is a flash novella. It is a part of the Flash Collection at Seaborne Library, University of Chester, UK. She has recently curated and edited ‘Kintsugi’, an anthology of Indian flash fiction.

June 05

Sandy Feinstein – Reading, Pennsylvania & Silver Spring, Maryland, USA


Cyrano came to mind. Masked, she insisted, was easier. Severe when her brows crossed against her unclaimed beauty. And now she planned to lop off her breasts. Not to play the boy. It made no difference for a wheelie or MMA throw. Cropping. Or spite. Herself. Everyone.

To fit a pew hammered into place by her parents. She stroked a girl through the slats. Felt. No need to speak, name it.

She hadn’t known she’d a heart. It was always words. Putting them in their place. What a teacher could love. Too little for her writhing soul.

Sandy Feinstein’s flash fiction has appeared in Flash Frontier, Non-binary Review and, most recently, Rune Bear. She also publishes poetry and creative non-fiction about teaching, among other things.  

* * *

June 04

Paula Moros – Whangārei, Aotearoa New Zealand

Code break

I don’t feel dangerous from the inside. Sure, I’ve tagged people in Facebook posts without asking. I’ve used exclamation marks in outlook correspondence. There was that thing where I left a tin of jackfruit on someone’s desk without leaving a note. See, there’s this invisible ink that only first-born children can see, and they use it to stamp improper nouns on your forehead. They’re done with dog whistles, that code’s been broken. In the future, I’ll take a poll before speaking; Is this too much? The point being, you want to encrypt your freak flag before it flies you.

Paula Moros lives in Ngararatunua, Whangārei, where she is part of a flash fiction writing group. She is originally from Tāmaki Makarau.

June 04

Jac Jenkins – Kohukohu, Aotearoa New Zealand  

At a table, alone

Here is a glass, cupped in my hand. It is the right shape to carry the right vapours to my nose; the right shape from which to swill. The gleam from the overhead light is slick like moonspill on a wine sea.

Here is a paperback romance reading its sob-stuff to itself. Here is the major character. She is the right shape for watching time pass. The hero leaves flowers and paper cuts.

Here is a pair of scissors and a hank of my hair sharing stories in front of a candle. The candle is the right shape for shadow.

Jac Jenkins farms and writes in the Far North. In 2018 she co-founded Pavlova Press, an independent publishing company in Kerikeri, with her sister. Outside of her publishing work she has been editing a mixed-genre manuscript she began in her MA year and fixing fences.


June 03

Rose Collins – Whakaraupō / Lyttelton Harbour, Aotearoa New Zealand      


Smack of raw cedar heavy over the burn-and-tick stove smoking its grey boulders in the orange roar. Give me parched heat then a plume of steam splitting kindling cracks. Give me sweat creeks carving out massifs; puddling the plank floor. Nostrils smart as heat laps at open skin, the scratch of birch branches and the memory of snowmelt washing the eaves. Breath thick as a lover or a god scorched ragged. Give me the blaze and then the glow. Salty as salmiakki. The dog pacing and his low howl. Claws clicking on the glass door, wanting to be let in.

Rose Collins has an MA from Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters (2010). Her work has been shortlisted for the Bare Fiction Prize (2016), the Bridport Prize (2020) and the takahē Monica Taylor Poetry Prize (2020). She won the 2020 international Micro Madness Competition. Rose was the 2018 Writer in Residence at Hagley College, Christchurch. She lives in Whakaraupō / Lyttelton Harbour.

June 03

Diane Simmons – Bath, UK

No Record

The marriage certificate is blank where Agnes’s rank/profession should be. There’s no record of her time as a machinist at Rawlinson’s or of her promotion to Forewoman at the perambulator factory. It doesn’t show how she fought to hide her feelings for the perambulator factory owner’s son or her anguish when her future father-in-law insisted she cease working there. It doesn’t show either her subsequent worries about cake forks, side plates or her ignorance about how to address a maid. It just shows the evidence of two people who fell in love. Despite it all.

Diane Simmons is Co-Director of National Flash Fiction Day (UK) and Co-Director of Flash Fiction Festivals, UK. She has been a reader for the international Bath Short Story Award, an editor for FlashFlood and has judged several flash competitions. Widely published and anthologised, her fiction has been placed in numerous competitions. Finding A Way (Ad Hoc Fiction, 2019), her flash collection on the theme of grief, was shortlisted in the Best Short Story Collection category of the 2019 Saboteur Awards. Her novella-in-flash An Inheritance (V. Press, 2020) was shortlisted in the Best Novella category of the 2020 Saboteur Awards. Her novella-in-flash Top Table was recently shortlisted in the Retreat West Novelette Award.

* * *

June 02

Sara Hills – Warwickshire, UK

You Promise Me the Moon, But You’re No Jimmy Stewart

‘Somewhere out there,’ you say, pulling free, is my true soul mate.

I float in zero gravity, stare without blinking, and watch you disappear back into the marbled blue, a blip.

How can you be so sure it’s not you?

If I zoomed a million light years out, would you glow from the swirling galaxy of men, a homing beacon within a cluster of noise and dust?

If I zoomed 10 -12 meters in, would I find a clue etched in your carbon nucleus? Or would I only find the magic key that enables you to break my heart?

Sara Hills is a Pushcart-nominated writer from the Sonoran Desert. Her stories have been featured at SmokeLong Quarterly, Cheap Pop, X-R-A-Y Literary, Reckon Review, Fractured Lit, New Flash Fiction Review and others. She’s had work included in the BIFFY50, commended in the Bath Flash Fiction Award, and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Her debut flash collection, The Evolution of Birds, is forthcoming in 2021 with Ad Hoc Fiction. Sara lives in Warwickshire, UK and tweets from @sarahillswrites.

June 02

Annette Edwards-Hill – Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

The First Kiss

She left the house with the dog and told her mother they were going for a walk.

From upstairs her mother watched the girl and dog cross the park, casting shadows on the green expanse. A taller third shadow joined them.

Even with binoculars her mother couldn’t tell they’d walked into a swarm of flies.

The first kiss was a mix of broken insects and the sweet smell of new pollen.

The dog tied to the tree watched them for a while but got bored and licked his paws as a magpie circled him. Her young nearby in a nest.

Annette Edwards-Hill lives in Wellington, New Zealand. Her short stories and flashes have been published in New Zealand and overseas. She was nominated for the Best Small Fictions and the Pushcart Prize and shortlisted for the New Zealand Heritage Writing Awards in 2018 and the Sargeson Prize in 2020.

* * *

June 01 

Jude Higgins – Bath, UK

Falling Apart

Her flaws were creaking. She subsided more each year — couldn’t peg together the cracks that snaked through her personality. Conversations with others fell into gaps between her polite intentions and the harsh words that dropped like fairy tale toads from her mouth. ‘It’s a carnival of lost causes, unmasked,’ the therapist said. ‘Speak as the animal you are. Eat only pink foods.’ He was a tidy man, with a guarded face. She paid him money to suggest such things.

Jude Higgins is published in Flash Frontier, New Jones Street, The Nottingham Review, The Blue Fifth Review, The New Flash Fiction Review, NFFD anthologies among other places. She has won or been placed in several flash fiction competitions. Her debut flash fiction pamphlet, ‘The Chemist’s House’,was published by V.Press in 2017. She organises Bath Flash Fiction Award and directs Flash Fiction Festivals UK.Twitter: @judehwriter / Web: judehiggins.com

Matthew Scowcroft – Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand


The flat is near bare. Just a couple of boxes on the floor. He stands at the door blocking it. I can’t come in.

He holds onto the record for a second longer than is polite. Selling your precious history? Or not holding onto that which does not matter?

I slide it out of the sleeve. Hold it gently by the edges and hold it up to the light. Turn it over. Scuffs are a part of us, but this one’s got some deep scratches.

When I hand it back and shake my head, he looks relieved.

Matthew Scowcroft is a lawyer by profession, taking a break to raise two small children and making the most of some free time by learning to write better. 


The 2021 Micro Madness Short List

(alphabetical by title)

A True Romantic by by S J Mannion

An attempt at Cancel Culture by Mike Crowl

As in all things, the key is balance by Claire Beynon

At a table, alone by Jac Jenkins

Becoming by Sandy Feinstein

Brautigan Banquet by by Rob Walton

Code break by Paula Moros

Collections by Matthew Scowcroft

Erosion by Sam Payne

Face down by Diana Burns

Falling Apart by Jude Higgins

Father Buried Queenie in the Small Field by Tom O’Brien

Half Bianca by Anita Arlov

How to Manage Every-Other-Saturday Lunchtime with His Kids by Sherry Morris

In the Night Library by Marjory Woodfield

Just Relax by Russ Bickerstaff

Last Visit by Karen Jones

löyly by Rose Collins

Maracas by Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar

No Record by Diane Simmons

Not by Caroline Thonger

Nothing but X by Mary Thompson

Romeo and Juliet by Bayveen O’Connell

Rubbish day by Desna Wallace

That Path by Pam Morrison

The Consequences of a Change by Cristina Schumacher

The Dream Catchers by Martin Porter

The First Kiss by Annette Edwards-Hill

The Lure of Sequins by Denise Bayes

The Marriage Question by Abha Iyengar

The Mirror by Jenna Heller

The parsley in Aleppo looks like the parsley in Dunedin by by Aaron Blaker

The Picture of Meditation by Sudha Balagopal

Vacancy by Tim Saunders

Years passed, we never mowed the lawn and the front door still stuck by Vivian Thonger

You Promise Me the Moon, But You’re No Jimmy Stewart by Sara Hills

The 2021 Micro Madness Long List

(alphabetical by title)

We had a record number of submissions this year, so we have a wonderfully diverse Long List. Congratulations to the writers of these micros! Short-listed stories will be posted beginning June 01.

A True Romantic by by S J Mannion

An attempt at Cancel Culture by Mike Crowl

As in all things, the key is balance by Claire Beynon

At a table, alone by Jac Jenkins

Becoming by Sandy Feinstein

Brautigan Banquet by by Rob Walton

Code break by Paula Moros

Collections by Matthew Scowcroft

Condolence by S J Mannion

Duck Egg by Aaron Blaker

Earth. Worm. by Michele Powles

Erosion by Sam Payne

Everyone needs their cell phones by Kate Mahony

Face down by Diana Burns

Falling Apart by Jude Higgins

Fantasy About the Man Reading The Grapes of Wrath at a Roadside Rest Area in the Bay of Plenty by Patrick Pink

Fantasy About the Man Reading To Kill a Mockingbird in Hagley Park Across from Masjid Al-Noor by Patrick Pink

Father Buried Queenie in the Small Field by Tom O’Brien

Franzstadt, 1980 by Claudia Bolz

Froglets by Anna Scaife

Girl, you’ll be a woman soon by Eleonora Balsano

Gloria Vanderbilt is Never Tagged by Amy Barnes

Grandmother’s footsteps by Vivian Thonger

Half Bianca by Anita Arlov

He loves me? by Pam Morrison

Holiday weekend by Jane Blaikie

How do you make love to a sailor? by Marissa Hoffmann

How to Manage Every-Other-Saturday Lunchtime with His Kids by Sherry Morris

I Can See You and Breathe by Angela Wilson

I look you over with my liquid eye, Virgo my star-sign by Gail Ingram

If it weren’t for the cushioning water by Anita Arlov

In the Night Library by Marjory Woodfield

Just Relax by Russ Bickerstaff

Last Train to Matsusaka by Mark Crimmins

Last Visit by Karen Jones

Left-overs by Alex Reece-Abbott

Lovers by Bryan Wang

löyly by Rose Collins

Maracas by Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar

Mori by Susan Wardell

New Year’s Eve Party by Angela Trolove

No Record by Diane Simmons

Not by Caroline Thonger

Nothing but X by Mary Thompson

Offloading Passengers by Judy Darley

Preface to The Vulture Chronicles by Heather McQuillen

Romeo and Juliet by Bayveen O’Connell

Rubbish day by Desna Wallace

Send for Granny Harrold by Sue Kingham

She’s a Long Road by Melanie Dixon

Spiders come out in summer, like your secrets by Mary Francis

That Path by Pam Morrison

The Consequences of a Change by Cristina Schumacher

The Dream Catchers by Martin Porter

The effect of good news on a mollusc by Mary Francis

The First Kiss by Annette Edwards-Hill

The hot rush of summer by Louise Mangos

The key by Rob Walton

The Lure of Sequins by Denise Bayes

The Marriage Question by Abha Iyengar

The Mirror by Jenna Heller

The parsley in Aleppo looks like the parsley in Dunedin by by Aaron Blaker

The Picture of Meditation by Sudha Balagopal

Touring in Poland by Rose Collins

Vacancy by Tim Saunders

Wind-Birds by Michael Carson

Years passed, we never mowed the lawn and the front door still stuck by Vivian Thonger

You Promise Me the Moon, But You’re No Jimmy Stewart by Sara Hills

The 2021 Micro Madness judges are Grant Faulkner (San Francisco, USA) and Alison Glenny (Paekākāriki, Aotearoa New Zealand).

Grant_FaulknerGrant Faulkner is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the co-founder of 100 Word Story. He’s published All the Comfort Sin Can ProvideFissures (a collection of 100-word stories), and Nothing Short of 100: Selected Tales from 100 Word Story. He has also published two books on writing, Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo, and Brave the Page, a teen writing guide. His stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, including Tin HouseThe Southwest Review, and The Gettysburg Review, and he has been anthologized in collections such as Norton’s New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction and Best Small Fictions. His essays on creativity have been published in The New York TimesPoets & WritersLitHubWriter’s Digest, and The Writer. Additionally, Grant serves on the National Writing Project’s Writer’s Council, Lit Camp’s Advisory Council, and Aspen Words’ Creative Council. He’s also the co-host of the podcast Write-minded. Follow him on Twitter at @grantfaulkner and on Instagram at @grantfaulkner.

photoAGAlison Glenny is a fiction writer whose work got shorter and shorter. Her collection of prose poems and fragments, The Farewell Tourist, won the Kathleen Gratton poetry award in 2017 and was published by Otago University Press in 2018. Her work was also included in Best Small Fictions 2019. In 2019 she was an Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury. She lives in Paekākāriki.


The 2020 Micro Madness Winners



Sheila Hailstone – Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Listen to Sheila Hailstone read her FIRST PLACE micro here.

Waiting for an avalanche when you live by the sea

She tilted her head to taste the salt-laced wind. Along the worn sandy path, the blood-red sunrise caught her by surprise. Container ships rolled on the waves passing by as masked strangers, their urgent eyes focused on another horizon. She looked for the Godwits. Had they returned early to the Arctic? The Gull fan club, soaring, dancing white handkerchiefs in the wind, screeched their farewells. She was alone observing the Oyster Catcher silently wading in the estuary as the tide turned. Everything looked in its place. She hoped for a red sunset, but, in her heart, she knew the tiniest bat drying its wing could create an avalanche somewhere in the world.

Sheila Hailstone is a writer/speaker living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her most recent work, Dancing Around Cancer, available on Amazon, presents reflections in the form of haibun, a combination of prose poem and haiku. All funds generated from the sale of this book will be donated to cancer research. Sheila is passionate about helping others find their voice. Founder of CWC Toastmasters, where women are ‘Supported to Succeed’. https://www.cwctoastmasters.org.nz/




Rose Collins – Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Listen to Rose Collins read her FIRST PLACE micro here.

Here sea slaps at gravel and gravel scuffs back. Wet things emerge.

Bladder kelp, polystyrene, once a nonagenarian eel. Today there’s a creamy, quince-shaped moon rock smattered with sand. Alan runs to the spot, kneels like a Bejawi camel, lifts it, sniffs. Grace is roaring, ‘It’s dog shit. Chuck it back.’ He pockets his find.

Later he’ll make a call; a dealer will come to scrape and scorch the lump, filling the house with the thick, sodden scent of the sea. Alan will take the cash and buy boots, tyres for the Caldina, armfuls of pale pink roses for Grace.

Rose Collins has a Masters in Creative Writing from Victoria University’s IIML (2010). She was shortlisted for the 2016 Bare Fiction Prize (UK) and placed 2nd in the 2019 National Flash Fiction Competition (NZ). Rose was the 2018 Writer in Residence at Hagley College and has taught creative writing to children and teenagers. The sea turns up a lot in her writing.




Susan Wardell – Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

See Susan Wardell read her SECOND PLACE micro here.

Wild life

The roads through Nairobi are now so quiet that gorillas have been seen carrying their babies back and forth, in the hours before dusk.

In England, for the first time in a century, walrus’ have returned to bask beside a crystal clear Thames.

The sudden reduction in smog has seen pterodactyls landing to preen on the balconies of Tokyo businessmen. They have expressed interest in magazines left outside. They are furnishing their nests with The Wall Street Journal.

We bed down in the news of nature’s return. Turn circles on our stained sheets. We peer out our windows, and howl.

Susan Wardell is from Dunedin, New Zealand, where she lectures in Social Anthropology, while raising two small humans and a modest indoor jungle. She has published poetry and essays in a variety of journals in New Zealand and Australia.  




Heather McQuillan – Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

See Heather McQuillan read her SECOND PLACE micro here.

The Ties that Bind

Dad kicked at the clumps and promised he’d fix the mower before the grass grew as high as an elephant’s eye. He dragged back a munted bike he’d found by the roadside, reckoned he’d fix it up for me but by summer’s end it and the lawn mower were smothered by convolvulus. Those flowers with fried-egg centres whispered Nothing to see here. I tugged them aside. Between the spokes of the buckled front wheel, roots writhed like sun-bleached eels.

The grass slumped over in the wet. Dad moved on somewhere. Mum says when I’m older I can follow his trail.

BIO Heather McQuillan reads, writes and teaches writing. She is director at Write On School for Young Writers. As well as flash fiction, Heather writes award-winning novels for young people. More here.




Mileva Anastasiadou – Athens, Greece

See Mileva Anastasiadou read her THIRD PLACE micro here.

Last night I dreamt of the sea

I’ve been walking since dawn, still walking, when men in uniforms tell me to stop, asking, where are you going, sir? To the sea, I say, sweat on my forehead, my shirt soaked, but they tell me I should go home, they frown, and I stand still, out of breath, my feet weak, my heart pounding, it hurts to run out of air, and I give her my word, I will return, once this is over, and the sea talks back, she sighs, all bad things end, always, she says, then, we’ll celebrate.

Mileva Anastasiadou is a neurologist from Athens, Greece. A Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best Small Fictions nominated writer, her work can be found in many journals, such as Litro, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Kanstellation, Open Pen and others.




Sharon Boyle – East Lothian, Scotland

Hear Sharon Boyle read her THIRD PLACE micro here.

Uncharted Waters

I sit marooned on the couch. Ma’s out shopping which means I get to watch Granny scrub her crimson bloomers and hoist them high on the pulley. She sporadically squawks about no pocket money coming my way ‘cos I’m a dicey DNA bastard.

She knows fine well I need pennies for my pirate ship.


I sew it myself – a flag as defiant as bad blood; a Keelhaul all skinflints! warning.

She flaps fierce about the theft, claiming I’m a fatherless shite who’s no longer welcome in her house.

Saluting agreement I set sail for a life on granny-free seas.

Sharon Boyle sits at a messy dining table writing short stories and flash. Some have been published on-line and in magazines, including Writers’ Forum, Reflex Fiction and the Brighton Prize anthology. She tweets as @SharonBoyle50



S.B. Borgersen – Nova Scotia

See S. B. Borgerson read her micro here.

Two-faced Moira

She asks the mirror, her only friend now. “Are you ready to go out?”

Moira puts on a mask of anonymity. Frozen faced, never speaking, she walks in stiff steps to the bus stop.

There are no buses, she turns and stiff-steps, enveloped visaged back to her forest green front door.

Moira knocks on her own door, like a visitor, steps inside and says, “Welcome, do come in.”

She takes a tray of tea and homemade misshapen shortbread to the chintz sofa where she unfreezes her face, her body, her mind and tells herself she is safe.

Internationally published, S.B. Borgersen’s favoured genres are short and micro fictionf and poetry. Sue’s collection of 150 micro fictions, While the Kettle Boils, will be published by Unsolicited Press in 2021. http://www.sueborgersen.com



Jodi Barnes – Athens Georgia, USA

See Jodi Barnes read her micro here.

Our First Apartment

Summer sweatbox, third-floor high, box fans banging. The first-floor, 30-something couple so friendly until Miller Time when windows gaped in hopes of a breeze. By ten, their shouts drowned out passions that should have soaked our sheets.

One night, sirens and lights. We saw their roundness bend into separate police cars, never mentioning it again.

Five moves later we are their age. I wake up cold in this new subdivision house, central air. You are out way past Miller Time. I remember the fermentation: passion and heat. It is quiet, too cool, maybe too late to learn how to fight.

Jodi Barnes writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and favors flash due to its flexibility and economy. A former journalist, HR manager and professor, she founded ‘14 Words for Love’ which aims to foster empathy and address social injustices through art and writing. She lives in Athens, GA, USA. https://14wordsforlove.com/



Bronwen Griffiths – East Sussex, UK

See Bronwen Griffiths read her micro here.

Forty days

We waited forty days like Christ in the Wilderness. We did not wander the desert wastes among wild beasts but were jammed into our apartment on the thirteenth floor.  Honestly, I did not think any of us would make it out. Forty days of Giuseppe’s Minecraft. Forty days of Maria’s whining. Forty days of Mario’s TV quiz shows. Even Jesus might have considered murder. But here we are, on the edge of the wasteland, and never have the dandelions appeared so yellow, the grasses such a razzle-dazzle green and never have we laughed together like this – like music.

Bronwen Griffiths lives in East Sussex, UK. Her publications include two novels and two collections of flash fiction, and she was recently shortlisted for the Bath novella-in-flash award. Her flash fiction has appeared in Barren Magazine, Flashback Fiction, Lunate and Spelk, among others.



John Irvine – Coleville, New Zealand

Heart felt

“Happy Valentines!” I handed her my heart-shaped card. “My heart!”

Tamara pressed the fingers of both hands into her chest, pulling the ribs apart. “Here’s mine, darling!” She tore out her living heart and offered it to me cupped in her palms.

I took it, nodding, thinking of butter, onions, garlic and just a touch of tarragon.

John Irvine is a New Zealand sheep lover. Here in rural and unsuspecting Colville on the Coromandel Peninsula, he lets his dark side out to play. John’s first collection of illustrated poetry, Man of Stone, was published in 2005, and a second volume of illustrated poetry, Rat atouille for the rindless (illustrated by Dave Freeman) in 2007 by Preshrunk Press. http://www.cooldragon.nz



Jac Jenkins – Kohokohu, North Hokianga, New Zealand

A small spinning wind

Three leaves tossed by a small spinning wind.

A small spinning wind tosses last night’s news. Three leaves unwind.

Last night’s news says three died when unwinding wind tossed their lives into small spinning piles of leaves.

That last unwound night, their lives folded into news: “They Died Like Wind-Tossed Leaves”.

Life leaves in spinning wind. Last night’s news tossed into three small piles of leaves.

Three leaves folded into small buds.

Three folded buds.

Jac Jenkins farms and writes in the Far North. Lately she has been editing a mixed-genre manuscript she began in her MA year and fixing fences.



R.P. Wood – Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

See R. P. Wood read his micro here.

The Far Bleachers

The cricket coach wishes to remind students that the far bleachers are not a convenient cover for losing virginities of any kind. They are for watching his boring sport on hot Saturday afternoons, when you would rather be at the beach or the mall or clawing your own eyes out. He is tired of sanding over heart-framed initials that none of you ever return to look at. It takes him hours to erase these amorous engravings, when he could be yelling at the 1st XI. The school nurse, however, is pleased with the abundance of condom wrappers.

R. P. Wood is a fiction writer from Tauranga, New Zealand. His work has previously appeared in Mayhem and Flash Frontier.



Dallas Kidd – Houston, Texas, USA

See Dallas Kidd read her micro here.

Searching for Exceptions to My Black Thumb

My seeds sprouted into a miniature graveyard, white mold like mist along the ground and up the signpost that declares “Lemon Balm” in Sharpie.

While pink Azalea Bonsai flowers wilted under Texas sun, the cucumber’s green curlicues wrapped tightly around the dill’s tiny yellow flowers and the wind blew over rows of plants.

I broke my voluntary self-isolation to buy a lemon tree and then unboxed a witch’s broom I soaked in water before planting in the hope of it producing Asian pears.

But a bee buries itself in honeysuckle-scented flowers. This garden of failures has become our refuge.

Dallas Kidd is a software engineer with degrees in English, psychology, and computer science. She loves traveling, especially for scuba diving; and she has a lot of hobbies, including writing and gardening.



Rachel Smith – Ōtautahi, New Zealand

See Rachel Smith read her micro here.

Some kind of sunset

The sun comes out at the end of the day, wedged between low cloud and horizon.

Fucken typical, she says. Come, he says.

Through the hole he cut in the back fence into a park of sorts. Patchy grass ringed by warehouses, a stockpile of gravel in one corner.

He sits on the grass, head tilted back into the sun. She swats at small biting flies. He kisses her wrist, her mouth. The sun sprays a mess of colour.

And it works out like this, she thinks. A grass stained butt and a bracelet of bites. Some kind of happiness.

Rachel Smith lives in Aotearoa New Zealand. Her writing has been published in journals and anthologies, including Best Microfiction 2019,  Bonsai: Best small stories from Aotearoa New Zealand and Best Small Fictions 2020. She has been short-listed for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and TSS International Flash Fiction, and placed second in 2017 NZ National Flash Fiction Day competition. She is script writer for the feature film Stranded Pearl, due for release in 2020. @rachelmsmithnz1



Lois Villemaire – Annapolis, Maryland, USA

See Lois Villemaire read her micro here.


We were wondering if
The squirrels were
Bigger this year
Or if we just hadn’t
Noticed their size before.
Watching them from our window,
Scampering at the forest’s edge
With enormous bushy tails.
Jumping over fallen trees,
Busily on their way
To find nourishment.
I saw worms in the backyard,
Under the leaves.
Stink bugs stuck
On the window screen,
Like paralyzed pests.
There’s lots of time to observe
The wonders out there.
Now we too scamper for food,
At the curbside pickup
Or the carry out shop.
Covering our faces,
Not used to breathing
Or talking in a mask.

Lois Perch Villemaire lives in Annapolis, Maryland, US. She writes poetry, flash fiction, nonfiction, and memoir. Her stories have appeared in Potato Soup Journal, 101 Words, FewerThan500, The Drabble, Pen-in-Hand and Flora Fiction, and she blogs for annapolisdiscovered.com.



John Yohe  – Puerto Rico/ Oregon, USA

See John Yohe read his micro here.

Lightning Storm

Cloud to cloud, positive and negative strikes over Redondo and la Caldera, all along the Sierra de Nacamiento and out to White Cliff and Santa Fe. The fire lookout tower is supposedly grounded, thick steel cables running from room to rock, but he’s heard stories—of a line of electricity stretching between the two power outlets, or looping around the steel catwalk railings. Mañana there may be fire, but for now this moment, thunder crack and roar, jagged streaks in anvilhead cells, he knows the world is alive and moving over us, cloud to cloud, positive and negative strikes.

Born in Puerto Rico, John Yohe grew up in Michigan and lives in Oregon. He has worked as a wildland firefighter, deckhand/oiler, bike messenger, wilderness ranger and fire lookout. Fiction Editor for Deep Wild Journal. http://www.johnyohe.com 



Amy Barnes – Nashville, Tennessee

See Amy Barnes read her micro here.


I’ve eaten sunset three days in a row. Standing expectantly with my mouth open, orange-sicle sky and blueberry rain feed my escapist hunger. A sad Mother Nature doesn’t scold me for licking her sky with toddler-abandon.

She’s watching in case I go down the wrong path, skip stones in a forbidden pond or bite down on angry storm debris.

Her finger-lightning taps at wee hour windows.

She sends owls and mourning doves to encircle my house. I eat their songs as a midnight snack, catching whos and cackles in my throat, swallowing spring into my stomach.

Amy Barnes has words at FlashBack Fiction, Popshot Quarterly, Penny Fiction, Lucent Dreaming, The Molotov Cocktail, Bandit Fiction, Cabinet of Heed, Spartan Lit and others. She’s a reader for Fractured Lit, Taco Bell Quarterly, NFFD UK, CRAFT, Retreat West and Narratively.



Mandira Pattnaik – India

See Mandira Pattnaik read her micro here.

Little Chevalier

You’d been winding wool into a ball when the orb slips out of your hands and rolls to the corner of the dim-lit room where the toddler is bending over his toy horse. When he brings the ball back, one step at a time, you’re more of a spectator applauding than the woman carrying his brother; so you pull out a wrapper from underneath your chair and fold it into a hat he can wear, remembering to fashion it like an armet fit for a knight.

Mandira Pattnaik writes in India. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Times of India, Watershed Review, Gasher, Spelk, Lunate, Eclectica, Panoplyzine and Splonk, among others. She tweets @MandiraPattnaik  



Sophia Wilson – Woodside, Otago, New Zealand

See Sophia Wilson read her micro here.


The eldest faces the mountain, pulls at the sky, slender-swift with her fiddle. Invites dynamism.

The middle one hunches over kitchen bench. Inches through curriculum requirements.

What’s the difference between eminent and imminent?

I observe looming clouds, hear incoming wuthering. Shiver.

A storm is imminent. The prince is eminent.

A young princess gallops in, arms flapping. Yells, What am I?

Um – Don’t know – Circus-girl riding palomino? White owl?

Naaaah – one of those big chicken awtrish things.

An ostrich! Of course.

No longer imminent, rain wallops. Lightning bites. Thunder bangs its fists on windows.

The ostrich dives under a blanket.

Sophia Wilson’s work recently appeared in StylusLit, Not Very Quiet, Ars Medica, Hektoen International, Intima, Distāntia off topic poetics, NZ Poetry Shelf, Poems in the Waiting Room, Corpus and elsewhere. She was a finalist in the 2019 Robert Burns Poetry Competition and winner of the 2020 IWW Flash Fiction Competition. Thanks to the terrific helpers with the audio: Savarna and Peakfiddler for the music, Karuna for her question and Nalini for being the ostrich.



Susan Wardell – Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

wardell filmic tn

See Susan Wardell read her micro here.


Placing the washing basket on her hip, she immediately feels like a longsuffering prairie wife. Stepping past the overflowing recycling bin, she muses that in movies, women are always hanging laundry when men return from war.

She pauses to observe the honeybees worshipping at the purple-flowered hebe. Their choral buzz reminds her of that scene with the apes and the obelisk. Oh life-giver! Oh many-breasted God!

Beneath the rusted Eiffel of the line, she lays her burden down. Then she tilts her head to the matte blue sky and thinks about those indie films, in which nothing happens at all.

Susan Wardell is from Dunedin, New Zealand, where she lectures in Social Anthropology, while raising two small humans and a modest indoor jungle. She has published poetry and essays in a variety of journals in New Zealand and Australia. 



Pam Morrison – Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand                                              

See Pam Morrison read her micro here.

After the raspberries

She’s fingering the pleats on the hem of the green sofa. Her chin is stained with raspberry juice. The whole punnet, every sweet knobble, had poured into her mouth like a cascade of crimson. Isolation consolation she’d called it. She’d been grinning at her dead husband. They’d joked: gorge like no-one’s watching. She was still smiling, juice spilling, breathing easy, when the sitting room took on a lean. The fall she’d been avoiding all these months finally had her in its arms. How strange: the way time slows down as if to catch you, she thought on her way down.

Pam Morrison is a Dunedin-based former journalist who has turned her hand to creative writing. Her current passion is flash fiction and micro fiction, and she was last year’s regional winner in the National Flash Fiction Day competition.



Sophie van Llewyn – Germany

Coana Rodica in front of a black and white TV set at the time of the Romanian Revolution of 1989

Peels knee-long nylons biting into her swollen legs. The borsch takes hours, but her grandson loves it so. No school for him tomorrow; everyone is hiding.

Wild rumors: the presidential couple fled to Cuba by helicopter. Russian tanks invading. The Army shooting at protesters on the streets of Bucharest. Her son, in Bucharest, too. Coana Rodica crosses herself. Lord, have mercy.

On the top of her closet: bananas, ripening, wrapped in newspaper. Bought them for Christmas — five hours of waiting in the cold.

Better give them to her grandson tomorrow. Better not wait to see how this ends.

Sophie van Llewyn was born in Romania, but she lives in Germany. Her novella-in-flash Bottled Goods was long-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2019.  



Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar – Columbus, Ohio, USA

See Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar read her micro here.

Spirits in lockdown

My daughter, Lily, talks me into playing a game on the Ouija board she brought from the dorm. It’s harmless fun, she says.

We place our fingers on the planchette. It starts moving. The air reeks of the smell my nostrils have forgotten— I washed it off the curtains, bed sheets, and blankets. I start sneezing. Lily’s face becomes white.

“No smoking indoors, Mister.” I shout.

The planchette moves rapidly, jumping from letter to letter. “No rules in lockdown,” Lily reads in a shaky voice. My husband winks in his picture on the mantel.

Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar is an Indian American. She was born in a middle-class family in India and will forever be indebted to her parents for educating her beyond their means. She is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee. She blogs at Puny Fingers and can be reached at twitter @PunyFingers http://saraspunyfingers.com



Sam Payne – Plymouth, UK

See Sam Payne read her micro here.

Self Defence

This body of mine harbours a storm, the fortune teller told me so. It was Jimmy’s idea to visit her. Normally, he dismisses such things as bullshit, but the trip was his way of making amends for what he refers to as a little tiff.

What did she say?’ He asks me later.

‘Nothing, really.’

‘Tell me,’ he says, gripping my arm tighter than necessary. ‘Tell me.’

I see that familiar icy look in his eyes and I know where this goes.

But this time, somewhere deep within, the updraft is gathering.

Sam Payne is a writer living in the UK. Her work has appeared in Spelk, Reflex Fiction and Popshot Magazine.



Judy Darley – Bristol, UK

See Judy Darley read her micro here.

Family psychology

Some homeschool days the lounge is a sea, stairs a snow-capped mountain, bathroom a jungle, Mum and Dad’s bedroom a sun-seared dessert. You list dessert creatures: “Chocolate-tailed chuckwalla, jammy gerbil, custard vulture, sugar-swirl rattlesnake…”

The lounge thrashes with child-hungry squirms. Upstairs, bone-crunching jungle towels writhe. You save me when the dessert duvet gums me into sinking sand.

You’ve set your sights on the uncharted territory of the roof, aka the moon.

I waver behind curtains. When you return – narrow-mouthed, blank-eyed – I grasp your arm, but my fingers pass through. My brother, adrift beyond our realm. My turn to rescue.

Judy Darley is a British writer who can’t stop writing about the fallibilities of the human mind. Her short story collection Sky Light Rain is available from Valley Press here: https://bit.ly/2JiLT6h. Find Judy at http://www.SkyLightRain.com and https://twitter.com/JudyDarley



Jenny Woodhouse – New Zealand


Stamp, jingle, slap. The Morris men quarter the green, coloured ribbons flying, accordion playing.

Cameras flash. People wave, applaud. How much longer can the tradition last? Most of them are over eighty.

The church hides behind guardian yews from the pagan ritual. The sun reaches its low zenith. Chimes, then the tenor bell tolls midday.

The dancers fall back, stand and take their bows. City folk buy them pints.

The sun dips into the west. The dark rises from the east. Midwinter has come but not yet gone. The dance resumes, fiercer, more energetic, conjuring the sun to return.

After she retired Jenny Woodhouse studied creative writing with the Open University. Her output has shrunk from novel to short stories to flash. A new addiction to micros threatens total disappearance.



Sophie van Llewyn – Germany

Windows to the World in the Middle of the COVID Crisis

  1. A back garden in Bavaria that you share with neighbours on a tight rota.
  2. News in the only language that rolls naturally off your tongue — Romanians to the rescue of the crops in the UK & Germany. Maybe they’ll stop branding all of your people as beggars.
  3. In Bucharest, the window of your student flat, looking to a neighborhood of villas. At its end, the gigantic garbage bins between which a family resided. SUVs driving to them, hands stretching out: bags of waste & bags of alms. Never gift anything with cheese, eggs or meat on lent days like Wednesdays & Fridays.
Sophie van Llewyn was born in Romania, but she lives in Germany. Her novella-in-flash Bottled Goods was long-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2019.  



Sara Hills – Warwickshire, UK

See Sara Hills read her micro here.

On Ten Bay Beach

We sit thigh-deep in sea water manufacturing memories with my father, so after the cancer finally kills him, I can tell Benji, “You were his everything.”

It’s no lie; Dad has more patience for my infant son than he ever had for me.

Benji’s skin glows porcelain against Dad’s sunken chest while Dad’s young wife snaps photos. She tells Benji to smile and me to smile and though the whole stupid memory thing was my idea, I just want to punch her in her chihuahua-stained teeth.

Dad’s sitting right next to me, and I miss him already.

BIO Sara Hills has words at Barren Magazine, Reflex Fiction, TSS, Flash Flood Journal and others. She won the 2020 UK NFFD micro competition and has previously been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Award and the Bridport Prize. She tweets from @sarahillswrites.



Cherllisha Silva – Wellington, New Zealand

See Cherllisha Silva read her micro here.

Day 16. ‘Toilet paper, flour and sex toys top of New Zealanders’ shopping lists in the day before lockdown.’

When Council locked public toilets, I used the essential workers’ one at the bus terminus, until the Government gave me this hotel room—a pandemic present. Only I touch this handle, these taps, this button, this bog roll—the softest and whitest, imprinted with stylie leaves like that supplied in the talking toilet behind the library. I used to sit there for eight minutes listening to bowel-relax music, tracing leaves across serrations and imagining three segments behind a white mat with black frame on my wall, expecting the voice, “The door will automatically unlock in two minutes.”

Cherllisha Silva lives in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. She writes poetry, flash and short fiction. Her work is published in journals, anthologies and newspapers in New Zealand, Australia and the US.



Marissa Hoffman – Switzerland

See Marissa Hoffman read her micro here.

Corners and Edges

The yellowing leaves were holding on, like Mummy. We came inside, we hushed. We cut apple pieces, drew pictures and crept secret deliveries up the stairs on a tray. Darkness felt bigger, we slept top-to-toe, Gorilla and Cattie too. Each morning, jigsaw pieces lay on our pillows, first the corners, then the edges. We worked by Mummy’s bed, no picture to guide us. Outside, the wind chased chatty leaves into groups, they whispered about letting go. But the snow shushed them the day Daddy rocked us. Wet cheeked, he told us the rest of the puzzle we’d work out together.

Marissa Hoffman is delighted to have her micro featured at NFFD NZ’s Micro Madness again. She won the Bath Flash Fiction Award in 2019 and has flash published in some of her favourite lit mags and anthologies. http://www.marissahofmann.com @hoffmannwriter



Lucy Zhang – Cupertino, California, USA

Can’t see the rainbow from here 

The man in the sewer hates the rain. He hates the pitter-patters and plunks of water droplets trickling down from the pavement, through the bars of the drainage–down, down, down until they join the pool of water covered by oil sheen. When he wades around, pushing floating leaves and jolly rancher wrappers aside, he closes his eyes, pretends the water resistance is just a very heavy wind and he is not half-soaked. He does not notice when the sun emerges, and footsteps replace the sound of raindrops as people emerge from their houses to take in a fresh rainbow.

Lucy Zhang is a writer masquerading around as a software engineer disguised as an anime fan. Her work has appeared in Crab Fat Magazine, Atlas & Alice, Okay Donkey, Jellyfish Review and elsewhere. She can be found at https://kowaretasekai.wordpress.com/ or on Twitter @Dango_Ramen.



Bronwyn Hegarty – Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Hear Bronwyn Hegarty read her micro here.

Hare man

Seventy-eight years map his face with tributaries criss-crossing the main divide. He needs no one. He wants nothing else, alone with his shotgun and a cabbage patch. The peeling roof, the wooden boards – they need a paint, badly. His time is better spent watching from the toilet window. At dusk, a hare pops up amongst the silverbeet. Bang! Another one for the pot. His gut growls as he walks outside, blade in hand. He slits open the warm belly, releasing dark green coils. He cuts quickly around each limb, rips the skin back. Sighs, enjoying the softness of the fur.

Bronwyn Hegarty enjoys writing short and long fiction and poetry in the Dunedin countryside where she lives with her husband. Her love of nature is reflected in her writing and illustrates her Moodswithpoetry blog at: https://moodswithpoetry.blogspot.com/



Charlotte Hamrick – New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

See Charlotte Hamrick read her micro here.

Sniffing Dreft

She fingers the christening dress fabric. Its embroidered threads feel silky against the crinkly organza, feels like the fibers of another life. She dips it in a basin of soapy water – swish, swish. The scent of Dreft wafts through the room, bubbles riding shotgun. She carries it to the balcony clutched to her heaving chest. Gently lays it over the balcony railing, little sleeves waving forlornly in the breeze. She watches the woman across the atrium pacing the hours away. Thinks about her daughter out there, her legs still now. Waves back at her tiny dress for the last time.

Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry, prose, and photography has been published in numerous online and print journals. She is a Contributing Editor for Barren Magazine and reads for Fractured Lit. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets.



Lucy Zhang – Cupertino, California USA

Flower Girl

The flower girl holds a bouquet and steals glances at the goth boy slouching in the corner. When everyone clamors to speak with the newlyweds, she plucks a single flower and hides it under her trench coat. Cloaked in black, a grim reaper visiting a holy matrimonial ceremony, the boy eats from a spread of finger foods–dainty sandwiches that wouldn’t fill a hummingbird. She reaches for a cannoli, shoulder bumping shoulder. Her fingers brush against his knuckles and she apologizes, then pulls the flower from her coat like a magician and presents him an offering, an invitation.

Lucy Zhang is a writer masquerading around as a software engineer disguised as an anime fan. Her work has appeared in Crab Fat Magazine, Atlas & Alice, Okay Donkey, Jellyfish Review, and elsewhere. She can be found at https://kowaretasekai.wordpress.com/ or on Twitter @Dango_Ramen.



Kim Jackways – Christchurch, New Zealand

See Kim Jackways read her micro here.


Hunker down:

  1. To take shelter or refuge

She’s safe, they tell her. It becomes a mantra, like in the old days of meditation and yoga. She squints through smudged glass and fingers the cool frames.

  1. To sit on the heels with knees bent forward; squat

Grief comes prematurely, each afternoon. The curtains hang dank green and the voices from the 3D wraparound television are aloof.

  1. To hold stubbornly to some position

The screen talks in the voices of her grandchildren. Knocks in a flurry, the patter of pudgy fingers on her knee. Her heart pounds.

Kim Jackways is a freelance writer based in Canterbury. She writes tales of forgotten histories and imaginary worlds. Her fiction has been published in various places, including The Best Small Fictions 2019. 



Erik Kennedy – Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Hear Erik Kennedy read his micro here.

Dealing with Change

I couldn’t believe how much money I had found in my couch cushions. It must have been $10,000.

I texted my broker immediately: ‘Sarah, put it all in oil.’

Sarah texted back: ‘Lloyd, we’ve been over this. I’m not your broker, I’m your sister. And you didn’t find that money in your couch, you found it in the hole in your back garden where you keep burying it.’

This was a lot to take in. I had to rethink everything. ‘In that case,’ I texted back, ‘put it all in natural gas.’

Erik Kennedy is the author of There’s No Place Like the Internet in Springtime (Victoria University Press, 2018), and he selected the poetry for Queen Mob’s Teahouse: Teh Book (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2019). Originally from New Jersey, he lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.



Kay Wise – Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

See Kay Wise read her micro here.

I’ll run you over with my bike

Woosh! ‘Lookout guys!‘ he spits.

Matted fleece brushes against me – ragged hair, unshaven, the stench of sweat. He’s helmetless, unseated, riding like a race horse. A rush of air invades. No social distance, not like the courteous dog-walkers.

We saw him shouting at girls outside their flat.

‘She’s not my girlfriend!’ and, ‘He’ll have a sore mouth now!’

We wondered over lunch about the punch.

Kay Wise has poetry published in Christchurch Press, Catalyst and New Zealand Poetry Society. She belongs to a family of conservationists passionate about endangered birds. Land and seascapes of Banks Peninsula and Able Tasman inspire her writing.



Nan Wigington – Denver, Colorado, USA

Listen to Nan Wigington read her micro here.


On her 15th birthday, black bowlered men fell from the sky. The sharp ends of their unfurled umbrellas pointed straight at her heart. She dodged, darted, barely survived.

At 16, clouds filled with teachers. She met them, face turned up. They kissed her lips, fell from her cheeks, washed away into gutters.

She spent her 18th birthday in hiding. Still boys arrived damp and sweaty. One fell on her like a hailstorm. Another like a fog. They made her shiver.

A drought followed. Nothing but blue skies. Only one tornado. How could she live with such perfect weather.

Nan Wigington lives in Denver, Colorado. She is currently employed as a paraprofessional in a K-2 autism center. Her work has appeared in Pithead Chapel, After the Pause and Spelk.



Diana Burns – Wellington, New Zealand

Burns tn

See Diana Burns read her micro here.

The shape of things

She woke up tired after anxious dreams. Some nights friends turned against her, threatening her with knives. Classmates she hadn’t thought of in 30 years interrupted. Twisted macrocarpas with ominous branches stifled the house she needed to escape from.  Once she was riding a llama naked down her street, which morphed into a crumbling mountain track.

By day, work and friends were strained through a pixelated sieve of distance. Movement and meaning zoomed into virtual space. Form was untrustworthy, could be filtered and enhanced. Fed on comforting starch and starved of attention, her body was losing its shape.

Diana Burns lives in Wellington, and has always loved words. Her eclectic career has included broadcasting, journalism, clear communications training, teaching in Spain and leading tours around Latin America. She’s good at a singsong because she always knows the words.



Ursula Hoult – Waiheke Island, Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand

Hoult tn

See Ursula Hoult read her micro here.

Old friends sitting by the fire

Henry snuck out. His babysitter was blowing kisses into the phone again. So he headed to the banned beyond.

On the path he saw a rabbit. It turned and ran. He ran after it, through the trees and down the hill. But the rabbit was fast and Henry became tired. He was happy when the rabbit reached the pond and stopped.

He stood and caught his breath. Out loud he asked, “will you come home with me?”

In later years they discussed who had been the more surprised. Henry, because Peter answered. Or Peter, because he said “yes”.

Over a lifetime, Ursula Hoult has done many things – a little bit of a lot of things. As you read, you may wonder, “Did she make that bit up”? And the answer is quite likely, “Yes – because it suited the story.” https://ursulahoult.com/



María Castro Domínguez – Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,The Canary Islands

Maria tn

See María Castro Domínguez read her micro here.

The new normal

going out is discovering a country ─ over the phone he drinks love and fear ─

the daily ovation from balconies feels we are applauding trees sky and earth

the dog walkers with tired dogs look at me as if I was the only dog-less human

a woman sneezes outside a mask she wears it like a necklace I catch her gems of germs

window panes announce sales pre-covid clothes collects dust and becomes aged

a parrot cocks his head to one side it’s how it he sees this world

a neighbour has made an eggless cake she cracked sunshine in the flour

María Castro Domínguez is the author of A Face in The Crowd, her 2016 Erbacce Press-winning collection. She is also winner of the third prize in Brittle Star´s Poetry Competition 2018. Her poems have appeared in Orbis, Obsessed With Pipework, Apogee, PANK, Empty Mirror, Popshot and London Grip.



Jacques Denault – Danvers, Massachusetts, USA

Denault tn

See Jacques Denault read his micro here.

A roller coaster in the trees

It happened long ago, in the trees. A young boy stood atop branches so high they bore clouds rather than leaves. Some grew fruit—blueberries, strawberries, and currants which fed him throughout the years.

He was born there.

People worked far below. The boy watched as they built their village. Watched as their homes burned in summer, flooded in fall, froze in winter. When spring came he could not watch.

He ripped a strip of bark from the ancient tree. Plucked berries.

He loaded the gifts of fruit for the villagers onto his sled and rode down branches like rail treads.

Jacques Denault holds a BA in English from Merrimack College, where he was the head editor for The Merrimack Review. He is currently an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Emerson College. 



Nora Nadjarian – Cyprus

See Nora Nadjarian read her micro here.


And that’s when the sadness came. The nurse appeared, with her mask on. All we could see were her eyes. A voyage, she said. That’s all she said. I pictured God reading an old Bible, the pages yellowed with time, its spine broken.

Nora Nadjarian is a poet and writer from Cyprus and has been published internationally. Her work was included in various anthologies, most recently in Europa 28 (Comma Press, 2020) and in the 2020 UK National Flash Fiction Day anthology. @NoraNadj



Gail Ingram – Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

See Gail Ingram read her micro here.

How do you make friends with boys

when they talk in facts, not memory of shapes in a summer haze?

when they don’t see the dust on the skirting boards, or edged in silver, floating?

when their eyes must be lowered to match the level of yours?

when their voices carry further, and yours apparently carries too much?

when something you understand, and he doesn’t have to, is Adam-and-Eve between you,

and you must ignore the fucking apple?

Gail Ingram is author of Contents Under Pressure (Pūkeko Publications 2019). Her work has been widely published and anthologised. She has won international awards for poetry and short fiction. She is also an editor and teacher of creative writing. https://www.theseventhletter.nz/

Watch this space as each new micro is posted each day between now and June 22… 

Announcing the 2020 Micro Madness Finalists

Alphabetical by title

Micros will be posted each day beginning June 01. Watch this space!



A Roller coaster in the Trees – Jacques Denault

Coana Rodica in front of a black and white TV set at the time of the Romanian Revolution of 1989 – Sophie van Llewyn

Corners and Edges – Marissa Hoffman

Dealing with Change – Erik Kennedy

Filmic – Susan Wardell

Flower Girl – Lucy Zhang

Hare man – Bronwyn Hegarty

Heart felt – John Irvine

How do you make friends with boys – Gail Ingram

Lighting Storm – John Yohe

Little Chevalier – Mandira Pattnaik

Midwinter – Jenny Woodhouse

Old friends Sitting by the Fire – Ursula Hoult

On Ten Bay Beach – Sara Hills

Our First Apartment – Jodi Barnes

Self Defence – Sam Payne

Some Kind of Sunset – Rachel Smith

The Far Bleachers – R. P. Wood

The Squid and the Whale Send Alan a Piece of Ambergris – Rose Collins

The Ties that Bind – Heather McQuillan

Unchartered Waters – Sharon Boyle

Weather – Nan Wigington



A Small Spinning Wind – Jac Jenkins

After the raspberries – Pam Morrison

Can’t see the rainbow from here – Lucy Zhang

Convergence – Sophia Wilson

Day 16. ‘Toilet paper, flour and sex toys top of New Zealanders’ shopping lists in the day before lockdown.’ – Cherllisha Silva

Family Psychology – Judy Darley

Forty Days – Bronwen Griffiths

Full – Amy Barnes

I’ll run you over with my bike – Kay Wise

Last Night I Dreamt of the Sea – Mileva Anastasiadou

Observations – Lois Villemaire

Patter – Kim Jackways

Searching for Exceptions to My Black Thumb – Dallas Kidd

Sniffing Dreft – Charlotte Hamrick

Spirits in Lockdown – Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar

The New Normal – María Castro Domínguez

The Shape Of Things – Diana Burns

Two-faced Moira – S.B. Borgersen

Voyage – Nora Nadjarian

Waiting for an Avalanche When You Live by the Sea – Sheila Hailstone

Wild life – Susan Wardell

Windows to the World in the Middle of the COVID Crisis – Sophie van Llewyn


Thank you to this year’s judges!

No-theme micros: 

Diane Simmons

Diane Simmons

Diane Simmons studied creative writing with The Open University. She is a co-director of National Flash Fiction Day in the UK and a director of the UK Flash Fiction Festival. She has been a reader for the Bath Short Story Award, an editor for Flash Flood and a judge for several flash competitions, including Flash 500 and NFFD Micro (UK). Widely published and anthologised, she has been placed in numerous short story and flash competitions. Finding a Way, her flash collection on the theme of grief, was published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019 and was shortlisted in the Best Short Story Collection category of the 2019 Saboteur Awards. Her historical flash fiction novella, An Inheritance, was published by V. Press in early 2020. More here.


Lockdown micros: 


Anna Granger

Anna Granger has been writing very short fiction for a very long time.  Her work has won awards and prizes and been published in magazines, anthologies, online and broadcast on radio.  In 2018 she placed second in the NFFD competition with her story ‘The Lanterns’ and in 2019 two of her stories were highly commended. Anna lives by the Whanganui River.

Marcelle Heath

Marcelle Heath

Marcelle Heath is a fiction writer and editor. A former series editor of Wigleaf Top 50, Marcelle’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Joyland, Kenyon Review Online, Little Fiction, matchbook, Nat. Brut, NOÖ, Split Lip Magazine, Wigleaf, and other journals. Her short story collection IS THAT ALL THERE IS? is forthcoming by Awst Press in 2022. Marcelle curates Apparel for Authors, an interview series on writers, fashion, and the public sphere.


7 thoughts on “Micro Madness

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the stories. Truly brightened up an otherwise dull day – but now the sun is shining.

  2. Pingback: National Flash Fiction Day 2016 – Ingrid Jendrzejewski

  3. Pingback: Micro Madness 2017

  4. Pingback: A flash about a dragon | SkyLightRain

  5. Pingback: ‘The Broom of Sisyphus’ – Vestal Review

  6. Pingback: Some More Updates! | Santino Prinzi

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