2018 Flash Fiction Competition


The Casket of Fictional Delights is delighted to announce the Winners of the 2018 Flash Fiction Competition.

1st place Speaking in Tongues by Rosie Garland

2nd place Sync by Mark Farley

3rd place Floating by Mark Farley

4th place 1-2-5 by Gina Headden

5th place Bikini by Sherri Turner

6th place The Plughole Picker by Susan Carey

7th place Serendipity by Sandra Purdy

8th place Bombs, Lilies by Jason Jackson




All eight winning stories will be published on The Casket of Fictional Delights website in full during the month of October.

1st October – Bombs, Lilies

5th October – Serendipity

8th October – The Plughole Picker

12th October – Bikini

15th October – 1-2-5

19th October – Floating

22nd October – Sync

26th October – Speaking in Tongues

And on the 29th October an audio podcast of the Top Four winners will be published and available on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and TuneIn.

I would like to thank everyone who took part in this year’s Flash Fiction Competition, we have enjoyed reading all your stories.

Joanna & The Casket Team


**Spoiler Alert – some of the story twists are revealed in David’s report**

JUDGE’S REPORT – David Gaffney

It was a pleasure to be chosen as the judge for The Casket of Fictional Delights Flash Fiction Competition and I really enjoyed reading all the entries I was sent.

There’s always a few common themes that crop up again and again in flash fiction competitions – sometimes it feels as if the whole group have been on the same massive workshop and been asked to respond to similar ideas and   concepts. The top three winners have something in common – they all feel quite dreamlike and there was a deep seam of sleepy, drowsily poetic images running through a lot of the entries.

The winner Speaking in Tongues is a fascinating and chilling account of a man who finds a marine creature and puts it in his bath at home to keep as a pet. But, like some pot-bellied pig you got off ebay, I’m afraid it grows giant and ends up consuming him. I like the way the creature thinks about its victim with intense but detached interest. Serenity almost. As it eats him it reminded me of the way in Under the skin the deaths of the baby and the diver on the beach are observed impassionately by the alien, Scarlet Johanson, and somehow this story also has a dark undertow of eroticism, suggestive of the relationship between the cleaner and the alien in The Shape of Water.

The story awarded second prize is called Sync and it’s about a person who is obsessed with his neighbour and documents everything she does with worrying detail. He begins to synchronise his life with hers and it makes him feel less alone in some way. It’s a story that reminds us just how separate and alone we can sometimes feel even when we are crammed together closely in a building with dozens of other flats. It also shows the lengths we will go to to make some sort of human contact even if the contact might be contrived, forced or illusory.

In Floating, the third prize choice, I like the high concept idea of disposing of the past in bin bags which sometimes leak. The conceit of the memories of a dead loved one being removed in this way works well and also gives the piece a nice dreamy quality which reminds us of the state of unrealness we must endure when someone has left us.

Of the others I particularly enjoyed the science fiction themed story called 1-2-5 as I don’t often come across much science fiction or speculative work in flash fiction; so this was a nice change. In Plughole Picker I enjoyed being introduced to another obsessive character – this time collecting other people’s hair from plug holes and saving it. I don’t know why but this sort of thing is always a big draw for me. In Bikini an elderly lady with dementia is standing in the rain in her swimming costume – such a powerful image it would work as a single photo without a word to explain it.  Serendipity has nuns falling off a boat into a river; so that’s always a winning theme, especially when like me you’ve been brought up as a Catholic. Bombs and Lilies is a strange post-war dystopian tale, a subject matter which is often neglected in the very short form.

Good luck to all the winners and thanks for having me.

David Gaffney