Flash Fiction: a Love Story by Clare Sita Fisher

Novelist and short story writer Clare Sita Fisher tells us about her love of flash fiction writing and what it means to her.

Clare Fisher (1)There was a time when everything I wrote had to be a novel. Not just any novel, but the novel (whatever that was). The result was a lot of tense novel openings which collapsed into nothing on page twenty; each collapse was followed by tedious waves of despair, in which I would promise myself to give up this silly writing business once and for all.

Of course, the itch always returned, and before I knew it, I’d find a pen in my hand, fresh words on the page. Writing flash fiction, initially for a performance piece I was commissioned to do at Leeds Light Night in 2014, meant these words had to build towards – horror of all horrors – an end.

A few very short stories in and I was hooked. Flash fiction allows for a huge amount of flexibility within the broader diktat that it be short. It was this balance of freedom and restriction that my writing self needed. Reading writers such as Lydia Davis, Dave Eggers, Etgar Keret and Amy Hempel showed me how flash fiction could range from the poetic to the narrative, the satirical to the surreal, and, with a speed and efficiency which is rare to find in longer form fiction, shake me to the soul.

It did wonders for my reading self, too: you know those moments when you want to read something but burrowing back down into the plot of your novel feels just too much whilst you’re standing on a freezing train platform after a long day at work? Starting a story that you can finish by the time you’re home, or even by the time the train pulls into the platform, is another story. Whether you’re reading a story that is one sentence long or a few pages, you can have the satisfaction of a whole reading experience in the time it would’ve taken you to read a few boring Facebook updates.

So I’m delighted to be a part of the inaugural Northern Short Story Festival — a whole day dedicated to the form. I’ll be leading a flash fiction writing workshop but will look forward to attending lots of events. Come along, talk, read, write, listen, and who knows, you might just fall in (literary) love.

03 BB 02.06.16 banner 1Clare will be taking part in both the Leeds Big Bookend Festival and the Northern Short Story Festival.

Her first event will be performance related as part of the Nymphs & Thugs evening at the Hyde Park Book Club on Thursday 2nd June.

Nymphs and Thugs is a spoken word record label, established in Spring 2015 which will be launching  a brand new quarterly spoken word zine as part of the Big Bookend Festival, supported by three of the North’s most vital voices: Clare Sita Fisher, Rowan McCabe and Vicky Foster .

The event is Pay What You Feel and includes an open mic. Book your ticket here and PWYF on the night.


Her second event is a Flashbulb Flash Fiction Workshop on Saturday 4th June, 4:30pm – 5:30pm at the Carriageworks Theatre as part of the Northern Short Story Festival.

Clare will lead an interactive workshop in flash (or very short) fiction. You’ll read and discuss some of the best contemporary examples of this fast-growing form before getting the chance to create your own piece of very short fiction. A playful and exploratory workshop open to writers of all abilities.

Tickets: £5. Click here to book.


Version 2Clare was born in Tooting, South London in 1987. Her first novel will be published by Viking, Penguin in 2017, followed shortly by her first collection of short fiction, How the Light Gets In, with Influx Press. She has an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths College, University of London and a BA in History from the University of Oxford. She now lives in Leeds with her partner. Chat to her on Twitter @claresitafisher.

Fiona Gell

Fiona is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover. Her career started as a bookseller and has never really veered away from the written and spoken word. It was a dream for her to be a founder member of The Leeds Big Bookend and the Northern Short Story Festival. She continues to be its Director.

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