It’s hard to believe it’s been that long, but 2022 marks the 10th year since I, Amanda Saint, started Retreat West.
It all came about when I moved out of London to Exmoor and I needed to learn more about writing but couldn’t afford to do the few online novel courses that were around at the time. And there were no online flash fiction courses at all.
So I decided to run writing retreats in holiday homes and bring the writers I wanted to learn from to teach at them. I’d always wanted to do the Faber Academy course with Richard Skinner but it was way out of my league financially (still is!). So over the next few years I invited Richard to teach at several retreats, so I kind of did the course in the end. I brought other authors – including Alison Moore, Paul McVeigh, Vanessa Gebbie and Debi Alper – to other retreats as I loved their work and they taught me more about editing, characterisation, short story writing and flash fiction writing.
I started running flash competitions so that in reading all the submissions I would start to learn more about what worked, and what didn’t, in flash. I invited the flash fiction writers I admired to judge and pored over the feedback they gave to the shortlisted stories they read. And I wrote tons of flash fictions of my own.
When I started doing all of this back then, I never imagined that it would turn into what it is today. And I feel hugely privileged to be able to do this as my job and to be a part of other people’s writing life.
To celebrate the 10th birthday, I am going to publish an anthology of flash fictions in 2022 and submissions are now open. The theme of the anthology is TEN.
The anthology will feature stories from some of the Retreat West Books authors and winners of our competitions over the years: Amanda Huggins, Jan Kaneen, FJ Morris, Jude Higgins, Michael Loveday, Sara Hills and Matt Kendrick. But the majority of stories will come through open submissions.
The anthology will be celebrating all the different ways that flash has developed over the years and there’s room for traditional narrative style flashes alongside the more experimental. Each contributor will receive a paperback copy of the book when it is published and be eligible for consideration in the 2022 Retreat West Awards.
We can’t wait to read your stories and celebrate our milestone with you!
- Minimum word count: 100 (title not included)
- Maximum word count: 500 (title not included)
- Submission deadline: 28th November 2021
- Submit stories written in English by 23.59 GMT on the deadline date.
- Please include a word count on the story document.
- Stories must be your own original work and not have been published online or in print.