2018 RW Short Story and RW Flash Fiction Prize Winners

2018 RW Short Story Prize and RW Flash Fiction Results

We are delighted to be able to reveal the winners of the 2018 RW Short Story Prize and RW Flash Fiction Prize. Our thanks go to the judges, Paul McVeigh, for choosing the short story winners and Kathy Fish for choosing the flash fiction. Huge congratulations to our winners and to all of the shortlisted writers who made the top 10 in each category out of hundreds of entries. You’ll be able to read the winning stories in the annual anthology later this year.

2018 RW Short Story Prize Winners

1st Prize: Will You Go Out Tonight? by Joanna Campbell

Judge’s notes: Clearly an accomplished writer here; knows how to draw us in, how to create believable characters, how to tackle difficult subject matters, knowing what to hold back while still packing a punch. They also achieve that most difficult of tasks, emotionally engaging the reader. A writer we will not doubt hear much more from in the future.

2nd Prize: Between The Times by Richard Buxton

Judge’s notes: Beautifully written. Transports us to another time and place, which is a great achievement, and has that too often elusive of things, a great ending.

3rd Prize: Satellite Presence by A.C. Koch

Judge’s notes: Quirky and funny. I especially enjoyed the sci-fi-fantasy mystery of it which reminded me of The Twilight Zone shows I loved and learned so much from.


2018 Flash Fiction Prize Winners

1st Prize: A Beige Spot by Manisha Khemka

Judge’s notes: From the most deceptively simple title and opening image possible, unfolds a breathless and breathtaking paragraph wholly made up of a list of modified nouns. Here the form serves the content and the reader is given a felt experience not unlike that of a steady, pounding heartbeat.  What Manisha Khemka does with so few words (and not a single complete sentence) is both impressive and deeply affecting. The last two lines are devastating. This is daring, but more importantly, very emotionally compelling flash fiction. I am in awe of this work.

2nd Prize: Old Woman Cooking Eggs, Diego Velázquez 1618 by Fiona J. Mackintosh

Judge’s notes: Inspired by the famous painting by Velázquez, Fiona J Mackintosh’s beautifully imagined story is told from two points of view: the “old” woman’s (old for her time) and her grandson’s. With lush prose, cinematic imagery, and a narrative scope that belies its brevity, this is accomplished and deeply moving flash fiction writing.

3rd Prize: Sticking Point by Sherry Morris

Judge’s notes: I fell in love with this family and the young boy narrating this story, as they sit together watching their favorite TV show, Magnum P.I. The writing here is so full of precise, evocative details and I was drawn in by the storytelling voice: “We are all bound by sweat, blood, love and the crucified Christ who watches over us from the wall behind our heads.” Morris made my heart ache for this boy, and hope more than anything that his version of Heaven, both for himself and for his family, is realized.

Highly Commended: Connor and His Amazing Ejector Boots by James Ellis

Judge’s notes: A tender, deeply moving story with a gorgeous ending. Pow!



The 2019 Prizes are now open for submissions.

Get info on the 2019 Short Story Prize here

Get info on the 2018 Flash Fiction Prize here


Flash writing tips from Kathy Fish

Flash fiction writing tips from Kathy Fish

Delighted to welcome Kathy Fish to the blog for the first time today. Kathy is judging the 2018 RW Flash Fiction Prize and I got to ask her all about what she loves about flashing.

Kathy, thanks for coming. As an award-winning flash fiction writer yourself, what’s the best advice you can give to writers looking to master the form?

Read a lot of flash fiction. There’s a wealth of excellent flash fiction online. Read such journals as Wigleaf, Pidgeonholes, Jellyfish Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Cheap Pop, Whiskey Paper, and more. Read Best Small Fictions. I also think my Fast Flash Workshop is a great, fun, supportive place for flash experts and beginners alike.

What kinds of stories do you hope to see when reading the shortlist for the RW Flash Fiction Prize?

I am most drawn to stories that move me without being maudlin. I’m a sucker for a mix of sad and funny. I love innovation and experimentation, but the story must also have a strong emotional core to really win me over.

What makes a story stand out for you when you receive the shortlist to read?

Freshness of language and approach. A powerful, emotionally resonant ending.

What flash fiction story do you wish you’d written and why?

Most recently, “Dear David” by Yael van der Wouden in Longleaf Review. I love it so much. That flash is to me, everything I mentioned above. It’s so strange and unexpectedly tender. And it’s completely new. I’m still thinking about it.

Which flash fiction writers writing today do you admire and why?

I’m asked that question so often. And there are so many! I’d say right now it’s the newer writers of flash that are really impressing me. The new work is more daring, more hybrid, more unexpected in the best possible ways.


Thanks so much, Kathy. I just read Dear David and it really is fantastic.

So, flash writers get writing and submitting your stories for Kathy to read. The deadline is 28th october and there is £755 in cash prizes available, plus all winning and shortlisted writers get published in the anthology by Retreat West Books.

If you’d like to hone your flash skills alongside other writers we’re running 3 online flash workshops this Autumn where you’ll get to create up 42 new stories in two intensive weeks. Or there’s 1 space left to join us at the Flash Fiction Retreat we’re running in November.