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Flash Fiction Fun Weekend

An Opportunity To Turbocharge Your Writing

(April 20,21,22 2018 in Canberra)

If you are an aspiring writer, an emerging writer, or an established writer, then this weekend is for you! Unlike the usual readers & writers festivals, this one is specifically designed for writers (who, let’s face it are readers too), to mix with other writers and to hone their craft.

Our Sponsors

What Is Flash Fiction?

Flash fiction is about writing more with less.

But it’s much more than that. Writing short stories is a way that writers can hone their writing skills and it is easy to manage in terms of developing a habit of writing regularly.

For most definitions, it is a narrative story under either 2,000 words, 1,000 words, or for our purposes for this weekend, a maximum of 500 words. It goes by many other names too: microfiction, microstories, short-shorts, very short stories, sudden fiction, postcard fiction and nanofiction, among others.

I have often described my own perception and experience of flash fiction like this:

“It’s like the Ikea of the writers’ world, where you learn to select your words carefully, construct your piece and put it together a bit like a flatpack, and then, you can have people admire your final polished piece, where you can say: ‘I made that!’.”

Did you know that many famous writers started their writing careers by writing short stories, and over time, as our attention spans have shrunk, flash fiction has become more and more popular? So this weekend is about honing our writing skills using flash fiction as a tool.

– Suzanne Kiraly

Our Flash Fiction Writers

About The Event

When you come to this weekend, you will immerse yourself in a rich environment of writers’ craft and surround yourself with professional writers, some of whom (annoyingly) might be better than you. But that’s actually the best part if you think about it. Our writing journeys are long and often lonely roads, and we can all learn from those who have gone before us.

You will hear from an array of excellent writers, who will each share their nuggets of wisdom through short, half-hour keynotes. Then, you can choose between a number of workshops, which will all be practical and include opportunities to write, and apply what you have learnt.

For our interstate visitors, there are many choices for accommodation, but we have two accommodation partners to offer to you.

The first is located in the venue where the weekend is being hosted, at the East Hotel and rooms there will cost $220, but if you use the code: ‘WRITE’ when you book you will get what they call “run of house” rooms, which have been put aside specifically for conference delegates.
To make reservations you can email the hotel at or call 02 6295 6925

The second is a lovely older hotel about 20 minutes walking distance from our conference venue and it is the Forrest Hotel and if you book online the rates are from $105 – $110 and you can get a further discount of 5-10% by booking online.

Another hotel that is within walking distance is Rydges Capital Hill


All-day coffee and tea facilities will be provided along with morning and afternoon teas. Lunches and dinners are up to you and we have a plethora of restaurants available all within walking distance.

There are three restaurants/bars within the hotel and the Kingston Pub over the road. Apart from that, both the Kingston shopping centre and the Manuka shopping centre host a plethora of diverse restaurants. Both shopping centres are just an easy 15-minute walk away.

Transport & Sightseeing
Uber is very popular in Canberra and reasonably cheap.

The city is only 15-20 minutes away by car and so too, are many of our national icons, a delightful treat for our tourists. Be sure to check out the Visit Canberra Website to see what’s on while you are here. If you make the trek here, why not spend some time enjoying the sights and sounds of Canberra? After all, we were voted the #3 best city to visit in the world by Lonely Planet recently.

What You Will Learn

Friday Evening Entertainment

Tales After Dark (Storytelling for grownups)
Entertainment will be provided via our Friday night show, called “Tales After Dark”, which is a regular event we hold about “Storytelling for grownups”.

Flash fiction pieces are read aloud by talented actors, and we also have a special guest each time; for this show, JM Donellan, a writer from Queensland who is also a performance poet.

We only have room for 60 people for this event, so book early for this one (they always sell out nowadays as this event is not just for writers but for anyone who enjoys wining, dining, a good story and some unique entertainment) you can book below and get on the mailing list and watch a promo video here: Tales After Dark


Saturday Keynotes

Jackie French: You have seven seconds! (Flash-Keynote)
No one inspires writers like Jackie French. Take this opportunity to come and hear her give the facts about your writing career.

JM (Josh) Donellan: Poetry, prose, and podcasting: embracing a world of infinite storytelling possibilities (Flash-Keynote)
Josh is a writer, an English teacher and a performance poet. He knows about characterisation – and so will you!

Sheryl Gwyther: When 500 words are enough – flash fiction rocks! (Flash-Keynote)
Four years ago, Sheryl set up a Facebook writing group to share her addiction to flash fiction, little realising what she would unleash in the ’52-week Flash Fiction Challenge’. Be inspired by this story.

Susan McCreery: How to get started. How a flash a day becomes a book. (Flash-Keynote)
Susan was a finalist in an Indie Publishers Award last year and she’ll share her story with you on how she got started, and how you can too.


Saturday Workshops

JM (Josh) Donellan: How to bring your characters to life – and sometimes kill them!
A guide to making your characters feel so real they’ll need a birth certificate (will also be useful for anyone planning on forging a fake identity).

Susanne Gervay: So you want to write like Hemingway?
“For sale: baby shoes never worn” – Like Hemingway, get to the heart of your flash fiction. Understand your idea. Susanne will guide you in the development of your idea to create the short story that sings.

Sheryl Gwyther, Pat Simmons and Irene Buckler: No flash in the pan – the lure of writing flash fiction.
A practical workshop based on their writing experiences over four years of the 52-week Flash Fiction Challenge.

Dr Jeff Brownrigg: Infuse the musicality of words to make them sing.
In any really good writing, sound and sense are wonderfully balanced. For writers of prose and poetry, fact or fiction, work-a-day or fanciful…getting ‘the right words in the right order’ is crucial. If the language plods and the meaning is obscure or incomprehensible, a reader will quickly tire. We’ll examine a number of ‘written artefacts’, asking as we explore them, questions such as ‘What does this mean? How does it work? What does it tell us?’ and ‘Does it speak or even sing to me?’.


Sunday Keynotes

Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast and hear from the 2016 Patrick White Award recipient as she shares her journey with you in a talk entitled: The Flash & the Afterglow – venue TBA

Marion Halligan: The Devil’s in the Detail (Flash-Keynote)
The things all writers should know. Marion will share decades of writing experience and what she has learnt about how to make your writing stand out from the crowd.

Craig Cormick: What is this creature called a writer? (Flash-Keynote)
So you have a draft of a story – what do you do now? We will look at the basic building blocks of a story – introduction, plot, character, dialogue, conflict – and learn how each best works, and how to get the right balance between them to make your story the best it can be.

Suzanne Kiraly: Where to flash your fiction (Flash-Keynote)
So, once you have written and polished it, what do you do with it? Get some ideas here.


Sunday Workshops

Craig Cormick: Making a good story a great one
Here is a writer who has a strong background of mentoring student writers and he’s a master storyteller – so get his hot tips here.

Irma Gold: Chiselling your prose to perfection
A very talented writer herself, Irma is also a professional editor and teaches editing. Irma will show you how to assess and then self-edit your work ready for publication. Bring a typed flash to work on.

Harry Laing: How to turbocharge your writing
Surprise yourself by digging deeper into your material and accessing the strange, the absurd and the hilarious. On offer will be provocations and tactics to turbocharge your writing. A dynamic experience with laughs guaranteed.

Jack Heath: Remix your way into a twisted story
Short stories need a plot, a character and a setting. Fortunately, you can steal all these things. Jack will help you mash up disparate elements into a thrilling and original piece of flash fiction. You are in for a thrilling ride!

Writing Competition
Open to all those who register for the weekend.

About Our Writers

Marion Halligan

Marion Halligan was born in Newcastle NSW. She grew up by the sea at Merewether and has lived most of her adult life in Canberra, with periods in Paris. She has published more than twenty books: some eleven novels, including Spider Cup, Lovers’ Knots, The Golden Dress, The Fog Garden, The Point, The Apricot Colonel, Murder on the Apricot Coast, Valley of Grace, and Goodbye Sweetheart, collections of short stories including The Hanged Man in the Garden and The Worry Box, and most recently Shooting the Fox; books of autobiography, travel and food, including Eat My Words, and a children’s book, The Midwife’s Daughters. The Taste of Memory: An Autobiography in Food and Gardens, was published in September 2004. She has been short-listed for most of the prizes on offer, and has won some. She has regularly reviewed books, and likes to write essays.  Currently she is writing small memoir pieces. She has received an AM for her services to literature. Valley of Grace, Allen & Unwin, March 2009 won the ACT Book of the Year and was long-listed for the IMPAC Prize. Her most recent novel is Goodbye Sweetheart, published in April 2015.

Jackie French

Jackie French is a wombat tamer in the Araluen Valley New South Wales, Australia. Sometimes she wrestles dinosaurs, but only when creating stories.

Some of her books have won awards or sold millions of copies. Others were eaten by the wombats. She was Australian Children’s laureate 2014-2015 and Senior Australian of the Year 2015. She is dyslexic and still can’t spull. I mean spell.

Carmel Bird

Carmel Bird received the Patrick White Literary Award in 2016.

Among her many books there are eight collections of short fiction, the latest two being The Dead Aviatrix and My Hearts Are Your Hearts. Carmel’s books on writing are: Dear Writer Revisited; Not Now Jack – I’m Writing a Novel; Writing the Story of Your Life.

Susanne Gervay

Being an author takes you around the world from Oprah, Fox News in Las Vegas, Outback Australia, to the loving kids of the Deaf & Blind School.

My books are driven by the rights of children and families, partnering them in good times and bad and writing for inclusion and respect for each other. I was deeply moved when I received the Lifetime Literature Award for my body of works, by the International Literacy Association.

Craig Cormick

Craig Cormick is an award-winning Canberra author and science communicator.

He has published over 30 books of fiction, non-fiction and children’s fiction, with both small and mainstream publishers, in Australia and overseas. Much of his work deals with reinterpretations of history.

His writing awards include a Queensland Premier’s Award, ACT Book of the Year Award, the Tasmania Writers Prize and a Victorian Community History Award.

Craig is a former chair of the ACT Writers Centre and has taught creative writing at University and in schools, and is a great believer that good writing comes from good editing drafting rewriting.

Jack Heath

Jack Heath is the bestselling author of Hangman, 300 Minutes of Danger and twenty other novels. His books have been translated into several languages, shortlisted for several awards and adapted for television.

Irma Gold

Irma Gold is an award-winning author and editor. Her short fiction has been widely published in Australia’s finest literary journals, including Meanjin, Westerly, Island and Review of Australian Fiction. Her short fiction collection, Two Steps Forward, was shortlisted for or won a number of awards. She is also the author of three picture books, with a fourth due out with Walker Books. Irma has worked as an editor for 18 years and is currently Editor at Melbourne-based publisher Inkerman & Blunt and Convener of Editing at the University of Canberra. Visit her at

Josh Donellan

J.M. Donellan is an author, musician, poet, and teacher. He was almost devoured by a tiger in the jungles of Malaysia, nearly died of a lung collapse in the Nepalese Himalayas and once fended off a pack of rabid dogs with a guitar in the mountains of India. He has performed at Sydney Writers’ Festival, TEDxBrisbane, the Sydney Opera House, Brisbane Festival and some very prestigious basements.

His writing practice spans a range of genres and formats in a manner that is either highly impressive or, in the words of his accountant, ‘irritatingly convoluted and frankly quite annoying.’ His recent works include the poetry collection Stendhal Syndrome, the Kirkus Prize nominated Killing Adonis, the podcast series Six Cold Feet, the forthcoming narrative video game Prisoner Six, and a prolific collection of bathroom graffiti.

Sheryl Gwyther

Sheryl Gwyther’s mango-gorging, tree-climbing, book-reading, imaginative childhood in Queensland’s tropical north inevitably led to her becoming a children’s author. Sheryl’s published work includes a fossil-digging adventure novel, Secrets of Eromanga, chapter books for younger children and many stories and plays in The School Magazine.

Her awards include two ASA Mentorships, two May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Fellowships, and a SCBWI Work-of-Outstanding Progress grant for her new historical adventure, Sweet Adversity. Sheryl’s desire to share her love of short stories for adults led to the highly successful online group, The 52-week Flash Fiction Challenge – now in its fifth year.

Susan McCreery

Susan lives in Thirroul, near Wollongong. Her collection of flash fiction, Loopholes, was published by Spineless Wonders in 2016. Loopholes was shortlisted for the Small Press Network’s Most Underrated Book Award (MUBA) 2017. Waiting for the Southerly (Ginninderra Press), Susan’s poetry collection, was shortlisted for the Anne Elder Award 2012. Her short story collection, This Person Is Not That Person, will be published by Puncher & Wattmann in early 2019, and right now she is working on something longer. Susan works as a proofreader, and when not at her desk can be found swimming long distances in the ocean.

Harry Laing

Harry Laing is a poet, comic performer and children’s author. He has three books to his name and has written and performed 8 solo shows as well as two series of quirky country tales for ABC’s Radio National.

Harry co-runs PoetryAlive weekends and teaches creative workshops in schools where he regularly performs in front of hundreds of school students. His writing workshops are about surprise, increasing the octane level of language, working with rhythm and music and cadence.

He lives on 115 acres near Braidwood, NSW and reckons wombats can teach us a thing or two about writing. Keep digging, for example.

Irene Buckler

Irene Buckler taught in Australian primary schools for three decades. While teaching, she also wrote many educational programs, stories, plays and poetry for children. Her work has appeared in publications for children and teachers in the United Kingdom and in Australia, as well as online.

Author of Inklings, Irene was a flash fiction finalist in the “Hysteria” (UK) and “Field of Words” Writing Competitions (South Australia.). Her flash fiction stories have also been widely published in anthologies. Irene is drawn by the challenge of writing flash fiction to be the very best writer she can be. A keen observer, Irene writes mainly about people, finding exploring human behaviour to be an endless source of inspiration.

Pat Simmons

Pat lives at Scarborough on the NSW south coast with a miscellany of pets. She’s a writer of poems, short stories, flash fiction and children’s picture books.

Pat has two picture books entering the world in 2018. ‘Ziggy’s Zoo’ published by Little Pink Dog Books and ‘Little Spiral’ published by Little Steps Publishing. Her adult book, 52 Twisted Tales is a result of her involvement with the 52 Week Flash Fiction Group created by Sheryl Gwyther. She continues to challenge herself by ensuring that her weekly twisted tale is always exactly 100 words.

Suzanne Kiraly

As a writer, publisher, editor, bookseller (with an early career in teaching), Suzanne has over 20 years of experience in all facets of the publishing industry. She has authored 19 publications to date and has several in the pipeline for 2018.

As a book coach, she has been working with talented Australian writers to teach them how to self-publish and make a passive income from their writing online. She runs writing courses/workshops/literary events and is passionate about nurturing the next generation of talented writers. Her greatest claim to fame is that she can recognise writing talent in others.

Jeff Brownrigg

Jeff Brownrigg is currently a Research Fellow at the Australian National University and Adjunct Professor at UC. His interests are broad: Australian cultural history and musical legacy. From 1986 to 2005 he was a senior manager and researcher at Australia’s National Film and Sound Archive. A travel book, Encounters on the Hippy Trail, 1971: An Elegy for Mrs P is just out.

He is currently working on Heaven, Earth, and Canberra: Shakespeare, and the Ghosts of Australia’s National Film and Sound Archive, about the disturbed, turbulent 1990s. Other books and journal articles include sectarianism in the late 19th century, WW1 and much about poetry.

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Any Questions

Contact Suzanne Kiraly (event coordinator)