Editor’s Choice Week: An Interview With Helen Rye

See all Guest Readers
story art

The story from this week’s submissions will be selected by a member of our editorial staff. All stories submitted June 3-9 will be read by Helen Rye.

Helen is a submissions editor at SmokeLong. While one of our newest additions to the staff, she’s already proven herself to be invaluable, and her keen editorial eye has helped us spot some of our very favorite stories over the past year. Did we mention she’s also an amazing, award-winning flash fiction writer herself? Find out more about Helen here.

Themes/topics/styles I am drawn to: Something quirky, playful, maybe a bit odd, with some kind of emotional resonance. Or something devastating and delicately done that will break my heart every time I read it (Margo). I like magic realism, I like raw, heart-shredding realism, I like stark, clean language, I like eccentric, creative language. I like dogs and strange animals and particle physics and trees. I have pretty eclectic tastes. I’d love to read something I haven’t seen before, something that makes me feel something about life. I love finding the unicorn stories among all the sleek, thoroughbred horses – stories fresh from the wild heart of the forest, with blood and glitter on their muzzle. Not an actual unicorn story. Maybe an actual unicorn story. Maybe something that stands out because it’s so achingly, gutwrenchingly real. Try me.

Deal-breakers in flash: Writing that is overly wordy. Stereotyping of people. Stories that don’t feel authentic or that lack heart. Weird things happening for no compelling reason within the context of the story (if a character turns into a sea turtle or grows unexpected new body parts, I want to feel something in connection with that transformation). Stories that make me feel lectured at.

A story I LOVE: “Bone” by Didi Wood in SmokeLong Quarterly

A story I have written: “What The Unicorns Saw” in Atticus Review

About the Reader:

Helen Rye lives in Norwich, UK. She has won the Bath Flash Fiction Award, the Reflex Fiction contest and third place in the 2018 Bristol Short story prize. Her stories have been nominated for Best Small Fictions and the Pushcart Prize, and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. She is a submissions editor for SmokeLong Quarterly and a prose editor for Lighthouse Literary Journal, and she helps out from time to time at Ellipsis Zine and TSS Publishing.