Editor’s Choice Week: An Interview with Christopher Allen

by Shasta Grant See all Guest Readers
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You and Tara Laskowski recently presented at the UK Flash Fiction Festival. For those of us not lucky enough to attend, please tell us more about the festival!

The UK Flash Fiction Festival is in its third year. Flash fiction writers and writing instructors from around the world gather in Bristol annually in June for a weekend of workshops, readings, book launches, and of course karaoke (which Helen Rye and I MCed into the wee hours). For the last two years, we’ve met on the grounds of Trinity College where it will be held again next year in June. I wouldn’t miss it.

This year I taught a workshop on editing flash fiction and presented the winners of the Bath Flash Fiction Award, which I judged. Tara Laskowski and I held an information hour about SmokeLong’s editing process. Tara also taught a workshop on starting a literary journal.

The weekend after the festival Helen Rye and I held two SmokeLong workshops in London. One of the participants emailed me yesterday to let me know she’d already placed a story begun in the workshop. Best news ever!

I know the answer to this, but is SmokeLong going to offer online workshops? People keep asking. 

So glad you asked, Shasta! Yes, we are in fact planning our first online, month-long workshop with three SmokeLong editors. Details will be coming very soon. Writers who are interested in participating should let us know by sending an email to editors@smokelong.com. Places are limited.

What have you been working on?

My life is one adventure after another. I’ve been on the road since November as you know. Since then, SmokeLong has held readings and/or workshops in Singapore, London, Portland, Fairfax (VA), Bristol, and Norwich (UK). And we have more workshops and readings in the works. For SmokeLong, we also featured some writers we love on the SmokeLong YouTube Channel. We are also getting ready to open submissions for applications to The SmokeLong Flash Fellowship for Emerging Writers. We’re offering more money this time, and writers who’ve been published by SmokeLong are now eligible for the fellowship. We’re looking forward to reading applications from writers who want to workshop their writing with the SmokeLong editors intensively for one year.

You’ll be choosing one great story this week for SmokeLong. What are you looking for in the queue?

I’m looking for a story that moves me, something stunning at the sentence level, something the world needs, something solid and self-confidently flash fiction.

About the Reader:

Christopher Allen is a translator, freelance editor and the author of the flash fiction collection Other Household Toxins (Matter Press). Allen’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Best Small Fictions,  [PANK], Indiana Review, Jellyfish Review, Longleaf Review and others. He is the co-editor of SmokeLong Quarterly.

About the Interviewer:

Shasta Grant is the author of the chapbook Gather Us Up and Bring Us Home (Split Lip Press, 2017). She was the 2016 SmokeLong Quarterly Kathy Fish Fellow and she won the 2015 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest. Her stories have appeared in Hobart, matchbook, MonkeyBicyclewigleaf, and elsewhere.