11th May 2012
Five-Minute Friday: Nici West
National Flash Fiction Day is almost upon us, and we’re getting ready to rumble with our third and final NFFD-themed five-minute Friday!
Can’t wait until next week? If you’ve been inspired to do some scribbling, make sure you check out our tips on how to write flash fiction after reading Nici’s interview…
Name: Nici West
Day job: Events Office and Festival Co-ordinator for Lancaster Litfest.
Extra-curricular: I’m currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester University where I’m working on my dissertation to complete my first novel.
I’m fiction editor for online literature magazine The Cadaverine, which publishes the best new poetry, prose and non-fiction from under 30s. I love reading, writing fiction and cuddling with my very long-haired punk-rocker guinea pigs.
Favourite book of all time: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. It changed my view on life and I feel that I’m always torn between whether I want to be a light or heavy person.
Literary pet peeves: Clunky or lazy phrases.
Guilty pleasure: Crap TV like Made in Chelsea. Everyone needs mindless entertainment at some point!
Three favourite authors: China Meiville (my guinea pig is named after him), Jon McGregor and Chuck Palanuik.
Favourite fictional character: Remona Flowers from Scott Pilgrim, another guilty pleasure of mine.
Other recommended reading: The best short story I’ve read this year is Jon McGregor‘s short story That Colour in his new short story book This Isn’t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You. It has a subtlety to it that I love and am always aiming for in my writing, and is the sort of story you can read again and again and pick up something new each time.
Why I’m involved in National Flash Fiction Day: I love very short fiction as it allows the focus to be on one moment and I love the idea or getting everyone involved with reading and writing very short fiction.
What I’m doing for it: Bad Language have teamed up with lots of lovely literary faces to create a whole day’s celebration. We ran a flash fiction competition, the winners of which will be announced at our event where the top entrants will be reading their pieces.
We have the wonderful David Gaffney, Cathy Bryant and Emma Jane Unsworth as judges, and For Books’ Sake will be running performance workshops to prep the winners to read on the night, while the charming FlashTag writers will be performing around the city during the day.
Where you’ll find me on the day itself: After spending the day watching the FlashTag lot take over the city, we’ll be at 3MT in Manchester’s Northern Quarter from 7pm, hosting a line-up of the top ten entrants, plus readings from some of the judges.
The appeal of flash fiction: As a writer I love writing pieces that focus on the details of one passing moment, and create a rhythm to the prose. Flash fiction allows for a sustainable rhythm and focus on those small details.
Three flash fiction authors I love: I’m a big fan of Emma Lannie‘s work, and you can read one of her flash fictions Making Oxygen here. Witty performance writer Fat Roland is a great short fiction writer and Jon McGregor‘s short short stories are immense.
For writers: Don’t try to fit too much into a flash fiction, it’s a very different format to the short story of novel. A flash fiction should focus on the immediate, only the exact details that are relevant to that moment, and ultimately still be about one moment of change.