Flash 405, February 2024: “Host” Winners

We are excited to announce our first Flash 405 winners of 2024! “Host” closed for submissions in early March. Judged by our “POP!” co-Fiction editor Sam Burt, this round called for entries to explore what it means to be a good host—or a bad one—in all it’s various interpretations. We received many incredible entries that weren’t afraid to question the unspoken rules of hospitality and relationships, and narrowing them down to a final three was no easy feat for Sam!

That said, we are happy to reveal our winners and “Host” their stories in Exposition Review:

Judge’s Comments:

Sam BurtReading this round’s entries reminded me of the persistent difficulties involved in writing and reading flash fiction—difficulties that I think are neatly mirrored in the theme itself.

For just as a good dinner host seeks to find a balance between standoffishness and overbearing friendliness, so does a flash writer, in every choice they make, try to leave the reader wanting to return for more. Meanwhile, the reader of standalone flash has to form an assessment of their host based on little more than first impressions, much like strangers meeting at a party. So much, then, comes down to the anticipation of future meetings, and what the reader might want to ask the writer—and the extent to which they expect to receive answers that address one question and raise several others.

The entries that made the strongest impression on me also left me wanting to reciprocate the invitation. Whether because they left me grinning, or hungry for answers, or wishing to console these characters, they were places I wished I could stay in a little while longer.

– Sam Burt

1st Place:
Karma Judgment Day by Jaime Gill (Fiction)

2nd Place:
Tooth Worm by Salvatore Difalco (Fiction)

Honorable Mention:
Milk by Alex Brostoff (Nonfiction)

Congratulations again to the winners!

Check out past contests and winners here.

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Photo by Brazil Topno