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:

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Flash 405, August 2023: “Secret” Winners

The winners of “Secret” are secret no more!

We ended this season of Flash 405 with a flourish—a final round judged by Vol. VIII: “Lines” contributor L Mari Harris. Her call for submissions asked for secrets—positive, negative, happy, peaceful, sad, angry. No topic was taboo, but each word had to count.

We received many wonderful entries, and are excited to reveal the winners of “Secret”:

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Flash 405, June 2023: “Crescendo” Winners

For our June Flash 405 contest, judge Shze-Hui Tjoa sought writing “that isn’t afraid of its own intensity, of being too much,” and “language that swells with momentum and power.” Spanning fiction to nonfiction to the stage, her selections all crest unexpectedly and pack a powerful punch.

Learn more about Shze-Hui’s selections and read the winning pieces below:

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Flash 405, April 2023: “Flight” Winners

For our April Flash 405 contest, guest judge Lucy Zhang wanted to read about flight, asking, “How do we fly, but also how do we float, fall, or glide?” In the winning pieces, imagery around her theme—birds, planes, space—soared in unexpected ways, with poignancy and whimsy.

Learn more about Lucy’s selections and read the winning pieces below:

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Flash 405, February 2023: “Tacky” Winners

In our February Flash 405 competition, Judge Krista Nave sought entries that celebrated kitsch, embraced the garish, and indulged in excess without shame. Sifting through the entries, she discovered pieces infused with more than just gaudy jewelry—and work that embraces timeless subjects of grief and hope.

Learn more about Krista’s selections and read the winning pieces below:

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Flash 405, August 2022: “Burn” Winners

We were thrilled to have Cathy Ulrich guest-judge our final Flash 405 contest of 2022, and now we are thrilled to be able to share her selected winners! The theme of this round, “Burn,” called for writers to consider what was “making you smolder and spark.” The winning pieces reflect this, with stories about rites of passage, body parts, and comic book characters—exploring the theme figuratively and literally.

Learn more about Cathy’s selections and read the winning pieces below:

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Flash 405, June 2022: “Inheritance” Winners

For our June Flash 405 contest, judge Sofía Aguilar asked, “What have you inherited? What do you wish you could? What do you hope will be buried?” Our winners answered with genetic traits, morning rituals, and generational trauma—poignant, painful, and haunting.

Learn more about Sofía’s selections and read the winning pieces below:

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Flash 405, April 2022: “Escape” Winners

In our call for submissions for our April Flash 405: “Escape” contest, judge Kelly Esparza sought stories that would evoke that feeling: “a place, an image, a story to bring us peace and excitement while uncertainty and chaos surround us.” Our winners delivered both, whisking us away from our everyday lives with stories of longing and hope.

Learn more about Kelly’s selections and read the winning pieces below:

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Flash 405, February 2022: “Routine & Ritual” Winners

For the first Flash 405 of 2022, guest judge Mia Nakaji Monnier asked us to consider how “we mark the small moments”—an apt request for a flash writing contest, where the smallest stories can still connect us to the bigger picture. Our winners did just that, using ritual and routine to explore full histories in a few brief paragraphs.

Learn more about Mia’s selections and read the winning pieces below:

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Flash 405, August 2021: “House Party” Winners

Looks like this party’s over (or maybe just beginning) with the announcement of our 2021 Flash 405 contest “House Party” winners. Judged by Barrelhouse Fiction Editor Christopher Gonzalez, this round of Flash 405 wanted pieces that made us crave community and conflict, heat and heated discussions, raw and unfiltered potential. After much deliberation, we have our winners!

Learn more about Christopher’s selections and read the winning pieces below:

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