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Splonk: A New Irish Flash E-zine

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By Nuala O’Connor

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Splonk is a brand new flash e-zine based in Ireland. The Splonk team, which may expand, are myself Nuala O’Connor, as editor-in-chief, and my co-editors are Adam Trodd, Marie Gethins, Robert Barrett, and Lisa Nic an Bhreithimh, all experienced flash writers and editors. I decided to set up Splonk after my second trip to the Flash Fiction Festival in the UK last July. It struck me that Ireland didn’t have a zine dedicated entirely to flash and there seemed to be a particular gap for a zine that would be open to flash in the Irish language. As a devotee of the form I decided it was up to me to set up just such a publication.

The name of the zine came to me while still at the Flash Fiction Festival. The word ‘splonk’ is the anglicised form of the Irish word ‘splanc’, which means ‘flash’ or ‘spark’. When I got back from the festival, I contacted potential collaborators (and flash writers whose work I love) Marie, Adam and Robert. I met Lisa later at a flash workshop I facilitated at the Irish Writers’ Centre in Dublin and leapt on her the moment I heard she wrote flash as Gaeilge. We now have this dynamic editorial team and are looking forward hugely to getting the first issue together. The team had its first meeting in January 2019 at the Irish Writers Centre where we discussed what we can do initially and what we hope to do in the future.

Submissions to the e-zine open on the 1st March and international subs are welcome; despite our name and subtitle – ‘Splonk, the Irish for flash’ – we’re not limiting ourselves to the Irish scene. We already have an active Twitter account @Splonk1 and the first issue of Splonk will be published on the 1st of May this year. Writers can check out the submissions page at www.splonk.ie for detailed information about how to send in their fiction, in English or Irish. Splonk will have a few sections: flash of up to 500 words for SplonkFlash. Micro-fictions of up to 100 words for SplonkMicros. And Irish language flash up to 500 words for SplonkSplanc.

The e-zine will also be inviting prominent flash writers and editors to answer The Splonk 5, five set questions about their understanding of, and interest in, flash fiction. The team are delighted to welcome renowned American flash writer Kathy Fish as the first interviewee and we also have more Irish and international flash aficionados lined up for this slot.

Splonk is open to all kinds of flash fiction and is not restricted as to genre. The editors will be reading blind and we’re happy to consider experimental work, straight narratives, language-driven flash, weird, historical, futuristic, quirky, ‘normal’, melancholic, and happy work. We want writers to send in the flashes and micros they’re most proud of and we really look forward to reading all the submissions. To help potential submitters along, here’s what each of the Splonk editors feels about flash and the kind of work we’re looking forward to finding in that submissions inbox:

Lisa: ‘Flash, to me, is a moment in time, a flash or a sparkle of life, a glimpse into lives or time. I’m looking for some really great splancfhicsean –flash as Gaeilge – something that ignites something in me but leaves me feeling fulfilled all the same. Flash allows us, as readers or editors, to complete the story ourselves.’

Marie: ‘Compression – make every word work – emotion, and reverberation from the unsaid are key elements I look for in flash. It is a partnership between the writer and reader where each brings their truth to the piece: expanding what’s on the page, making it a unique experience. I also enjoy the structural freedom flash allows, that ability to play.’

Adam: ‘For me, flash doesn’t have to be cut and dried. I like implication that sets my mind trotting down different avenues of possibility. I want elastic language that feels at times like it might break. Above all, I want flash that makes me feel.’

Nuala: ‘I love the malleability of flash – you can write about anything, in any way you choose; I like that flash fiction is amenable to the surreal. I value concision in language, and beauty, and I’d like submitters to bear in mind that fiction is about trouble and you must aim to move and/or surprise the reader, while trusting that she’ll get it.’

Robert: ‘For me, flash is often where the real story is left unsaid. The reader is being asked to come along, to do some work. There’s a kind of contract where the writer’s saying, Hey stranger, quick, come with me, you won’t be sorry. Then, through beautiful language, or a unique voice, or a devastating narrative, the pay-off is delivered. The pay-off is the story. I prefer flash when it’s fresh and honest and surprising. Flash lends itself to the weird and the quirky and, like poetry, the best flash has a sort of resonance to it, an afterlife. When it comes to subs, you’re looking for beautiful writing and great stories and you’re waiting on the other side of that contract saying, Hey writer, we’re here and we’re with you, take us somewhere.


(c) Nuala O’Connor

About the author

Nuala O’Connor (aka Nuala Ní Chonchúir) was born in Dublin, Ireland, she lives in East Galway. Her fifth short story collection Joyride to Jupiter was published by New Island in 2017; her story ‘Consolata’ from that collection was shortlisted for Short Story of the Year at the 2017 Irish Book Awards. Nuala’s third novel, Miss Emily, about the poet Emily Dickinson and her Irish maid, was shortlisted for the Eason Book Club Novel of the Year 2015 and longlisted for the 2017 International DUBLIN Literary Award. Nuala’s fourth novel, Becoming Belle, was published in August 2018. Nuala is a long-time mentor to creative writing students at Irish universites, currently at NUI Maynooth and also with Words Ireland.

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