As we close our eleventh — eleventh! — season, we’re bringing you both some bad news and some good news.
First the bad:
We’re starting our summer publication break a few weeks early this year, and it will extend longer into the autumn than usual.
It has been a tough year for us, and pandemic logistics have combined with personal circumstances (both good and and not-so-good) to make it impossible to carry on ‘as normal’. We’re far behind where we’d like to be behind-the-scenes, so are taking some time to catch up, regroup, and hit the ground running come autumn.
But here’s the good:
We can officially announce that barring any major surprises, we will be opening to new submissions on 6 September 2021! We’re sorry it’s been such a long wait for some of you, but we haven’t wanted to reopen submissions until we were confident we could deliver.
We’ll also continue to celebrate historical flash in the run-up to the summer holidays on Twitter @FlashBackFic so do join us there.
As always, huge thanks to all our authors and readers, and thanks especially for your support and patience over these difficult times.
…in case you’ve missed any of these fine pieces, here are links our latest season of historical flash, prose poetry and other shortform work. (You can, of course, find our full archives in chronological order on our Timeline.)
850 BCE: The Defenestration of Jezebel by Jack Somers
The queen wore her finest on the morning of her death. The lotus silk gown, pale as the blanched beaches of Sidon. The damask linen stole, soft as moth wings, green as the Cyprian Sea. On her head rested the royal diadem, a filigreed band of pure gold, Ahab’s mother’s before it was hers, an heirloom of incalculable value, the greatest treasure in all of Samaria.
508 BCE: Rex Nemorensis (King of the Woods) by Peter Burns
Come, curious minds, back to Old Latium, to Diana’s sacred grove on the shores of Lake Nemi. See her priest-king stalking through the gloom, eyes forever restless, hand ever-steady at his sword.
1500: Root by Becky Tipper
Frau Mueller now, her cold hands on Ilsa’s belly, prays to the Virgin, the Virgin’s mother, and all the Holy Mothers. Calls on them to ease the infant out, to end the heaving pains of five long days.
1587: God’s Image by Carys Crossen
Eleno lives in a world that shifts and moves like the sand on the shore. He has worn skirts, married a man, given birth, gone for a soldier, practised medicine, married a woman, undergone countless physical examinations, been held in isolation by the authorities because they weren’t sure whether to cage him with the men or the women.
1830s–1870s: The Sort-of-True Story of Princess Alexandra of Bavaria by Hannah Hoare
When I was a child I swallowed a glass piano.
1890s: Eliza Brightwen Waits for Dawn by Caroline Greene
When I walk out here in the night I hear all the sounds of my wakefulness: the clumsy rustle of the hedgehog, the ghoulish bark of the fox, the lonely shriek of a tawny owl. The sounds go unanswered, much in the way of my thoughts that strive and search for meaning, then stall and freeze, unresolved, incomplete, like the creatures in my little museum room.
1967: Torrey Canyon 1967 by Sam Payne
We wash seabirds in the sinks at the hairdressers. Their thin bones tremble in our hands as the brown foam slips over stained porcelain.
Print of Ptolemaic orbits, from Harmonia Macrocosmica by Andreas Cellarius, 1661, via Wikimedia Commons.