Lost in flash fiction: interview with Calum Kerr

Come and get lost in some flash fiction with the father of all things flashy. Calum Kerr is a writer, editor, lecturer and director of National Flash-Fiction Day in the UK. He’s got a new collection of flash-fictions, Lost Property, which is you can get from Amazon, or if you’re more inclined not to support the tax dodgers, you can get it direct from the publisher.  

Take it away Calum!

One thing I have discovered since starting to write flash-fiction, is that it is the perfect size for reading out at events, open mics and the like. It also works really well in recorded versions. When I reached story number 100 in my flash365 project I sent out press releases to all the usual suspects. I thought that someone, somewhere, might be interested in what I was doing. And I was right.

I heard back from iPM, the Saturday evening listener-driven version of Radio 4’s weeknight news programme, PM. It turns out they liked the idea of what I was doing, wanted me to be interviewed by presenter Eddie Mair (one of my all time heroes!), and to read out a couple of specially written stories. The prompts they gave me were their ‘Your News’ items. This is from a segment of the show where listeners send in a single sentence of news from their week, and they have a proper newsreader announce them as though they were headlines. It turns out these were perfect little prompts for flash fiction.

I did the interview without gushing too much, and read the stories reasonably well, but an idea had formed. What if I approached them about using their ‘Your News’ prompts for a whole month? Maybe they would feature me again. I did, and they did, and the next thing I knew they were recording 22 of them for a special Christmas Eve edition of iPM dedicated entirely to my stories, with them being read by Emilia Fox, Rory Kinnear, Kenneth Cranham and Dame Diana Rigg! And so it came to pass, on 24/12/2011, that Calum did sit on the sofa with his wife and listen to famous actors reading his words. It was amazing, uplifting and moving to hear them take such a form. If you want to hear the programme, it’s still available on iPlayer.

And then, when last year’s National Flash-Fiction Day came around, I found myself being interviewed for a Litro podcast. They asked for a story which could be recorded, and I gave them ‘Who’s the Boss?’ one of my favourite of the iPM stories. So this one story was re-recorded wonderfully by Richard Koworld, and listening to it was a revelation. He gave the story a different spin and the main character a different personality, and all of a sudden I knew that this 199 word story actually contained the basis of a radio play!

I haven’t written it yet. Time is so short for anything at the moment, but I certainly plan to. Tigger will rise!

You can listen to Richard’s version of the story above, and it is also included as one of the pieces in Lost Property, along with some of the other iPM stories and a whole lot more.

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2 thoughts on “Lost in flash fiction: interview with Calum Kerr

  1. Wow – this is awesome. Especially the bit about meeting Eddie Mair (one of my heroes too!) Good for you on getting flash fiction on to national radio!

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