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Best Small Fictions

Best Small Fictions

Best Small Fictions


Best Small Fictions Editors
& Advisory Board 2023

Guest Editor:
Catherine McNamara

Series Editor:
Nathan Leslie

Managing Editor:
Michelle Elvy

Assistant Editors:
Amy Barnes
Myna Chang
Doris Cheng
Charles Rammelkamp

Consulting Editor:
Richard Peabody

Senior General Advisory Board:
Michael Cocchiarale
Kathy Fish
X. J. Kennedy
Clare MacQueen
Pamela Painter
Robert Shapard
James Thomas

Gisele Gehre Bomfim
April Stettner

Founding Editor:
Tara Lynn Masih

Former Series Editors:
Sherrie Flick
Tara Lynn Masih


For inquiries about the Best Small Fictions series, please email Series Editor Nathan Leslie at fictionsnlbestsmall2019 [at] gmail [dot] com.

For distribution and sales questions, please email Alternating Current Executive Editor Leah Angstman at info [at] altcurrentpress [dot] com.

About Best Small Fictions

Best Small Fictions is the first-ever contemporary anthology solely dedicated to anthologizing the best internationally published short hybrid fiction in a given calendar year. Now in its ninth year of existence, Best Small Fictions features the best microfiction, flash fiction, haibun stories, and prose poetry from around the world.

Originally founded by Tara L. Masih, Best Small Fictions is now steered by series editor Nathan Leslie, who has served in this role since 2019. Guest editors have included Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Olen Butler (2015), PEN/Malamud Award-winner Stuart Dybek (2016), PEN/Malamud Award-winner Amy Hempel (2017), two-time Pushcart Prize-winner Aimee Bender (2018), PEN/Faulkner-nominee Rilla Askew (2019), Sonder Press operator Elena Stiehler (2020), PEN/Bingham Prize-winner Rion Amilcar Scott (2021), and Bridport Prize-winner Elaine Chiew (2022). For the 2023 edition, we’re pleased to welcome Catherine McNamara as the guest editor!

Submission Guidelines

Editors are encouraged to send their five best works of flash and microfiction, haibun stories, and prose poems published in the previous year. Submissions for the 2024 edition will open on November 15, 2023, and run until January 31, 2024, and will consider pieces published in the 2023 calendar year. A submission portal will be available here when submissions open.

We encourage an eclectic array of styles and approaches. We love work featuring memorable imagery, characterization, and language. Submissions should be within 1,000 words; this is an approximate guideline, however, and we ask editors to use their own discretion. Submissions may be submitted as word documents, PDFs, or links to the published work.

Selected pieces will appear in the 2024 edition, and honorable-mention pieces may additionally appear in the online literary journal The Coil. All selected contributors will receive a complimentary PDF and ePUB of the finished anthology, along with a 50% discount for optional print versions.


The 2023 edition will be available in paperback distributed through Ingram, Asterism, and Alternating Current direct; in hardcover distributed through Ingram; and in ebook distributed through Ingram and OverDrive. Ingram’s print bookseller terms are 55% with free returns accepted. Paperback orders direct through Alternating Current are available to booksellers for 50%, free shipping, free returns, with invoicing and purchase-ordering options available. Please email info [at] altcurrentpress [dot] com for more information.

Past Issues in the Series

The 2015 and 2016 editions were originally published by Queen’s Ferry Press and have been reissued by Braddock Avenue Books, who also published the 2017 and 2018 editions. Sonder Press took over publication and published the 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 editions. Alternating Current Press will publish the series from 2023 onward.

Guest Editor

CATHERINE McNAMARA grew up in Sydney, ran away to Paris to write, and ended up in West Africa co-running a bar. Love Stories for Hectic People (flash fiction) won Best Short Story Collection in the Saboteur Awards 2021 (UK). The Cartography of Others (short stories) was a finalist in the People’s Book Prize (UK), and won the Eyelands Fiction Award (Greece). Pelt and Other Stories was a semifinalist in the Hudson Prize (USA) and longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Award (Ireland). The Carnal Fugues (selected stories) is out in November 2023 in Australia. Catherine hikes, grows cherries, and hosts writer retreats at her farmhouse in Italy.

Series Editor

NATHAN LESLIE won the 2019 Washington Writers’ Publishing House prize for fiction for his collection of short stories, Hurry Up and RelaxInvisible Hand (2022) and A Fly in the Ointment (2023) are his latest books. Nathan’s previous works of fiction include Three MenRoot and ShootSibs, and The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice. He is also the author of a collection of poems, Night Sweat. Nathan is currently the founder and organizer of the Reston Reading Series in Reston, Virginia, and the publisher and editor of the online journal Maryland Literary Review. Previously he was series editor for Best of the Web and fiction editor for Pedestal Magazine. His fiction has been published in hundreds of literary magazines such as ShenandoahNorth American ReviewBoulevardHotel Amerika, and Cimarron Review. Nathan’s nonfiction has been published in The Washington PostKansas City Star, and Orlando Sentinel. Nathan lives in Northern Virginia. 

Managing Editor

MICHELLE ELVY is a writer and editor in Ōtepoti Dunedin, on the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Her books include the everrumble (2019) and the other side of better (2021), and she has recently co-edited, among others, the anthologies A Kind of Shelter: Whakaruru-taha (2023), A Cluster of Lights: 52 Writers Then and Now (2023), Breach of All Size: Small stories on Ulysses, love, and Venice (2022), and Ko Aotearoa Tātou | We Are New Zealand (2020). Founder of National Flash Fiction Day NZ and Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction, Michelle also teaches online at 52|250 A Year of Writing. Find out more at

2023 Best Small Fictions Selections

*Top 10 spotlighted story selections, chosen by guest editor Catherine McNamara.

Praise for the Series

“If you are a writer of any kind, this book is also a must-read because it will only enhance and inspire your own work, particularly through models of stellar openings/endings and meticulous editing.” —JMWW

“Give us succor, these essential stories implore the earth. Give us meaning, they ask the world. We need you and haven’t forgotten you, they say. Forgive us.” —SmokeLong Quarterly

“The best of these fictional vignettes are like a splash of ice water in the face. Wake up, they shout, your life is unspooling. They create their emotional effects with a quick windup and a powerful release, often a final, lingering image.” —Harvard Review

“[T]he beauty of an anthology such as this, pulling together the best of the form, is that you will always encounter something new, something different, something that pushes the boundaries of flash further than before. If this anthology proves nothing else, it is that small fiction in all its forms continues to go from strength to strength, as does the series itself.” —Bath Flash Fiction Award

“The fifty-five authors represented [in BSF 2015] have all triumphed. They’ve sliced open secret passageways within language and kicked readers toward infinity. Yes, we’ve heard it before about the short form, and yes, it’s true, “Less is more,” though here it could be “Less is” or “More is.” What we’re finding, or re-finding, is simply “It is,” and it’s wonderful.” —The Small Press Book Review

“It will be well worth your while to spend a minute or 60 with some of the brightest concise writing available today.” —NewPages

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