Short-Shorts take the stage at the Loft's first flash fiction marathon
Tonight, join all the cool lit kids at the Loft Literary Center for its first-ever Short-Short Salon. The event centers on Marge Barrett's Short-Shorts Contest. Barrett, who also teaches flash fiction at the space, has previously hosted the contest via MinnPost.
Years ago, submissions were originally limited to 800-words maximum. Over the years, however, this number has been whittled down, and it's currently set at a slim-and-trim 100-word limit. The winning entries from four past contests will be read at this evening's Salon, in addition to this year's top piece.
When searching for the best submissions, Barrett keeps an eye out for pieces that "bring us into the world of the writer instantly. They hit a nerve, a universal theme; we love or hate, laugh or cry with them."
So, why the short-shorts craze? Shorts, especially flash fiction, have been receiving gads of literary attention in the last few years, spurring various contests. There has even been an up-tick in literary magazines focused solely on publishing these short bursts of narrative. But as Barrett reminds us, short-shorts aren't new. "Short-shorts have been around forever: jokes, folk tales, parables, fables," she says. So why the recent resurgence? "Brevity is a key to our culture's fast-paced, pack-a-punch appetite," she explains.
Audience members will surely be laughing tonight, thanks to local comedian Rana May as emcee. Whatever May does, she'll be sure to deliver her jokes with her usual quirky brand of wit and creativity. Writers, come prepared: May will facilitate a writing challenge on the spot, inviting audience members to read their own shorts written at the event.
The Salon is another example of the Loft's renewed focus on community-oriented events, which are popping up on its calendar this year. "The Loft has recently begun focusing on events that invite a broader section of the literary community," says Loft events coordinator Lucas Shulze.
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