Forward: 21st Century Flash Fiction


Forward: 21st Century Flash Fiction—a print anthology of flash fiction and craft essays—will be accepting submissions of flash fiction and flash craft essays from July 1-31. This call for submissions is open exclusively to writers of color. Thanks to Mythic Picnic (@mythicpicnic), all writers with work selected for publication will receive $50, and Jon Chaiim McConnell (@JonMcConn) has generously funded our first print run! Next step: our open submission period starts July 1.
Flash Fiction Guidelines:

You will only be allowed to submit one story, 1,000 words or less. It can be a new, unpublished work or a story published or selected for publication in 2016, 2017, or 2018. If you submit more than one story, you will not be considered for inclusion.

Craft Essay Guidelines:

You will only be allowed to submit one previously unpublished essay, 1,000 words or less. We will not be accepting previously published essays.

Suggested essay topics: craft of writing flash fiction; craft of editing/revising flash; an essay that discusses a relationship between flash and fables; an interview with a writer of color working in the field; and/or close reads/craft discussions of flash fiction stories by a writer of color. You may only submit one essay. If you submit more than one essay, you will not be considered for inclusion.

** Submissions are now open. Our window will remain open July 1-31. To submit a story or craft essay, visit our submission form.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How many stories are you going to publish?


How many essays are you going to publish?


I’m not a writer of color, but I would like to help out! How can I donate money?

Thank you! Forward is funded in part by the generosity of readers and donors like you, and donations of all levels are sincerely appreciated.

You can support Forward directly via financial contribution here.

Your donation will go to Aforementioned Productions, but will be allocated to Forward. Aforementioned is supported primarily by book sales and reader contributions. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, donations to Aforementioned are tax-deductible.

I don’t want to submit a story, and I don’t really have any spare cash to donate, but I would like to donate my time! How can I help?

We currently need volunteers to help us read submissions and proofread. E-mail for more info!

If your schedule is such that you can’t commit to reading/proofreading, we’d love for you to help us spread the word across all channels.

Are you looking for a cover artist?

Yes, we are. If you’re an artist of color interested in providing cover art for us, please e-mail While we only have $50 payment at the moment, we would love to feature your work. When you e-mail us, please include a link to an online portfolio or links to your work.

Why only writers of color?

The vast majority of flash fiction anthologies in the United States are mostly filled with writing by white writers. And while there are several things to praise about the anthologies out there, the majority of their editors and writers are white. We want to show that, just as flash fiction is a wide-ranging genre inclusive of many different forms, it also has room for many kinds of writers. Hopefully, one day, there won’t be a need for this kind of anthology. But, for years, an anthology of this kind has been necessary.

Is there a specific theme or aesthetic for the series?

There is no set theme for the anthology or preference given to a particular style. We’re interested in all types of flash fiction, from realist narratives to prose poems to genre-defying work. Send us your best.

Does my story have to be about person of color or about race relations?

Only if you want it to be. The stories can be about anything you want (although, if your story is misogynistic, racist, transphobic, xenophobic, etc., it will not be published by us).

I haven’t had writing published before. Can I submit work?

Yes. We’re considering work from all writers of color, including new and emerging writers.

I’m an editor at a literary journal. Can I nominate stories for inclusion?

No, but you can encourage writers to submit their work to us.

I’m not from the United States. Can I submit?


Can I submit an essay and a story?

Yes, but we’ll only publish one. The point of this anthology is to show a wide range of writers. No one will be getting double-published.

If my work is accepted, when will I get paid?

March, 2019.

Flash fiction seems more like an online form. Why publish an anthology in print?

One of the hopes of this anthology is that people might think of it as a potential textbook option in future courses. Currently, very few teachers seem willing to assign only digital texts.

Where can I buy this?

We’ll be accepting pre-orders in late fall. The anthology will be available from Aforementioned Productions, SPD, Amazon if you must, and in person at your local bookstore. You’ll also be able to buy a copy at different AWP events.

Who’s in charge of this gig?

Megan Giddings is the Anthology Editor. She’s worked or is working at different literary magazines such as SmokeLong Quarterly, Boulevard, and The Offing. Her flash fiction has been published in places such as Best Small Fictions 2016, Black Warrior Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Split Lip.

Carissa Halston is the Series Editor. Her long fiction has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Willow Springs, and Fourteen Hills, among others; and her flash fiction is at Wigleaf, Trnsfr, The Molotov Cocktail> kill author, and elsewhere. She has been a prose editor at AGNI, and currently runs the small press Aforementioned Productions and the literary journal apt.

Bix Gabriel is the Community Outreach Facilitator. She’s a writer, teacher of creative writing at Butler University, fiction editor at The Offing magazine, co-founder of TakeTwo Services, occasional Tweeter, and seeker of the perfect jalebi. Most recently, her writing has appeared in Jellyfish Review, Electric Literature, Guernica, and Smokelong Quarterly. @bixgabriel

Paul Asta is the Book Designer. His work can be found in The Adroit Journal, Poor Claudia, Ninth Letter, and others.

Jon Cameron designed our logo.

Our team of readers is currently Paul Asta, Amy Barnes, Megan Giddings, Aubrey Hirsch, LN Holmes, and Melody Steiner. We’d love to have your help if you’re up for reading submissions! Be in touch with us at

What will my money/donation go towards?

The cost of printing books, shipping them to readers, mailing supplies, planning events for AWP 2019, paying a cover artist, and, in the event that we receive a surplus of donations, getting us on solid footing to fund next year’s anthology.

I want this book for my campus/bookstore/classroom! How can I order bulk copies?

Booksellers and other retailers can order copies of Forward directly through Small Press Distribution. If, for some reason, copies are not available at SPD, you can contact Carissa Halston at Aforementioned for information about ordering directly through the publisher.

I have a question that isn’t answered here. Who can I contact and how?

E-mail, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.