Last weekend the first Spanish Book Fair took place in London. A variety of Spanish and Latin American exhibitors, from magazines to bookshop stands, settled in the crypt of St Peters church. They did not arrive alone: a rich programme of talks, workshops, discussions with the authors, poetry open mic and storytelling unfolded nonstop during the two days of the fair. The response from the public could not have been better. This promises to be the first of many book fairs to come.
Spanish House London had the enormous privilege to take part in the workshop “Flash Fiction. Less is more” with Dominican writer Karlina Veras; a very enriching talk in which we found out that the trend of minimalism also rules in the realm of Literature.
So what is Flash Fiction? It’s a writing genre characterized by its extreme brevity. Whereas “short stories” can be up to 10,000 words, Flash Fiction stories are normally between just 5 and 2,000 words long. Tiny! Karlina dubbed them “Napkin Stories”, as they easily fit in in a paper serviette you might find in a bar (what an evocative image, inspiration suddenly kicks in and you feel the urge to quickly draft your ideas on the first piece of writable object you find!). Conciseness is their beauty: simple, quick, and straight to the point (or as we say in Spanish “directas al grano”). They follow the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).
Flash Fiction doesn’t allow for space to develop characters nor descriptions; therefore the narrative needs to focus on conflict, movement and action. The practical exercises that followed Karlina’s talk reminded me of Marie Kondo’s anti-hoarding, getting-rid-of-the-unnecessary advice transported onto paper: this is the era of decluttering, my friends. All in all, we walked out of the workshop with some brilliantly creative writing ideas to bring to our Spanish lessons.