Some stories I really like

As our journal is so new and there are not lots of stories on the site for you to get a feel of the kind of things we like to publish, I thought I’d share some of the micros, flashes and short stories that we’ve published at Retreat West over the years that have really resonated with me.

Stories that stand out for me are often very character driven, use language cleverly and to paint strong images, and leave me with questions about what might happen for the characters after the story ends, or what happened before it began. In flash and micro, innovative use of form, if it really adds to the story, is always a winner as well.



This story was shortlisted in the April 2021 Monthly Micro Competition and then went on to win the Best Micro Fiction Prize at the 2021 Retreat West Awards. What I loved about this was how James used the title and the story together so well and how the break up of the word was used to piece together the story that unfolded.

In the aftermath of a supernova
eleanor luke

This story won first prize in the June 2022 Monthly Micro Fiction Competition. I loved the cosmic images and how it so cleverly weaves them into analogies of human emotions and bodies. It packs a real emotional punch without being sentimental.


Python Parlari
Kathy Hoyle

This story won the UNCANNY themed flash competition in 2021. This is a clever story filled with misdirection and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Plus it has a great atmosphere, excellent imagery and it feels like there’s a much bigger story going on off the page.

things the fortune teller didn’t tell you when she read your fortune
Iona rule

This story won First Prize in the AFTER themed flash competition in 2021. I love the breathless feel of this one sentence story that covers a whole life. I feel really invested in this narrator’s life as it unfolds before me in just 500 brilliantly chosen words.

Short Stories

Unfortunately you can’t read any of these online as they are in our anthologies rather than on the website. But if you have already got a copy then you can check them out again!

Rachel Rivett

This story was published in our 2018 climate-fiction anthology, Nothing Is As It Was, which raised funds for the Earth Day Network. This story has stayed with me over the years as it painted such a believable picture of our possible future, both in terms of the environment and social structure, yet at the same time it’s filled with love. Despite how sad the ending was, it was beautiful at the same time – a hard thing indeed to pull off.

Whale watching
Louise Farr

This story was awarded second place in the 2019 RW Short Story Prize. It is strange, moving, sad and hopeful. It shows how a life can be derailed by loss and brought back into focus again when we’re confronted with a different way of seeing ourselves. The behaviours of whales is woven in so beautifully to mirror the narrator’s life and emotions and the narrative voice jumps off the page.

Submissions are open for the April 2023 edition until 31st January 2023. I’m looking forward to reading your micros, flashes and short stories on the theme of VISION.

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