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Avital Gad-Cykman, Semi-Finalist

Interview with Avital Gad-Cykman, Flash Fiction Semi-Finalist, LISP 3rd Quarter 2020

- Can you please tell us about your daily life?

Since the beginning of the quarantine, in the end of March 2020, I’ve been maintaining social distancing and mostly staying at home with my husband, son and daughter. In April I initiated a movement toward “writing together in virtual space”, and since then, there’s a group of writers from all over the world trying to do some daily literary work more or less simultaneously: writing, revising, editing etc. We pushed one another to write despite the pressures of this period. Otherwise, I’m always busy with day to day activities.

- When did you start writing? How often do you write?

I always wrote, but I started writing and publishing in English more or less twenty years ago. I’m trying to write as frequently as I can, but while I may write every day in certain periods, I may skip weeks at a time during others.

You asked me to mention my publications and awards. Well…

I am the author of the flash collection Life In, Life Out, published by Matter Press and the flash and story collection "Light Reflection Over Blues", upcoming at Ravenna Press.

My work has appeared in The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, Ambit (UK), The Literary Review, CALYX Journal, Glimmer Train, McSweeney’s Quarterly, Prism International, Michigan Quarterly Review and elsewhere.

Other stories have been featured in anthologies such as W.W. Norton's Flash Fiction International, Sonder Press's Best Small Fictions 2020, Politically Inspired Fiction, and The Best of Gigantic.

I am the winner of Margaret Atwood Studies Magazine Prize and first placed in The Hawthorne Citation Short Story Contest. My flashes have been twice listed in Best of the WEB, Wigleaf.

- How does it feel to have your work recognised?

I love it when my work finds readers. When it is publicly acknowledged it gets more readers, which makes me happy.

- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction?

Writing flashes is a joy, it’s like taking a deep breath and diving into the water-you only have this long to go as deep as possible. The challenge is to do the most with less, and find the exact balance.

- How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?

The idea emerged as the rising degree of loneliness became apparent during the quarantine. I’m lucky to have my family with me now, but I still remember times of acute loneliness. The story itself is a mixture of emotional memory and imagination.

- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story?

I find it helpful to write a flash as intensely as possible, in one sitting, and later revise it. A flash usually has an inherent length. It will seem too long if it strays too far, even if it’s only two-page-long. It will also seem too short, if it doesn’t flash out everything the story requires. Another interesting strategy is to decide in advance to write one page only. This constraint intensifies the writing and brings a greater focus.

- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing competitions?

Writing competitions validate the work of the winners and attract readers. However, writers need to remember that the decision is subjective and, therefore, the same work may be either declined or chosen by other editors.

-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on LISP?

Of course. 😊



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