• LISP Team

Fiona Shillito, LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection, Flash Fiction

LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection, Flash Fiction 'A Clergyman’s Return' by Fiona Shillito


Click HERE to read 'A Clergyman’s Return'

Can you please tell us about your daily life?

My daily life includes writing most days, mornings are best. I am currently working on a series of short stories and poetry.

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

I started writing ‘seriously’ just over twenty years ago and I am a published author; in 2000 and 2001 my novels, The Colours of the Day and Other People’s Clothes were published by Hodder Headline. More recently I was short-listed for poetry in 2019 by the Wells Festival of Literature; Mslexia Max highly commended a Flash last year.

How does it feel to have your work recognised?

It’s great to have my work recognised, a real morale booster, and a form of validation that perhaps I have something worthwhile to say, or that someone else ‘gets’ what I’m saying.


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

The best thing about writing Flash is the discipline, not dissimilar to poetry in the need to search for and explore the true centre of a piece. The hardest thing about writing Flash is the discipline!

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?

My idea for a Clergyman’s Return, came from sitting on a Cathedral Green seat, watching a party of crows, a party of school children and hearing a helicopter flying overhead. All went into my notebook and re-emerged in various stages as a story of various lengths before realising that Flash was its best vehicle.


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

Write down all you have to say, and then write it again recognising and removing where the unnecessary frills are.

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

The best thing about writing competitions is that they keep me writing, there’s always a new goal ahead, the absolutely best thing is having a judge say, ‘yes, I like this’. The hardest thing about writing competitions is the feeling of rejection and dejection following a ‘no thanks’, but then the best thing comes along again.

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

Absolutely! I lead a weekly writing group (via email since and throughout the Covid crisis ) and shall be encouraging the other members to enter a LISP competition or two.



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