Splonk, the sparky bi-lingual journal for flash fiction

Visual art by Janice Leagra

***Splonk is open for submissions from 1st September, 2021***

Nuala O’Connor talks all things flash, and Janice Leagra highlights some sparks—with dazzling imagery.

I set up Splonka bilingual journal for flash fiction, in January 2019 because I saw a gap in the market: Ireland didn’t have a journal or zine dedicated entirely to flash, and there seemed to be a particular opening for a zine that would also feature flash in the Irish language. As a devotee of the form, I decided it was up to me to set up a publication to answer those needs. 

The name Splonk came to me instantly; it’s the anglicised form of the Irish word ‘splanc’, which means ‘flash’ or ‘spark’. (Added bonus: a ‘splaincín’, or ‘little splonk’, means a spirited or fiery woman.)

When I got that initial urge to set up Splonk, I contacted three potential collaborators who are flash writers whose work I love: Marie Gethins, Adam Trodd, and Robert BarrettWe are now a seven-person team: I’m Editor-in-Chief, Marie edits and also runs our interview series, The Splonk 5, where we’ve interviewed flash luminaries including Stuart Dybek and Kathy Fish

Our Irish language editor, Lisa Nic an Bhreithimh, I met at a flash workshop I facilitated, and leapt on her the moment I heard she wrote flash in Irish.

American writer and mixed media artist Janice Leagra joined as Visual Editor soon after we set up, and my husband, Finbar McLoughlin, who works in IT, came on board as our Website Manager, which has been an enormous help. Adam and Robert are wonderful co-editors with keen eyes and ears, and the whole team are very dynamic and just work extraordinarily well together.

Visual Art—ekphrastic responses

Janice Leagra is a mixed media artist, writer, and the visual editor of Splonk. Responding to submissions, she creates visual art which resonates with the heart of the story. Below she selects two that particularly spoke to her.

‘Beannacht an Glasmhíl Mhárta’ by Tegan Forde in Splonk Issue 3

Visual art by Janice Leagra

‘I was drawn to this piece for how it treated an historically significant moment. Its vivid imagery featuring the hare was clever and unique. I could picture it all in my mind and wanted to try to recreate it.’—Janice Leagra, Visual Editor, Splonk

‘Ornithologia Corvidae’ by Sarah McPherson in Splonk Issue 4

Visual art by Janice Leagra

‘I loved the bird theme of this fractured flash. I knew I wanted to somehow capture the idea of this woman taking flight from an unsatisfying situation.’—Janice Leagra, Visual Editor, Splonk

Submissions to Splonk

The flash fiction community worldwide is very online based – Twitter is our hub – so we decided on a digital only journal, which is now also downloadable in pdf format. 

Our first five issues have been widely enjoyed and downloaded, which we’re really pleased about – we all do this simply for the love of tiny stories and of creating something beautiful, to read and to look at.

We have three categories writers can sub to: flash fiction of up to 500 words for SplonkFlash. Micro-fictions of up to 100 words for SplonkMicros. And Irish language flash up to 500 words for SplonkSplanc.

We read submissions anonymously, so we never know who has written a piece until it comes time to accept or reject it. That, for me, is the fairest way to run a magazine.

It means the work speaks for itself and rejections are never personal.

We take good editorial care of the work submitted to us and we nominate some stories for prizes and anthologies, such as the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Microfiction.

We’re open to all kinds of flash fiction – there’s no genre restriction for Splonk. We’re happy to consider experimental work, straight narratives, language-driven flash, weird, historical, futuristic, quirky, ‘normal’, melancholic, and joyful/humorous work. We want writers to send us the flashes and micros they’re most proud of and we’re not restrictive regarding theme, content etc.

Readers can follow Splonk on Twitter @Splonk1 and writers can check out the submissions page for detailed information about how to send in their fiction, in English or Irish. 

Splonk submissions open on September 1st 2021 and international subs are always welcome.