Sian Williams, of Kerikeri has won the Northland Flash Fiction competition for her short story Ophelia at Huntly.

The prize is awarded to the best entry in the annual National Flash Fiction Day competition. Flash fiction is short fiction of between 200 and 500 words, and is growing in popularity "because life is short and so is some of the best fiction".

Her winning entry, Ophelia at Huntly, was one of four Northland entries longlisted for the national prize. It will be published in the July issue of Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction.

Other Northland authors longlisted for the national prize were Kampala Jackson of Whangarei for Clear and Strong, Jane Percival of Kaipara Harbour for Wild Peas and Red Valerian and Jac Jenkins of Whangarei for Settlement, which won a commended certificate.

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Williams was "thrilled" to win, and appreciates the diversity of the genre and its "myriad forms and limitless voices". She said writing flash fiction helps make other writing more layered and multi-dimensional because it teaches the writer to make every word count. It's also a genre that fits well in a busy life.

The prize is $50 plus a trophy, and was awarded at an event organised by the Northland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors.

The event included a workshop led by Williams on how to write flash fiction, and an afternoon of readings by workshop participants, competition winners and other flash fiction authors.

As a short fiction genre, flash fiction is celebrated each year on the shortest day or the year, or close to it.

For information about the competition go to www.nationalflash.org and for Flash Frontier go to www.flash-frontier.com.