Friday 29 June 2018

Launching Three Men on the Edge

V. Press is very very pleased to launch Three Men on the Edge, a flash fiction novella by Michael Loveday featuring three men living on the edge of London.

The story of the three men – Gus, Denholm and Martyn – is narrated in three distinctive sections: Denholm – Cause for Alarm; Gus – The Invisible World; Martyn – Chewing Glass. 

“A beautifully crafted novella-in-flash, small and perfect slices of life written with skill and heart.” Kit de Waal

“In his debut novella Michael Loveday sketches with a delicate brush the colourful lives of three troubled men living on the edge of London. With poetic language and emotional precision, Loveday writes like a cartographer about the wilderness we call ‘the human heart’.” Meg Pokrass

“This is a novella full of the aches and bruises left by loneliness. It's written in fragments, like a bottle smashed during a solitary boozing session, but it coheres around the vividly captured edgeland that haunts the three men. This a heart-felt book, but its prose is controlled by a steely intelligence. It's funny, too – and moving and scary. Michael Loveday is a name to watch. He's writing a new kind of fiction.”  David Swann

Three Men on the Edge is very richly shaded and very unconventional.

R.R.P. £9.99

Sample flashes from each of the three sections of the novella may be enjoyed below.

BUY a copy of Three Men on the Edge now using the paypal button below. 

Three Men on the Edge (including P&P)


Bath Launch: Saturday, 6 October 2018. 1.45 for 2 p.m. Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2HN.


From (I) Denholm – Cause for Alarm
i. Lost Object

(Where are the fragranced pillows, where are the flying horses) Denholm balances the square box on his palm, lifts the purple lid, and inside, instead of hazelnut whirls and lemon crunches, resting in the depressions of the plastic tray, are the fifteen pairs of keys which used to open Gorgeous Gifts, no longer a going concern (where are the Union Jack beard trimmers, where are the tiger-print purses), he closes his eyes, fingers the keys, they rattle in his brain, fifty years trading on Rickmansworth High Street, Watford, Chorleywood, Bushey, St. Albans, places where mother’s business dug into Hertfordshire soil (find us the faux-diamond ballerinas, find us the Spitfire key-rings); how he cherished helping buyers turn panic to inspiration, and he drifts back to the Rickmansworth storeroom, clambering through stuffed cardboard boxes, the one-chair staffroom with its grown-up magazines (go find the Hertfordshire egg-timers, go find the invisible inks), and the smell of Grandma’s daily gammon rolls, how the shop became a home, how he memorised those cluttered shelves (go get the coin-box skulls, go get the footballing pigs), and how much he loathed the family party-trick, the loss of light as they put the blindfold in place. 

[First published in Flash: the International Short-Short Story Magazine]

From (II) Gus – The Invisible World
ix. Town Ditch, September

Five corpses float at the surface. Carried in the water is a dark sludge that seems to be silt: when he dips his hand, the sludge smells only of earth.

The next day many more litter the ditch. He gives up counting. They bob in the slow current, spinning as they snag against branches and leaves.

He looks closer, sees others, alive, rising to the surface, their gills beating for breath amid the black silt. Chubs, bullheads, minnows, roaches. Glinting silver scales, sandy-yellow blotches, flecks of gold, orange. The dead ones float flat on their sides.

He shivers. The bare eyes stare up, gawping blindly at him.

[First published in Flash: the International Short-Short Story Magazine]

From (III) Martyn – Chewing Glass

Sometimes Anja praises Martyn so highly she makes him feel like Superman. He has the Superman dream always the same way: not the caped crusader saving the civilised world, but Clark Kent the reporter wearing preppy spectacles and befuddled by Lois Lane—except Lois is Anja—and Anja’s nipples are made of kryptonite. But this is a dream and Lois-Anja is also somehow Lex Luthor at one and the same time—looking like Gene Hackman with his big-collared 1970s shirt—and Lois-Anja Hackman takes off Clark Kent’s glasses, kisses his brow sadly, then draws his head closer to her deadly, trembling chest.

[First published in Funny Bone: Flashing for Comic Relief]


"Michael Loveday’s Three Men on the Edge (V. Press, 2018) reminds me of why I love the novella-in-flash form. This story, told in a series of fragments, drops you right into the worries and yearnings of three men living in uncertain times in a watery suburb of London. Loveday’s poetic rendering of everyday details takes the reader to a captivating, but beleaguered, town where the protagonists can be as touching and, at times, funny, as they are clueless about how to move forward in their lives. The writing follows Denholm, Gus and Martyn into the more vulnerable corners of their edgelands existence, unveiling their disappointments, perplexities and desires with poignancy, humor and an unforgettable sense of place. There is something touchingly and disturbingly recognizable in each of the protagonists. And there is something about Three Men on the Edge that makes me want to take a stroll away from the high street and find a place to sit along the canals of Rickmansworth." 

Charmaine Wilkerson, author of How to Make a Window Snake, winner of the Bath Novella-in-Flash Award 2017, review here.

Saturday 16 June 2018

Happy National Flash Fiction Day

 V. Press is very very pleased to celebrate this year's National Flash Fiction Day with editor Sarah Leavesley's  'A Flash Guide to V. Press'.

The piece was originally written for a blogpost for the National Flash Fiction Festival, which takes place at Trinity College, Bristol from July 20-22 and will feature a V. Press showcase.

 The showcase on Sunday, July 22, will feature readings from this year's V. Press titles: There's Something Macrocosmic About All of This by Santino Prinzi and Michael Loveday's flash fiction novella Three Men on the Edge.

More about the festival can be found on the festival website here.


In summer 2018, V. Press celebrates its fifth birthday. It’s a very, very delightful coincidence that it also marks the publication of our fifth fiction title!

The press was originally set up and launched at Ledbury Poetry Festival in 2013. But it only really got going in 2015, with three poetry pamphlets. In 2016, V. Press published three poetry pamphlets, a poetry collection and our first flash pamphlet. This increased to nine titles in 2017, with a similar schedule for 2018.

The move into publishing flash fiction alongside poetry was an organic one. I’d long admired Carrie Etter’s poetry and I was delighted to be able to publish her fiction pamphlet, Hometown. Our range has built up from there, with clear black and white photographic cover designs to make our fiction immediately and distinctively discernible from our poetry titles.

The compressed nature of flash sits well alongside poetry, but I also like work that mixes artforms or threads across genre boundaries. I have eclectic tastes in my own reading and writing; I think this is reflected in my choices as an editor and publisher.

One thing I look for in manuscripts is not just great individual pieces but some overall cohesion. The pamphlet in particular is perfect for sequences of poems and short fiction which combine to create a sum that’s greater than its parts.

So, Carrie Etter’s Hometown is very immediate and very engaging, with emotion-charged stories, distinctive characters and strong tensions. Jude Higgins’ very evocative and very colourful The Chemist’s House is a moving, interconnected coming-of-age flash tapestry of family love and conflict. Charlie Hill’s Walking Backwards is a touching, funny and melancholic mix of short fiction that is very human and very distinctive.

This year, Michael Loveday’s Three Men on the Edge is a very richly shaded and very unconventional novella-in-flash. This heart-felt narrative of three men living on the edge of London is also funny, scary and beautifully crafted, with poetic language and emotional precision. Meanwhile, the very human and very heart-provoking flashes in Santino Prinzi’s There's Something Macrocosmic About All of This range across hilarious, playful, profound and fierce as they pick out the big truths in everyday moments.

Ultimately, the choice of titles is subjective – and not just about the individual manuscript, but also how it fits with V. Press’s overall range. I’m pleased this includes work from open submissions windows. It’s really exciting to discover new work by new writers as well as established names!

We had a poetry submissions window open in April/May 2018, which will now be followed by a flash fiction submission window in July. But I’m also exploring the possibility of guest editors – to potentially increase the diversity and maybe even number of titles that we publish, as well as potentially allowing writer-editors based overseas to influence the work that V. Press produces.

Although we’re not yet five years old, it’s been great to see the press shortlisted in the Michael Marks Publishers’ Award 2017, as well as many of our authors picking up their own wonderful individual reviews, awards and accolades.

More information and sample flashes/poems can be found on our website and please do follow us on twitter at @vpresspoetry. I’m also very very much looking forward to meeting writers and readers at this year’s Flash Fiction Festival!!!

Monday 4 June 2018

V. Press’s 2018 poetry submissions window has now closed, bringing with it an impressive selection of sample poems. Now, the delightful reading of submissions, followed by the hard decision on which pamphlets and collections to shortlist.

This process starts with a simple but very big thank you to everyone who has sent poems. V. Press editor Sarah Leavesley is very much looking forward to reading them. Whatever the final decisions are, each poem will be read and appreciated.

Because this year has brought even more submissions than before, this blogpost includes a brief run-through of what happens next, along with advance gratitude for poets' patience in terms of replies. (The time it takes V. Press to respond is in direct correlation to the standard of submissions and time it takes to consider each carefully!)

V. Press does allow simultaneous submissions at the pre-shortlist stage because of the time involved in reading submissions and responding – but we would ask anyone who has submitted elsewhere simultaneously to let us know asap if the manuscript is taken on by another press.

This year for the first time we also invited submissions for a guest editor role, and have been delighted by the response.

Once decisions have been made about shortlisted poets, V. Press will then also be in contact with those who’ve sent expressions of interest in the guest editor roles.

Finally, a thanks too for the many words of appreciation for current V. Press titles and a reminder that V. Press will be OPEN FOR FLASH FICTION SUBMISSIONS IN JULY 2018. More on how to submit here.

Friday 1 June 2018

Launching There's Something Macrocosmic About All of This

V. Press is very very delighted to announce the publication of Santino Prinzis' flash fiction pamphlet There's Something Macrocosmic About All of This.

The short fiction in There’s Something Macrocosmic About All of This by Santino Prinzi is very human and very heart-provoking.

“Hilarious, playful, profound and fierce, these stories ring with wonder at the messy world of sex and love. Prinzi's fiction is addictive because of their unflinching sensuality and sharp attention to emotional detail.” Meg Pokrass

“InThere's Something Macrocosmic About All of This, Santino Prinzi looks for the big truths in everyday moments. From coming out to falling out, each of these stories is a nuanced study of human nature – full of insight and wit.” Christopher Allen

40 pages, R.R.P. £6.50

BUY a copy of There's Something Macrocosmic About All of This now using the paypal options below. 

There's Something Macrocosmic About All of This (including P&P)

A sample story from There's Something Macrocosmic About All of This may be enjoyed below.


The succulent is growing from a white porcelain pot on the kitchen windowsill. Its colouring varies in the light, from an almost neon that dazzles to a deep pine reminiscent of Christmas.

Jenni is sitting at the kitchen table. She’s reading Finnegan’s Wake. This is the only type of literature she’ll read. Real literature. Literature by dead people. This frustrates Kate. Though she can tolerate wet towels left on the bed, Kate wishes that Jenni would accept that contemporary fiction isn’t all Fifty Shades of Grey, poorly written crime thrillers, or some Frankenstein’s monster of the two. The monster novel exists in a bookcase or on a laptop somewhere in the world, of that Kate is certain, but not in this house.

Kate places a black coffee in front of Jenni and her white coffee on the other side of the table. She takes a seat and removes her bookmark from White Teeth. The bookmark is a metal letter ‘K’ that slightly tears the page if Kate isn’t careful. They both have a sip of coffee, not quite in unison, then Jenni reaches for the sugar. She struggles, her fingertips skimming the edge of the sugar pot. Kate pretends not to notice; her eyes are fixed on the word ‘memory’. She can’t help but watch Jenni in her periphery vision. Any other person may snigger, then offer to help. Kate just sits. Because it isn’t only the literature or the wet towels dampening the bed sheets; it’s everything that is and everything that isn’t. Everything that was. Everything that could be so much more than this.

Beneath the succulent’s healthy leaves that hang over the pot’s brim, dead leaves have shrivelled into soil that has become too dry. They are slowly decomposing, one on top of the other, out of sight. A bigger pot is needed if it is going to continue to grow.