‘The best stories you find are the ones that find you.’ So goes the philosophy of Found Fiction, a guerrilla publishing experiment that aims to connect readers and writers across the world.
The concept is simple: people submit their short stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. Successful entries are printed and concealed in a brown envelope – branded with an Alice in Wonderland-esque ‘READ ME’ instruction. Then, the stories are hidden in public places, to be discovered by passers-by.
Envelopes have been found on bookshelves, in the arms of shop mannequins and slotted in cash machines.
As we’re rather partial to flash fiction, Hallmark’s editorial team greatly enjoyed Found Fiction’s launch party, held on Thursday 8th February at the UK’s oldest surviving subscription library. If you’re ever in Leeds, we definitely recommend visiting this amazing book haven, which is celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2018.
Found Fiction’s creator, Steve Clarkson, explained the inspiration behind the project – his friend really wanted to share his writing with an audience, but wished to remain anonymous. Since its humble origins in 2015, the experiment has received funding from Leeds Inspired and a few tales have travelled as far as America and Poland (thanks to dedicated translators).
The launch party was a thought-provoking evening of talks, films and poetry. Lewis King shared his photo collection of surprisingly profound graffiti – who knew pub toilets could inspire strong political statements? Owen Clements, founder of Open Letters, spoke about the ‘hidden’ (rather than lost) art of letter writing. And in a unique creative experiment, artist Jay Sillence drew visual interpretations of spoken word poems as they were performed.
Throughout the night, a journal was passed around the audience. We were encouraged to continue a story by adding a sentence to the yarn…similar to Hallmark Creative’s Fiction by the Fridge, but with more literary metaphors and less allusions to 80s musicians.
After the amazing launch party, we’ve been inspired to submit a few short stories of our own.