UPDATE: Our list of short story contests in 2018 can be found here.
PAST SHORT STORY CONTESTS
Mogford Short Story Prize
is for work with food and drink at its heart. First prize is £10,000 (approximately US$12,500) and stories may be up to 2500 words. Entries close on 15 January.
Portable Story Series
is a new writing contest “with an audio twist”. It aims to bring stories to life through high-quality recordings while supporting social causes that deserve greater visibility. Contests take place four times throughout the year and entries may be between 2000 and 4000 words. The first deadline in 2017 is 20 January and the theme is ‘Love Story’.
Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award
has been held annually since 1981. The award carries a first prize of US$3500 and has four finalist prizes ($1000 each) and five runners-up prizes ($500 each) and there is no entry fee. Stories can be up to 8000 words and must be previously unpublished. The Nelson Algren Award is only open within the United States and entries close on 31 January.
Iowa Review Awards
are open to short fiction of up to 25 pages (double spaced), as well as poetry and nonfiction. First prize is $1500 and all entries will be considered for publication. The judge of the 2017 fiction category is Amelia Gray. Entries open on 1 January and close on 31 January.
Philosophy Through Fiction Short Story Competition
is open to speculative fiction (including but is not limited to science fiction, fantasy, horror, alternative history, or magical realism) that explores one or more philosophical ideas. These can be implicit; there is no restriction on which philosophical ideas you explore. First prize is US$500 and the winning story will be published in Sci Phi Journal. Entries close 1 February.
Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition
offers the winner a place on an Arvon residential writing course of your choice (valued at £1000) and publication on writersandartists.co.uk. Stories must be under 2000 words and, unlike previous years, can be on any theme. Entrants can be from anywhere in the world and there is no entry fee. Closes 13 February.
Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize
is awarded by Selected Shorts and the 2017 judge is Lauren Groff. The winning entry will receive US$1000 and the work will be performed and recorded live at the Selected Shorts performance at Symphony Space, and will be published on electricliterature.com. The winning writer will also earn free admission to a 10-week course with Gotham Writers Workshop. Closes 1 March
Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Prize
is run by Vermont-based journal Hunger Mountain. The winner receives US$1000 and publication. Stories may be up to 10,000 words in length and all entries will be considered for publication. Entries to the prize close on 1 March.
Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction
is offered each year by Colorado State University’s Center for Literary Publishing. The winner receives a US$2000 honorarium and the story is published in the fall/winter issue of Colorado Review. There are no theme restrictions, but stories must be at least 10 pages (or 2500 words) but no more than 50 pages (12,500 words). Entries close 14 March.
Mslexia Women’s Short Story Competition
is open to stories between 300 and 3000 words and can be on any subject. The winner receives £2000 (US$2500) plus two optional extras: a week’s writing retreat at Gladstone’s Library and a day with a Virago editor. Women writers from all countries are eligible to enter. Closes 20 March.
Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize
offers a total of AUD$12,500 (approx US$9400) in prize money and is open to writers worldwide. Entries must be between 2000 and 5000 words and written in English. The winner will be announced at a special event in August. Entries close 10 April.
Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
is open to original short stories and essays on any theme. The winner in each category receives US$1500 and there are a total of 10 minor prizes of $100. Entries should be maximum of 6000 words. Closes 30 April.
Bath Short Story Award
is open to stories up to 2200 words in length. Stories may be in any genre and entries from both published and unpublished writers are encouraged. First Prize is £1000 (US$1250) and a selection of twenty winning, shortlisted and longlisted stories will be published in a print and digital anthology. Entries close on 1 May.
David Nathan Meyerson Prize for Fiction
is only open to writers who have not yet published a book of fiction, either a novel or collection of stories. The winner receives US$1000 and publication in Southwest Review. Stories can be up to 8000 words in length and all entries will be considered for publication. The deadline for entries is 1 May.
Conium Review Innovative Short Fiction Contest
is for new writing that takes risks and shows something new with its subject, style or characters. Submission may include any combination of flash fiction or short stories up to 7500 total words.The winner receives US$500 and publication. Entries are expected to open in February and close on 1 May.
Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest
is open to writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry who have yet to publish a book. The winner in each genre will be awarded US$2000. Entries open on 1 March and close 15 May.
Raymond Carver Short Story Contest
is open to writers from around the world. First prize is US$1500 and the guest judge for 2016 was Caitlin Horrocks. Entries open on 1 April and close on 15 May.
Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition
is dedicated to recognising and supporting the work of emerging writers whose fiction has not yet achieved success. Entries must be less than 3500 words and the competition is open to writers based anywhere is the world. The winner receives US$1500 and publication. The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition first ran in 1981; entries for the 2017 prize close on 15 May (discounted entry available before 1 May).
Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction
is for unpublished manuscripts between 40,000 and 75,000 words and may include long stories or novellas. The authors of the two winning manuscripts will receive US$1000 and publication by the University of Georgia Press under a standard book contract. Writers must be residents of North America. Entries close on 31 May.
Curt Johnson Prose Award
is run by December magazine, a magazine whose many accomplishments include being the first to publish the work of Raymond Carver. Open to stories up to 8000 words in length, the fictionwinner receivess $1500 and publication in the magazine; second place receives $500 and publication. Prizes are also offered for non-fiction. Entries close 15 June.
Masters Review’s Short Story Award For New Writers
offers a first prize of $2000. It is only open to writers who have not published a book and submissions may be up to 6000 words. The contest is held multiple times throughout the year; entries for the summer contest close on 15 July.
Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition
is an annual short story competition open to writers from around the world. First prize is €2000 (US$2100), publication in the literary journal Southword, and a week-long residency at Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat. Entries close 31 July.
Indiana Review’s Half-K Prize
offers a first prize of US$1000 and publication. Writers can submit up to three pieces of writing up to 500 words each and there are no genre or form restrictions. Entries open on in July and are expected to close on 15 August.
The Sunday Times Short Story Prize
is the world’s richest short story competition, with the winner receiving £30,000 (approx US$37,500). The 2016 prize was won by Jonathan Tel for his story ‘The Human Phonograph’. Entries for the next prize are expected to open at the end of June and close on 28 September. The six stories shortlisted for the 2016 prize are available here.
Manchester Fiction Prize
is a major international literary competition open to anyone aged 16 or over. The winner receives a cash prize of £10,000 (US$15,000). Stories can be up to 2500 words in length. The organisers also offer a Manchester Poetry Prize. Entries will open in February and close in September.
Zoetrope All-Story’s Annual Fiction Contest
has the aim of seeking out and encouraging talented writers, with the winning and runners-up’s work being forwarded to leading literary agents. A first prize of US$1000 is also offered. Stories can be up to 5000 words. Entries open on 1 July and are expected to close on 1 October.
Arkansas International Emerging Writer’s Prize
is open to works of fiction up to 7500 words in length. All entrants must not have yet published a full-length book, and have no book forthcoming before 1 May 2018. Entries close 15 October.
Commonwealth Short Story Prize
aims to bring stories from new and emerging voices, often from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure, to the attention of an international audience. Open to citizens of the 53 Commonwealth countries, the prize covers the five Commonwealth regions: Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, Caribbean and Pacific. One winner will be selected from each region, with one regional winner to be selected as the overall winner. The overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize will receive £5000 (US$6250) and the remaining four regional winners receive £2500. Entries for the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize close on 1 November.
John Steinbeck Short Story Award
is one of three prizes offered by Reed Magazine. This award is for a work of fiction up to 5000 words. The winner of the John Steinbeck Short Story Award receives a cash prize of US$1000 and all entries are considered for publication. Entries open on 1 June and close 1 November.
Boulevard’s Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers
is open writers who have not yet published a book of fiction, poetry or creative non-fiction with a nationally distributed press. Stories may be up to 8000 words and must be previously unpublished. The winner will receive US$1500 and have his or her story published in the magazine. Entries close 31 December.