“When seriously explored, the short story seems to me the most difficult and disciplining form of prose writing extant. Whatever control and technique I may have I owe entirely to my training in this medium.” – Truman Capote
UPDATE: Our list of short story contests in 2019 can be found here.
PAST SHORT STORY CONTESTS
Masters Review’s Short Story Award For New Writers
offers a first prize of $3000. It is only open to writers who have not published a book and submissions may be up to 7000 words. The contest is held multiple times throughout the year; entries for the winter contest close on 15 January.
Iowa Review Awards
is 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. Entries close on 31 January.
Kenyon Review’s Short Fiction Contest
is only open to writers who have not yet published a book. To enter writers must provide a story of up to 1200 words. Entries close on 31 January.
The Disquiet Prize
offers a grand prize of a full fellowship (airfare stipend, tuition, and housing included) to the 2018 Disquiet International Program in Lisbon, Portugal. Submissions may be up to 25 pages. Entries close on 31 January.
Crazyhorse’s Prize for Fiction
is open to stories up to 25 pages. The winner receives US$2000 and all entrants receive a one-year subscription to the magazine. Entries close on 31 January.
Newcastle Short Story Award
is open to Australian writers aged over 18. Stories may be up to 2000 words and the winner will receive AUD$3000. Entries close on 5 February.
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 Stories can be up to 8000 words and must be previously unpublished. Entries close on 7 February.
Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition
offers the winner a place on an Arvon residential writing course of their choice (valued at £1000) and publication on writersandartists.co.uk. Stories must be under 2000 words and can be on any theme. Entrants can be from anywhere in the world and there is no entry fee. Entries close on 13 February.
Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize
will be awarded for an original work of short fiction under 2000 words. The first prize winner will receive €1000 (US$1200), a week’s residency at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy and a consultation with a US literary agent from Foundry Literary. Entries close on 14 February.
Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize
is awarded by Selected Shorts and the 20187 judge is Jess Walter. 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. Entries close on 1 March
White Review’s Short Story Prize
awards £2,500 to the best piece of short fiction by a writer resident in Britain & Ireland who has yet to secure a publishing deal. Entries must be 2000 words minimum, 7000 words maximum. Entries close on 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 close on 1 March.
Open Border Fiction Prize
is offered by Joyland Magazine. Open to stories between 1900 and 6000 words in length, the winner will receive US$1000 and publication in the magazine. The 2018 contest will be judged by Rachel Khong, author of Goodbye Vitamin. Entries close on 9 March.
BBC National Short Story Award
is open to British nationals and UK residents who have a prior record of publication in creative writing in the United Kingdom. First prize is £15,000 and entries may be up to 8000 words. Entries can be either unpublished or first published after 1 January 2017. Entries close on 12 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 on 14 March.
Peter Carey Short Story Award
is for short stories between 2000 and 3000 words, and is open to Australian residents only. The winning entry receives AUD$1000, while the runner-up wins $500. First and second prized stories will also be published in the Spring 2018 issue of Meanjin. Entries close on 26 March.
Tillie Olsen Short Story Award
is run The Tishman Review. The contest is open to stories up to 5000 words and all entrants receive a one-year digital subscription to the magazine. Entries close 30 on March.
Masters Review Anthology Prize
has a first prize of US$5000, with a total of 10 writers to receive publication in the anthology including payment. The prize is only open to emerging writers and stories must be less than 8000 words. Entries close on 31 March.
Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize
offers a total of AUD$12,500 (approx US$9700) 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 on 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. Entries close on 30 April.
Craft Short Fiction Prize
is open to stories up to 6000 words. Three stories will be selected published in CRAFT, accompanied by an introduction from judge Jim Shepard and a craft essay from each author. The author of the prize-winning story will receive US$2000; the two runners-up will receive $500 and $300, respectively. Entries close on 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 £1200 (US$1600). 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. Entries close on 1 May.
Bristol Short Story Prize
is open to stories up to 4000 words. Entries can be on any theme or subject and are welcome in any style including graphic, verse or genre-based (crime, science fiction, fantasy, historical, romance, children’s etc). Twenty stories will be shortlisted and published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology. Entries close on 1 May.
Raymond Carver Short Story Contest
is open to writers from around the world. First prize is US$1500 and the guest judge for 2017 was Pinckney Benedict. Entries open on 1 April and close on 15 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 winner receives $1500 and publication in the magazine. Entries 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. The winner receives US$1500 and publication. Entries close on 15 May (discounted entry available before 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 in March and close on 15 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 are expected to close on 31 May.
Bridport Prize for Short Stories
is open to work in any fictional genre and on any subject up to 5000 words. Open internationally, the winner receives £5000 (US$6750) and the judge for the 2018 competition is Monica Ali. Entries close on 31 May.
The Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize
is open to black, Asian, minority ethnic writers living in the UK and Ireland. The winner will receive £1000, and their story will be published on Guardian website. Entries close on 1 June
Literary Taxidermy Short Story Competition
invites writers worldwide to provide an original story of up to 3000 words in any genre. The catch: they provide your opening and closing lines chosen from a classic work of literature. You provide the rest. Entries close on 4 June.
The Moth International Short Prize Story
is open to previously unpublished works of fiction up to 5000 words. The winner will receive €3000 and prizes for second and third place are also offered. Entries close on 30 June.
is a short fiction contest open to writers worldwide. Entries must be between 1000 and 2000 words, with the winner to receive £1000 (US$1350). There are also two runners-up prizes and all winning and placed stories will be published in an anthology. Entries close on 1 July.
Key West Literary Seminar
is accepting applications from US-based writers for three Emerging Writer Awards (for poetry, a novel-in-progress, and a short story). Prize packages include full registration and tuition support to attend its January Seminar and Writers’ Workshop Program, round-trip airfare to Key West, Florida, lodging, a $500 honorarium, and the opportunity to appear on stage during the Seminar. The deadline is Monday 30 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 on 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 1 July and close on 15 August.
End of Our World Short Story Contest
is a new prize launched by Aftermath, a magazine focused on climate change and environmental disaster. First prize is $1000 and there is no entry fee. Entries close on 31 August.
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$13,500). Stories can be up to 2500 words in length. Entries close on 14 September.
Short Story Project
is accepting entries for its My Best Story Competition. The winner will receive US$5000 and the competition on open to both published and unpublished stories. Entries close 30 September.
is inviting entries for the US$15,000 28th Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize. Fiction writers can submit stories up to 8500 words. There are also prizes for non-fiction and poetry. Entries close 1 October.
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 close on 1 October.
Mslexia Women’s Short Story Competition
is open to stories between 300 and 3000 words and can in any genre. The winner receives £5000 (US$6500) 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. Entries 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 20 October.
Barry Hannah Prize in Fiction
celebrates writing that captures the strange, surreal, absurd, and magical. Open to stories up to 5000 words, entry is free and the first prize winner will win US$500 and publication in the winter issue of Yalobusha Review. Entries expected to close on 31 October.
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 receives a cash prize of US$1000 and all entries are considered for publication. Entries open on 1 June and close 1 November.
Commonwealth Short Story Prize
is 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$6700) and the remaining four regional winners receive £2500. Entries close in 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 on 31 December.
Magic Oxygen Literary Competition
is open to short stories up to 4000 words. First prize is £1000 (US$1250) and the contest organisers will be planting a tree in Kenya for each entry received (when the contest closes they will email the GPS coordinates of your tree to you). Entries close on 31 December.
Bayou Magazine’s James Knudsen Prize for Fiction
is open to unpublished pieces up to 7500 words in length including novel excerpts if the submission stands alone as a complete short story. The winner receives US$1000 and all submissions will be considered for publication. Submissions close 31 December.