A Guide to Short Story Contests in 2018

“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


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.

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Deadlines and details do sometimes change, so please check the relevant websites for all the latest terms and conditions. For more writing competitions and writing-related news follow Aerogramme Writers’ Studio on Facebook and Twitter.

Indiana Review Fiction Prize
This competition is open to short stories up to 8000 words in length. The winner receives US$1000 and publication in Indiana Review. The final judge is author Caitlin Horrocks and all entries will be considered for publication. Entries close 31 October.

We Need Diverse Middle Grade Short Story Contest
We Need Diverse Books™, a grassroots organisation dedicated to promoting literature that reflects the lives of all young people, is inviting entries from unpublished writers for its middle grade short fiction contest. The winning entrant will receive a US$1000 prize and their story will be included the Heroes Next Door Anthology. Entries close 31 October.

Barry Hannah Prize in Fiction
Named in memoriam, the 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 close 31 October.

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Short Story Contests 2017

UPDATE: Our list of short story contests in 2018 can be found here.


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. View Post


23 Short StoryCompetitionsIn 2016

UPDATE: Our list of short story competitions in 2017 can be found here.

Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award
carries a first prize of US$3500 and has four finalist prizes ($1000 each) and five runners-up prizes ($500 each). Stories can be up to 8000 words and must be previously unpublished. Entries for the 2016 award open on 1 December 2015 and close on 31 January 2016.

Caine Prize for African Writing
is awarded to a short story (3000 to 10,000 words) by an African writer published in English, whether in Africa or elsewhere. ‘An African writer’ is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or whose parents are African. First prize is £10,000 (US$15,000) and the shortlisted writers will also receive a travel prize and £500 each. Entries close 31 January. 

Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Prize
is run by Vermont-based journal Hunger Mountain. The winner receives US$1000 and publication. The judge of the 2016 prize is award-winning novelist, poet and playwright Janet Burroway. Stories may be up to 10,000 words in length and entries 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

Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize
offers a total of AUD$12,500 (US$9000) 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 at the Melbourne Writers Festival in August. Entries close 11 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$1500) and a selection of twenty winning, shortlisted and longlisted stories will be published in a print and digital anthology. Entries close on 25 April.

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