Winter 2014 Story Contest


We’re looking for short shorts, short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, all forms of literary nonfiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and nonfiction. Entries must be previously unpublished, no longer than 15,000 words, and must not have been previously chosen as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest.

Narrative winners and finalists have gone on to win the Pushcart Prize, the Whiting Writers’ Award, and the Atlantic prize, and have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and others. View the recent awards won by Narrative authors.


As always, we are looking for works with a strong narrative drive, with characters we can respond to as human beings, and with effects of language, situation, and insight that are intense and total. We look for works that have the ambition of enlarging our view of ourselves and the world.


We welcome and look forward to reading your pages.


Awards: First Prize is $2,500, Second Prize is $1,000, Third Prize is $500, and ten finalists will receive $100 each. All entries will be considered for publication.


Submission Fee: There is a $22 fee for each entry. And with your entry, you’ll receive three months of complimentary access to Narrative Backstage.


All contest entries are eligible for the $4,000 Narrative Prize for 2014 and for acceptance as a Story of the Week.

Timing: The contest deadline is March 31, 2014, at midnight, Pacific daylight time.

Judging: The contest will be judged by the editors of the magazine. Winners and finalists will be announced to the public by April 30, 2014. All writers who enter will be notified by email of the judges’ decisions, which will be final. The judges reserve the option to declare a tie in the selection of winners and to award only as many winners and finalists as are appropriate to the quality of work represented in the magazine.


Submission Guidelines: Please read our Submission Guidelines for manuscript formatting and other information.

Other Submission Categories: In addition to this contest, please review our other Submission Categories for areas that may interest you.