First-Person Story Contest

The submission period is now closed. You can find active submission categories on the Submit Your Work page.

The Narrative First-Person Contest is open to all writers. We’re looking for works of fiction or nonfiction written in the first-person point of view in the following categories: short stories, short short stories, novel excerpts, essays, memoirs, and excerpts from book-length nonfiction. Entries must be previously unpublished, no longer than 8,000 words, and must not have been previously chosen as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest.

In seeking fiction and nonfiction written in first-person point of view, we are especially looking for works that transcend narrow self-interest and self-expression. We are looking for authors whose use of the first person demonstrates a sense of proportion and perspective, an engagement with the world beyond the self, for authors whose gifts of thought or feeling and of insight enhance a reader’s sense of connection and possibility. And, as always, we are looking for manuscripts with a strong narrative, in which the effects of language are intense and total. Reading the first-person narrator—the I of the story—we hope to find the most necessary, most intimate, most personal stories made universal.

Awards: First Prize is $3,000, Second Prize is $1,750, and Third Prize is $1,000. The prize winners will be announced in Narrative and will be eligible for publication. Additionally, ten finalists will receive $125 each. We’ll announce finalists in the magazine as well. All entries will be considered for publication.

Submission Fee: There is a $20 fee for each entry.

Timing: Entries will be accepted between May 1 and July 31, 2008.

Judging: The contest will be judged by the editors of the magazine. Winners and finalists will be announced to the public by August 31, 2008. All writers who enter will be notified by email of the judges’ decisions.

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

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