30 Below Contest—2021
The submission period is now closed. You can find active submission categories on the Submit Your Work page.
Narrative invites all writers, poets, visual artists, photographers, performers, and filmmakers between eighteen and thirty years old to send us their best work. We’re looking for the traditional and the innovative, the true and the imaginary. We’re looking to encourage and promote the best young authors and artists working today.
Awards: First Prize is $1,500, Second Prize is $750, Third Prize is $300, and ten finalists will receive $100 each. The prizewinners and finalists will be announced in Narrative.
All N30B entries are eligible for the $4,000 Narrative Prize for 2021 and for acceptance as a Story of the Week or Poem of the Week.
We accept submissions in the following media:
Written: Works of prose and of poetry, including short stories, all poetic forms, novel excerpts, essays, memoirs, and excerpts from book-length nonfiction. Prose submissions must not exceed 15,000 words. Each poetry submission may contain up to five poems. The poems should all be contained in a single file. All submissions should be double-spaced (excluding poetry, which should be single-spaced), with 12-point type, at least one-inch margins, and sequentially numbered pages. Please provide your name, address, telephone number, and email address at the top of the first page. Submit your document as a .doc, .docx, .pdf, or .rtf file. You may enter as many times as you wish, but we encourage you to be selective and to send your best work. All entries will be considered for publication.
Drawn: Graphic stories, graphic-novel excerpts, and comics of no more than thirty pages, in .pdf format.
Photographed: Photo essays of between five and twenty images, previously unpublished (including on sites like Instagram, your personal website, stock photography sites, etc.). Images should be submitted together in low-resolution .pdf format; however, upon acceptance, images will need to be provided that have a resolution of at least 300 dpi, in a .tif, .jpg, or raw format that can be reproduced at 2,048 pixels wide. Captions or text should be included, either with the file containing the images or as a separate document in a .doc or .pdf format, with numbered captions corresponding to the similarly numbered photographs. Please provide your name, address, telephone number, and email address on the first page.
Spoken: Original works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in audio theater, including performance, radio journalism, and stories and poems read aloud. Submissions may run up to ten minutes, in .mp3 format, with a bit rate of at least 128 kbit/s.
Filmed: Short films and documentaries of up to fifteen minutes. Submissions must be in .mp4 or .mov format.
Timing: Entries will be accepted through November 19, 2021, at midnight, Pacific standard time.
Entry fee: There is a $26 fee for each entry. And with your entry, you’ll receive three months of complimentary access to Narrative Backstage.
Judging: The contest will be judged by the editors of the magazine. Winners and finalists will be announced to the public by December 18, 2021. All entrants will be notified by email of the judges’ decisions, which will be final. The judges reserve the option to declare ties and to designate and award only as many winners and/or finalists as are appropriate to the quality of contest entries and of work represented in the magazine.
Entries must be previously unpublished, though we do accept works that have appeared in college publications. Entries cannot have been the winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest. We accept online entries only. We do accept simultaneous submissions, but if your entry is accepted elsewhere, please let us know as soon as possible (and accept our congratulations!).