World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest
In 1986, Jerome Stern, the then-director of Florida State University’s Creative Writing Program and renowned author of Making Shapely Fiction among other books, founded this contest to celebrate what he called “micro fiction” (submissions at that time were required to be under 250 words, and the winner received a crate of oranges as well as a check). Stern passed away from cancer in 1996 and though the guidelines and prize have changed since then, we are grateful to have a modern master of the short-short story judge the entries annually, and continue to hold the contest in memory of Stern.
Send up to three short-short stories per submission, accompanied by a $16 reading fee for mailed or online submissions. Each short-short story should be no more than 500 words. Include your name, contact information (email address preferred), and the title of each of your short-short stories in a very brief cover letter. Do not include personal identification information on the short-shorts themselves. Robert Olen Butler will judge. One winner (awarded $1,000) and up to five finalists will be announced in spring/summer 2017 and will appear in Volume 36.1 (Winter 2018). For mailed submissions, label envelope: WBSSSC. Do not address your submission directly to the judge.
The Southeast Review Gearhart Poetry Contest
This contest was developed in 1996 to honor Michael Wm. Gearhart, a Ph.D. student in creative writing at FSU who died suddenly at the age of 39 as he was completing the final steps of his degree. The contest continues to support the production of SER (known by the name Sundog: The Southeast Review during Michael’s tenure) in his memory.
Send up to three poems, no more than 10 pages total, accompanied by a $16 reading fee for mailed or online submissions. Include no more than one poem per page. Include your name, contact information (email address preferred), and the title of each of your poems in a very brief cover letter. Do not include personal identification information on the poems themselves. Erin Belieu will judge. One winner (awarded $1,000) and up to five finalists will be announced in spring/summer 2017 and will appear in Volume 36.1 (Winter 2018). For mailed submissions label envelope: Gearhart Poetry Contest. Do not address your submission directly to the judge.
The Southeast Review Narrative Nonfiction Contest
Send one piece of nonfiction, no more than 6,000 words total, accompanied by a $16 reading fee for mailed or online submissions. Include your name, contact information (email address preferred), and the title of your submission, and the total word count of your piece in a very brief cover letter. Do not include personal identification or information, except word count, on the submission itself. Matthew Gavin Frank will judge. One winner (awarded $1,000) and up to two finalists will be announced in spring/summer 2017 and will appear in Volume 36.1 (Winter 2018). For mailed submissions, label envelope: SER Nonfiction Contest. Do not address your submission directly to the judge.
General Contest Guidelines
There are two ways to submit! You may either send your typed entry via snail mail to the address listed below, OR take advantage of our online contest submission option (please note all submissions are subject to an entry fee of $16). For mailed submissions, make checks or money orders out to: The Southeast Review. Electronic and postmark deadline: March 15, 2017.
Friends and current or former students of the judge and those who have been affiliated with Florida State University within the last five years are ineligible.
For mailed submissions, please do not send an SASE. Winners will be announced on the website in June. All contestants will receive the issue in which the winning submissions appear.
Only previously unpublished work will be considered. If you want to withdraw any individual pieces from consideration (in the case of our poetry or short-short story contests), please log in to Submittable and add a note to your submission telling us which pieces you wish to withdraw. If your narrative nonfiction piece is accepted elsewhere, please withdraw the accepted submission from us but feel free to resubmit another. In the case of mailed submissions, please contact the appropriate genre editor.
About Our Contest Judges
Robert Olen Butler has published sixteen novels and six volumes of short stories, one of which, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and three of which—Severence, Intercourse, and Weegee Stories—are comprised entirely of short-short stories (225 in all). He was the guest editor for The Best Small Fictions 2015, the inaugural volume for this annual series. He has also published a volume of his lectures on the creative process, From Where You Dream. He was the 2013 recipient of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature. He teaches creative writing at Florida State University.
Erin Belieu earned an MA from Boston University and an MFA from Ohio State University. Belieu’s work focuses on gender, love, and history, filtering wide-ranging subject matter through a variety of theoretical frameworks. She often addresses feminist issues and uses poetic conventions and street talk. Belieu is the author of four books of poetry: Infanta (1995), selected by Hayden Carruth for the National Poetry Series; One Above, One Below (2000); Black Box (2006), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Slant Six (2014). Belieu coedited, with Susan Aizenberg, the anthology The Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American Women (2001).
Matthew Gavin Frank’s new book, The Mad Feast: An Ecstatic Tour Through America’s Food, is forthcoming November 2015 from W.W. Norton: Liveright. Frank is also the author of “Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer” (W.W. Norton: Liveright) and “Barolo” (The University of Nebraska Press), a food memoir based on his illegal work in the Italian wine industry. He is also the author of the chapbooks “Four Hours to Mpumalanga” (Pudding House Publications), a poetry sequence about his initial visit to his wife’s homeland in rural South Africa, and “Aardvark” (West Town Press), a poetry sequence that strangely engages the alphabet.
Winners for the 2016 Contest
Look for the winners and finalists from our 2016 contests, listed below, in our winter/spring issue, Volume 35.1.
World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest
Judged by Robert Olen Butler
Thomas J McConnell, “Boccaccio”
Danielle Davis, “A Proper Expression”
Joyce Frank, “Education on a Winter’s Day”
Brooke McKinney, “The Demolitionist”
Beejay Silcox, “Keraunopathy”
SER Gearhart Poetry Contest
Judged by Virgil Suárez
Chelsea Dingman, “The Girl in the River”
Samuel Cross, “Self Portrait as Bigfoot, Turning Myself In”
George Drew, “One Burning Mississippi Afternoon”
Rebecca Lauren, “Miriam Leads the Israelite Women to Band Camp While Zipporah Marks Time”
Samuel Piccone, “Let Us Consider”
Elizabeth Tannen, “Dear You”
SER Narrative Nonfiction Contest
Judged by Elizabeth Stuckey-French
Gwen Holt, “The Ditch Bank and the Fenceline”
Barrett Bowlin, “Some of You But Not All of You”
Caitlin McGill, “Museum of Endangered Sounds”