On your mark. Get set. Submit! Our 2016 contests are now open (deadline: March 15, 2016). Scroll down for 2015 contest winners and finalists.
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 $500) and up to five finalists will be announced in spring/summer 2016 and will appear in Volume 35.1 (Winter 2017). 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. Virgil Suárez will judge. One winner (awarded $500) and up to five finalists will be announced in spring/summer 2016 and will appear in Volume 35.1 (Winter 2017). 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 (new this year) in a very brief cover letter. Do not include personal identification or information, except word count, on the submission itself. Elizabeth Stuckey-French will judge. One winner (awarded $500) and up to two finalists will be announced in spring/summer 2016 and will appear in Volume 35.1 (Winter 2017). 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, 2016.
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.
Virgil Suárez specializes in creative writing (fiction and poetry) and Latino/a (especially Cuban-American) literature. Poet, essayist, novelist, and short story writer, Suárez is the author or co-author of over twenty books of poetry and prose. His latest books are 90 Miles: Selected & New Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), and The Soviet Circus Comes to Havana & Other Stories (C & R Press, 2014). He teaches creative writing at Florida State University.
Elizabeth Stuckey-French is the author of two novels, The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady and Mermaids on the Moon, as well as a collection of short stories, The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa. She is a co-author, along with Janet Burroway and Ned Stuckey-French, of Writing Fiction: A Guide to the Narrative Craft. She was awarded a James Michener Fellowship and has won grants from the Howard Foundation, the Indiana Arts Foundation, and the Florida Arts Foundation. She teaches fiction writing at Florida State University.
Look for the winners and finalists from our 2015 contests, listed below, in our winter/spring issue, Volume 34.1, coming in 2016.
World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest
Judged by Robert Olen Butler
C. A. Kaufman, “Akron, Ohio: 1933”
Amina Gautier, “Thankful Chinese”
Lewis Holt, “Manliness”
Ashton Russell, “We Don’t Talk About Ifs”
Ashley Shelby, “Liberation: Kuwait”
Michaella A. Thornton, “Man Lace”
SER Gearhart Poetry Contest
Judged by David Kirby
Carolyn Moore, “The Teen Romances Her Razor”
Sarah Gordon, “Creases, Folds”
Tom Kelly, “Funeral Glam”
Rebecca Lauren, “Elegy for a Band Mother”
Ralph Sneeden, “Contrapunctus (#2)”
Arne Weingart, “Piecework”
SER Narrative Nonfiction Contest
Judged by Bob Shacochis
Will McGrath, “Death of the Virgin”
Heather Corrigan, “Widmarked”
A. Sandosharaj, “Dead Bird Stories for Nonbelievers”