Contests

On your marks.

Our 2014 contests are now closed.  Scroll down for 2014 contest winners and finalists, and look for information about our 2015 contest season next winter.

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 will be chosen and awarded $500. The winner and nine finalists will be published in spring/summer 2015. For mailed submissions, label envelope: WBSSSC.

The Southeast Review’s 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. Barbara Hamby will judge. One winner will be chosen and awarded $500. The winning poem and nine finalists will be published in spring/summer 2015. For mailed submissions label envelope: Gearhart Poetry Contest.

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 in a very brief cover letter. Do not include personal identification information on the submission itself. Mark Winegardner will judge. One winner will be chosen and awarded $500. The winning essay and two finalists will be published in spring/summer 2015. For mailed submissions, label envelope: SER Nonfiction Contest.

General Contest Guidelines

Now 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 24th, 2014.

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.

How to Submit
Send mailed submissions to:
The Southeast Review
Department of English
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306

Upload your entry via Submittable

About Our Contest Judges

Robert Olen Butler has published twelve novels and six volumes of short fiction, including two collections of short short stories. His newest book is the novel A Small Hotel. In 1993 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He is the Francis Eppes Distinguished Professor holding the Michael Shaara Chair in Creative Writing at Florida State University.

Barbara Hamby was born in New Orleans and raised in Hawai’i. She now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with her husband, the sublime poet and all-around molto fun guy, David Kirby. She teaches creative writing in the English Department at Florida State University.

Mark Winegardner, who writes fiction and nonfiction, is the Burroway Professor of English. He was born and raised in Bryan, Ohio, near what was once known as Exit 2, a town of 8,000 which supplies the world with its Dum-Dum suckers and Etch A Sketches.He is the winner of a University Teaching Award (2004) and a University Mentoring Award (2006). He has also won grants, fellowships and residencies from the Ohio Arts Council, the Lilly Endowment, the Ragdale Foundation, the Sewanee Writers Conference and the Corporation of Yaddo.

Winegardner’s books have been translated into more than twenty languages and sold almost two million copies worldwide. They have appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List and in best-of-the-year lists by The New York Times Book Review, the New York Public Library, The American Library Association, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Sun-Times. In 2004, Cleveland Magazine named Crooked River Burning the best book ever written about Cleveland.

His work has appeared in such magazines as Doubletake, GQ, Men’s Journal, The New York Times Magazine, The Oxford American, Playboy, Ploughshares, Story Quarterly, and TriQuarterly. The varied subjects of his nonfiction have included art forgery, Cuban defectors, Congressman Louis Stokes, the Clown Prince of Baseball, the Southern Literary Mafia, and beer.

Winners

Look for the winners and finalists from our 2014 contests, listed below, in our winter/spring issue, Volume 33.1, coming in 2015.

World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest

Judged by Robert Olen Butler

Winner:
Megan Kirby, “Knead”

Finalists: 
Kiik Araki-Kawaguchi, “An Ocean”
Mira Dougherty-Johnson, “All Fairy Tales Are Actual”
Laurel Ferejohn, “Bear”
Kristin LaCroix, “Big Tipper”
Michaella Thornton, “Donna”

SER Poetry Contest
Judged by Barbara Hamby

Winner:

Catherine Moore, “Love Poem, Revisited”

Finalists:
Annie Christain, “LAPD”
Jessica Durham, “Remember Body”
Shawn Fawson, “Love After Death”
Gabriel Leal, “King Mexican”
Andrea Witzke Slot, “Ring Out Wild Bells”

SER Narrative Nonfiction Contest
Judged by Mark Winegardner

Winner:
Kate Angus, “My Catalog of Failures”

Finalists:
Lisbeth Davidow, “Me and Jerry”
Kerstin Lieff, “A Boy Named Klaus”

As SER went to press with our selections, “Me and Jerry” was accepted for publication in Lunch Ticket, Summer/Fall 2014.