Contests

On your marks.

Our 2015 contests are now open.  Scroll down for 2014 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 2015 and will appear in Volume 34.1 (Winter 2016).  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. David Kirby will judge. One winner (awarded $500) and up to five finalists will be announced in spring/summer 2015 and will appear in Volume 34.1 (Winter 2016). 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. Bob Shacochis will judge. One winner (awarded $500) and up to two finalists will be announced in spring/summer 2015 and will appear in Volume 34.1 (Winter 2016). 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 15, 2015.

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.

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.

David Kirby is the author of numerous books, including The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems, which was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award in poetry. He is a professor of English at Florida State University.  His latest poetry collection is The Biscuit Joint.

Bob Shacochis is an American novelist, short story writer, and literary journalist, and he teaches creative writing at Florida State University.  He is the author of four nonfiction books and four novels, including The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won the 2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for fiction.

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.