Edwidge Danticat, Short Fiction judge

winner: LETICIA DEL TORO'S "Café Colima"

A prize of $1250 and limited edition chapbook publication by Kore Press

Leticia del Toro is a California poet and short story writer with roots in Jalisco, Mexico. Her work has appeared in Huizache, Zyzzyva, Cipactli and Mutha Magazine, among others. She earned an M.A. in English from the University of California Davis and has attended the Voices of Our Nations Arts program. Her awards and honors include a Hedgebrook Residency for Women Authoring Change, a fellowship from the New York State Summer Writers Institute and the 2016 Rona Jaffe Scholars Award in fiction to attend Bread Loaf.

Congratulations to the finalists!

"In Response to Threat" by Linda Downing Miller

"The first line of this story draws you in immediately then takes you to the most unusual and wonderfully surprising place. This writer takes a sad and distressing subject and makes it funny, poignant, and eye opening. This writer’s range is outstanding as is her story."

Linda Downing Miller’s short stories have appeared in Crab Orchard ReviewFiction International, and Fifth Wednesday Journal. She earned an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte and teaches creative writing in Chicago at the Center for Life and Learning, the Newberry Library, and elsewhere. She lives in Oak Park, Illinois.

"An Unimaginable Stillness" by Francesca Momplaisir

"The unimaginable stillness of the title is actually felt in our hearts after reading this incredible short story. The characters are so vivid that we feel we know them. This story is stirring at every turn with its many layers and depth. An impressive short story about an extraordinary moment and its lingering aftermath."

Francesca Momplaisir is a Haitian-born writer and multilingual literature scholar who has published fiction and poetry in both English and her native Haitian Kreyol. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, the University of Oxford in England, and New York University including a PhD in African and African diaspora literature as an NYUMcCracken fellow. She continues work on a novel she researched under a Fulbright fellowship in Ghana. She is a proud single mother of two precious sons and lives in New Jersey.

Edwidge Danticat is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection, Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist, The Farming of Bones, The Dew Breaker, Create Dangerously , and Claire of the Sea Light. She is also the editor of The Butterfly's Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States, Best American Essays 2011, Haiti Noir and Haiti Noir 2. She  has written five books for children and  young adults, Anacaona, Behind the Mountains, Eight Days, The Last Mapou , and Mama's Nightingale, as well as a travel narrative, After the Dance. Her memoir, Brother, I'm Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. She is a 2009 MacArthur fellow. Her most recent books is Untwine, a young adult novel. (photo by Jonathan Demme).


About the contest


This competition is open to any woman (or transgendered) individual writing in English, regardless of nationality. Submitters cannot be friends of the judge or recent students, as it would be a conflict of interest.

How to Submit

$20 reading fee, some scholarships are available (contact Jussara Esprit).

Comment box should include:

  • daytime and evening telephone numbers
  • where you heard about the contest

All entrants will be notified of results via email.

Manuscripts must be:

• submitted as RTF, DOC or PDF.  NO DOCX FILES.

a minimum of 4,000 words and a maximum of 12,000 words
• double-spaced and paginated
• ANONYMOUS (do not include your name anywhere on the manuscript, and please do not include a title page with names).
• original fiction written by the applicant (translations are not eligible)

• unpublished at the time of submission (if the story is accepted elsewhere during our deliberation process, please notify us immediately)

acknowledgments unnecessary.

The Process

Batches of manuscripts are delivered to 5-6 preliminary readers of diverse backgrounds and literary perspectives. Stories selected by these preliminary readers are ranked and then reviewed and ranked again by a second reader. The 10-20 semifinalists are then forwarded to the judge, who chooses 2-3 finalists and a winner.


We endorse and agree to comply with the following statement released by the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses:

CLMP's community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to:

1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors;

2) provide clear and specific contest guidelines -- defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and

3) make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public.

This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.

For more information e-mail us or call us at 520.327.2127.

2015 Annual Short Fiction Award Winner

Tayler Heuston for "Hostages"

selected by Roxane Gay

Winner receives a prize of $1,250 and limited edition chapbook and e-publication by Kore Press for a single short story written in English.


Finalists: Julia Lichtblau for "Petrouchka"

Roxane Gay: In "Petrouchka," ballet dancer Alex Trecher takes up teaching after an injury derails his career. As his relationship falters along, Alex becomes enamored by one of his more promising students and hopes that student, Kevin, will star in a ballet he is choreographing. Here is a story about ambition and obsession and the quietest, perhaps most painful betrayal, when the hopes we have for ourselves are not enough for others."

Julia Lichtblau’s work has appeared in Superstition Review , American Fiction 13 , Narrative , The Florida Review, Best Paris Stories, The Common, and Ploughshares blog, among other publications. She was shortlisted for the Graywolf SLS Novel Prize, finalist for the American Fiction Prize, two Narrative contests, and won the Editorial Prize of the 2011 Paris Short Story Contest and 2nd Prize in the Jeanne Leiby Chapbook Contest. She is book review editor for The Common, and covered international finance in New York and Paris for BusinessWeek and Dow Jones for 15 years.

Camellia Freeman for "Real Americans"

Roxane Gay: "'Real Americans' is unsettling and ambitious. The narrative follows a family who we only know by the roles they play. The parents are Child Abuser and No Mercy. The children we know as Oldest, Second, Boy Twin, Girl Twin. Everyone's roles shift, however, after a car accident that leaves Child Abuser and No Mercy critically injured. In stark prose we learn about this family and their haunting relations while also seeing how identity, faith, and culture, can work in terrible ways."

Camellia Freeman's work has appeared in Crazyhorse, Image, Indiana Review, Cream City Review, and elsewhere. In 2014, she received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and was an OAC summer writer-in-residence at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. She is the upcoming 2015-16 Milton Fellow at Image and is at work on a short story collection as well as a collection of personal essays.

Many thanks to all the writers who submitted this year, to our judge, Roxane Gay, and to our readers (Rosebud Ben-Oni, Soma Mei Sheng Frazier, Ansley Moon, Kelcey Parker, Ivelisse Rodriguez) for your time, dedication, and hard work these past few months!



2015 winner


Tayler Heuston

Judge: Roxane Gay

now available

Tayler Heuston, 26-year old California-native, just completed an MFA in fiction writing at North Carolina State University. She received the Robbie S. Knott endowment in 2014, and was a finalist for the 2015-2016 Wisconsin Institute Fellowship. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Two Serious Ladies, Spectrum, Into the Teeth of the Wind, and she has a story forthcoming in At Length Magazine. She is also a fiction reader for the Raleigh Review. Tayler lives in Raleigh, NC.


2013 winner

To Boil Water

Myha T. Do

Judge: Kate Bernheimer

$11, 5.5 x 8.5", 16 pgs, photograph fixed

to cover, staple binding

Myha T. Do was born in Anaheim, CA, and lives in Davis. She earned her BA in English and Comparative Literature from UCB (2007), her MFA in Creative Writing from St. Mary’s College (2009), her MA in English Literature from Mills College (2011), and her PhD in Comparative Literature at UC Davis. Her poem, “The Lie,” was published in the anthology, In Other Words (2006); her short story, “To Boil Water” earned an honorable mention in the 2009 E.M. Koeppel Short Fiction Contest; and she received the 2007 Jim Townsend Scholarship for Excellence in Creative Writing. “To Boil Water” is part of her novel manuscript, Earshot.


2012 winner

A Parallel Life

Mary Byrne

Judge: Karen Brennan

$11, 5.5 x 8.5", 32 pgs, color cover on kraft paper, staple binding

Byrne was born in County Louth, Ireland, and currently lives in Montpellier France after long spells in Paris, south of France and Morocco. She has taught at various French universities in Paris and Normandy and is a freelance translator. Her short fiction has been published or broadcast in Europe, North America, Australia. She is anthologized in Faber Book of Best New Irish Short Stories (Fabers 2007), Queens Noir (Akashic 2008), Best Paris Stories anthology, 2012. She is also the winner of Fiction International short fiction contest 2011.


2011 winner

The Death of Carrie Bradshaw

Patricia Grace King

Judge: Antonya Nelson

$10, 5.5 x 8.5", 32 pgs
hand painted stockings, staple binding


(all chapbooks available for purchase here)

2010 Winner

All Sorts of Hunger

Heather Brittain Bergstrom
Judge: Leslie Marmon Silko

Chapbook, hand bound with twine knot through cover

28 pages, 8.5 x 5.5"

Price: $10


2009 Winner

Frost Heaves

Teresa Stores
Judge: Tayari Jones

Chapbook, hand assembled with blue ink splash on cover

28 pages, 8.5 x 5.5"

Price: $10


2008 Winner

Nick Trail's Thumb

Rena J. Mosteirin
Judge: Lydia Davis

Chapbook, hand assembled with a thumbprint on cover

32 pages, 8.5 x 5.5"

Price: $10


2007 Winner

The Saving Work

Tiphanie Yanique
Judge: Margot Livesey

Chapbook, hand assembled with unique burn mark on cover

20 pages, 8.5 x 5.5"
Price: $10