Short Story Award for New Writers

May 14, 2015

Submissions open through August 27!

Add to Calendar

Shake off the snow and break out your beach reads: it’s time for the Summer Short Story Award for New Writers! The Masters Review’s Short Story Award for New Writers is a biannual contest that recognizes the best short prose from today’s emerging writers. We welcome submissions of previously unpublished fiction or creative nonfiction up to 6,000 words. This year’s guest judge is none other than Jai Chakrabarti! The contest runs from July 1 to August 27 and is open to any writer who has not published a novel or memoir with a major press. The first-place winner of this contest, selected by our guest judge, will receive a $3,000 grand prize, along with online publication. Second- and third-place winners will receive $300 and $200 respectively, along with online publication. All finalists will receive agency review from our six partnered agencies. Participating agents include Nat Sobel from Sobel Weber, Victoria Cappello from The Bent Agency, Andrea Morrison from Writers House, Sarah Fuentes from United Talent Agency, Heather Schroder from Compass Talent, and Marin Takikawa from The Friedrich Agency.



    • The first-place winner receives $3,000, online publication, and agency review.
  • The second- and third-place finalists receive cash prizes ($300/$200), online publication, and agency review.
  • Submissions of fiction or nonfiction must be under 6,000 words.
  • Submitted work must be previously unpublished. This includes personal blogs, social media accounts, and other websites.
  • The entry fee is $20.
  • Simultaneous and multiple submissions are allowed, though each submission requires a $20 entry fee.
  • If your submission is accepted elsewhere, please withdraw your submission on Submittable, or contact us otherwise to let us know the piece is no longer available.
  • We do not require anonymous submissions for this contest.
  • This contest is for emerging writers only. Writers with single-author book-length work published or under contract with a major press are ineligible. We are interested in providing a platform to new writers; authors with books published by indie presses and self-published authors are welcome to submit unpublished work.
  • International submissions are allowed, provided the work is written primarily in English.
  • All submissions must be double-spaced with one-inch page margins and use Times New Roman or Garamond.
  • The contest’s deadline is 11:59pm PDT on August 27, 2023.
  • All entries are considered for publication in New Voices.
  • Every submission will receive a response by the end of November. The winners will be announced by the end of the year.
  • Friends, family, and associates of the guest judge are not eligible for this award. Consider submitting to the winter contest instead!
  • A significant portion of the editorial letter fee goes directly to your feedback editor.

We don’t have any preferences topically or in terms of style. We’re simply looking for the best. We don’t define, nor are we interested in, stories identified by their genre. We do, however, consider ourselves a publication that focuses on literary fiction. Dazzle us, take chances, and be bold.


Jai Chakrabarti is the author of the novel A Play for the End of the World (Knopf ’21), which won the National Jewish Book Award, was the Association of Jewish Libraries Honor Book, was shortlisted for the Tagore Prize, and was longlisted for the PEN/Faulkner Award. He is also the author of the story collection A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness (Knopf ’23), which was a Good Housekeeping Book of the Month and which the New York Times described as an “exquisite collection.” His short fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, One Story, Electric Literature, A Public Space, Conjunctions, and elsewhere and has been anthologized in The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Short Stories, and awarded a Pushcart Prize and also performed on Selected Shorts by Symphony Space. His nonfiction has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Writer’s Digest, Berfrois, and Lit Hub. He was an Emerging Writer Fellow with A Public Space and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College and is a trained computer scientist. Born in Kolkata, India, he now lives in New York with his family.

Jai says: “I’ve often contemplated fiction as an empathy machine and the short story as its most essential technology by which we might become closer to each other, more intertwined in the messy and glorious lives of strangers and of ourselves. What captivates me about the form is its brevity which, at its finest, allows us to be in conversation with both the mundane and the ineffable. And I love the freedom—the risk taking, the possibility of experimentation, of meandering shapes and signs leading us on unexpected journeys.”

Editorial Letter Option

If you’re interested in getting feedback on your writing, utilize our editorial letter add-on option. Our response to your submission will be accompanied by a one- to two-page letter from an experienced guest editor, who will offer observations on the strengths of the piece as well as opportunities for revision, where a revised version of your story might be a good fit, reading suggestions, and other comments on craft. Though there is a reading fee for this option, a significant portion of the fee goes to your feedback editor. See a sample editorial letter.


The Winter shortlist is in! Find out more here. Check back at the end of June for this year’s winners.

Winner update: Joe Bond earned representation from Sarah Fuentes of Fletcher & Company, Caitlin O’Neil earned representation from Victoria Marini and our 2016 Fall Fiction winner, Ruth Joffre, selected by Kelly Link sold her story collection to Grove Atlantic with our winning piece as the title story. Awesome.


2022 Summer Award Winners:

Judged by Chelsea Bieker.

“Homeboy” by Nancy Garcia

Second Place Story:
“Leap Year” by Chloe Alberta

Third Place Story:
“The Distant Daughter” by Brenda Salinas Baker

Honorable Mention:
“The Sum of All Amazements” by Lyndsie Manusos

2021 Winter Award Winners:

Judged by Ye Chun.

“Russian Thistle”
by Laura Farnsworth

Second Place Story:
“A Single Mark” by Reena Shah

Third Place Story:
by Taylor Sykes

Honorable Mention:
The Crown Prince of Koi” by Daniel Abiva Hunt

2021 Summer Award Winners:

Judged by Kristen Arnett.

“Night Stencils” by Sherine Elbanhawy

Second Place Story:
“Wish You Were Here” by Carlee Jensen

Third Place Story:
“All This is Yours to Lose” by Marcus Tan

Honorable Mention:
“Degenerate Matter” by Jen Galvao

2020 Winter Award Winners:

Judged by Helen Oyeyemi.

“Straight to My Heart” by Dean Jamieson

Second Place
“Collection of the Artist” by Corey Flintoff

Third Place
“You’re Not the Only One” by William Hawkins

Honorable Mention
“Celestial Navigation” by Heather Marshall

2020 Summer Award Winners:

Judged by Kali Fajardo-Anstine.

“Burning” by Adeline Lovell

Second Place Story:
“Matchbox” by Nancy Ludmerer

Third Place Story:
“Como La Flor” by Dayna Cobarrubias

Honorable Mention:
“Petrified” by Clare Howdle

2019 Winter Award Winners:

Judged by Kimberly King Parsons.

First Place Story:
“The Driver” by Samantha Xiao Cody

Second Place Story:
“Joe Blake” by Raeden Richardson

Third Place Story:
“The Easiest Thing in the World” by Taylor Grieshober

Honorable Mention:
“Rapture” by Chloe Seim

2019 Summer Award Winners:

Judged by Tope Folarin.

First Place Story:
“Ghost Story” by Becca Anderson

Second Place Story:
“Escape Velocity” by Karisa Tell

Third Place Story:
“Mutts” by Shane Page

Honorable Mention:
“Terraforming Mars” by Emmett Knowlton

2018 Winter Award Winners:

Judged by Aimee Bender.

First Place Story:
“Damico” by Joe Bond

Second Place Story:
Caretaker Needed by Meghan Daniels

Third Place Story:
Narada’s Ears by Sanjena Sathian

Honorable Mention:
“At This Late Hour” by Rebecca Turkewitz

2018 Summer Award Winners:

First Place Story:
Confirmation by Alina Grabowski

Second Place Story:
Portrait of a Virgin by Rachel Cochran

Third Place Story:
A Country Where I Am Beautiful by Patricia Smith

Honorable Mentions:

Headshot” by Charles Ullmann
We Are The Horizon” by Laura Fletcher

2017 Winter Award Winners:

First Place Story:
“Drop Zone Summer” by Nick Fuller Googins

Second Place Story:
“A History That Brings Me To You”
by Katie M. Flynn

Third Place Story:
“Birth Stories” by Sarah Harris Wallman

2017 Summer Award Winners:

First Place Story:
“Demonman” by Juliacia Case

Second Place Story:
“The Devil is a Liar” by Ngwah-Mbo Nkewti

Third Place Story:
“Iron Boy Kills The Devil” by Sheldon Costa

Honorable Mentions:

“Private Affair” by D.S. Englander
“Bluebeard” by Rayna Jensen

2016 Winter Award Winners:

First Place Story:
“Operation” by Scott Gloden

Second Place Story:
“White Out” by Caitlin O’Neil

Third Place Story:
“Malheur Refuge” by Rick Attig

2016 Summer Award Winners:

First Place Story:
by Katie Knoll

Second Place Story:
by Claire Boyles

Third Place Story:
“The First Location”
by Molly Reid


Comments are closed.


At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform: typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish craft essays, interviews and book reviews and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.

Follow Us On Social

Masters Review, 2024 © All Rights Reserved