The Masters Review’s Summer Short Story Award for New Writers Judged By Jai Chakrabarti Now Open For Submissions!

July 1, 2023

This year’s Summer Short Story Award for New Writers is now open for your submissions through August 27! Jai Chakrabarti, author of the new collection A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness, will select this year’s finalists. The winning writer will receive a $3,000 grand prize, along with online publication and agency review. All submissions are considered for publication. Find all the details below or on our contest page, and submit today!



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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 We welcome submissions of previously unpublished fiction or creative nonfiction up to 6,000 words.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.

Guidelines:

  • 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  • Submitted work must be previously unpublished.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.

Judging

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.

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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.



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