Short Story Contest: A Sense Of Place

We are hosting our first Short Story Contest in 2024.  It is part of our ongoing theme, a Sense of Place.

This is the hub for information about the short story contest, and we’ll be updating it as we have more information to provide.

Submissions Open!

Submissions are now open for the Short Story Contest.

Please click or tap the button below to visit our submission portal.

Short Story Contest Information

Please click these links to jump directly to particular sections of information about our short story contest.

Scope and Eligibility

This is a short story fiction writing contest.

The short story contest is open to any English language writer anywhere on Earth, aged 13 years or older.

We are open to receiving submissions of short stories originally written in a language other than English, that have since been translated to English.  If this is the case, the original non-English manuscript must be available for review upon request.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

Short Story Contest Theme

The theme for this short story contest is A Sense of Place.

We don’t want to provide too much structure to our theme.  We hope contest entrants will interpret this theme as they see fit, expressing a keen sense of place within 3000 to 10000 words of fictional narrative.

However, here is our really simplified definition of the idea of sense of place:

“Our simple definition for sense of place is: figuring out the reality of where you are, and how you perceive that reality, and what your perception of that reality means to you.”

If you would like more inspiration, please feel free to read more about our take on a sense of place.


We’ll be using our Submittable platform to accept submissions for the short story contest.  

If you’re not yet familiar with Submittable, we encourage you to visit our Submittable page to check it out, bookmark us, and explore all the opportunities for submission on that platform.

No other forms of submission will be accepted.

See our proposed timeline below for our submission windows and deadlines.

Prizes and Awards

The contest winner will receive a $200 cash prize.

Several honorable mentions may be awarded to additional short story submissions.

Additionally, three thematic prizes may be awarded in this short story contest, depending on the quality of submissions, at the discretion of The Upper New Review publisher.  These prizes include:

  • Dana Meadows Award – for demonstrated systems wisdom
  • Fritjof Capra Award – for demonstrated understanding of the hidden connections of the web of life
  • Gary Snyder Award – for demonstrated understanding of bioregionalism

All winners (the contest winner, any honorable mentions, and any thematic prize winners) will be published in The Upper New Review.

Rules and Guidelines

The entry fee to submit a single manuscript to the short story contest is $15.

All short stories entered into the contest will also be considered for publication in The Upper New Review, regardless of the outcome of this contest.

Uploaded short story manuscripts should be properly formatted.  At a minimum, manuscripts should be double-spaced, using at least a 12-point serif font.  Please also include page numbers.

Several standard file formats are acceptable for uploaded manuscripts.  PDF is preferred, but not required.

Manuscripts do not need to be blinded for this contest.  This means that identifying information of the author should be included in the manuscript – this information does not need to be removed.

The minimum word count for short stories submitted to this contest is 3,000 words.

The maximum word count for short stories submitted to this contest is 10,000 words.

Authors may submit up to four total short stories for this contest.  Each short story entered requires a separate submission and $15 entry fee.  Additional submissions from a single author beyond the maximum allowed of four submissions will be automatically rejected.

The manuscript submission review process commences upon receipt of submission.

Manuscripts submitted early in the contest submission window may be accepted for publication before the end of the contest deadline.  Status for publication does not have any effect on the contest awards outcome.

All cash prizes may be awarded contingent upon the volume of submissions to the contest. Awards are subject to change based on these submission volumes, including the potential for increase in awards.

All contest submissions are final.  The Upper New does not offer refunds for submissions, except upon written request under extenuating circumstances.

Additional online events and curated publications may be announced for contest entries and winners, contingent upon the number and quality of submissions to the contest.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

Short Story Contest Timeline

  • Short Story Contest Submissions Open: January 1, 2024
  • Short Story Contest Deadline: March 31, 2024
  • Short Story Contest Judging Completed: April 30, 2024
  • Short Story Contest Winner and Prize(s) Announced: May 15, 2024

Stay Updated!

Remember to fill out our Sense of Place Contests Interest Form (and subscribe to our mailing list) to stay in the loop for specific news about this short story contest (and others!)

UNR Fiction: Short Story Contest announcment