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2024 Summer Short Story Award for New Writers

Here at The Masters Review, summer is the season for short stories. Since 2016, our Summer Short Story Award for New Writers has paired emerging writers with some of the industry’s top literary agents. Past winners of this award include Nana Nkweti, Nick Fuller Googins, Katie M. Flynn, Reena Shah, Rachel Cochran, and Claire Boyles, several of whom earned representation from one of our partnered agents as a result of this contest. 

We welcome submissions of previously unpublished fiction or creative nonfiction up to 6,000 words. This year’s winners will be chosen by the acclaimed Colin Barrett, author of the collections Young Skins and Homesickness, as well as the new novel Wild Houses. Our contest runs from July 1 to August 25, 2024, 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. 

Guest Judge Colin Barrett says, “I am delighted to judge this year’s Summer Short Story Award for The Masters Review. I first found my footing as a writer in the medium of the short story. It is a stark and yet accommodating form, a form of inward audacity, requiring the highest  levels of technique, ingenuity, and measuredness, but above all it is a form that demands absolute conviction. I hope to see that conviction in the pages of the submitted stories.”

Submission 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  • Submitted work must be previously unpublished.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. Previously published work will be automatically disqualified.
  • The entry fee is $20.
  • Simultaneous and multiple submissions are allowed, though each submission requires a $20 entry fee.
  • Writers from historically marginalized or underrepresented groups are invited to submit for free we reach fifty submissions in this category.  NOTE: SUBMISSION CAP HAS BEEN MET.
  • 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, but the guest judge will read the shortlist anonymously. 
  • 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 are welcome to submit unpublished work, as are self-published authors.
  • International submissions are allowed, provided the work is written primarily in English. Some code-switching/meshing is warmly welcomed.
  • No translations, please.
  • All submissions must be double-spaced with one-inch page margins and use Times New Roman or Garamond 12. 
  • The contest’s deadline is 11:59pm PDT on August 25, 2024.
  • All entries are also considered for publication in New Voices.
  • Every submission will receive a response by the end of December 2024. The winners will be announced by the end of January 2025. 
  • AI-generated submissions will be automatically disqualified.
  • Friends, family, and associates of the guest judge are not eligible for this award. Consider submitting to the winter contest instead!

About the Judge

Colin Barrett is a writer from Ireland. He is the author of the short story collections Young Skins and Homesickness, and a novel, Wild Houses. Homesickness was named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times and Young Skins  won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the Guardian  First Book Award, and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. His work  has been published in The New Yorker, A Public Space, Granta, and The Stinging Fly. In 2015, Barrett was named a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35.”

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. Your editor may also offer further submission and reading suggestions, or other comments on craft. A significant portion of the additional fee is paid directly to your feedback editor. See a sample editorial letter.

Recent News from Past Winners

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