Do you have a short story you’ve been dying to share with the world, but aren’t sure how to get it out there? Perhaps you long to be the next O’Henry, or have a child who aspires to be an author. If any of those scenarios sound familiar, then the Write Michigan Short Story Contest may have your pen name written all over it, and possibly a $500 cash prize that awaits you.

Michigan Short Story Contest Background

Presented by the Kent District Library and Grand Rapids-based Schuler Books, the Michigan Short Story Contest is for Michigan residents. The literary competition is seeking submissions in four categories: Youth (11 and under), Teen (12-17), Adult (18 and older), and Spanish. All Spanish-language submissions, regardless of the age of the author, should be submitted to the Spanish category only. All those 18 and over, submitting to either the Adult or Spanish category, are required to pay a $10 fee to enter the competition. Youth and teen submissions for the Michigan Short Story Contest are free.

The contest has a Readers’ Choice component as well as Judges’ Choice. Each category will have one $250 runner-up as well as one $500 Reader’s Choice winner and one $500 Judge’s Choice champion.

All stories must be submitted online by noon on Nov. 30, 2019.  The top ten stories in each category, as selected by staff of Kent District Library and Schuler Books, will be posted online at for a public vote to choose the Readers’ Choice winners. These stories also move on to the panel of notable judges for determination of the Judges’ Choice awards. The judges will select a runner-up and top prize winner in each category. The top six short stories in each will also be published in an anthology by Chapbook Press.

Primary Requirements

  • Must be a full- or part-time resident of Michigan, which is defined as having a Michigan mailing address or those attending a Michigan college or university and residing in the state.
  • Entrants must fully complete the online registration form including phone number and email address.
  • Only one story per author with a maximum length of 3,000 words.
  • Submissions must be in a PDF document, 12-point Times New Roman type, double-spaced. Do not include author’s name on the PDF.
  • Work cannot infringe on third-party rights; that is, copyright isn’t owned by another entity. Copyrighted characters are not allowed.
  • Submitted work must be original and wholly owned by the author. Submissions should not have been previously published in print or online.
  • Permission to publish winning short stories in book form and online will be required at submission.
  • Semifinalist stories are reviewed for plagiarism and/or previous publication.

Winners will be announced via email and on the Write Michigan website on Feb. 4, 2020. For additional details or to enter, visit Write Michigan.

Author: Lisa Diggs

Lisa Diggs is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, business consultant, avid traveler, and founder of The Catalyst Company, LLC, Michigan Positivity Project, and Buy Michigan Now.