American Fiction Short Story Award

American Fiction is on hiatus for the 2020 and 2021 academic years.

American Fiction editor Bruce Pratt will select approximately twenty short stories to be published in each edition of American Fiction: The Best Unpublished Stories by Emerging Writers. We seek well crafted, character driven literary fiction in any genre. Each of the selected story authors will receive national publication and distribution, author discount, and two complimentary copies. The top three stories, as selected by the finalist judge, will receive $1,750 in prizes ($1,000 for 1st Place; $500 for 2nd; $250 for 3rd). Finalists are typically announced in late July following the close of the submission window, and the winners are usually announced in late August. Each volume of American Fiction is published in October one year after the announcement of the winners.

Submission Guidelines

Submit using the website Submittable and pay the $16 entry fee between February 1 and June 15. Do not include a cover sheet within the manuscript itself. This is so that biographical information will not be unduly apparent to submission reviewers and the possibility of bias will not occur.

Note: In an effort to be more eco-friendly, New Rivers Press will no longer be accepting paper submissions for the American Fiction Award.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but notify NRP immediately of acceptance elsewhere. If you fail to give such notification and your manuscript is selected, your entry gives NRP permission to proceed with publication.

  • You may acknowledge individual poems, stories, and other pieces published in magazines, anthologies, or elsewhere, but such acknowledgments or your name cannot appear in the manuscript itself, since judging is blind.
  • Manuscript pages must be numbered.
  • DO NOT include your name, address or acknowledgments on the manuscript pages; the judging is blind.
  • All of the material included in your submission must be of your own composition and free from copyright restrictions. Should you win the competition, you will be responsible for securing releases.
  • Maximum word count of 10,000, though preference is given to works shorter than 7,500