Submit Your Stories to the 2020 NC State Fiction Contest

A red plan rests on a notepad.

The NC State Fiction Contest is accepting entries for its 2020 competition.

Drawing more than 300 entrants last year, this free literary contest is open to North Carolina residents and is one of the largest free-to-enter writing contests in the South. This year’s guest judge is Etaf Rum, NC State alumna and author of New York Times bestseller A Woman Is No Man.

Contestants may enter one story in each of the two contest categories:

  • The James Hurst Prize for Fiction ($500): An unpublished short story of no more than 5,000 words. In addition to the winner, several honorable mention awards will be presented.
  • The Shorter Fiction Prize ($250): An unpublished short story of no more than 1,200 words. One honorable mention award will be presented.

In addition, the best NC State undergraduate entry will receive a $100 prize.

Contest rules:

  1. The contest is open to all North Carolina residents except:
    1. Tenured/tenure-track professors in the University of North Carolina system and instructors teaching creative writing at NC State (teaching assistants and graduate students are eligible).
    2. Writers with a published book of fiction or collection of short stories (if we can buy your book online or from a publisher or bookstore, we consider you published).
    3. Previous winners. Previous finalists must submit stories that have not been previously submitted. 
  2. Contestants may enter no more than one story in each of the two contest categories.
  3. Entries may not have been previously published anywhere, in print or online (including personal blogs/websites). 
  4. All entries must be typed, double-spaced, and titled, with a word count listed on the first page. 
  5. Contestants should not include their name on their stories so that their work can be judged anonymously. Instead, contestants should include their name, address, telephone number, and email address on a separate cover sheet. 
  6. No emailed entries are accepted. All entries must be submitted in hard copy. Please mail entries to:
    1. NC State Fiction Contest
      Department of English
      North Carolina State University
      Campus Box 8105
      Raleigh, NC 27695-8105
  7. The postmark deadline is Oct. 13, 2020.

Due to the volume of submissions, NC State’s Department of English cannot contact individual contestants or return entries.

There will not be a public ceremony this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Winners will be informed by email. The results will be posted on our website.

For more information, visit

This post was originally published in College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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