About the Short Fiction Contest

Submissions for the Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest are accepted electronically every year from January 1 through January 31.

The Kenyon Review publishes the winning story in print, and the author is awarded a full scholarship to attend the Kenyon Review Writers Workshops.

  • Submit via our Submittable portal, starting January 1. We cannot accept paper submissions. 
  • Writers must not have published a book of fiction at the time of submission. (We define a “published book of fiction” as a novel, novella, short story collection, or other fiction collection written by you and published by someone other than you in print, on the web, or in ebook format.)
  • Submissions must be no more than 3,000 words in length.
  • Please submit no more than once per year. 
  • Please do not simultaneously submit your contest entry to another magazine or contest. 
  • Please do not submit work that has been previously published.
  • Before you submit, please remove your name and any other identifying information from your manuscript.
  • The Submittable portal will remain active between January 1 and 31, 2024. 
  • The entry fee for the Short Fiction Contest is just $24, collected at the time of submission. All entrants are invited to claim a complimentary half-year Print plus Digital subscription to The Kenyon Review (for domestic addresses) or a half-year Digital-only subscription (for international addresses) through February 15, 2024. Your new half-year subscription to The Kenyon Review will include the Spring 2024 and Summer 2024 issues. Current subscribers will receive a two-issue extension on their current subscription. As always, we will open in the fall for regular submissions, which we read at no cost to writers.

The final judge of this year’s contest is Idra Novey. Novey is a novelist, poet, and translator. Her most recent novel, Take What You Need, was selected as one of The New Yorker‘s Best Books of 2023 so far. Her first novel, Ways to Disappear, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction, and her second novel, Those Who Knew, was a finalist for the 2019 Clark Fiction Prize. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into a dozen languages, and she’s written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and The Guardian. In 2022, she received a Pushcart Prize for her story “The Glacier,” published in The Yale Review. Her new book of poems, Soon and Wholly, will be published in 2024. She teaches fiction at Princeton University.

Photo credit: Jesse Ditmar

Winners will be announced in the late spring. You will receive an email notifying you of any decisions regarding your work. Thanks for your interest in The Kenyon Review!

Announcing the 2023 Contest Winner and Runners-Up

Guest Judge Danielle Evans selected Beth Bachmann’s “The First Robot” as the winner of The Kenyon Review’s 2023 Short Fiction Contest. “Given how concise the story is,” writes Evans, “it would take a citation almost the length of ‘The First Robot’ to properly catalogue its virtues. The story feels grounded in a recognizable world while anchored to the strangeness of its perspective. It explores grief, art, utility, and the meaning of sentience, all while expertly balancing clarity and mystery. Its sentences unfold in a riveting and surprising fashion, and by its conclusion the story opens up to a question about humanity even larger than the questions with which it began. This is the voice of a confident, original writer.”

“The First Robot” will appear in the Spring 2024 issue of The Kenyon Review.

Evans also selected as runners up “Inside Jürgen Müller’s Apartment” by Moon Hee and “The Hunting Vest” by Mary Catherine Curley. She shared the following citations:

“Inside Jürgen Müller’s Apartment” is tense and complex from its opening moment, drawing the reader into a scene it’s impossible to look away from. The conflation of the narrator as narrator in the present of an uncomfortable party and the narrator in the past as the camerawoman for a scene that has left her haunted by her own lack of intervention, but comfortable enough to remain tethered to her life and career works beautifully. The story builds to a conclusion in which the narrative roles of bystander and creator merge, too late to fully undo the damage but soon enough to brilliantly illuminate its wake.

“The Hunting Vest” is quietly haunting in its depiction of Clara, a woman who is at once seen too much and seen too little—taunted by her colleagues for not being present enough, stalked by a former lover whose presence at the periphery of the story is underscored by Clara’s navigation of the indignities and minor cruelties of her workplace at the story’s center. The accumulation of precise details, both of setting and of human behavior, make this story feel intimate, accomplished, and fully-realized.

“Inside Jürgen Müller’s Apartment” and “The Hunting Vest” will appear online in Spring 2024.

Past Winners

2022 Winners

First Prize: M.W. Brooke, “Siphonophore

Runner-up: Alexandra Munck, “Doe

Runner-up: Kira K. Homsher, “Pareidolia

Honorable Mention: Santo Randazzo, “The Order of King Neptune”

2021 Winners

First Prize: Ted Mathys, “Tallgrass”

Runner-up: Sam Zafris, “The Clothes I Kept”

Runner-up: Rachel Slotnick, “The Bat Inspector”

Runner-up: Malavika Shetty, “Newbury Street, March 2020”

2020 Winners

First Prize: Janika Oza“Fish Stories”

Runner-up: Steffi Sin“Dungeness”

Runner-up: Stanley Delgado“Cactus Eater”

Honorable Mention: Jane Chong, “Brothers” and B.K. Elroy, “Choosing a Bow”

2019 Winners

First Prize: Daphne Palasi Andreades“Brown Girls”

Runner-up: Emily Everett“Solitária”

Runner-up: Susan Falco“You Break It, You Own It”

2018 Winners

First Prize: Laura Roque“Dientes for Dentures”

Runner-up: Tyler Barton“Spiritual Introduction to the Neighborhood”

Runner-up: Christopher Fox“Breaking”

Honorable Mention: Jena Chapman Andres, “Unter den Linden” and Alex Burchfield, “Taxidermy”

2017 Winners

First Prize: David Greendonner “Lionel, For Worse”

Runner up: Kimberly King Parsons “When Do We Worry”

Runner up: Lorain Urban “Canto”

2016 Winners

First Prize: Eve Gleichman “Butter”

Runner up: Dan Reiter “Dance of the Old Century”

Runner up: Adam Soto “The Babymoon”

Honorable Mention:
Geeta Tewari, “How I Became a Man”; Teresa Scollon, “Christmas Eve”

2015 Winners

First Prize: Shasta Grant “Most Likely To”

Runner up: Rob Howell “Mars or Elsewhere”

Runner up: Courtney Sender “Black Harness”

2014 Winners

First Prize: Amy Victoria Blakemore “Previously, Sparrows”

Runner up: Michael Capel “Florida Arizona Buffalo Hawaii”

Runner up: Frank Fucile “Slow and Steady”

Honorable Mention:
Jennifer Genest “Ways to Prepare White Perch”
Landon Houle “My Mother, Aged 58, Tattoos Her Face”
Carrie Mullins “The Last Supper”

2013 Winners

First Prize: Heather Monley “Town of Birds”

Runner up: Wes Holtermann “Hurricane”

Runner up: Clarke Clayton “Sculptures”

2012 Winners

First Prize: Cassie Gonzales “Sleeping Out”

Runner up: Andrea Dulanto “Winter Clothes”

Runner up: Madiha Sattar “Home”

2011 Winners

First Prize: Fan Li “Chiasmus”

Runner up: Anna Kovatcheva “September”

Runner up: Nichols Malick “The Boy in the Lake”

2010 Winners

First Prize: Megan Anderegg Malone “Death Threat”

Runner up: Christopher Feliciano Arnold “Salt”

Runner up: Diana Kole “Listened”

2009 Winners

First Prize: Alexandra Zobel “The Miles Tape Hypothesis”

Runner up: Jessica Lacher “A Hypothesis”

Runner up: Mika Taylor “Anchor Point”

2008 Winners

First Prize: Cara Blue Adams “I Met Loss the Other Day”

Second Prize: Megan Mayhew Bergman “Afterbirth”

Third Prize: Nick Ripatrazone “The Bearberry Elegies”