Next month it will have been 10 years since I published a silly little essay called “Hint Fiction: When Flash Fiction Because Just Too Flashy” at Flash Fiction Chronicles (which no longer seems to exist) and hosted a contest at my blog.
It was meant to be something fun, nothing serious, though I was fortunate that author Stewart O’Nan agreed to be the final judge. His involvement no doubt helped give the idea legitimacy and caught the attention of the publishing industry, most notably W. W. Norton who subsequently gave me a contract to put together an actual anthology of hint fiction stories.
In 2010, W. W. Norton published Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer, which is still in print. It was received well critically for the most part, and still continues to sell, and from what I can tell based on emails and what I see online, it’s used in various creative writing programs around the country.
For the first couple years I continued the tradition of hosting hint fiction contests (James Frey was the judge in 2010, Joyce Carol Oates in 2011, and Benjamin Percy in 2014) but after a while my own writing started to take more and more of my time, and I just lost interest in hosting any further contests.
That is, until now.
I mean, we’re coming up on the 10-year anniversary, people! How could I not let that go by without celebrating with a new contest?
This year's judge is the one and only Roxane Gay. She’s the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women, and the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. Her story “The Copper Miner’s Sad Sad Song” appeared in the Hint Fiction anthology; her story “I Know Things about the Girls Next Door” appeared in the special hint fiction issue of Wigleaf.
The submission period will be from April 1 to April 30 at this website. You can submit up to two hint fiction stories. After April 30th, I will come up with a top 15 - 20 stories which will then be sent to Roxane so that she can review and pick the winners.
The prizes are as follows:
1st place $100, 2nd place $50, 3rd place $25.
All winners and runners up will receive signed copies of the Hint Fiction anthology.
W. W. Norton has donated copies of New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, edited by James Thomas and Robert Scotellaro, to the winners and runners up as well.
There is no entry fee.
Still not sure what Hint Fiction is? It's strongly recommended you check out the anthology, which is still available in paperback. Also, Norton has kindly lowered the price of the ebook for a limited time, so you can purchase it for just $1.99 on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iTunes, and Google Play.
So check back here April 1st. In the meantime, have fun!