“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This Independence Day, we are calling out for your stories, tales, lyrics, and poetry to color in an America that has been washed over. Because everybody should have authority over their own story.
We want to listen and project your voices.
We want to be part of the change.

From July 4th to August 21st, we invite all writers who have lived or are currently living in America to submit a short story, poem, or piece of creative nonfiction speaking to the theme of America: color it in.
We’re looking for all different kinds of stories, whether you decide to write about what your America is, how you live or see its past, how you hope for its future, the little bits of mundanity that color in your daily life, a flashing moment that defines you or your voice today. From sci-fi to romance to literary fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, magical realism, and everything in between, we want it all. We want the story you wish to tell, exactly the way you wish to tell it.

All submissions will be published on the contest website throughout the duration of the contest. One juried winner, one public winner, and one juried runner-up in each category will receive $100.00 to be donated to an organization of their choice that fights against racism or for equality.

Short Édition reserves the right to contact contest participants to enter into a contract for the publication of their stories in our 300+ Short Story Dispensers across the nation and around the world. We want to bring individual voices out into the forefront, to new audiences. Let the Dispensers be a megaphone. Because ignorance is not bliss. We are better together. It’s time to challenge the status quo; to challenge ourselves. It’s time to color it in.

Contest Timeline

July 4th to August 21st
September 4th to 18th
September 18th
  • Submit your short story and/or poem of maximum 7,500 characters (spaces included)
  • All qualifying submissions will be published on the contest webpage shortly after receipt
  • The public is invited to read and vote for their favorite submissions
  • September 4th: Announcement of finalists
  • 10 works in each category selected by the Editorial Team as finalists
  • 10 works in each category selected as finalists based on the highest number of votes from the online community
  • All finalists are set back to zero votes
  • One winner and one runner-up in each category selected by the final jury
  • The public winner in each category selected by the online community
  • September 18th: Announcement of winners

Submission Guidelines »