Contest Official Rules



The writing contest (“Contest”) opens Monday, August 26, 2019 (12:00am CT) and will remain open until Sunday, November 3, 2019 (11:59pm CT). Sponsor’s computer is the official clock for the Contest. UTA Editorial Team review begins November 3, 2019 and runs through November 17, 2019. Finalists will be announced on November 18, 2019. Jury review and public selection by voting begins on November 18, 2019 and runs through December 2, 2019. The juried winner and the public winner will be announced on December 5, 2019.

Stages of the competition


Qualifying submissions will be published online* throughout the 10 weeks of open submissions. Once a submission is received, it's checked and validated by the UTA Editorial Team to be sure that it qualifies based on the minimum requirements (length and theme). Judgments and decisions of the UTA Editorial Team as to submission eligibility and disqualification are at their complete discretion and are final.

* After the contest, participants will be able to delete their story and/or poem from the site if they so desire.


15 finalists will be selected by the UTA Editorial Team, and 5 finalists will be selected by the public based on the highest number of community votes, for a total number of 20 finalists. If there are less than 30 submissions, then 50% of the number of submissions will be the number of finalists selected. The UTA Editorial Team will select 3/4 and the public will select 1/4 of the overall number of finalists. The finalists will be announced on the contest website on November 18, 2019.


The jury will select one overall winner and two runners-up. There will also be a "public winner," which will be the finalist who receives the most community votes. Once the finalists are announced on the website, the votes for the finalists are reset to zero and the public has 15 days (the same time that the jury members have to decide their winners) to vote for their favorite works. Members of the public can vote for as many stories as they wish, but only vote for each work one time. Members of the public can comment on as many works as they wish.

The offering of incentives in exchange for votes or comments is prohibited.

The use of bots and/or robotic submissions is prohibited.

If the UTA Review Team deems a vote invalid based on the previously mentioned rules, they reserve the right to remove the vote at any time from the site.

contest timeline

The Contest Dates

August 26th to November 3rd
November 18th to December 2nd
December 5th
  • Submit your short story of maximum 8,000 characters (spaces included)
  • All qualifying submissions will be published on the contest webpage shortly after receipt
  • November 18th: Annoucement of finalists
  • 15 works selected by the UTA Editorial Team as finalists
  • 5 works selected as finalists based on the highest number of votes from the online community
  • All finalists are set back to zero votes
  • One winner selected by the UTA Jury
  • Two runners-up selected by the UTA Jury
  • One public winner selected by the community
  • December 5th: Annoucement of winners


All UTA students, faculty and staff are invited to participate in the contest. All participants must create their author account and submit their work using a valid email address.

Participants will create their own username upon making their author account — this will be the name associated with their work when it’s published on the contest website — but they must provide their full name and contact information to the Sponsor if they should be selected as a finalist or a winner. The Sponsor must be able to easily get in touch with the participant if necessary to organize receipt of the prize.



No purchase necessary to enter or to win. All Contest submissions will be reviewed by the UTA Editorial Team for compliance with the Contest theme and these rules. Every submission is subject to disqualification based on violations of these rules.

All submissions must be original works by the submitter, in English.

Submissions must not be published anywhere else. Submissions may be simultaneously submitted elsewhere, but if it is published or accepted elsewhere prior to the announcement of winners, it will be disqualified from the Contest.

Submission Limits

Submissions may not exceed 8,000 characters (including spaces).

All submissions must fit within the contest theme of It all started with a misunderstanding. Submissions must also fall within the short story fiction categories.

The submission process is entirely electronic via the Short Fiction Contest submission portal. No paper manuscripts will be accepted. The submission form is copy/paste format.

  • All genres are accepted, as long as they are literary fiction, (historical fiction is acceptable if it includes an imaginative story).
  • Submissions must be appropriate for publication in a commercially distributed publication.
  • Submissions must not violate or infringe the rights of any other person or company (including but not limited to privacy rights, copyrights, trade secrets, confidential information, trademarks, or trade names).
  • Submissions must not defame, libel, or slander anyone or any entity.
  • Submissions must not contain or describe any excessively obscene, vulgar, offensive, profane, or provocative violence or sex.
  • No submissions containing derogatory, racist, or sexist language or situations will be accepted.
  • No biographical narrative, news-related texts or social issues written in a journalistic style will be accepted.
  • Plagiarism, which includes the use of third-party poetry, song lyrics, characters or another person’s universe, without written permission, will result in disqualification.


  • Dialogue. Any portions of dialogue should be enclosed in quotation marks.
  • Italics. Titles of work, narrator thoughts, emphasis on words, and words in a foreign language should all be italicized.
  • Line breaks. Insert a single blank line between paragraphs for ease of reading.
  • Short Story Titles. Titles for submitted works written in capital letters will not be preserved, with the exception of acronyms and initials. Please follow typographical norms for writing your title (i.e. capital letter with each word – The Great Gatsby, A River Runs Through It, etc.).
  • No indentations. Please do not indent any lines.

Multiple Submissions

Submitters may submit one work, multiple submissions are not allowed.


Each submission will be emailed a confirmation of receipt. Submitters will receive an email if there is a change in status of the submission.

Potential winners will be notified via email before the announcements are made public.

4. Rights to Submitter Data and Submissions

Subject to the acceptance of the short story by Short Édition and the UTA editorial team, the author grants the right to Short Édition and the Temple University Libraries to modify, edit, correct, translate, adapt, reproduce, distribute, and publish the submitted stories website and in the Short Story Dispenser at the UTA Campus and in any other online media including the internet, mobile apps, or any other electronic form under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This license allows others to share the work with an acknowledgment of the work's authorship and initial publication in the UTA Writting contest.

The author agrees that no royalties or any other payment or remuneration is due in connection with publication with the Temple University Short Fiction Contest either online or in print.

Accepted submissions will be published online for reading, public votes and comments, as well as be considered by the editorial team and contest jury for contest prizes.

Short Édition reserves the right to contact contest participants to enter into a contract for the publication of their stories in the Short Story Dispensers around the world.

Submission of the registration details and any prize notification documents (“Entrant Data”) constitutes your consent for Sponsor to obtain, use, and transfer your name, address and other details for Contest administration purposes. Any Entrant Data shall be used only in a manner consistent with the consent given by submitters at the time of entry and with these rules.

By accepting a prize, Winner consents to the use of their name, biographical information, including city and state of residence, for promotional purposes by Sponsor, and its designees, including but not limited to the posting of winner’s name on the Sponsor website, in a Winners List, without additional compensation, except where prohibited by law (“Promotions”). All copyright, trademark or other intellectual property rights in such Promotions shall be owned by Sponsors or its licensors and winner hereby disclaims and waives any claim of right to such Promotions. Such Promotions shall be solely under control of Sponsor or its licensors, and winner hereby waives any claim of control over the Promotions content as well as any possible claims of misuse of winner’s name under contract, tort or any other theory of law.



The UTA Editorial Team, made up of UTA faculty, staff and students, will review and evaluate all submissions and select a total of 15 finalists. If there are less than 30 submissions, the selected number of finalists will equal 50% of the number of total submissions. In addition, five finalists will be selected by the public based on the highest number of community votes. The 20 finalists will then be reviewed and evaluated by the UTA Jury, comprised of the broader UTA community. The jury will select one overall winner and two runners-up. During the 15 days of finalist review, the votes for each finalist story will be set back to zero, and the public will have 15 days to vote for their favorite story. The finalist with the highest number of community votes will be the selected public winner.

Members of the public can vote for as many stories as they wish, but only vote for each story one time. Members of the public can comment on as many stories as they wish.

The offering of incentives in exchange for votes or comments is prohibited.

The use of bots and/or robotic submissions is prohibited.


The Prize

The juried winner will be awarded a $250 Gift Card, the second place a $100 Gift Card and the third place a $50 Gift Card. The public winner will be awarded a $100 Gift Card. All winners and other selected works will be published on campus in the Short Story Dispenser. As well, Short Édition will be considering all submissions for international publication in their Dispensers worldwide.



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