The Results Are In!

We're proud to announce the winners and honorable mentions of the Short Fiction & Poetry Contest for spring 2020. Congratulations to the following authors!

Juried Winners

Public Winners

Juried Honorable Mentions


William & Mary Libraries are excited to host the first university-wide creative writing contest in tandem with Short Edition, French publisher and creator of the Short Story Dispenser. The university’s new Dispenser has found its home at Swem Library and has been churning out bite-sized contemporary and classic literature for students to enjoy, free of charge. And now, kicking it off with this contest, William & Mary Libraries invite all students to submit their own creative writing for a chance to be published in the Short Story Dispenser!

The Details

From December 6th through February 14th, students may submit poetry or short fiction of less than 8,000 characters, spaces included, that speaks to the theme of the contest: Home, inspired by William & Mary’s selected novel for the One Book, One Community initiative, Tommy Orange’s There There.

Home is the intersection of place and identity, the intangible and tangible, history molding the present. It’s a rich fabric spun from family, friends, cultures, and traditions, woven together over time and, perhaps most importantly, through storytelling. The idea of home—the design and pattern of its fabric—is unique to each of us. Sometimes we try others’ on to see how it feels or perhaps to conceal the uncertainty in our own; Yet, often enough, when two or more are woven together, if even for a moment, our sense of home, of community, is enriched.

double sided cityscape home

When you hear stories from people like you, you feel less alone. When you feel less alone, and like you have a community of people behind you, alongside you, I believe you can live a better life.- Tommy Orange, There There

eye people city home


William & Mary Libraries’ Editorial Team will select 20-40 finalists amongst all submissions. From these finalists, a designated Jury will select one winner and an honorable mention in both the prose and poetry categories.

The public is also invited to read, comment on, and vote for their favorite finalists. The prose and poetry submission with the highest number of votes will be selected the two Public Choice Winners of the contest.


We are pleased to award the juried and public winners $200 and the honorable mentions $100. All winners, honorable mentions, and other selected works will also be celebrated and showcased in the Short Story Dispenser in Swem Library. In addition, Short Edition’s Editorial Team will be reviewing all finalists to be considered for publication in their more than 300 Dispensers around the world.

Contest Timeline

December 6th to February 14th
February 28th March 13th
March 16th
  • Submit your short fiction or poem of maximum 8,000 characters (spaces included)
  • All qualifying submissions will be published on the contest webpage shortly after receipt
  • February 28th: Announcement of 20-40 finalists selected by the W&M Editorial Team
  • The public is invited to vote for their favorite finalists during these two weeks
  • One winner and one honorable mention in both the prose and poetry categories selected by the Jury
  • The finalists in both categories with the highest amount of votes from the online community are the public choice winners.
  • March 16th: Announcement of all winners and honorable mentions

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