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Fall Fiction Short Story Contest

Do you have a passion for the written word and sharing stories with beautifully crafted sentences? Do you love to tell stories of everyday or extraordinary characters? Can you craft a compelling story in 1500 words or less? Here is the opportunity to share your story and possibly be recognized for your creativity.

Each year, Southern New Hampshire University hosts a short story contest, which provides writers the chance to show off their creative writing skills and be rewarded for it. Finalists can earn an SNHU scholarship, see their story published in The Penmen Review and receive a writing-themed prize package.

Any US-based writer can enter (exempting SNHU faculty and staff), and it’s free, giving inexperienced and seasoned writers alike an opportunity to share their love of storytelling with a wider audience.

Writers follow a set of guidelines and five winners are chosen after expert judging and anonymous public voting. Stories will be evaluated for their originality, thought process and structure, engagement and entertainment, character arc, and grammar and writing style.

The 2021 Fall Fiction Contest

Over 650 stories were submitted for the 7th annual writing contest. The judges carefully read and reviewed the submissions and the public votes helped determine the final results. The winning five stories are:

First Prize:

  • $3,000 SNHU scholarship to be used toward an online or on campus bachelor’s or master’s degree program
  • Short story featured in The Penmen Review
  • The opportunity to read winning piece during a future Word for Word: Student Writer Spotlight
  • SNHU swag
  • “The Structure of Story: How to Write Great Stories by Focusing on What Really Matters" by Ross Hartmann
  • “The Best American Short Stories 2021"

Second Prize:

  • $2,000 SNHU scholarship to be used toward an online or on campus bachelor’s or master’s degree program
  • Short story featured in The Penmen Review
  • The opportunity to read winning piece during a future Word for Word: Student Writer Spotlight
  • SNHU swag
  • “The Structure of Story: How to Write Great Stories by Focusing on What Really Matters" by Ross Hartmann
  • “The Best American Short Stories 2021"

Third Prize:

  • $1,000 SNHU scholarship to be used toward an online or on campus bachelor’s or master’s degree program
  • Short story featured in The Penmen Review
  • The opportunity to read winning piece during a future Word for Word: Student Writer Spotlight
  • SNHU swag
  • “The Structure of Story: How to Write Great Stories by Focusing on What Really Matters" by Ross Hartmann
  • “The Best American Short Stories 2021"

Fourth Prize:

  • Short story featured in The Penmen Review
  • The opportunity to read winning piece during a future Word for Word: Student Writer Spotlight
  • “The Structure of Story: How to Write Great Stories by Focusing on What Really Matters" by Ross Hartmann
  • “The Best American Short Stories 2021"

Fifth Prize:

  • Short story featured in The Penmen Review
  • The opportunity to read winning piece during a future Word for Word: Student Writer Spotlight
  • “The Structure of Story: How to Write Great Stories by Focusing on What Really Matters" by Ross Hartmann
  • “The Best American Short Stories 2021"

Past Contests and Winners

A student writing a short story for the 2020 Fall Fiction Contest

2020 Fall Fiction Contest

The 6th annual Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Fall Fiction Contest brought writers from across the country together for a chance to win a scholarship to SNHU and publication in The Penmen Review.

The upper left corner of an old fashioned typewriter with a blank sheet of paper loaded and clipped in place.

2019 Fall Fiction Contest

Southern New Hampshire University received more than 500 short story submissions to its 5th annual Fall Fiction Contest. While there were many strong contenders this year, only five could be recognized.

The public voted, and the results are in.

Typewriter

2018 Fall Fiction Contest

The 2018 Fall Fiction Contest concluded this weekend, leaving three Southern New Hampshire University online students and two New Hampshire residents recognized for their creative writing skills.

Mary Wroten

2018 Winner Mary Wroten

When Mary Wroten turned 40, she enrolled in Southern New Hampshire University’s online BA in Creative Writing and English program and began sharing her writing with others for the first time. Less than a year later, she won the Fall Fiction Contest.

Someone writing down ideas for the Fall Fiction Contest

2017 Fall Fiction Contest

Top-prize recipients in SNHU's 2017 Fall Fiction Competition include first-place winner Candice Lee, second-place winner Meagan Lucas and third-place winner Caitlan Honer.

Someone working on a laptop

2016 Fall Fiction Contest

The winners of Southern New Hampshire University's Fall Fiction Competition were awarded $6,000 in scholarships after being chosen by a panel of judges from among hundreds of entries.

Woman working on her laptop

2015 Fall Fiction Contest

Southern New Hampshire University's (SNHU) College of Online and Continuing Education has announced the winners of its first fall fiction short story competition.

Syche Phillips

2015 Winner Syche Phillips

Syche Phillips' short story, "Genesis," was selected as the winner of SNHU's 2015 Fall Fiction Short Story Competition.