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A Very Short Story Contest

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It may be apocryphal, but the story goes that Ernest Hemingway won a bet by writing a short story that ran fewer than ten words. One version of the story places the bet at the famed Algonquin “round table.” Whether true or not, there is an actual bet-winning short story attributed to Hemingway:

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

You have to admit it’s pretty good. It builds, and there’s a whole world of background and emotion lurking beneath those words. 

We would like to make a similar bet with you. Write a great short story in ten words or fewer. Submit it to our contest. Entry is free. Winner of the bet gets a free Gotham class.  

We did this contest last year, and here are some of the best entries:  

The honeymoon ends. I tip the bartender our wedding rings.
Shweta Krishnan
Washington D.C.

I held onto the big hand, hoping time would stop.
Lisa Bailey
Accrington, United Kingdom

Naval burial, full honors. Thank God I can swim home.
Leia Cadogan Welch
Clifton, New Jersey

The contest is currently closed.

The Details: 

  • Entries must be submitted online by 11:59 pm Eastern Time, Tuesday, May 31, 2023.
  • Entry is free. Limit one entry per person.
  • Entry must consist of no more than 10 words. Longer entries will be disregarded. 
  • Entry must be original and unpublished.
  • Entries will be judged on originality, quality, spelling, and grammar.
  • Gotham will post the winning entry at
  • The winner will be notified by June 16, 2023.