All Contests

A Very Short Story Contest

Event Image

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 hold this contest every spring. Here are some of the winners and finalists from the past few years:  

Fine! Judge away! Like you've never spilled someone's ashes before.
John Gilbert
Bethesda, Maryland

She learnt about families in the school library. Fiction section.
Chris Tattersall
Haverfordwest, United Kingdom

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


The Details: 

  • Entries must be submitted online by 11:59 pm Eastern Time, Friday, May 31, 2024.
  • 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  • Entry must be original and unpublished.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 19, 2024.