Exploring the art of prose


CRAFT Short Fiction Prize

The CRAFT Short Fiction Prize is our signature contest for unpublished short fiction up to 5,000 words, and is open to entries every March and April and awarded each September. Three winners are selected by a guest judge, with $2,800 and publication awarded.


2018: Jim Shepard
2019: Elizabeth McCracken
2020: Alexander Chee
2021: Kirstin Valdez Quade

Image is a color photograph of a clothesline outside an apartment building; title card for the first-place winner of the 2023 Short Fiction Prize, "Blackbird" by Chinonyelum Anyichie.

“Blackbird” by Chinonyelum Anyichie

October 27, 2023

  Ifunanya called you ugly, and you answered her with a slap. A slap so charged it was the envy of thunder, and you didn’t even care you were in Chuckies, the school restaurant, teeming with people eating, laughing, coming…

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Image is a color photograph of the silhouette of a bird on some tree branches; title card for the second-place winner of the 2023 Short Fiction Prize, "A Line of Wings" by Uyen Phuong Dang.

A Line of Wings by Uyen Phuong Dang

October 20, 2023

  Dau used to live in the apartment below me. He had skin so dry it fell like leaves on a windy day, so much he pixelated his floor with tiny fog-colored flakes, each thin and flappy as a plastic…

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Image is a color photograph of striped pillows on a bed; title card for the third-place winner of the 2023 Short Fiction Prize, "Cillian" by Janey Tracey.

Cillian by Janey Tracey

October 13, 2023

  When the night was over, and everyone else had gone, Cillian took me to an Irish bar, scratched the small of my back, and told me his theory of everything. He told me political polarization was related to wave…

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alt text: image shows a gray bicycle with brown handlebars; title card for short story "Question Twenty-Eight," by Lisa K Buchanan

Question Twenty-Eight by Lisa K. Buchanan

October 28, 2022

  When my widowed father was the age I am now, he married a woman the age I was then. The thirty-year difference didn’t bother his friends, though some objected to his haste, claiming he had but transferred my mother’s…

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alt text: image shows chain link fence in the foreground and vinyl siding in the background; title card for the short story "Ghosts," by Amy Stuber

Ghosts by Amy Stuber

October 21, 2022

  People will say Ry must have planned the robbery for weeks. They’ll want purpose and emotion and strategy. They’ll say she had a gun tucked into a pocket. They’ll say she must have been desperate: four kids at home…

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alt text: image shows a dark cabin partially obscured by dense trees in a forest; title card for the short story "Pine Barrens," by Billy Middleton

Pine Barrens by Billy Middleton

October 14, 2022

  “The 2024 election will be all about Taiwan,” our boyfriend, Jeremy, says. We’ve turned off all the lights except the one over the stove in the attached kitchen, and now we’re getting high on the plaid sofa in the…

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Night Air by Willa Zhang

October 22, 2021

  One night in college, my roommate Anna and I walked home together from the bus stop. We’d gone downtown to watch a movie, which turned out to be pretty good, and then eaten at a taco truck, which turned…

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Ugly by Leesa Fenderson

October 15, 2021

  Ugly, ain’t it? The whole fuck of it. The way the doctor’s fingers patted the rim of skin on Mummy’s concave chest. The twin rims where she, Doctor Small Tits, had cut off Mummy’s two breasts, golden brown to…

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Just the Thing For a Day Like This by Cyn Nooney

October 8, 2021

  Marshall is in his office, and he says to please get the wretched dogs to stop barking. He’s preparing for a call, an important call. It’s hot, above ninety, margarita-with-salt weather but I’m nursing so you know what that…

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Ariel by Jinwoo Chong

September 25, 2020

  At nine years old you pin him to the soil, knees around ribs, center your two fingers together between his eyes and shout bang, bang, you’re dead, you’re fucking dead. He is writhing, trying to escape you; your sounds…

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