Exploring the art of prose


CRAFT Short Fiction Prize 2021


2021 CRAFT Short Fiction Prize
Judged by Kirstin Valdez Quade

Thank you to all writers who sent short stories to our 2021 CRAFT Short Fiction Prize! We were delighted to publish the winning entries in October 2021. Congratulations to the winners, finalists, longlisters, and honorable mentions!


First Place—Willa Zhang: “Night Air”
Second Place—Leesa Fenderson: “Ugly”
Third Place—Cyn Nooney: “Just the Thing for a Day Like This


María Isabel Álvarez: “Happiness and Other Found Objects”
Caro Claire Burke: “Gold Rush”
Emily Cataneo: “From the Mouths of Girls, a Leviathan”
Celeste Chen: “your body is a memory in motion”
Gina L. Grandi: “Layabout”
Kathryn Holmstrom: “From Gardens where We Feel Secure”
Robert Maynor: “Always with You”
Anna Mazhirov: “An Absolute”
Amanda McLaughlin: “Cheap Trick”
Neeru Nagarajan: “Suckling”
A.J. Rodriguez: “Lenguaje”
Leigh Claire Schmidli: “Sometimes the Going”

The Rest of the Longlist

Sam Asher: “Worldsick”
Stephanie Early Green: “The Meat They Feed On”
Zilla Jones: “Checkmate”
Michael Knoedler: “All You Have Is Hope”
Annie Liontas: “Revelations”
Melissa Madore: “Home Bird”
Kita Mehaffy: “The Mothers”
Ray Morrison: “Reason to Believe”
Hugh Notman: “Erosion”
Rudy Ruiz: “Mexico Beach”
Kate Ryan: “The Mighty Have Fallen”
Leah Silverman: “The Memory Of”
Bill Smoot: “Black Feathers”
Lisa Thorne: “Fling”
Clancy Tripp: “Gifted & Talented”
Victoria Windrem: “Bookmarks”
Robert Winterode: “aparicio”

Honorable Mentions

Jordi Torres Barroso: “A Little Color in It”
Lucia Bettencourt, with translation by Kim Hastings: “Chocolate Bites”
Leslie Campbell: “Motherlode”
Celeste Chen: “Tuesday, Postmortem”
Edite Cunhã: “The Truth that Is Hidden”
Sarah Gilligan: “Joanie on the Spot”
Sarah Gilmartin: “The Other Woman”
Leena Gundapaneni: “Pheromone Party”
Aleksandra Hill: “Words of Advice at the End of the World”
Will Hodginson: “Pillowtalk”
Aram Kim: “The Professor”
Diana López: “After Star Wars”
Anastasia Lugo Mendez: “Then Time”
Stephanie Mullings: “Eating Mango Whole”
Areej Quraishi: “Like the Chiffon of a Sari”
Flor Salcedo: “See, right here.”
Jasmine Sawers: “Tea with the Queen”
Roberta Silman: “Bed and Breakfast”
Pascha Sotolongo: “The Mustache”
Catherine Uroff: “You Can’t Make Me Go”
Adriana Mora Vargas: “A Pinch of Cinnamon”
Sharon Wahl: “Everything Flirts”

We’ll be back next spring for the 2022 CRAFT Short Fiction Prize!

photo: Maggie Shipstead

Kirstin Valdez Quade is the author of the story collection Night at the Fiestas, which won the John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle, the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation. Her work has appeared in The New YorkerThe Best American Short StoriesThe O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor at Princeton. Her novel The Five Wounds is forthcoming April 2021.