Short Story Contest

Open to Michigan residents of all ages.

Reglas del concurso en español

The Write Michigan Short Story Contest is a short-story competition for Michigan residents. The contest is presented by Kent District Library in Kent County, Michigan, and Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Writers fall into four categories:

  • Adult, ages 18 and older
  • Teen, ages 12-17 years old
  • Youth, ages 11 and under
  • Spanish-language Youth, ages 12 and under

Adults pay a $10 entry fee.​​

There are three cash prizes awarded in each category. The Readers’ Choice awards are voted upon by readers via an online judging site; the Judges’ Choice and runner-up awards are decided upon by a group of judges. The top six short stories in each category will be published in an anthology by Chapbook Press, which will include a foreword by this year’s celebrity author.

Judges will award one writer a slot in Johnathan Rand’s 2022 Author Quest writing camp for kids ages 10-13.

How it works

  • Starting Sept. 1, writers submit their short story after completing an online registration form and paying the nonrefundable $10 registration fee online (no cost for writers under 18).
  • All stories must be submitted by noon on Nov. 30.
  • Reviewers evaluate your story based on this criteria. They give each story one rating and any comments they’d like.
  • The top 10 stories in each category are posted on the Write Michigan website for a public vote from Jan. 17 to Feb. 7. During that time, readers can vote once for their favorite story in each category.
  • The story with the most votes wins the Readers’ Choice award for each category.
  • Designated judges will also review the top 10 semifinalists in each category and choose the Judges’ Choice and runner-up awards for each category. The judges evaluate the semifinalist stories based on this criteria. They give each story a rating for each of the seven criteria, and the ratings are then totaled.
  • Winners are announced via email and on the Write Michigan website on Feb. 11.
  • Winners are published in a Chapbook Press anthology that will be available for purchase via the Schuler Books website, at the store or via links from participating websites.
  • Purchasing books is not a requirement to enter the contest.


  • Open to all Michigan residents. Residents are defined as full or part-time residents of Michigan (i.e., you have a Michigan mailing address), or those attending a Michigan college or university and residing in the state.
  • Maximum length: 3,000 words.
  • Submissions must be in a PDF document, 12-point Times New Roman type, double-spaced. Do not include author’s name on the PDF.
  • Work cannot infringe on third-party rights; that is, copyright isn’t owned by another entity. Copyrighted characters are not allowed.
  • Submitted work is original and wholly owned by the author. Submissions should not have been previously published in print or online.
  • One story per author.
  • Online registration only; short stories cannot be submitted at Kent District Library or Schuler Books locations.
  • Fill out online registration completely, including email address and phone number.
  • Permission to publish winning short stories in book form and online will be required at submission.
  • Please note that semifinalist stories are reviewed for plagiarism and/or previous publication.
  • The top short stories as chosen by judges, and the top popular vote-getter, plus a foreword by the year’s celebrity author, will be included in the published Write Michigan Anthology.
  • Winners will be asked not to submit a story submission for the next year’s contest.
  • Purchasing books is not required to enter the contest.

Special Note to Teachers

  • Submissions require unique email addresses. Do not plan to submit your student’s work for them.
  • Each submission requires permission to publish winning short stories. It is not appropriate for this permission to come from teachers and instead needs to come from the student and their parents/guardians.

Terms of Service

Agreement to the Terms of Service is required at submission.

To the fullest extent permitted by law, the Author shall indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Kent District Library and Schuler Books, hereinafter referred to collectively as the “Contest Sponsors,” including all of their employees and agents, from and against all losses, liabilities, penalties, fines, damages and claims and all related costs and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees and disbursements and costs of investigation, litigation, settlement, judgments, interest and penalties), and also including any claims of infringement of United States copyright or other proprietary right of any person or entity, which right is enforceable under the laws of the United States, arising from or in connection with her or his participation in the Write Michigan Contest.

The Contest Sponsors shall hold an exclusive right to publish the winning Works in all physical and digital formats for a period of one year from the date the Write Michigan contest winners are announced. Following that period, the Author may republish the submitted Work with any person or entity of his or her choosing. The Author agrees that the Contest Sponsors shall maintain their co-equal copyright in the said Work in perpetuity, but Contest Sponsors waive their right to benefit from any third party republishing of the Work.