Esquire and Aspen Writers' Foundation Present THE SHORT SHORT FICTION CONTEST
No entry fee.
Win a trip to New York to study with Colum McCann, and a scholarship to the Aspen Summer Words Fiction Workshop. If you can beat Colum McCann (in 78 words). Full guidelines.
Can you top Hemingway? Colum McCann (below) sets the short bar high.
An Introduction (in 78 words)
The greatest short short of all time is, of course, Hemingway's: "For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn."
There is a whole life and death written there. The art of the short short is to compress yet not lose narrative power.
It is closer to poetry than it is to fiction. Everything matters. Just a simple paragraph break can have enormous narrative consequences. This is not a Twitter game. This is the search for a white star of language.
The Rules (in 78 words)
Entries must be 78 words, in honor of Esquire's 78th birthday. We're calling these short shorts Aspens.
Ten winners will be flown to New York for a fiction workshop, taught by Colum McCann, and literary party. Grand Prize winner receives a full scholarship for the advanced fiction workshop at Aspen Summer Words (June 17 to 22, 2012). All entries due by October 7, 2011. Must be submitted electronically at:
What are we looking for, exactly? Beat this...
"Soldier's Field" By Colum McCann
Sweeney was a dreamer. Sweeney was from Galway. Sweeney went to Chicago. Sweeney wanted a green card. Sweeney met a woman who made his vowels curl. Sweeney had a baby. Sweeney bought a swing set. Sweeney joined the army. Sweeney flew helicopters. Sweeney rose. Sweeney could execute beautiful landings. Sweeney went on a second tour.
Sweeney was brought home. Sweeney asked everyone he met to kindly remove the sheet that had somehow been pulled up over his head.
No purchase necessary to enter or win. Short Short Fiction Contest. Sponsored by Hearst Communications, Inc., and presented by Aspen Writers' Foundation, a program of the Aspen Institute. Beginning September 1, 2011, at 12:01 A.M. (ET) through October 7, 2011, at 11:59 P.M. (ET), submit entries at esquiresubmissions.com. Winners will receive a travel stipend up to $500. Must be age of majority and a legal resident of the 50 United States, District of Columbia, or Canada. Void in Puerto Rico, the Province of Quebec, and where prohibited by law. Contest is subject to complete official rules available at esquire.com/fiction-contest.