2021 Writing Contest

Please note: This contest is now closed. Thank you to all submitters! Winners' works have been published.

Update: Congratulations to our 2021 Awards winners! Iris Yu of OH won First Place with her story Birdbath, and Surina Venkat of FL second with her story And With Belief Came Wings. Dana Blatte of MA received honorable mention for Reconstruction. Check back soon for our next contest!


All emerging writers between the ages of 14-19 who have not published a full-length manuscript or chapbook can submit. The work you submit can have been previously published but not awarded large national/international awards. There is no submission fee.

This contest is supported by 


Winners receive cash prizes, speculative books of their choice, and publication in Wintermute 
Other finalists will be considered for publication.


1. Contest closes at 11:59 PM, Aug 7 [deadline is subject to change]. If you're a little late due to technical issues, this is fine.
2. Submission to the contest implies consent for publication, and all rights will revert back to the author after publication.
3. All stories must be speculative fiction, and be a maximum of 4500 words. [For more knowledge on what qualifies as speculative fiction, please check our submissions guidelines or a Google search. Or, even check out our judges' works! They have gorgeous spec-fic stories linked below].
4. Please submit your story through email to wintermutesubmissions@gmail.com. Title the subject line Wintermute Contest. Please do NOT label it "Wintermute Submission" or "Wintermute Award Submission" or any other variation.
5. Attach your story as a Word DOC or PDF.
6. NO identifying information in the file, please. Just the title and the story is fine. All submissions will be read blindly, and past experience or honors are not considered. In the email itself, please include your name and pronouns.
7. No novel excerpts or poetry, please. Prose only.


All submissions will first be screened through the masthead of Wintermute, and then finalists will be forwarded to our judge to pick the final winners.

Meet our judges, Alexandra Munck and Natalia Theodoridou

Alexandra Munck is a flowering hybrid of speculative fiction and poetry. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The Southampton Review, Three-Lobed Burning Eye, Lackington's, SOFTBLOW, and Bodega. She is currently planted in Illinois, and you can find her online at @munckish.
(You can read her gorgeous spec-fic story Sandrine here)

Natalia Theodoridou is the World Fantasy Award-winning and Nebula-nominated author of over a hundred stories published in Uncanny, Clarkesworld, F&SF, Nightmare, Choice of Games, and elsewhere. Find him at www.natalia-theodoridou.com, or follow @natalia_theodor on Twitter.
(Read her prolific writing on Strange Horizons--A Welling Up is beautiful!---and so many other places)


wintermutesubmissions@gmail.com for any further inquiries. 

Tips for Young Writers

Even if you do not win the contest, this can be a great opportunity for incentive to write a new piece of speculative work and perfect it. Here are Margaret Atwood's 7 tips for writing spec-fic:

1. Take an Idea From Current Society
2. Strengthen Your Cause-and-Effect Muscles
3. Determine Your World’s Winners and Losers
4. Research
5. Develop A Strong Visual Language
6. Stick To Your Own Rules
7. Read The Greats

Check em out here.
[updates soon]