2023 Writing Contest

Please note: This contest is now closed. Thank you to all submitters, and we look forward to reading your entries!

**Update: contest deadline extended to August 6th

For the fourth year in a row, Wintermute Lit welcomes you to our speculative fiction writing contest:


All submissions are first screened through the masthead of Wintermute, and a small number of finalists are forwarded to our judge to pick the final winners.

Meet our 2023 Judge: Wen-yi Lee 

Wen-yi Lee is a Clarion West alum from Singapore whose work has appeared in Nightmare, Strange Horizons and Uncanny, among others, and in anthologies such as Year’s Best Fantasy 2 and We’re Here: The Best Queer Speculative Fiction 2022. She likes writing about girls with bite, feral nature, and ghosts and her forthcoming debut novel THE DARK WE KNOW (Zando, 2024) has a bit of all three. Find her on social media at @wenyilee_ and otherwise at wenyileewrites.com.


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


1. Contest closes at 11:59 PM EST, August 6th. If you're a little late due to technical issues, this is fine, but let us know.
2. Submission to the contest implies consent for publication, and all rights will revert back to the author after publication.
3. All stories must contain speculative elements, 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 judge's works!]. “a broad category of fiction encompassing genres with elements that do not exist in reality, recorded history, nature, or the present universe”
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.


Winners receive book prizes and publication in Wintermute. Other finalists will be considered for publication.


wintermutesubmissions@gmail.com for any further inquiries. 

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Tips for Young Writers

You can also check out our 2022 and 2021 Contest, but don't write or submit solely based on past winners' particular stories and genres! The world of spec-fic is vast, with many new corners to explore.

Even if you do not place in the contest, this is a great opportunity to write a new piece of speculative work and perfect it, or to venture into new genres you've never tried before! To start you off, 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.