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Submit Your Stories to the NC State Fiction Contest

A red plan rests on a notepad.

The NC State Fiction Contest is accepting entries for its 2017 competition.

Drawing more than 300 entrants last year, this free literary contest is open to North Carolina residents — including unpublished NC State students, faculty and staff — and is one of the largest free-to-enter writing contests in the South. This year’s guest judge is Tania James, award-winning author of the novels Atlas of Unknowns and The Tusk That Did the Damage, and of the short-story collection Aerogrammes.

Contestants may enter one story in each of the two contest categories:

  • The James Hurst Prize for Fiction ($500): An unpublished short story of no more than 5,000 words. In addition to the winner, several honorable mention awards will be presented.
  • The Shorter Fiction Prize ($250): An unpublished short story of no more than 1,200 words. One honorable mention award will be presented.

In addition, the contest will also award a $100 prize for the top student entry. 

Contest Rules:

  1. The contest is open to all North Carolina residents except:
    • Tenured/tenure-track professors in the University of North Carolina system and writing instructors teaching at NC State (teaching assistants and graduate students are eligible).
    • Writers with a published book of fiction or collection of short stories (if we can buy your book online or from a publisher or bookstore, we consider you published).
    • Previous winners. Previous finalists must submit stories that have not been previously submitted.
  2. Contestants may enter no more than one story in each of the two contest categories.
  3. Entries may not have been previously published anywhere, in print or online (including personal blogs/websites).
  4. All entries must be typed, double-spaced and titled, with a word count listed on the first page.
  5. Contestants should not include their name on their stories so that their work can be judged anonymously. Instead, contestants should include their name, address, telephone number and email address on a separate cover sheet.
  6. No emailed entries are accepted. All entries must be submitted in hard copy. Please either:
    • Mail entries to:
      • NC State Fiction Contest
        Department of English
        North Carolina State University
        Campus Box 8105
        Raleigh, NC 27695-8105
      • Drop off entries in person at the Department of English, 221 Tompkins Hall (2211 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC) by the postmark deadline.
  7. The postmark deadline is Oct. 10, 2017.

Due to the volume of submissions, NC State’s Department of English cannot contact individual contestants or return entries.

Winners will be announced at the 2017 NC State Fiction Contest Awards Ceremony, which will include a literary reading by Tania James, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, in the Hatteras-Ocracoke Room at Talley Student Union on NC State’s campus.

For more information, visit