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Selected Shorts

The Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize

2021 Writing Contest Main Image 1 Symphony Space 2021

The Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize is a writing competition sponsored by the stage and radio series Selected Shorts.

Selected Shorts, the long-running series at Symphony Space in New York City celebrates the art of the short story by having stars of stage and screen read aloud the works of established and emerging writers. Selected Shorts is recorded for Public Radio and heard nationally on both the radio and its weekly podcast.

Congratulations to Diana Spechler, whose story “Reality” is our 2021 winner! Read the winning story on Electric Literature.

We are also happy to share our two runners-up:

Jessica Hutter: “Thorong-La”
Nancy Fishman: "Stoplight"

Diana Spechler is the author of the novels Who by Fire and Skinny. Her essays and short stories have appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times, Ploughshares, Esquire, The Guardian, Paris Review Daily, Glimmer Train Stories, Playboy, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Washington Post, Tin House Open Bar, GQ, Southern Review, and Harper's. She has received awards from Yaddo, A Room of Her Own Foundation, The Steinbeck Fellowship, and elsewhere.

We are delighted to feature “Reality” during the closing night of our (virtual) Selected Shorts season on June 2. The story will be performed by actor Kirsten Vangsness (Criminal Minds) at the end of the show. More information and tickets to our closing night of Selected Shorts can be found here.

Congratulations to Diana, Jessica, and Nancy, and to all for submitting! Stay tuned and keep an eye on this page, as our 2022 contest will be announced in the fall.


Joshua Ferris's first novel, Then We Came to the End, won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Barnes and Noble Discover Award, and was a National Book Award finalist. It has been translated into 24 languages. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Best New American Voices, New Stories from the South, Prairie Schooner, and The Iowa Review. He lives in New York.

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Contest Details and Guidelines
  • Entries should be 750 words or less.
  • Stories can be on any theme.
  • There is a fee of $25 to enter.
  • Submissions must be entered by 11:59 PM EST on March 5, 2021.
  • Writers of all ages and nationalities are eligible.
  • The story must have a title.
  • We do not accept work that has been previously published in print, online, or any other medium.
  • We do not accept works in translation.
  • Once entered, we do not accept revisions for any stories. Your $25 is nonrefundable.
  • You may enter as many stories as you like, but a $25 fee is required for each story.
  • We no longer accept mailed, paper submissions. Stories received in the mail will be returned unread with your uncashed check. If you have problems with the online form or are unable to submit online for some extenuating circumstance, please contact Selected Shorts directly at [email protected] and we will make sure your work reaches us.
  • The winner will be announced in June 2021.

2020 Contest Winner

“Prayer for the Ides of February” by Caitlin Campbell