The Asian American Short Story Contest: Entry Deadline Extended to June 3

March 19, 2011


Attention fiction writers! The deadline for the Hyphen/Asian American Writers Workshop Short Story Contest has been extended until Friday, June 3, 2011. That's three more weeks to send in your best work. Make us laugh or cry, preferably with a punch in the guts. Who knows? Your story may just be the best Asian American story of the year. There's only one way to find out.

Click here for complete guidelines and details. Winning story gets a $1000 prize and publication in Hyphen.

This year, we'll be spreading the wealth and bragging rights by naming two winners for the fourth annual Asian American Short Story Contest (first and second place) along with eight other finalists. First place gets a $1,000 prize.

We're lucky to have two amazing judges this year, too -- Yiyun Li, who recently won a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship award, and Porochista Khakpour.

This is actually a pretty exciting time to be reading Asian American literature. We are in the middle of a deep shift. There is so much diversity right now in terms of culture, identity, and perspective from literary superstars like Jhumpa Lahiri, Chang-rae Lee, and Yiyun Li to less mainstream writers like Justin Chin, Linh Dinh and Mariko Nagai.

Asian American writing also used to mean writing directly about race or immigration, but the newer, younger writers are different -- more assured and less patient with the whole idea of identifying by race. Writers like Paul Yoon and Nam Le feel sufficiently free to write from inside any culture, any race.

And even when stories are about common themes, such as immigration or identity, they're told in different ways. Instincts tell me that there are many more writers like Yoon and Le out there just waiting to find an audience. And that's what makes a contest like this so important.

But does anybody read stories anymore? It's true that the world seems to be spinning faster than ever, thanks to technology. It's true that it's hard to find time and mental space to read a whole story when there's so much to text, e-mail, blog and Tweet about.

But in an inverse way, this only makes fiction more necessary than before, because stories provide something that news and blogs and Twitter feeds can't: they take you outside yourself into a new experience, one you haven't lived but recognize completely, and subtly, magically show you something new about yourself. The best of them do, anyway. We are on the hunt for that kind of transforming story, for the writer who can take us there.

Deadline for entries is June 3. Find out about the judges and more details on the Asian American Short Story Contest page.

We look forward to reading your stories!




For those of us interested in reading those stories, will anything be posted online for the winners and runner ups? In previous years, only the winner entry can be found. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's interested in reading the others. Thanks!