The Little Bird Writing Contest

The 2017 Little Bird Writing Contest opens on April 4, 2017.

Congratulations to Laurie Myers-Bishop, winner of our 2016 contest for her story “Mary-Marie’s Party.” Read the announcement here!

You can keep scrolling down to learn how to prepare for this year’s contest or to subscribe to the Little Bird Salon. (Or, go here to subscribe to the Little Bird Stories anthology.)

Sign up for my letters to find out more about our Spring 2017 competition.



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  • Winner: $1,000
  • First runner-up: $250
  • Second runner-up: $250
Bonus prize won by a draw: a full scholarship to The Story Intensive. It’s a contest inside a contest! Each submission (you can enter as many times as you like) counts as a separate chance to win. As well, the winning stories are published in an annual short fiction anthology: Little Bird Stories.
About the contest
When I first went on Twitter, I tweeted daily writing prompts. They worked so well that people wanted to know how to use what they’d written, which is where the idea for The Little Bird Writing Contest came from. It’s now an annual, international contest exclusively for innovative, emerging short fiction writers. The contest opens each spring when the birds come back and showcases the excellent stories (up to 2,500-words) that come from Story Is a State of Mind’s daily writing prompts. And when we say showcase, we mean it—each year we publish a beautiful anthology that is available to subscribers. Five dollars from every subscription goes to the Pelee Island Bird Observatory, to help protect the real little birds out there. To subscribe, go here. And that’s not all. Each winning story is chosen by a celebrated author who also participates in The Little Bird Salon so that you can benefit from what they have to say (see below).
Little Bird Judges
  • 2016 - Lisa Moore
  • 2015 - Neil Smith
  • 2014 - Rebecca Lee
  • 2013 - Alex Ohlin
  • 2012 - Zsuzsi Gartner
  • 2011 - Matthew Trafford & Jessica Westhead

Little Bird Salon

Each year, since 2013, I’ve spoken to The Little Bird Writing Contest judge about what inspires them, the process of writing, what they think of revision, and more. In 2013 Alix Ohlin and I spoke on the phone with over 250 writers and readers listening around the world. In 2014, Rebecca Lee and I had a Skype chat from Toronto-Wilmington, NC. Last year, I spoke with Neil Smith, from Montreal. This year, I spoke to Lisa Moore about the “tremendous engine of desire” that drives story and why a writer has to use intuition before submitting something for publication. We have a secret room in our Story is a State of Mind Classroom to inspire your creative process. All of the Little Bird Salons, along with other free resources, are available for you. Please help yourself! Sign-up, read, listen, and enjoy.

Become a Little Bird Stories Subscriber

Subscribe to Little Bird Stories, and read what writers who placed in The Little Bird Writing Contest did with our Daily Writing Prompts in previous years! Get all published volumes of Little Bird Stories right now, and receive a new anthology of fresh short fiction every year. A lifetime subscription is $25. A percentage of every subscription goes to the Pelee Island Bird Observatory, to help protect the real little birds out there. When you become a Little Bird Subscriber, you're supporting the study and conservation of wild birds and their habitats! littlebird Ready to become a subscriber?

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Here's What To Do:
  1. Are you receiving my prompts? Good. If you haven’t done so already, sign up to have an irresistible daily writing prompt delivered straight to your inbox.
  2. Write. Anticipate the spring deadline and go get your story ready for the contest.
  3. Read “Deep Revision”, my free series of writing tutorials. Do the homework: it will help you rewrite your story draft to make sure it’s the best it can be.
  4. Subscribe to Little Bird Stories to see what past contest winners did with the prompts.
  5. Ready? Learn how to submit your story below.
  • be a maximum of 2,500 words
  • be double-spaced with numbered pages and submitted as a .pdf or .doc file
  • be submitted anonymously: your name must not appear anywhere on your story to ensure the objectivity of the judge (your name will go on the submission form only)
  • include, at the top of the page, the daily writing prompt that inspired you (this prompt must be used in the story)
  • be accompanied by a $25 entry fee (you may enter as many times as you like).