A Very Short Story Contest – 2021

It may be apocryphal, but the story goes that Ernest Hemingway won a bet by writing a short story that ran fewer than ten words. One version of the story places the bet at the famed Algonquin round table. Whether true or not, there is an actual bet-winning short story attributed to Hemingway:

For sale. Baby Shoes. Never worn.

You have to admit it’s pretty good. It builds, and there’s a whole world of background and emotion lurking beneath those words.

We invited you to write a great short story in ten words or fewer.

Here we present the winner and finalists:


"You misheard,” I said. The cockatoo stared at me, unmoved.

Anagha Putrevu
Brooklyn, New York


She learnt about families in the school library. Fiction section.

Chris Tattersall
Haverfordwest, United Kingdom

She wrapped her chest in duct tape. There, a boy.

Jennifer Craven
Meadville, Pennsylvania

Ice cream, melted. The iguana was my only party guest.

Tracy O'Brien
Portland, Maine

After his funeral, his postcard arrived: “Wish you were here."

Eve Grissinger
Brooklyn, New York

The pews were filling fast. It was now or never.

Sophia Reji
Broomall, Pennsylvania

Searching for Sasquatch. My son shoots our hairy neighbour.

Tracy Davidson
Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom