judged by Aimee Bender

December 1 to February 04, 2024

This contest is now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted! We can't wait to send our shortlist to Judge Aimee Bender!

2023-24 Winners:

1st Place: To the Tower by Skyler Melnick

2nd Place: The Desert Sound by Mikhaela Woodward

2nd Place: The Pebble and the Witch by Emma Li

3rd Place: Our Lady of Clean Kitchens by Joseph Hernandez


We invite writers to submit to the Fractured Lit Ghost, Fable, and Fractured Fairy Tales Prize from December 01, 2023, to February 04, 2024. Guest Judge Aimee Bender will choose three prize winners from a shortlist. We're excited to offer the winner of this prize $3,000 and publication, while the second- and third-place place winners will receive publication and $300 and $200, respectively. All entries will be considered for publication.


Fractured Lit is looking for stories of ghosts, fables, and fractured fairy tales in 1,000 words or fewer. Whichever tradition you choose, make sure you find a new way to approach it, to twist and discombobulate it, so it pushes us away from the mundane and into the strange or uncanny. Transport us from the here and now to a new land of discovery, a fresh way of being entertained that embraces all of the ways we show our humanness.


Aimee Bender is the author of six books: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (1998), which was an NY Times Notable Book; An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000), which was an LA Times pick of the year; Willful Creatures (2005), which was nominated by The Believer as one of the best books of the year; The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (2010), which won the SCIBA award for best fiction, and an Alex Award; The Color Master (2013), a NY Times Notable Book for the year; and her latest novel, The Butterfly Lampshade (July 2020), which was longlisted for the PEN/Jean Stein Award. Her books have been translated into sixteen languages. Her short fiction has been published in Granta, GQ, Harper’s, Tin House, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, and more, as well as heard on PRI’s “This American Life” and “Selected Shorts.” She lives in Los Angeles with her family, and teaches creative writing at USC.


We hope you’re inspired to write that story that has been gnawing at your subconscious, that’s ready to arrive into the world, whole and thrilling. These are some of our favorite stories to read each year!


  • Your $20 reading fee allows up to two stories of 1,000 words or fewer each per entry—if submitting two stories, please put them both in a SINGLE document.
  • We allow multiple submissions—each set of two flash stories should have a separate submission accompanied by a reading fee.
  • Please send flash fiction only—1,000 word count maximum per story.
  • We only consider unpublished work for contests—we do not review reprints, including self-published work (even on blogs and social media). Reprints will be automatically disqualified.
  • Simultaneous submissions are okay—please notify us and withdraw your entry if you find another home for your writing.
  • All entries will also be considered for publication in Fractured Lit.
  • Double-space your submission and use Times New Roman 12 (or larger if needed).
  • Please include a brief cover letter with your publication history (if applicable).
  • We only read work in English, though some code-switching is warmly welcomed.
  • We do not read anonymous submissions. However, shortlisted stories are sent anonymously to the judge.
  • Unless specifically requested, we do not accept AI-generated work.

The deadline for entry is February 4, 2024. We will announce the shortlist within ten to twelve weeks of the contest's close. All writers will be notified when the results are final.

Some Submittable Hot Tips:

  • Please be sure to whitelist/add this address to your contacts, so notifications do not get filtered as spam/junk: notifications@email.submittable.com.
  • If you realize you sent the wrong version of your piece: It happens. Please DO NOT withdraw the piece and resubmit. Submittable collects a nonrefundable fee each time. Please DO message us from within the submission to request that we open the entry for editing, which will allow you to fix everything from typos in your cover letter to uploading a new draft. The only time we will not allow a change is if the piece is already under review by a reader.


You may choose to receive editorial feedback on your piece. We will provide a two-page global letter discussing the strengths of the writing and the recommended focus for revision. We aim to make our comments actionable and encouraging. These letters are written by editors and staff readers of Fractured Lit. Should your story win, no feedback will be offered, and your fee will be refunded.