The Short Fiction Contest

May 9, 2017 — David Greendonner Wins 2017 KR Short Fiction Contest

We are pleased and excited to announce the winners of the tenth annual Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest.

  • First Prize: David Greendonner, “Lionel, For Worse”
  • Runner-up: Kimberly King Parsons, “When Do We Worry”
  • Runner-up: Lorain Urban, “Canto”

Judge Lee K. Abbott writes:

I chose “Lionel, For Worse” because of the writer’s obvious command of material that in other hands would be merely maudlin and because the writer fully exploited the virtues peculiar to short fiction, especially compression and brevity. Moreover, I found something to treasure—a turn of phrase, a word choice, an image—in virtually every sentence. The dialogue was life-like and revealing of character. Finally, I think the appearance of the two teenage girls who offer their condolences when our narrator and her husband are leaving the beach is a stroke of story genius. Would that more of us could make the mistake they do.

“When Do We Worry” had many of the same virtues as our winner, namely efficiency and a fine feel for the dynamics of a marriage in collapse. Its pacing was felicitous, as was its structure.

“Canto” had verve and drive and a fetchingly bittersweet tone. I loved the Point of View, which captured the consciousness of the focal character.

The winner and runners-up will be published in the Jan/Feb 2018 issue of the Kenyon Review and will appear concurrently on KROnline in January 2018.


2017 Guidelines

The contest is open to all writers who have not yet published a book of fiction. Submissions must be 1,200 words or fewer. Lee K. Abbott, award-winning author of Love is the Crooked Thing, Living After Midnight, Wet Places at Noon, and, most recently, All Things, All at Once: New & Selected Stories will be the final judge. The Kenyon Review will publish the winning short story in the Jan/Feb 2018 issue, and the author will be awarded a scholarship to attend the 2017 Writers Workshop in Gambier, Ohio. Additional info on the Writers Workshop is available here.

Submission Guidelines

  • Writers must not have published a book of fiction at the time of submission. (We define a “published book of fiction” as a novel, novella or short story collection written by you and published by someone other than you in print, on the web, or in ebook format.)
  • Stories must be no more than 1,200 words in length.
  • One submission per entrant.
  • Please do not simultaneously submit your contest entry to another magazine or contest.
  • Please do not submit work that has been previously published.
  • All entries will be read blind. Before you submit, please remove your name and any other identifying information from your manuscript.
  • The submissions link will be active January 1st to 31st. All work must be submitted through our electronic system. We cannot accept paper submissions.
  • A $22 entry fee will be collected at the time of submission. Your new subscription to The Kenyon Review will start with the Mar/Apr 2017 issue. Current subscribers will receive a one-year extension on their current subscription. Please note: we are only able to offer domestic print subscriptions for this special contest rate. If you live abroad (including Canada), we will happily provide you with a complimentary digital subscription through our App or fulfill a gift subscription for a friend who lives in the U.S.; please be sure to choose which option you prefer.
  • Winners will be announced in the late spring. You will receive an e-mail notifying you of any decisions regarding your work.

Submit Now

Click here to view the past winners of the KR Short Fiction Contest

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