The Little Bird Writing Contest is an annual, international contest I created exclusively for innovative, emerging short fiction writers.

It began in 2010, when I started posting writing prompts on Twitter.  Now you can get those prompts delivered to your inbox every day. This contest is built to showcase the excellent stories that come from these prompts.

This year marks the 5th Anniversary
of the Little Bird Contest!


Contest opens: March 5th, 2015
Submission Deadline: April 5th, 2015
Winners will be announced on May 5th, 2015


Winner: $1000
First runner up: $250
Second runner up: $250

Bonus prize:
Each submission will be entered into a draw to win full scholarship to The Story Intensive.

As well, the winning stories, selected by an author I respect and admire, are published in an annual short fiction anthology: The Little Bird Stories.


The judge for our 5th Anniversary contest is Neil Smith!


Neil Smith grew up in the United States and Canada and now lives in Montreal. Smith published his debut collection, Bang Crunch, with Knopf Canada in 2007 and Vintage Books in 2008. It was chosen as a best book of the year by the Washington Post and The Globe and Mail. Writer Michel Faber wrote in The Guardian that the book had a “rare fusion of thematic boldness, humor, gravity, empathy, maturity, and first-rate prose.”

His second book, a novel called Boo, will be published in May 2015 by Vintage in the United States, William Heinemann in Britain, and Knopf in Canada. The book is narrated by a young science geek named Oliver Dalrymple who finds himself in a heaven reserved exclusively for thirteen-year-olds. Already, Boo is slated to be translated into seven different languages.

Find out more about the release of Boo and where you can find Neil on his Facebook page.


  • Keep your stories short – under 2,500 words, please.
  • Stories must be double-spaced and submitted as a .pdf or .doc file.
  • Your story should not have your name anywhere on it, only on the submission form.
  • Please include, at the beginning of the story, the Twitter prompt that inspired it and is incorporated in the story.
  • There is a $25 submission fee per story.
  • You may enter as many times as you like.
  • Contest opens on March 5th.
  • Last submissions accepted on April 5th.
  • Further submission details will be listed here on March 5th

Care to meet some of our previous judges? Each year I speak to our Little Bird Contest judge about what inspires us, the process of writing, what we 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 between Toronto and Wilmington, NC. Enter your info below, and you can watch, listen, and download the recordings.

Download the Little Bird recordings.


Subscribe to Little Bird Stories, and read what winning writers did with prompts in previous years! A subscription gets you all of the published volumes right away, and you’ll get future anthologies fresh off the proverbial press every year, forever. The new 2015 anthology of the winners of this year’s contest will be delivered to your inbox on May 5th.


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.      BUY NOW

$5 from every subscription goes to the Pelee Island Bird Observatory, to help protect the real little birds out there.

Little Bird Stories Volume IVLittle Bird Stories Volume IV

Contest Date: 2014

Stories selected by Rebecca Lee
Cover Design: Ryan Muscat
Winner: Rachel Ball, for “Woman In a Drawer”

Read the announcement on the blog


Short Story collectionLittle Bird Stories Volume III

Contest Date: 2013

Stories selected by Alix Ohlin
Cover Design: Ryan Muscat
Winner: Leslie Greentree, for “The Room of Pickled Things”

Read the announcement on the blog


Little Bird Stories Volume II

Contest Date: 2012

Stories selected by Zsuzsi Gartner
Cover Design: Michel Vrana
Winner: Frances Phillips, for “No Street Called Crow”

Read the announcement on the blog


Short Story Collection
Little Bird Stories Volume I

Contest Date: 2011

Stories selected by Matthew J. Trafford & Jessica Westhead
Cover Design: Carolyn McNeillie
Winner: Brittany Smith, for “Contrast Fluid”

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Thank you for joining me here, and celebrating writers who write short stories.


Subscribe to get updates about the Little Bird Contest
and letters to support your writing.

Write what you want to read.