Fabula Press Short Story Competition Rules


Every year, we run two short story competitions – Aestas in summer and Nivalis in winter. Nivalis runs from 01 Jan to 31 March annually, and is currently closed for submissions. From 01 July 2016, we are accepting submissions for the Aestas short story competition, and the submission window will remain open till 30 September 2016.

The contests are not theme bound. There is no restriction on genre either, and we are happy to read historical fiction, mystery/suspense, and horror. However, for consistency of presentation we cannot accept children’s stories, fantasy, young adult or chick lit; likewise hardcore science fiction is not something we are looking for, but are open to science based/alternative history based literary works. In case of doubt, it is best to query the editorial team before submitting.

Judging is by a panel of four independent judges, comprising literary agents, authors and essayists –  click here to know more about the judges for Aestas 2016. Based on the aggregate scores from the four judges, three winners are selected and are awarded prizes as detailed in the below guidelines (see ‘Prizes’). In addition, depending on the length and quality of submission, a long-list of stories is drawn up for publication in an anthology, which is sold through leading online bookstores. All published authors will be remunerated as detailed in “Prizes”.

For the Aestas 2016 detailed guidelines and rules, please refer below:


The  Fabula Press “Aestas” Short Story Competition 2016

Begins  9:00 a.m. Jul 01, 2016 (US Central time) 
Ends  11:59 p.m. Sep 30, 2016 (US Central time)


The rules below govern the “Aestas” Short Story Contest 2016 (“Contest”).

Sponsor: The Contest is sponsored by Fabula Press (“the website”), and the Quill & Ink webzine (collectively known as “Sponsors” hereafter).

Eligibility: The Contest is open to all writers 18 years old or above.

Contest and Judging Criteria:

  • Entries must be received by US Central Time 11:59 p.m. September 30, 2016. Once you have read the guidelines, submission/s should be made through the Submissions Manager tool on the website. There is a US$10 entry fee, to be paid through the Submissions Manager.
  • Stories must be written in Englishoriginal and unpublished up to the time the winners are declared on or about November 30, 2016.
  • Stories must be not less than 1500 words and no more than 7,000 words in length.
  • There is no limit to the number of entries per person, but this is not bingo, and more submissions do not necessarily translate into higher chances of winning.
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but the editors must be immediately advised if the story is accepted elsewhere.  Also, where a story has been selected for the Aestas Short Story Competition 2016 longlist and the author notified by email, a maximum of seven (7) days from the date of such notification will be allowed for the story to be withdrawn – request for withdrawal after such period cannot be entertained.
  • The name of the story and total word count must be printed on the front page of the story.
  • Pseudonyms are not permitted.
  • All submissions are final. No changes or substitutions to a story are allowed once your entry is received.
  • Queries before submission are welcome but must relate to the contest rules or if there are difficulties in submission.
  • By entering the Contest, entrants agree to allow Fabula Press to publish their stories, names and biographical information in all media, including but not limited to newspapers and online websites, without any compensation, save the prizes as detailed under ‘contest rewards’ to the notified winners. However, the above clause shall be null and void if the entry does not make it to the long list after first round of judging, and all rights will revert to the authors.
  • Do not send photographs with entries. Winners will be contacted about a photograph at a later date and must agree to publication of his/her photograph.
  • In connection with your submission, you affirm, represent and/or warrant that (i) you own or have the necessary licenses, rights, consents and permissions to use and authorize Sponsors to use all copyright, trademark or other proprietary rights in and to your submission to enable inclusion and use of the submission in the manner contemplated by these Contest rules.
  • Sponsor reserves the right to reject and disqualify any submission that could be offensive or inappropriate or that does not meet the terms and conditions of these rules.
  • In case of any dispute, the sponsors’ liability is limited to refund of the contest entry fee.

Judging and notification: 

  • The Fabula Press team will complete the first round of selections. The finalists’ entries will then be judged by the Fabula Press Aestas Short Story Contest 2016 judges’ panel, who will select the First, Second and Third prize winners based on a 9 point scoring matrix on plot, quality of narrative, and characterisation. Final decision will be based on the sum total of the scores from the judges.
  • The winners will be contacted by email by the Sponsors, and must reply within two working weeks to maintain eligibility. If the winner(s) cannot be contacted within this time period or fail(s) to respond to any attempted contact, such winner(s) will be disqualified, his/her entry will be declared null and void and the Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to select another winner based on the judging criteria, in which event these provisions shall apply to such other eligible entry.

Contest Prizes: Apart from publication of long listed authors in an anthology, the following prizes will be awarded.

  1. First Prize:       US$250
  2. Second Prize: US$150
  3. Third Prize:     US$100

All longlisted entries (top 10-15) will be published in an anthology, and non-prize winning published entries will be paid US$50 each. Payment will be through paypal. If paypal does not work in your country, get in touch with the sponsors before entering the contest to discuss alternative payment channels.

Ownership/Use Rights: Entrants retain the copyright to their stories. However, by entering the contest and on being selected for the longlist after the first round of judging, you grant the Sponsors a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to publish and reproduce in part or full in print or online media, and to display your full name, short story and photograph in connection with Sponsors’ business, through print or online media channels. For the avoidance of doubt, the scope of full reproduction / full publishing is limited to publishing the story in the anthology and / or e-book format. However, before we commence with the exercise of such license, you will be allowed seven days’ time from the date of the longlist notification delivered to you by email to decide on whether you are agreeable to retain your participation in the contest.

The longlisted entrants will also be contacted separately for publication in the print anthology.

Indemnity: By participating in this Contest, you agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless the Sponsors, and their office bearers from any and all damages, injuries, claims, causes of action, or losses of any kind (including but not limited to lawyers’ fees) arising from your participation in the Contest, your violation of any term of these Contest rules, your violation of any third party right, including without limitation any copyright, property, or privacy right; or any claim that your submission caused damage to a third party.

Banning: The Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, prohibit any person from entering the Contest whom it believes to be abusing the rules. Such abuse includes but is not limited to falsification of information and/or identity, plagiarism, racial discrimination and bigotry.

Force Majuere clause: The Sponsors are not liable for failure to perform their obligations under these rules if such failure is as a result of Acts of God (including natural disasters), Acts of War, civil unrest, usurped power or confiscation, terrorist activities, prevention by statutes, or interruption or massive and sustained failure of electricity, internet or telephone service.

Any extension / reduction of contest and / or the judging window will be at the sole discretion of the organisers, and will be notified on the website if extended.

To submit, click here. For queries relating to the contest, mail us at editors@fabulapress.com