Short Story Contest

Short Story Contest Logo

The 2019 Texas Observer Short Story Contest is now closed.

This year’s guest judge is Fernando A. Flores.

Flores is the author of Tears of the Trufflepig and Death to the Bullshit Artists of South Texas. On stories: “There isn’t any one thing I ever look for in a story, but the ones that stay with me take some kind of risk, strive for something greater, unknown, undefined, and afterward leave you lost in the woods of what you read.”

Eric Morales

GRAND PRIZE: $1,000 and publication in the Observer’s November|December 2019 issue
GUEST JUDGE: Fernando Flores
DEADLINE: Monday, August 26, 1:00 pm (CST)


  • Finalists may be eligible for publication online at
  • Contest is open to any and all participants regardless of location.
  • No restrictions on genre or theme; Texas settings encouraged but not required.
  • Stories must not exceed 2,500 words.
  • Entry fee is $25 per submission.
  • All stories must be submitted via the online form below. No hard copies, please.

Rules and regulations

  • All entries must be unpublished. Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but stories must be withdrawn from the contest immediately upon acceptance elsewhere. The entry fee will not be refunded. (Note: If your story is posted on a personal blog, please remove it before submitting.)
  • While multiple entries are welcome, each story requires the entry fee. There is no limit on the number of times you may enter.
  • Please attach your story in Microsoft Word format (PDF also acceptable, but not preferred). Your name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript itself, as the contest is judged anonymously.
  • Entries exceeding 2,500 words will be disqualified. The entry fee will not be refunded.
  • Students, former students and current professional colleagues of guest judge Fernando Flores are ineligible.
  • Previous contest winners and finalists are not eligible; current and former employees of The Texas Observer and their family members are not eligible. Freelancers who have contributed more than one bylined article to The Texas Observer since June 2018 are not eligible. Previous contest honorable mention authors are free to submit.
  • Address all questions to Observer fiction editor David Duhr: [email protected]. No phone calls, please.