2023 Short Story Competition,  Uncategorized

Annual ESA Short Story Competition!

Edit February 21 2023: The deadline has been extended to March 6th at 11:59PM!

Attention writers and UBC creatives! It’s that time of year when we host the ESA’s annual short story competition, back for its second year. Do you have a short story, sitting forlorn and alone in your google drive? Submit! Are you desperate for an excuse to procrastinate your homework by flexing your creative muscles? Write and submit! This year’s contest is limited to short stories and prose, with a limit of 2000 words. We ask that you do not submit poetry. If you’re a poet, look out for our poetry collection and showcase event next fall. Additionally, as with all ESA creative events, we ask that you only submit unpublished works, to avoid any conflicts of interest!

Submissions are open from February 1st (today!) until February 28th. You’ve got the entirety of the shortest month of the year to share your work with us. 

You do not need to be an English student to submit, this contest is open to all faculties. However, it is members only! You can buy a membership at this link for $5, and you get access to plenty of great perks as an official member, as well as the ability to vote in this and future contests!

Prizes: We will be selecting a first, second, and third place winner. Last year, our prizes included 50$ and 25$ bookstore gift cards, as well as a cute English Department mug (alternatively, if you aren’t an engl student, I’ll thrift you a funky mug (edit: I thrifted a cool mug with bees on it. I may thrift more. I may go crazy thrifting cool mugs and if you win 3rd place you’ll get 5. No promises tho)). This year’s prizes are guaranteed to be even bigger and better! Additionally, the first place winner will have the option to have their work featured on the English Department website (all work will be posted on the ESA website).

Instructions, submission details, and dates

  1. Submit your short narrative (any form of creative writing in either the fiction or nonfiction realm other than poetry) to this link by 11:59 PM on February 28th, 2023 (Now March 6th, 2023). Submissions should be as a word (.docx or .doc) document. Photos can be included but are optional. Please attach separately as a PNG or JPEG file.
  2. On Friday March 3rd, the voting period will open to all ESA members, a link to a poll will be emailed out to members. Again- please remember that only members can vote. To become a member, click the link two paragraphs up from this list!
  3. Voting closes on March 10th.
  4. On March 13th, the winners will be contacted. A public announcement will be made shortly after once everything has been confirmed.


  1. Your story cannot exceed 2000 words.
  2. Your submission must adhere to UBC’s Policies and Guidelines (https://academic.ubc.ca/academic-community/ubc-policies-guidelines).
  3. By applying, you consent to having your work and name published to the website. Please note that you can request for your post to use a pen name, however, you must state your actual name in your submission. Stories will be published anonymously until after the voting period ends. 
  4. The ESA’s executive team holds the right to refuse publication of any work.

Please feel free to email english.ubc@gmail.com with any questions, or message our Instagram @UBC_ESA!

We look forward to sharing your work with the world.

Prizes TBA

Need inspiration? Here are some OPTIONAL prompts to get your creative juices flowing!

  • The Orange by Wendy Cope
  • What could life be like inside a black hole? Metaphorically, or physically?
  • What would you see/how would you experience existence if you could see in another dimension?
  • Write a true story that you experienced, but as if it were a horror film.
  • A story where the main character thinks they’re a side character in someone else’s story (get meta with it!)
  • Google impressionist paintings. Choose one you like, and incorporate it into your story, or write about something in it.
  • Think about repulsions vs intrigues. Where do these words take you?


Is there a minimum word count?

Nope! There is only a maximum word count.

Can non-English majors participate?

Yes! Even though the primary audience is UBC’s English community, we understand that those interested in literature extend outside this circle.

How many entries am I allowed?

Each participant may only be allowed one entry- so make it count!

Will late entries be allowed?

Unfortunately, no. All posts must be submitted by the due date to allow equal time on the website for the duration of the voting period.

Will only winners be contacted?

Only those who place in the top three will be contacted by english.ubc@gmail.com.

I’m a participant and see something wrong with my post! What should I do?

Please contact Kira at english.ubc@gmail.com to have it fixed.

Parts of this post were originally written by Atticus Yus, and edited to reflect this year’s event by Kira Dinim

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