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Enter the North & South Short, Short Story competition


The North & South Short, Short Story competition is back – a bit later than usual, but as cool and competitive as ever! We had a bumper crop in 2019, and are hoping for another bundle of flash fiction gems. Again, stories must be 300 words or fewer. There are no boundaries as to themes, structure or narrative styles; we’ll be looking for small but perfectly formed yarns. We want your best efforts, so the competition will be open until 11 May, with the winners’ stories published in our July issue, on sale 8 June.

Our favourite story will win $400!
Plus: $150 for two runners-up

Competition Rules

  • Maximum number of words is 300, excluding title. There is no restriction on theme or style. You can enter as many times as you wish.
  • Submissions must be received by 11 May 2020.
  • Submissions must be in English, and the competition is open to all NZ citizens and residents.
  • Entries must be the work of the entrant and must be previously unpublished (print or online).
  • Submissions may be sent as attachments (not in the body of the email) to north&south@bauermedia.co.nz
  • Or enter using the online submission form below.
  • Entries can also be sent by post to: Short, Short Story Competition, North & South, Private Bag 92512, Wellesley St, Auckland 1141.
  • As judging is anonymous, please include your name and contact email address or phone number in the body of the email or, if mailed, on a separate sheet of paper.
  • The judges’ decisions are final. No correspondence will be entered into. North & South holds publishing rights for one year after publication, thereafter those rights revert to the author.

Read last year's winning entries here.

How to tackle this deceptively simple challenge

Writer Emma Neale shares some of her flash-fiction tips.

Just because flash fiction is short doesn’t mean it’s easier to knock off, says Dunedin writer Emma Neale, whose story “Courtship” was highly commended in the prestigious UK Bridport Prize in 2018 (previous award-winners include Kate Atkinson, early in her career).

“It needs the same slow re-reading, re-thinking and re-working,” says Neale, who recommends setting aside an early draft and then coming back to it “with a less-feverish eye”.

The editor of arts and literary journal Landfall, she placed third with another of her short, short stories in the Bath Flash Fiction Award, judged by Irish novelist Nuala O’Connor, and has a collection of poems, To the Occupant, published in May 2019.

She sees a close relationship between flash fiction and poetry, with both requiring the “same meticulous attention to the tiny nuts and bolts, cogs and wheels of language”.

“A successful flash piece gets some kind of magic balance between poetic language and the strung beads of plot – though every writer finds a slightly different balance, and every story demands a slightly different weighting, too,” she says. “Some stories are driven by the urge to reveal, to pin down what happened and why; others are driven by mood, atmosphere, the sensuous aspects of language.”

Neale’s other tip is for writers to read their work aloud. “How does it sound to the ear? Is it clunky, or is it mellifluous? It’s such a simple tool, but highly effective.”