53-Word Story Contest

It's free, it's fun, and the winner gets published in Prime Number Magazine and receives a free book from Press 53.

Read Our Winning Stories

Open for entries the first day of each month.

Deadline for entries is the 21st day of each month.

Winner will be announced on the first day of each month along with our new prompt.

Email your 53-word story to 53wordstory@gmail.com

Congratulations to our winner for September 2019

“Waste” by Kristin Ooley-Harrison. Kristin brought a unique approach to our prompt to write a story about making something last. using two very popular ideas we found in many other stories: food and a love gone wrong. Read her story in Issue 163 of Prime Number Magazine beginning October 1.

To read our winning stories right away, subscribe to Prime Number Magazine for free to receive an email on the first day of each month with our winning story and the prompt for our next contest.

Your Prompt for October


In fourteen-hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Each year, Columbus Day (October 14) commemorates the explorer who discovered America by navigational accident, and who spent the rest of his life tirelessly insisting he’d colonized the Indies. An enlightened man he was not. But to his credit, he was ahead of the flat-earthers...

Write a 53-word story about a misunderstanding

Our judges for the 53-Word Story Contest are the editors of Press 53 and Prime Number Magazine. Our winner for October will receive a copy of Missing Persons by Stephanie Carpenter, winner of the 2017 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction, which is open for entries for the 2020 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction. The winning story for September will be published, along with the author’s photo and 53-word bio, in Issue 167 of Prime Number Magazine on January 1, 2020.

Please note: the deadline is the 21st day of each month.

Guidelines and Information:
–53 words—no more, no less—titles are not included in the word count. Stories not meeting this rule will be disqualified. Send only stories; poetry with line breaks will not be considered.

–1 submission per person.

–Email your submission directly to 53wordstory@gmail.com by midnight Eastern Standard Time the 21st day of the month. The winning story will be announced the first day of the following month along with a new prompt for the next contest.

–No attachments, please. Paste your story into the body of your email so we can more easily copy and paste. Stories sent as attachments, or images embedded in the email, will not be considered.

–Titles are not included in the word count. Please title your story as follows: Title of Your Story by Your Name. If your story is Untitled, please use Untitled as your title.

By entering this contest, the author grants Press 53 First Serial Rights to publish the story in Prime Number Magazine. All rights revert to the author upon publication.

Note: Be careful of word count. Hyphenated words count as one word. If you are using Microsoft Word's word-count feature, do not use spaces before ellipses or em-dashes, but do include a space after.