Winners of our FREE monthly 53-Word Story Contest

Each month we offer a prompt to subscribers of Prime Number Magazine to write a 53-word story—no more, no less—and send it to us by the last day of the month. Our guest judge selects a winner and we give the winner a copy of the guest judge’s book and publish the winning story here, in Prime Number Magazine. Want to play along? Subscribe to Prime Number Magazine and we’ll send you the prompt on the first day of each month.

Read our winners by scrolling or clicking on the links

June–Annie Dodson / July–Michele Partain / August–Emily West

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Annie Dodson

June 2018

Prompt: write a 53-word story about mud

Judged by Christopher Forrest, Editor, Press 53


Followed by 53-word Bio

Low Tide by Annie Dodson
Every morning, she walked down to the muddy shore, searching for footprints. The events of the previous night were revealed, the wildlife rush hour report. The fox’s dainty prints, barely visible, the ominous alligator slides, the hand-like prints of the mother raccoon, two kits in tow. Her heart sank—yesterday, there were three.


53-word Bio

Annie Dodson enjoys observing nature in the Florida Panhandle with her husband Scott and their dog Pete. She works as an engineer for a global plastics company by day and writes fiction by night. She is a member of the Pensacola Writing and Critique Group. This is her first published work of fiction.

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Michele Partain

July 2018

Prompt: write a 53-word story about a UFO

Judged by Hedy Habra


Followed by 53-word Bio

The End by Michele Partain

I admired the falcon till it caught my eye. A speck in the sky swelled, expanded, eclipsed the sun. Shadow covered my block, further, then raced up the slopes of the mountains I'd loved. And I had feared cancer. 

Only a moment to stroke Gracie and whisper, "There will be no more tears..."


53-word Bio

Rumors that Michele Partain lives at Prescott Library are exaggerated. Recently retired, she’s only begun writing seriously. Quilting friends, most twenty to thirty years her senior, assure her she’s not too old! She’s working on a series about women crafting together, sharing life, and supporting each other. Contact her at for updates.

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Emily West

August 2018

Prompt: write a 53-word story about something sour

Judged by Gerry Wilson


Followed by 53-word Bio

Nuptials by Emily West

They were married at a state park in Texas, where thunderstorms had driven the rattlesnakes out of their dens. Poison ivy rashes raged under his tuxedo and the blisters on his finger burst and oozed when they exchanged rings. They drank whiskey sours at the reception and pretended not to believe in omens.


53-word Bio

Emily West is a French translator. She earned her MA in Translation from Kent State University. Her work has been used to prosecute war criminals at the ICC and to sop up grease on fast food trays around the globe. She writes from Austin, Texas, where she lives with her husband and daughter.