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 twenty-first day of the month. Our judges select one winning story, and the author receives a book from Press 53 as well as publication 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 for July, August, and September by scrolling down

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Kate Wolf

July 2019

Prompt: write a 53-word story about payback

Judged by Press 53 Editorial Team


Followed by 53-Word Bio

Spring Patrol by Kate Wolf

He knelt in the wheatgrass and balanced his rifle on his knee. The coyote crisscrossed the dusty bluff before loping between the heifer and her calf. A shot rushed up the canyon, pushing a mournful yelp into the withering cottonwoods. Predator payback was always bittersweet to him. 

“Holy smokes, Dad! You got him!”

53-Word Bio

Kate Wolf grew up in Texas and now lives in the Rocky Mountains, where she loves to run and ski. She is a reader, musician, and chef. Her brother makes her write daily because he thinks she should quit her job and become a writer. This writing contest was an assignment from him.

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J. William Ross

August 2019

Prompt: write a 53-word story about running

Judged by Press 53 Editorial Team


Followed by 53-Word Bio

“Ding Dong Ditch” by J. William Ross

I would knock unexpectedly in the middle of our conversations. Jolted by the pang of consequence, my cousins would chase me down the hall, laughing and cursing at me. We flew past the arcade lights, through pool fog, and slowed down into adulthood. We never got caught. I wonder why we ever stopped. 

53-Word Bio

J. William Ross writes poetry and prose from Lakewood, Ohio. He has been published locally. After recently committing the bulk of his free time to cultivating his literary endeavors, he has felt a deepening sense of purpose and solace. He enjoys spending time with his creative, kindhearted son and their exceptionally vocal cat.

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Kristin Ooley-Harrison

September 2019

Prompt: write a 53-word story about making something last

Judged by Press 53 Editorial Team

“Waste” by Kristin Ooley-Harrison

First it was the milk, then the bread. Tiny realizations, last things they might share together. Nick scoffed every time, "she'll be back." But she wasn't. He gave up the charade with the last rotten apple. He'd send a text, a letter, if he only knew where. The toothpaste almost broke his heart.

53-Word Bio

Kristin Ooley-Harrison is a technical writer by day and (attempted) supermom by night. She has an MSTC from Northeastern, is a Colorado transplant, and has friends that recommend that she “write stuff.” She enjoys crafting stories, poetry, and exaggerated bedtime tales; her crafting occurs in Northern Virginia where she lives with her family.