Submit January 1 - February 15

Paul Yoon is judging our 2017 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. The prize includes a $2,000 cash award, publication of a collection of short stories, novellas, or a short novel, and a standard royalty contract. 

Paul Yoon is the author of the story collection, Once the Shore, and the novel, Snow Hunters, which won the Young Lions Fiction Award. He is the recipient of a fellowship from The New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and his work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, VQR, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Best American Short Stories. A second collection, The Mountain, will be published later this year. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife, the fiction writer Laura van den Berg, and teaches creative writing at Harvard University.


This contest is open to any short fiction writer of English. Employees and board members of Sarabande Books, Inc. are not eligible. Submissions may include a collection of short stories, one or more novellas, or a short novel. Works that have previously appeared in magazines or in anthologies may be included. Translations and previously published collections are not eligible. To avoid conflict of interest, close friends of a judge or current students in a degree-granting program with a judge are not eligible to enter a contest in the genre for which their friend or teacher is serving as judge. 

Manuscript Requirements:

  • Manuscript must be ANONYMOUS—the author’s name or address must not appear anywhere on the manuscript (title page should contain the title only)
  • Must be typed, standard font, 12 pt., double-spaced if printed must be on standard white printer paper, unbound (binder clip or rubber bands preferred)
  • Between 150-250 pages
  • Manuscript should be paginated consecutively with a table of contents and acknowledgements page (a list of publications in which stories or sections of the manuscript have appeared).
  • Must be accompanied by a $29 submission fee

Multiple submissions are permitted if submitted separately, each with a submission fee. Once submitted, electronic manuscripts can only be edited before February 15. Winner will be given the opportunity to make changes before publication. Simultaneous submissions to other publishers are permitted, but please notify us immediately if manuscript is accepted elsewhere. 

A winner will be selected in early August, and all entrants will be notified of the winners and finalists shortly afterward. Sarabande Books considers all finalists for publication. 

electronic submission

Follow the link below to our online submission manager. There you will be prompted to complete all the required fields of this submission period. Please do not include your name anywhere on the manuscript. We do read our submissions blind. 



  • Manuscripts must be postmarked between and including January 1 and February 15.
  • Include a required contest entry form. To download a print-ready pdf of these guidelines, click here.
  • Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for notification that manuscript has been received.
  • Include a self-addressed, stamped, regular business-sized envelope for contest results.
  • Please send your manuscript in a plain or padded envelope. No boxes please.
  • We strongly advise that you send your manuscript first class.
  • There is a $29 handling fee, check made payable to Sarabande Books, Inc.

Please send entries to:

The Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction
Sarabande Books
822 E. Market Street
Louisville KY 40206

Previous Winners

2016 Winner: Nona Caspers, Alley Stories, chosen by Stacey D'Erasmo.

2016 Finalists:
Runner Up: The Affable Corpse by Calvin Mills
Basements and Other Museums by Vedran Husic
The Involuntary Sojourner by S. P. Tenhoff
Mrs. Rossi's Dream by Khanh Ha
The Water Diviner by Ruvanee Vilhauer
Submission" Stories by Emily Pease

2015 Winner: Emily Fridlund, Catapult, chosen by Ben Marcus.

2015 Finalists:
Missionaries by Bradford Tice
The Lesser Countries by August Tarrier
Closer Without Going Over by Annie Dewitt
LAPS by JoAnna Novak

2014 Winner: Matthew Neill Null, Allegheny Front, chosen by Lydia Millet.

Catapult by Emily Fridlund
The Sorrow Proper by Lindsey Drager
Pine and Other Stories by Hasanthika Sirisena
These Are Our Demands by Matthew Pitt

2013 Winner: Nathan Poole, Father Brother Keeper, chosen by Edith Pearlman.

Runner up: What Matters Most by Amina Gautier

The Sorrow Proper by Lindsey Drager
The Suicide Club by Toni Graham
Normality by Dan Pope