Fabula Press

Fabula Press - towards a literary world

And here it is, the result of the Fabula Press Aestas Short Story Competition 2021. The standard of submissions was high, and we really struggled to decide on the longlist – assessing literature carries with it a high degree of subjectivity, and determining the top few is always challenging and not an exact science. But there is only room  for so many stories that will eventually go on to be published in the anthology, and here are the names of the finalists for this edition of the contest: 

A Stitch of Red Cottonby Richard Westwell

Janet Swinney’s Black Boy Winning

Broken Russianfrom Anna Round

Tim O’Leary‘s Dirty Santa

Innocence, by Jonathan Sarfin

Tracy Fells‘  Rogue Bees

Taking Wing by Dan Micklethwaite

Amy Dusto‘s The Eggsperiment

The Queen Bee from Theodore Cohen

Gabriella Rajkai‘s The Roar

The Boughs by Lucy Underhill

Megan Maclaine‘s Lightning on the Lake

If their scores are something to go by, the judges too had a challenging time coming up with the top three names. And these top three entrants for the Fabula Press Aestas Short Story Competition 2021 are: 

At 3rd place, with an average score of 8.6, is Innocenceby Jonathan Sarfin

Amy Dusto‘s The Eggsperiment takes 2nd place, with judges’ average score of 8.7

And finally, with a judges’ average of 9.8, is The Queen Bee by Theodore Cohen

We thank all the writers for giving us the opportunity to read their works, and a special thanks to the judges Brett, Sandra, Clare and Anisha for finding time to read and critically evaluate the stories. 

Do be on the lookout for the Aestas 2021 anthology in December, and we intend to be back in January with our winter edition of the contest. 

For any queries please reach out to editors@pressfabula.com


I first came across Fabula Press a few years ago when I started writing short stories, and when I found out I'd made the short list of one of their competitions it was the first external validation that my writing might be taken seriously. My interactions with Anirban/Fabula Press were professional and courteous and the anthology that my story appeared in was a beautiful thing! A few years on and I've had many stories published and have written enough for a collection (a future dream) - and my debut novel The Codes of Love was published by Muswell Press last year. I'll always be grateful to Fabula Press for giving me the confidence to believe in my writing.

I have had the privilege of having stories published with Fabula Press in two anthologies. Apart from being very attractive publications, with striking cover designs, I was treated in a professional, friendly and efficient manner. They were genuinely interested in promoting me and my work, as they were with all those writers included in the anthologies. This was evidenced in the way they included a photo and potted biography with each story. Added to this, each story had a comment by one of the competition judges. But Fabula Press went even further than this to help promote those writers included in their publications. On a couple of occasions, I requested Anirban to personally endorse my work. One time when I wished him to back my story ‘The Hanging Tree’ to a Short Story of the Year Award competition, and another when I was seeking an agent for a children’s novel. Anirban complied with his usual interest and courtesy.

A participant in Fabula Press' Nivalis 2015 contest, Jim was impressed by, yes, our rejection mail! So much so that he penned a blog post titled "Turned down by Fabula Press" and went on to say that it was the nicest turn down letter he had ever received.

Our Judges

Brett Alan Sanders Short Story Contest Judge

Brett Alan Sanders

Brett Alan Sanders is a writer, translator, and recently retired teacher living in Tell City, Indiana. He holds a BA in Spanish (with an English minor) and an MALS. He has been a contributing writer at Tertulia Magazine, a columnist for the Perry County (IN) News, and the managing editor at New Works Review. He has published original essays, fiction, and literary translations in a variety of journals, and has also authored a YA novella (A Bride Called Freedom) and two book-length translations from the works of Buenos Aires writer María Rosa Lojo. He can be reached through his website / blog www.brettalansanders.wordpress.com

Clare Wallace Fabula Press Short Story Contest Judge

Clare Wallace

Graduating with a first from a BA in Creative Writing and Cultural Studies at Bath Spa University, Clare went on to gain a distinction on the MA in Creative Writing. She has proof-listened to hundreds of adults and children’s audio books for AudioGO and worked for Cardiff University as a research assistant and coach to international students. She joined the Darley Anderson Agency in January 2011. Among others, Clare represents Deirdre Sullivan whose collection of short stories is slated to be published in May21 Clare tweets @LitAgentClare

Sandra Sawicka Short Story Contest Judge

Sandra Sawicka

Sandra Sawicka joined the agency in 2014.  Her main interests are genre fiction (SFF, speculative, crime, horror) and YA. She also handles translation rights for all authors represented by Marjacq. She would love to see: action-packed adventure, accessible SF, crime with a speculative edge, Southern Gothic, campus novels, road novels, spooky mysteries, ghost stories, high concept, atmospheric historical fiction, YA adventure, anti-heroes, popular science non fiction (especially linguistics, cybernetics, and astronomy).

Anisha Bhaduri Fabula Press Short Story Contest Judge

Anisha Bhaduri

A journalist for over two decades, Anisha had a decade long stint at The Statesman in India, and is currently the Web Editor of China Daily, Hong Kong. In 2012, her first published work of fiction featured in the Random House title ‘She Writes: A collection of Short Stories’. The first Indian woman to become a Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Fellow, Anisha won the first prize in a national literary contest for women writers organized by the British Council in India in 2009, and was conferred the Pradyot Bhadra Young Journalist Award for Excellence in 2011. Her crime novella, Murders in Kolkata 26, has recently been published by Juggernaut Press.

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