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Our 2024 short story contest will kick off on 21 February 2024 - read the guidelines page for details

Welcome to 2024!

Fabula Press wishes all its authors, readers, and well-wishers a very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year, as we usher in 2024 with tons of good news!

Normally we begin every year going through submissions received during the last quarter of the previous year, but this time around we had to hold back on our winter contest for 2023 to unveil a new format for Fabula Press Competitions. And when we say “new”, we mean exactly that – there have been significant changes to our competition format, all for the benefit of our contestants. To start off, based on the numerous requests we receive for waiver of fees, we have now decided to have a free submission section for our short story contests. So from 21 February 2024 onwards, we shall have a free submission window of a month and half, and of the submissions received during this period, at least 3 stories will be selected for our print anthology, and will also be eligible for the contest prizes.

That brings us to the second piece of happy news. We shall also be selecting at least 10 entries for the print anthology from the paid section of submissions, and the final 13 (or more, based on overall quality) thus selected will be published on our website in addition to the print anthology. This will not only allow our writers to be read more widely, but will also allow us to send out nominations for online publication based awards, such as the Best of the Net.

And the final bit of good news is that the contest window will remain open for longer now. For 2024, we shall start the competition on 21 February, and shall accept submissions for the free section till 03 April, while submissions for the paid section can be made upto 11 June. This will slightly increase the overall time to publication, and to manage that we are introducing a tiered submission window for paid submissions. We expect that with staggered submissions our editors and judges will be able to devote more time to reading individual stories – something that we have had to struggle with in the past.

Going forward, we plan to make more changes such as introducing poetry and art sections, but that is in the future. For now, we wish you great luck in all your writing and publishing endeavours in 2024.

Don’t forget to read the detailed guidelines before submitting, here.  


 Previous competition results

Aestas 2022: The Results

After some rather long sessions of deliberation and debate, we are pleased to announce the short list from the submissions received for Aestas 2022. We had a great batch of stories, and it was both a pleasure and a pain for us and the judges to come up with this shortlist. We thank all the entrants, as also the readers without whom the art of the short story will struggle to survive.

Cutting to the chase, here are the winning entries of Aestas 2022 Short Story Contest:  

At 1st place is Jay McKenzie, with Liar Billy Tea

Dianne Bown-Wilson takes the 2nd place, with The Incompatibility of Fish

And the 3rd place goes to DJ Mantle, for All the Answers You Need 

Also featuring in the list, and soon to be published in the Aestas 2022 anthology are:

 Justin Nixon by Howard Englander

Barbara Olic-Hamilton‘s Incorporeality

The Bequest from Barbara Austin

Steve Wade‘s A Knot of Serpents

Reunion by Tim O’Leary

Flying Is a Crime and Punishment by James Vescovi

Tony Warner‘s My curly headed boy

A Stroke of Luck from Chris Humphrey

Michael Uniacke‘s The Alonso Affair


Nivalis 2022: The Results

And here it is – the shortlist of the final stories that will go on to be published in the Nivalis 2022 anthology. It was, as always, a tough task to whittle down the long list of some really good submissions. And as always, our selection was not about judging the merits or demerits of individual stories given the innate subjectivity in assessing literature, rather what we strived to achieve was a balanced mix of stories that would appeal to readers regardless of genre; with the current crop of stories we hope to have achieved that. So without further ado, a look at the names:

The Woman in the Well from Steve Burford

Carolyn Denney‘s Brother’s Day

Irresponsible by Doug Emory

Killing Kookie by S E Law

Dora Esze‘s The Shadow of a Vein

Don’t Smile by Jay McKenzie

The Courage to Change the Things I Can by Jess Simms

David McVey‘s Lone Raider

The Outing by Maria Giron

Sara Winslow‘s Windows

Sleeping Dogs by Mary Fox

A Murder of Crows by Karen Ekstrom

And the top entries for the Fabula Press Nivalis 2022 Short Story Competition are: 

At 1st place is S E Law, with Killing Kookie

The 2nd place goes to Maria Giron, for The Outing

And at joint 3rd place are Karen Ekstrom for A Murder of Crows, and Jay McKenzie with Don’t Smile

Our thanks go out to all our submitters, our supporters, the readers, and the judges. Stay tuned for Aestas 2022, our summer contest, to be announced soon.


Aestas 2021: The Results

 We are delighted to present the results 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. 

The Aestas 2021 anthology has now been published, you can pick up a paperback copy at your local amazon site.  The digital edition is on its way.

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

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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 Books.

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