Anton Chekhov Prize for Very Short Fiction Reopens June 1st

Anton Chekhov Prize for Very Short Fiction


New Flash Fiction Review continues to honor master storyteller Anton Chekhov through holding an annual award for excellence in flash fiction— or as they might have said, back in Chekhov’s time, “very short fiction”. Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian playwright and short-story writer, who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history. Chekhov’s mastery for saying a lot with a little makes him one of the flash fiction’s spiritual inspirations. Over one-hundred years before the term “flash” was invented, Chekhov was writing short stories in under 1,000 words, stories such as “After the Theatre”, “A Country Cottage”, and “Bliss”. In1886, Chekhov wrote in a letter to his brother, “… you’ll have a moonlit night if you write that on the mill dam a piece of glass from a broken bottle glittered like a bright little star, and that the black shadow of a dog or a wolf rolled past like a ball.”

As William Boyd writes in his brief history of the short story: “Chekhov saw and understood that life is godless, random and absurd, that all history is the history of unintended consequences. He knew, for instance, that being good will not spare you from awful suffering and injustice, that the slothful can flourish effortlessly and that mediocrity is the one great daemonic force. By abandoning the manipulated beginning-middle-and-end plot, by refusing to judge his characters, by not striving for a climax or seeking neat narrative resolution, Chekhov made his stories appear agonisingly, almost unbearably lifelike.”

We’re thrilled to announce that the judge for our second Anton Chekhov Award for Very Short Fiction is Angela Readman, who won the innaugural Anton Chekhov Award with her story Ten Months With Octopus.

Contest Guidelines (Submissions open June 1):

Entries should be approximately 800 words or less. Submissions should be unpublished and in .rtf, .doc, or .docx format. Feel free to submit multiple stories, but as a SEPARATE entry (so that you complete an individual submission process for each story). All stories will be read blind. Work that is recognized (e.g. recognizable from writing workshops taught by NFFR’s Managing Editor, Meg Pokrass) will be disqualified. Stories containing gratuitous violence and sex will also be eliminated.

The winner will receive $300 and publication in New Flash Fiction Review. Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please notify us if your story has been accepted elsewhere. Submissions open on June 1st, 2019 and close on July 15th, 2019. Entry fee is $6. Winner and 2 finalists will be announced in early September.


Angela Readman  is the winner of the first Anton Chekhov Award for Very Short Fiction. Her short stories have since been winners of The Costa Short Story Award, The Mslexia Story Prize. Her story collection Don’t Try This at Home was short listed in The Edge Hill and won The Rubery Book Award. In January 2019 her debut novel Something like Breathing was published by And Other Stories. She also writes poetry and is published by Nine Arches.