C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize


The C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize is open to emerging writers in thirteen Southern states. Submitters must currently reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia or West Virginia, and must have no more than one previously published book.

The C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize includes $5,000 and book publication for a debut book of short fiction. C. Michael Curtis served as an editor of The Atlantic since 1963 and as fiction editor since 1982 and discovered or edited some of the finest short story writers of the modern era, including Tobias Wolff, Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, and Anne Beattie. He edited several acclaimed anthologies, including Contemporary New England Stories, God: Stories, and Faith: Stories. Curtis moved to Spartanburg, S.C. in 2006 and taught at both Wofford and Converse Colleges, in addition to serving on the editorial board of Hub City Press. This prize is made possible by a generous contribution from Michel and Eliot Stone of Spartanburg.


Submissions:  September - December, biennially 
Current Judge: Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the author of the forthcoming historical novel, The American Daughters, which will be published in 2024 by One World Random House. He also wrote The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You, which was published by One World Random House in August 2021. It is the 2023 One Book One New Orleans selection. The book was a finalist for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and longlisted for the Story Prize. His first book, We Cast a Shadow, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the PEN America Open Book Prize. It was longlisted for the 2021 DUBLIN Literary Award, the Center for Fiction Prize, and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. Ruffin is the winner of several literary prizes, including the Iowa Review Award in fiction and the William Faulkner–William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Award for Novel-in-Progress. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the LA Times, the Oxford American, Garden & Gun, Kenyon Review, and Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America. A New Orleans native, Ruffin is a professor of Creative Writing at Louisiana State University.

A $25 submission fee will accompany each submission. Manuscripts will be taken through online submission only. All manuscripts will be read anonymously by paid screeners. This contest is guided by the CLMP Code of Ethics.



Previous Judges

2023: Maurice Carlos Ruffin
2021: Kevin Wilson
2020: ZZ Packer
2019: Lauren Groff
2018: Lee K Abbott

Previous Winners

2021: Scott Gloden - The Great American Everything
2020: Andrew Siegrist - We Imagined It Was Rain
2019: Ashleigh Bryant Phillips - Sleepovers
2018: Emily W. Pease - Let Met Out Here


  • Submitters must currently reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia or West Virginia and have resided there for a minimum of 24 consecutive months. (Residency will be verified before prize winner is announced.) 
  • Submitters may have only one previously published book, and must not have published a collection of stories. (Any book with an ISBN, self-published and chapbooks included, qualify as previous publications, as do second books under contract at the time of submission.)
  • Submitters must not be affiliated with Hub City Press or Hub City Writers Project as a staff member or volunteer or as previously published Hub City author. Close friends, relatives, students or former students of the final judge are not eligible.

Submission Requirements

  • The contest opens September 1 and closes December 31, 11:59PM EST. Finalists and winners are announced in the summer of the next year.
  • The manuscript must be between 140 and 220 pages (double spaced, 12 point, Times New Roman or similar typeface) and include no fewer than six stories. Works that have previously appeared in magazines or in anthologies may be included.
  • No story should be over 15,000 words in length. There is no minimum story word count. (Bear in mind that this is not a flash fiction or micro fiction contest and that stories of a more traditional length of 1,500 to 8,000 words are expected to make up the bulk of the story collection.)
  • This contest is read blind. Do not include a bio or acknowledgments page with your manuscript. All manuscripts must be read anonymously by our readers, editors, and judge. Manuscripts should include one title page with the manuscript’s title only. You may also include a table of contents. Manuscripts that do not adhere to this guideline will be immediately eliminated.
  • Simultaneous submissions of the same manuscript to other publishers or contests are acceptable but please notify us if your manuscript has been accepted elsewhere.
  • While translations and manuscripts in languages other than English are not accepted, manuscripts that occasionally use words from other languages are acceptable and welcome.
  • No revisions of submitted manuscripts will be allowed during the contest.


I have never published a book before. Am I eligible?
Yes! The C. Michael Curtis Prize is meant for emerging writers who have no more than one previous book. A published work with an ISBN (including chapbooks with IBSNs) is considered a book.
I have a second book under contract, but it won't be out until after the submission period closes. Does this count as a second book?

Yes. We consider a book under contract a published book, even if it will come out after submissions close.

I have previously published a collection of short stories. Am I eligible?

Unfortunately, no. The Curtis Prize is always awarded to a debut collection of short fiction.

I have lived in two of the listed states (for example: North and South Carolina) in the last 24 months. Am I eligible?

Yes! As long as you've lived in the South, moving between states is fine.

If your question isn't addressed above, please email kate@hubcity.org.

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