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The 2020 Adrift Short Story Contest


​We are excited to announce Mason Boyle's "Myopic" as the winner of our third Adrift Short Story Contest! Here's what our guest judge, T. Geronimo Johnson, had to say...

While the extended metaphor of impaired vision prevails ascendent from commencement to coda, the effect of the language is quite the opposite as the author time and again abandons the namesake to render reality with near-hallucinatory intensity. “Myopic” is anything but.  

We would also like to congratulate finalists Jacob Bingham for his story "Twang" and Kate Wutz for her story "Spiraling." 

Lastly, we want to extend our warmest gratitude to everyone who submitted to the contest, including the twelve semi-finalists and an additional twenty-seven quarter-finalists. There were hundreds of wonderful short stories sent in, and many of them deserve—and will find—publication. We are ecstatic to continue to publish works of literary fiction that forefront language and take narrative, structural, and thematic risks, and the support of our community of readers and submitters is continually cherished and appreciated. 


  • Submissions will be open from March 1st 2020 to July 15th 2020.

  • Stories are considered by Driftwood editing staff (no outside readers); guest judge reads finalists.

  • Winner will be announced in October 2020.

  • The winning short story will be published in volume eight (2021).



  • Fiction only.

  • 1,000-6,000 word limit.

  • A standard, 12-point font is preferred. 

  • The work must not have been previously published.

  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but
    please withdraw the work if the story has been
    accepted elsewhere.

  • Submit works written in English only, no translations.

  • Please submit your manuscript in a .doc, .docx, or PDF format.

  • We read submissions blind, so please do not include your name, email, or any identifying characteristics on the manuscript itself.

  • Base submission cost is $10. Additionally, we are offering a $25 dollar submission option that will include a print copy of the issue in which the winning story is published.



  • The winner will receive $300 dollars and 10 copies of the issue in which the story appears. The winner will also have the opportunity to be interviewed about their work; the interview will be published alongside the story.

  • Last year, we selected two runner-ups. If a runner-up is chosen, their work will be offered publication, an accompanying interview, $100, and five copies of the issue in which their work appears.

Past Contest Winners

[2019 Contest]

[2018 Contest]

Guest Judge

T. Geronimo Johnson is the bestselling author of Welcome to Braggsville and Hold It ’Til It Hurts, a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. He received his M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his M.A. in language, literacy, and culture from UC Berkeley. He has taught writing and held fellowships—including a Stegner Fellowship and an Iowa Arts Fellowship—at Arizona State University, Iowa, Berkeley, Western Michigan University, and Stanford. He lives in Berkeley, California.

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