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The 2022 Adrift Short Story Contest


​We are excited to announce Abigail Wotton's "Beware of Sharks in Lane Six" as the winner of our fifth Adrift Short Story Contest! Here's what our guest judge, Allegra Hyde, had to say...


“Beware of Sharks in Lane Six” has a deceptively casual, meandering, and even irreverent
quality that disguises the powerful emotional undercurrent running through it. In fact, those
qualities may be what allows the gut punch of this piece to really land. I was moved by this
story, enrapt throughout as well. The author writes with all the elegance and ache of Samantha
Hunt in The Seas, and invokes the sheer humanity of Julia Otsuka’s The Swimmers—but this is
an author who also writes in a manner that feels whole original and true. “Beware of Sharks in
Lane Six” is vivid, sensory, and billowing with the bittersweetness of memory. It is a story that
almost feels over too quickly, even as it perfectly hits its mark.

We would also like to congratulate runner-ups Gabriel Houch's "Something You Don't Believe" and Sarp Sozdinler's "Little Egypt," as well as the finalists below. The winner and runner-ups will be published in 2024.

  • "Teshuvah" by Mathew Goldberg

  • "Three Billion Beats" by Lorain Urban

  • "Dust Motes" by Rae Canaan

Lastly, we want to extend our warmest gratitude to everyone who submitted to the contest, including the five additional semi-finalists and twenty-three 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 2022 to July 31st 2022.

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

  • Throughout the process, readers will be notified if their story is passed on or reaches the finalist pool. This often results in a quicker response than other contests.

  • Winner will be announced in late October or early November 2022.

  • The winning short story will be published in the following volume.



  • 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 $500 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.

  • If a runner-up is chosen, their work will be offered publication, an accompanying interview, $200, and five copies of the issue in which their work appears.

Past Contest Winners

[2021 Contest]

[2020 Contest]

[2019 Contest]

[2018 Contest]

Guest Judge

Allegra Hyde is the author of the novel Eleutheria (Penguin Random House), as well as the short story collection, Of This New World (University of Iowa Press), which won the John Simmons Short Fiction Award through the Iowa Short Fiction Award Series. A recipient of three Pushcart Prizes, Hyde's writing has also been anthologized in Best American Travel Writing, Best Women’s Travel Writing, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions. Her stories and essays have appeared in Tin House, American Short Fiction, Kenyon Review, New England Review, The Threepenny Review, and other venues. Hyde has received fellowships and grants from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, The Elizabeth George Foundation, the Lucas Artist Residency Program, the Jentel Foundation, the U.S. Fulbright Commission, and elsewhere. She currently teaches at Oberlin College.

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