Short Story Prize

1st Prize: CHF 500 (Book tokens and Cash) | Writing Workshop | Winner’s Reception
10 Shortlisted Submissions:  Writing Workshop | Winner’s Reception


Theme for the competition

Short Story Judge Michelle Bailat-Jones has chosen the theme: Place

Place can be a country, can be a neighborhood or a school. Place can be a city, either real or imagined. Place can be a sofa or a car or a dining room table. Place can be a memory, can be an invention, can be an idea. Place can be a forest, a mountain, an ocean. Place can be the top of a building, can be an underground tunnel. What’s important to remember is that the details of your “place” reveal and contain the emotions of your story.

What Michelle Bailat-Jones is looking for in a short story

For the short story and narrative non-fiction  in general, I am looking for a bit of fire, a spark of something special. With only 1000 words, the piece needs to grab the reader right away in its opening lines and then surprise or wow the reader by the end.

In terms of the theme of PLACE, I am looking specifically to be carried away into a new world, to somewhere exciting and unfamiliar, to a place I’ve never been—and this stands whether you’re writing about a Swiss home or city or village, or a faraway land or time that you’ve invented with your awesome brain and creative inspiration.

If this place is where you’re putting YOUR heart, then your story or essay will invite me to leave MY heart there, too. I want to laugh or cry, or even rage alongside you.

I am not looking for flawless English but a sense of skilled storytelling or narration, a dedication to detail and internal story logic, and a focus on setting to convey emotion.


Word Limit: There is a 1,000 word limit, not including the title.


Submissions: Stories can be submitted from 1st October 2018 until midday, Tuesday 15th April 2019. Shortlisted students will be contacted at the end of April 2019 and invited to the Workshop and Reception to take place in mid-May 2019.

Submission is free, but is limited to one story per student. Students may submit to both the Poetry Prize and the Short Story Prize.

Entry requirements: The Short Story Prize is open to any student high-school aged student in Swiss public upper-secondary education. There are currently no age divisions, however students must note whether they are mother-tongue English speakers, or following a bi-lingual study programme, and whether they are studying for the Maturity Certificate. The competition is not open to students from schools where the teaching is primarily in English, such as international schools.

Please read the rules before submitting.