Flash Fiction Contest: Outsider

Woman with typewriter

This contest is now closed. Thank you to all who entered! Winners will be announced by September 13.

“Imagine. To live out your life in a country not your own. Imagine it.” – Keija Parssinen, “The Ruins of Us”

This year’s One Read  selection is rich with themes related to displacement, disconnection and a longing for the feeling of home. In 250 words or less, craft a tale that somehow explores this idea of being outside – outside of a culture, a community, a family. Evoke the feeling of being a stranger in a strange land, whether that land is a foreign country, your childhood home or even your own mind.

Entries may be submitted using this form, mailed or dropped off at any library or bookmobile. (See full rules below for details.) Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published on this site and winners will receive a $20 book store gift card.

Entries are due by Wednesday, September 4. Participants must be age 16 or older and residents of Boone or Callaway Counties. Read on for complete contest rules.

New this year! Participants in this contest will be invited to read their flash fiction entries at a reception and reading on Monday, September 16 at 7 p.m. This event will be held at the Columbia Independent School, and details will be shared closer to the event. Participation in this event is optional. 

Contest Rules


  • The contest is open to those 16 years of age and older.
  • Participants must reside within the DBRL service area (Boone or Callaway County, Missouri).

Contest Deadline

  • Entries will be accepted through Wednesday, September 4, 2013. (Mailed entries must be postmarked by that date.)

Submission Requirements and Guidelines

  • One entry per individual.
  • Submissions must be 250 words or less in length, including the title of the piece.
  • Submissions must be in English.
  • Submissions must include writer’s name, age, address and email address or phone number for eligibility verification and contact purposes.
  • Entries must be in text format and typed.
  • Entries may be submitted through the online form or by mail (DBRL, ATTN: Lauren/One Read Writing Contest, PO Box 1267, Columbia, MO 65205), or dropped off at a DBRL location.
  • Submissions must be original, unpublished works.
  • Each participant must be the sole author and exclusive owner of all right, title and interest in and to his or her submission.
  • DBRL’s publication and use of the submission in accordance with the terms set out herein will not infringe or violate the rights of any third party (including copyright), or require any payment to or consent/permission from any third party.

Content Restrictions

  • The submission must not contain any material that is inappropriate, indecent, profane, obscene, hateful, tortious, defamatory, slanderous or libelous.
  • The submission must not contain any material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.
  • The submission must not contain any material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations in any jurisdiction where the submission is created.
  • The submission must not contain any commercial content that promotes any product or service of the sponsor or any third party.


  • Entries will be evaluated and the winners chosen based on creativity, grammar and emotion evoked by the writing.
  • Two winners will be announced by September 16.
  • Winning entries and those receiving honorable mentions will appear on the One Read website.
  • Winners will be notified by phone or email and will each receive a $20 bookstore gift certificate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.