Big In China Short Fiction Competition


Founded in 2009 by Bjorn Wahlstrom, a Swede living in Shanghai, China, H.A.L. Publishing is proud to announce its first international short fiction (1,500 words) competition, The Big In China Short Fiction Competition.

Deadline for entry is October 1, 2012 at midnight Pacific Standard Time. Winners will be announced by October 15, 2012.

H.A.L., as China’s leading English language small press and literary events company, is best known for cutting edge China-based literature and performances by natives and foreigners living in the PRC, but in recent months has opened up its submissions to include other works from around the world. The Shanghai Tunnels Project International Video Poetry Festival, held in conjunction with Unshod Quills, is one such recent example. H.A.L. books are distributed internationally at such retailers as Garden Books in China, Powell’s Books, online and in Portland stores, and Quimby’s in Chicago.

The purpose of this contest is to reach across the 16,000 miles (the author of this post is American, so if you want kilometers feel free to do the conversion yourself, we are Barbarians that way) between China and the North American continent so that H.A.L.’s loyal readers can be privy to reading work from a larger cross section of writers, and so that new readers can discover H.A.L. We know of NO other contest like this in history. You, like the Berring Straight land bridge, can cross the chasm of thousands of years of sometimes tenuous relations by participating in this historic literary event.

Open only to residents of North America, the theme for this contest is China. This does not mean the contestants have to write about China the nation nor take place in China, though those stories will be gladly read as anything else. The theme is open to interpretation and can center around China, the history of China, life in China, life after China, life without China, fortune cookies (which actually are not Chinese, but whatever, we don’t care, we are open to anything), grandma’s china plates, Chinese take-out, Shanghai, being shanghaied, stuff for sale at Target, trade deficits, foreign affairs, NAFTA, firecrackers or gunpowder, silk dresses, opium dens or railroads in the American Wild West, the struggle of Chinese immigrants to the West, Richard Nixon, Chinatown, or any other conceivable application of the theme “China.” We might not be ready to read Deadhead stories about China Cat Sunflower, but if that’s what you’ve got, send it in. We are always ready to be surprised.

Three finalists will be chosen, with first place winner receiving

1) $50 USD, or the converted equivalent to US dollars at the time the award is made
2) publication on the interwebs at
3) One copy each of H.A.L.’s Party like it’s 1984: stories from the people’s republic of; and Middle Kingdom Underground: stories from the people’s republic of, as well as a copy, upon publication, of H.A.L.’s forthcoming book I Am Barbie by H.A.L. author W.M. Butler.
4) winning story will be read live, in whole or in part, at a H.A.L. LiT event in Shanghai by a regular contributor to H.A.L. Alternately, the winner may travel at his or her expense to perform the piece in person, or send an audio or video recording of the piece along like a literary postcard of freedom and joy.

Second and third place winners will be published online by H.A.L.

All entries will be considered for possible online publication and/or inclusion in future anthologies published by H.A.L. If such publication were under consideration, entrants would be notified by electronic mail prior to the event.

The contest will be judged by H.A.L.’s Managing Director and regular contributor, Dena Rash Guzman, editor of H.A.L.’s Portland, Oregon-based sister site, Unshod Quills. Stories will be judged blind. Author names will not be included in pieces presented to the judge.

Rules and Regulations:

1) Contest is open only to those residing in North America at the time of the contest up until publication. Prizes will not be mailed or awarded other than to residents of North America. Family members, domestic partners or other close relations to H.A.L. Publishing editors are not permitted to enter.

2) Entries are not to exceed 1,500 words and must be in English.

3) Entries should be made on a word document and nowhere on the document should the author’s name or any other identifying information be included. Documents should be paginated and should not include a cover page; title should be at the top of the first page.

4) A short, 50 word factual bio can be included in the body of the entry email. Author name, city, state or province, and nation of residence, and email address must be included but in the body of the entry email only.

5) Special formatting discouraged.

6) Winning entrants grant H.A.L. Publishing first serial rights; all rights revert to the author upon publication, which will occur within two months of the final decision. Winning entrants grant H.A.L. the right to indefinitely promote the author’s work online and in print, including by excerpting the work online and in print for promotional purposes.

7) Simultaneous submissions not allowed. Previously published material not allowed.

8) By entering the contest, submitters verify that the work they submit is their own and does not infringe on the copyrights of any other author, story or work, published, or unpublished.

9) Cash prize will be awarded via Paypal only. Books will be mailed to a North American mailing address only.

10) Failure to follow or agree to these terms will result in disqualification.

11) There is no entry fee.

Submissions should be made following the above guidelines to, and any questions should be directed to Nicole, as well. Nicole will forward the stories to the judge to ensure the stories are read blind.

Winners will be notified no later than October 30, and their names will be posted at H.A.L. shortly thereafter. Stories will be published online no later than December 15, 2012.

We regret that we might be unable to respond to each entry individually.

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H.A.L. thanks you for your interest, and Dena looks forward to blindly and fervently reading your work.