Short Fiction Submission Guidelines










We invite you to participate in this local fiction contest that we've now named the Christopher Kunz Memorial Prize for Short Fiction. Chris was a long-time board member of the Mill, its webmaster for many years, and a prolific author, especially within the last four months of his life. He passed away in late June of 2020.

Please read and follow the submission rules listed below. Send any questions to Good luck!

  • Entrant must be 18 years old or older

  • At least one of the following must be true:

    • Entrant resides, works, or attends school in the Fox Cities (within a 45-mile radius of Appleton).

    • Entrant has enrolled in a class at The Mill (past or present).

    • Entrant is a current Friend of the Mill.

  • Submissions will be accepted no earlier than July 13, 2020, and must be received by September 13, 2020.  

  • One story per entrant. Keep a copy of your story; all entries will be recycled.

  • Stories must be no longer than 4,500 words. Sections of novels are eligible, providing they stand alone, requiring no prefatory material. 

  • All work must be original. You may still participate in the contest even if your entry has been published elsewhere, either in print or online periodicals, including work published in electronic journals, personal blogs or websites, e-zines, academic websites, and other websites. The only stipulations are that your work is original, that you retain the rights to it, that the piece you submit you've not received payment for, and that the piece has not been recognized in a previous Mill Prize contest as winner, finalist, or honorable mention. Any style or theme is welcome. Authors will retain all rights to their work.

  • All work must be double-spaced with reasonable margins in a common font like Times New Roman, no less than 12-point. Pages should be numbered. Include word count in upper right-hand corner of first page.

  • Submissions must be sent via email only. Do not paste story into the body of the email. Attach a single document  saved in Word, PDF, or RTF format to your email message. Use FICTION CONTEST ENTRY in the Subject line of the email and send to

  • The author’s name or address must not appear anywhere on the manuscript. Please attach a separate cover letter with the title of your story, your name, home address, email address, and phone number.

  • The judge will select one winner who will receive a $200 prize. The judge may also select one finalist and one honorable mention if applicable. 

  • The winner and other honorees will be announced during the Fox Cities Book Festival, between Oct. 12-17. That event is virtual this year. Details of the announcement have yet to be worked out. 

  • Judge: Steven Polansky will judge the fiction contest this year. He is a published author and a co-founder and long-time teacher at the Mill.