Short Story Contest 2020

The World of Apu announces its very first short story contest. What is this all about?

4 min read

We are happy to announce our first contest for film-inspired fiction! We hope this will be the first of many. Read on to find out more.

What we are looking for

What does cinema mean to you? How has it touched your life? Have you wanted to rewrite a film’s climax or take it further from where it ended or create an alternate storyline? Did you love a film’s characters so much that you imagined your own story with them? Have you felt strongly for someone who works in the film industry or the cinema theatre? Have you wondered what you’d say if you met a film personality you admire? Tell us a story.

We only require that cinema (of any country and language!) plays a significant role in your story.

Here are a few examples from our archives: Nargis on your Wall pays homage to Nargis Dutt, Rom-com is a story of a couple who go to the cinemas, while Both Sides Now continues the story of Dennis Villeneuve’s Arrival beyond its climax. In this 19th issue, we have New Girl, a story of two relationships, one of which is with cinema. Or maybe you’d like The Immortal, a short story translated from Tamil, about a man who spent his life being a supporting actor and waiting for his one big break. These are just a few possibilities, we hope you find creative ways to work cinema into your narrative.

A few rules

  • As with all competitions, your story must be unpublished. This includes print magazines, websites, personal blogs, instagram captions, twitter threads.
  • We are only accepting entries in English this time.
  • Your story can also be a translation of an unpublished short story in any other language. Please mention if this is the case, providing credits to the author of the original. We will evaluate based on the translation only. However, the prize money will be split between the author and the translator.
  • Stories must be at least 1000 words long, and not more than 3000 words.
  • We ask that you restrict yourself to one entry. Only your first entry will be considered for the competition; subsequent entries will be ignored.
  • The contest opens on November 10, 2020. You have until January 10, 2021 to send us your work, along with the information we have requested below (keep scrolling to the bottom of the page).
  • You can reside in any country, but you have to be at least 18 years of age.

Copyrights for your work always belong to you. We encourage you to send your stories for publication elsewhere after the contest comes to a close. We request that you include a link to our website, since it was first published here. We may use your story for promotional material.

The judges

We (the editors of this film magazine, Ramchander and Anusha) will shortlist ten stories, which we will then send to our judges. Jason Erik Lundberg and Krupa Ge have graciously agreed to judge this contest; they will each select a winner.

Evaluation will be based on usual criteria like original point of view, creativity, writing style, adherence to rules of the contest.

Jason Erik Lundberg was born in New York, grew up in North Carolina, and has lived in Singapore since 2007. He is the author and anthologist of 25 books, including A Fickle and Restless Weapon (2020), Most Excellent and Lamentable (2019), Diary of One Who Disappeared (2019), the Bo Bo and Cha Cha picture book series (2012–2015), and the biennial Best New Singaporean Short Stories anthology series (est. 2013). He’s also the fiction editor at Epigram Books, an independent publisher based in Singapore, publishing thought-provoking and well-designed books since 2011.

Krupa Ge is a writer and editor from Madras. She is the author of Rivers Remember (Context, 2019). Her reportage and cultural writings have appeared in The Hindu, Firstpost and The New Indian Express, among other Indian and international publications over the last 12 years. She was presented a Laadli Award for her column on women in cinema, Ms. Representation in The New Indian Express, for the year 2017. She received the Jayanti Residency for the year 2017 and was in the longlist of The 2017 DNA Out of Print Short Fiction competition. She was awarded the Toto-Sangam Residency Fellowship 2016 and shortlisted for a Toto Prize in Creative Writing, the same year.

And finally, the prize

Out of the shortlisted ten, we will give prizes to two stories, the ones that are enjoyed by everyone on the panel. Winners will each receive USD 200. (If the winning story is a translation, the author and translator will each receive USD 100.)

All of the shortlisted stories will be edited and published in subsequent issues of The World of Apu.

We are also thinking of bringing out a print anthology sometime next year, so stay tuned for updates!

Our sponsors

The World of Apu is an independent magazine run by two people. We have been able to organise this contest thanks to our patrons, who believe in our vision and push us to do better. We would like to thank Ramya Sethurathinam, Shilpa Krishnan, Amarnath Ravikumar, John Praveen, Sakkaravarthi Kaliannan, Iniyan Parameshwaran, Monika, Jowber K, and Shreya for their generosity.

Have we missed something?

Do write to us if you have any questions. We will be happy to make clarifications and we promise to not spam you otherwise.

Let’s get writing!

Send your stories in Word format to along with the following details:

  1. First name and last name; pen name if any
  2. Date of birth
  3. Place of residence
  4. Country of citizenship
  5. A short bio in the third person (less than 100 words)
  6. Has your story been translated from another language? If yes, please provide us with the author’s information as well.
  7. A declaration that your work is your own and has not been plagiarised
  8. How did you hear about this contest?

Did you like what you read? Support us as we explore film cultures from around the world; experience cinema in new ways with us. Let us keep The World of Apu free for all!

Become a Patron!