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The Little Bird Writing Contest

 

 

Sheena Kamal  •  Cherie Dimaline  •  Michelle Winters    Esi Edugyan  •  Lisa Moore  •  Neil Smith  •  Rebecca Lee  •  Alix Ohlin  •  Zsuzsi Gartner  •  Matthew J. Trafford  •  Jessica Westhead

The Little Bird Writing Contest ran every year from 2010-2020. 

When I first went on Twitter, I tweeted daily writing prompts. They worked so well, writers wanted to know what to do with the stories they were writing. I opened a contest for emerging writers who used the prompts. We ran this international contest for innovative, emerging short fiction writers for ten years.

Story prompts were highly specific and unique, like this one from 2020:

Start a story with an unusual use of the number ten (10). Name one character Zee. Use the words “mustard” and “costume.” End the story with a bright flash.



A different celebrated author judged the contest each year, and the excellent stories they picked were showcased in a beautiful anthology.

Listen to the Little Bird Series in Sarah Selecky Audio: these are candid interviews with our contest judges about writing, process, and revision — recommended listening for readers and writers of all genres. 

Listen Now

After listening, read the winning stories! Purchase all ten published volumes of the Little Bird Stories here.

Buy Now

Little Bird JUDGEs

A different celebrated author judged the contest each year, and the excellent stories they picked were showcased in a beautiful anthology.

The Little Bird Stories Project

Students from York University's Professional Writing and Publishing Program designed the 10 year anniversary set of Little Bird Stories, in collaboration with Invisible Publishing.

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York-University            invisible-publishing           SSWS-logo-charcoal   
After starting many writing careers, our contest has finished. It's been a great decade.
And now you get to enjoy the whole thing at once!

*Proceeds from book sales go to the Pelee Island Bird Observatory and the Prince Edward County Bird Observatory to help protect the real little birds out there.

PIBO     PEPtBo               

ABOUT THE CONTEST:

When I first went on Twitter, I tweeted daily writing prompts. They worked so well that people wanted to know how to use what they’d written, which is where the idea for The Little Bird Writing Contest came from. It’s now an annual, international contest exclusively for innovative, emerging short fiction writers. The contest opens each spring when the birds come back and showcases the excellent stories (up to 2,500-words) that come from Sarah Selecky Writing School's daily writing prompts. And when we say showcase, we mean it—each year we publish a beautiful anthology that is available to subscribers. Five dollars from every subscription goes to the Pelee Island Bird Observatory, to help protect the real little birds out there. To subscribe, go here. And that’s not all. Each winning story is chosen by a celebrated author who also participates in The Little Bird Salon so that you can benefit from what they have to say (see below).

LITTLE BIRD SALON

Each year, since 2013, I’ve spoken to The Little Bird Writing Contest judge about what inspires them, the process of writing, what they think of revision, and more.

In 2013 Alix Ohlin and I spoke on the phone with over 250 writers and readers listening around the world. In 2014, Rebecca Lee and I had a Skype chat from Toronto-Wilmington, NC. In 2015 I spoke with Neil Smith, from Montreal. In 2016, I spoke to Lisa Moore about the “tremendous engine of desire” that drives story and why a writer has to use intuition before submitting something for publication. In 2017, Esi Edugyan gave practical advice to writers who want to understand the creative process, especially how to balance research with writing, how to turn first draft scenes into full stories, and what makes a compelling opening paragraph. In 2018, Michelle Winters and I talked about why writing contests are so important. She shared what she's looking for in a story—what makes a "gut punch" happen—and why surprises are so critical in short-story writing. We also talked about extensive revisions, and how to balance deadlines and rewriting. In 2019, Cherie Dimaline gave a master class on writing. And it was one of the best conversations about storytelling I’ve ever had. In 2020, Sheena Kamal shared her positive philosophy with an expansive kindness that we all need right now. It was an antidote to angst and doubt, and a bright invitation to simply be yourself in your writing. It made me feel lighter, more grounded, and grateful to be a writer.

We have a secret room in our Sarah Selecky Writing School classroom to inspire your creative process. All of the Little Bird Salons, along with other free resources, are available for you. Please help yourself! Sign up on my Free Resources page.

BECOME A LITTLE BIRD STORIES SUBSCRIBER

Subscribe to Little Bird Stories, and read what writers who placed in The Little Bird Writing Contest did with our Daily Writing Prompts in previous years! Get all published volumes of Little Bird Stories right now, and receive a new anthology of fresh short fiction every year. A lifetime subscription is $25. A percentage of every subscription goes to the Pelee Island Bird Observatory, to help protect the real little birds out there. When you become a Little Bird Subscriber, you're supporting the study and conservation of wild birds and their habitats!

Little Bird Collection

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