2018 Yemassee Journal Fiction Contest

Winner: Gig Marks by William Wallace

Fiction Judge Jennine Capó Crucet said the following about the piece:

I was immediately pulled in by this story’s inventive structure and its confessional tone. And, well, the wrestling. It brilliantly weaves elements of that world — and its supposed artifice — together with the family material in a way I deeply admired: this story can’t be told in any other way. The moment the narrator reads my mind with the line, “Wait, a wicked stepmother story? Yeah, I’m aware,” — I knew I was in extremely capable hands, and I would follow her anywhere. Every sentence is pitch-perfect, down to its last devastating page.

William Russell Wallace received an MFA in Fiction from the University of Montana, where he also served as Editor-in-Chief of CutBank Literary Magazine. His work has appeared in Carve Magazine, carte blanche, the Rappahannock Review, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Finalists: Wisteria by Dwight Curtis, A Small, Small Thing by Rhea Hindemit, Lone Star Overnight by Carolyn Mikulencak, Jingle-Jingle-Pop by Miah Jeffra, Trophies by Toni Judnitch, Mannequin and Wife by Jen Fawkes

Guest Judge


Jennine Capó Crucet is the author of two books: the novel Make Your Home Among Strangers, which was a New York Times Editor’s Choice book, the winner of the 2016 International Latino Book Award, was cited as a best book of the year by NBC Latino, the Guardian, and the Miami Herald; and the story collection How to Leave Hialeah, which won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize, the John Gardner Book Award, and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award. Her writing has appeared on PBS NewsHour, the Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. She’s currently a Contributing Opinion Writer for The New York Times, as well as a previous recipient of an O. Henry Prize, the Picador Fellowship, and the Hillsdale Award for the Short Story, awarded by the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Raised in Miami, Florida, she currently lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Overview: Yemassee is accepting entries for its 2018 Writing Prizes, including the 2018 Fiction Contest. The author of the winning story will receive $750 and publication in Yemassee 25.2. The editors will select ten finalists and pass those stories on to the guest judge. The ten finalists will receive acknowledgment and all entries will be considered for publication in an upcoming issue of Yemassee.

Timeline: Submissions open November 15, 2017 and close January 31, 2018.

Entry Instructions: To enter, submit one story up to 7500 words. An entry fee of $17 must accompany each entry.

Discounted Subscription: Entries accompanied by $20 qualify the submitter for a one-year subscription to Yemassee. Please select the appropriate fee category.

Formatting and Other Guidelines: Submissions that do not conform to these guidelines may be disqualified at the editors’ discretion. Entries must be submitted online using Submittable; paper submissions will not be accepted. The author’s name must not appear anywhere in the submission or in the file name. We welcome multiple entries. However, each entry must be submitted separately and accompanied by an additional entry fee. While we do allow simultaneous submissions, please inform us immediately if the submission is accepted elsewhere by withdrawing in Submittable. Note that no refunds will be issued for submissions that are withdrawn or disqualified. All entries must be submitted by the deadline.

Eligibility: Current or previous Yemassee staff, close personal friends or family of the Yemassee staff, and writers who have been published in Yemassee within the past two years are ineligible for entry.

Applicants can enter here on Submittable.


“The Ones Without Writers” by Daniel Paul

“I think it’s so bright and original, it follows its conceit in directions that were surprising to me as a reader even as the concept was immediately clear, it was agile and witty and full of life. A pretty rare energy, I think.” –Alexandra Kleeman, 2017 Fiction Contest Judge