Kurt Vonnegut Speculative Fiction Prize

Kurt Vonnegut Contest Header Graphic | Headshot of Vonnegut above a man looking up into space, which is brightly colored

Kurt Vonnegut Speculative Fiction Prize

The Vonnegut Prize is an annual fiction competition intended to recognize the finest speculative fiction, which can include, but is not limited to, work influenced by the postmodern science-fiction of Kurt Vonnegut. We love Vonnegut’s dark humor, but please avoid mere imitation. We are enthusiastic about all work painted with speculative fiction’s broad brush: fairy tale, magical realism, fabulism, the fantastic, horror, Afro-futurism, science fiction hard and soft, and everything in between. The winning entry will appear in the North American Review's annual summer issue, and all finalists will be considered for publication.


2024 Contest Information

  • Open for submission: August 1, 2023
  • Deadline: November 1st, 2023 — Results will be announced in January.
  • Entry fee: $23
  • First Prize: $1,000
  • Judge: TBA


Our judging process

  • All submissions are read by the contest coordinator, as well as by fifteen or more North American Review preliminary readers, most of whom are undergraduate or graduate students at UNI. They select a slate of semifinalists, then finalists, from the submission pool. All finalists are sent to the prize judge.
  • Our prize judge selects a winner, runner-up, and honorable mentions from the slate of finalists. All finalists and semifinalists will be listed in the magazine and on Open Space.
  • The contest coordinator may offer publication--in a future issue of North American Review and/or on Open Space--to notable stories, even if they are not sent to the prize judge.
  • The winner will be published in the Summer issue.
  • All entry fees include a copy of the Summer issue.


Manuscript preparation

  • All contact information should be entered in your cover letter. No names, addresses, or other identifying information should appear on manuscripts, please.
  • If possible, please submit your manuscript as a Word document (preferred) or PDF.
  • Work previously published online or in print is not eligible for submission.

Frequently asked questions

  • You may submit novel excerpts so long as they stand alone as a complete short story with beginning, middle, and end.
  • We will accept flash fiction as well as works up to 10,000 words. That said, most of our finalists and all of our winners have had word counts in the 2,500 – 7,500 range.
  • We are interested in experimental fiction; however, if publishing your piece would require unusual layout or formatting, please query first.
  • Current University of Northern Iowa students are not eligible to submit. 
  • Friends of the guest judge and the contest coordinator are not eligible to submit.


Past winners