Paper Darts’s Third Micro-Fiction Award: Judged by Leesa Cross-Smith

Paper Darts’s Third Micro-Fiction Award: Judged by Leesa Cross-Smith


Leesa Cross-Smith wants you to write 200 words on the theme of BRIGHT—words so shiny we almost can’t look at them directly. But we’ll risk it anyway, just for you.


You can take the theme seriously, take it aback, or take it for a spin—but you don’t have to take it literally.


Did we mention it’s free to enter?


Award: $100

Entry fee: Free

Judge: Leesa Cross-Smith


Word limit: 200

Deadline: November 30, 2018


  • All entries must be previously unpublished, 200 words or less, and on the theme of BRIGHT.

  • This contest is free to enter.

  • Please submit only ONE entry per person.

  • Entrant’s name should not appear anywhere in the uploaded material. Do not submit a cover letter—the readings are blind, so you won’t need to butter us up.

  • Previously published stories and stories forthcoming in other publications (print or online) will not be considered.

  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed. Notify us immediately to withdraw a story that is accepted elsewhere.

  • Stories are first read internally by approximately ten members of the Paper Darts staff. Several finalists are then chosen and passed to the judge for her selection.

  • All submissions are eligible for publication by Paper Darts in print or online.

  • Deadline: 11/30/2018 (subject to extend as we see fit).



Leesa Cross-Smith is a homemaker and writer from Kentucky. She is the author of Whiskey & Ribbons (Hub City Press, 2018) and Every Kiss a War (Mojave River Press, 2014) and the forthcoming short story collection So We Can Glow (Grand Central Publishing, 2020) and the forthcoming novel This Close To Okay (Grand Central Publishing, 2021.)  Every Kiss a War was a finalist for both the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction (2012) and the Iowa Short Fiction Award (2012). Her short story “Whiskey & Ribbons” won Editor’s Choice in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest (2011) and was listed as a notable story for storySouth‘s Million Writers Award. The novel Whiskey & Ribbons was longlisted for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and listed among Oprah Magazine’s “Top Books of Summer.” She was a consulting editor for Best Small Fictions 2017. Her work has appeared in Oxford American, Best Small Fictions 2015, NYLON, Alaska Quarterly Review, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, SmokeLong Quarterly, Little Fiction, Wigleaf Top 50, Longform Fiction, Carve Magazine, Synaesthesia Magazine, Paper Darts, Hobart, Pithead Chapel, Gigantic Sequins, Folio, American Short Fiction (online), Midwestern Gothic, Juked, Word Riot and many others. She and her husband Loran run a literary magazine called WhiskeyPaper. Find more @ and

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