Ends in 5 days, 16 hours

$18.00 USD

We are looking for stories about families of all configurations. It's fine to draw heavily on real-life experiences, but the work must read like fiction and all stories accepted for publication will be presented as fiction. Sticking too tightly to "fact" can limit the larger truth that fiction is able to reveal. Give your story the leeway it needs in order to find its own life. And, if your story is closely related to your actual experience, it is wise to change details that would allow the real-life people to say, Hey, that's me!
Most entries run from 500 to 5000 words but any lengths up to 12,000 are welcome. Any story that has not appeared in a print publication is welcome. (Previous online publication is okay.)


  • 1st place wins $2500, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 10 copies. 
  • 2nd place wins $500 or, if accepted for publication, $700 and 10 copies.
  • 3rd place wins $300 or, if accepted for publication, $700 and 10 copies.


DEADLINE: April 30.  
There will be a fifteen-day grace period for this final Family Matters contest, ending May 15 midnight PDT.

Winners will be contacted directly the week before the public announcement in our July 1 bulletin.

We look forward to reading your story!

Wikipedia describes the "slush pile" as the set of unsolicited manuscripts sent to publishers, and normally sifted through by inexperienced assistants. Susan and I started Glimmer Train because we wanted to read the great short fiction being written by emerging voices, and to publish the very best in a handsome print publication that would endure. When we dive into reading stories, we are prepared to be moved, surprised, and changed; we are never disappointed.