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Contests: Raymond Carver | Esoteric Contest



This is the 15th anniversary of the contest and to celebrate we are offering our biggest grand prize yet: $1500! The Raymond Carver contest attracts stories from around the world and is known to award top prizes to virtual unknowns and never-been-published writers. Many prizewinners often credit placing in the contest as the springboard for their career as a writer.

Read our blog’s Q&As conducted last year with several past prizewinners of the Raymond Carver Contest.



This year, we are ecstatic to announce AIMEE BENDER as our guest judge!

Aimee Bender is the author of five books: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (1998) which was a NY Times Notable Book, An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000) which was an L.A. Times pick of the year, Willful Creatures(2005) which was nominated byThe Believer as one of the best books of the year, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (2010) which recently won the SCIBA award for best fiction, and an Alex Award, and The Color Master, released this last August, a NY Times Notable book for 2013.

Her short fiction has been published in Granta, GQ, Harper’s, Tin House, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, and many more places, as well as heard on PRI’s This American Life and Selected Shorts. She has received two Pushcart prizes, was nominated for the TipTree award in 2005, and the Shirley Jackson short story award in 2010. Her fiction has been translated into sixteen languages.

She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches creative writing at USC.



Dates, Fees, and Prizes

Submission Dates: April 1 - May 15, 2014. (Mailed entries: May 15 is the postmark deadline.)

Winners announced August 1, 2014.

Entry Fees: $17 online / $15 mailed, per entry.

Prizes: Top 3 prizes determined by guest judge. 2 Editor’s Choice determined by Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor.

1st place - $1500
2nd place - $500
3rd place - $250
Two Editor’s Choice - $125 each

All winners published in the fall 2014 issue in mid-October. All winners are considered for representation by Rees Literary Agency, Folio Literary Management, and Sobel Weber Agency.


Open to U.S. and international, but stories must be in English.

No genre fiction; literary fiction only.

There is no limit to the number of entries one may submit.

Stories must be previously unpublished. Simultaneous submissions accepted if notified promptly that story is accepted elsewhere.

We ask that winners of the previous year’s Raymond Carver Short Story Contest do not enter.


Word count limit: no minimum, max 6000.

Please do your best to format submissions as follows:

-double spaced
-at least 1” margins
-ONLY story title and page numbers (no author info) in header

Cover Letter/Page

If submitting online: no cover page in the uploaded document; Submittable provides a place for cover letters/bios in a form that is blind to readers and editors until the completion of readings.

If submitting by mail: cover page with ONLY story title, name, address, phone number, email, and word count. This will be removed and catalogued before stories are given to readers and editors.




Submit online via Submittable. 


Include a check or money order payable to Carve Magazine and send to:

Carve Magazine
Raymond Carver Contest
PO Box 701510
Dallas, TX 75370 


Download our flyer in PDF format or use the image below.

For additional questions about the contest, please email us at