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Contests: Raymond Carver | Esoteric Contest


The contest is now closed. The 2015 contest will open April 1. Please check back in January/February 2015 for details.



Many thanks to our guest judge AIMEE BENDER who selected the top three stories.



From nearly 1400 entries…


First, $1500: “Safe, Somewhere” by Baird Harper in Oak Park, IL.
Second, $500: “The Snow Children” by Wendy Oleson in Los Angeles, CA.
Third, $250: “Martha and Other Anomalies” by Kerrin Piche Serna in Fullerton, CA.
Editor’s Choice (Matthew), $125: “Entr’acte” by Mark Connelly in Milwaukee, WI.
Editor’s Choice (Kristin), $125: “Cantaloupe” by Karen Loeb in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.


Honorable Mentions

“A Little off the Top” by Mathieu Cailler
“Seven Boxes” by Jeffrey Ricker
“Lilith in Paradise” by Courtney Sender
“Rabbit Season” by Katie Reilly


Semifinalists (Longlist) - in alphabetical order by title

A Loneliness to the Thought by Michael Caleb Tasker
An Improper Woman by Tahni Nikitins
Avocado by Juliane Church
Backcut by Rick Attig
Bau Bang by Jim Fairhall
Clicked by Kate Andrews-Day
Crevasse by Jeremy Lubman
Current Events by Claire Harlan Orsi
Driving Lessons by Frances Marie Gonzalez
Earning My Badge by Jessica Siverly
Forgotten Lands Rancho by Aimee Hansen
Grey by Don Shea
Highway 111 by Mathieu Cailler
In A Single Bound, If You Were Wesley Autrey by Anne Zerby
King of Diamonds, King of Hearts by Steve Passey
Living With the Law by cheryl alu
Maker of Heaven and Earth by Jeff Moscaritolo
Overnight Shift by Sarah Crow
Skimming by Lisa Ferranti
Stacy, This Isn’t About You by Mark Brownlow
Sweets by Dane Liu-Wimmer
Tapir by Joanne Hayden
The Accidentals by Katherine Swink
The Balloon Sessions by Wendell Mangibin
The Book of Jeremiah by Julie Zuckerman
The Boy Who Would Be Oloye by Maurice Ruffin
The Computer by Carl Peaslee
Time Passes by Robert Hoskins
Tree Men by Gary Powell
We all have wings by Star Spider
When A Body in the Water Hits Your Body by Kathleen Woods
When Walls Weep by Mary Hutchings Reed
Where the Mekong Meets the Sea by James Guild
You Better Change Your Attitude If You Want This to Last by Sharon Gusky



Thank you to ALL who entered and made this year another amazing contest!



Many thank to AIMEE BENDER, our 2014 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.



For additional questions about the contest, please email us at