Randall Library's Annual Flash Fiction Contest Begins Now!

Our annual Flash Fiction Contest is a hallmark of applied learning at UNCW and the entire student body is invited to participate. Flash Fiction is a story-writing competition where contestants have one week to write 500 words (or less) on a given theme. One other important detail: your story must incorporate Randall Library. (Detailed rules and regulations below)

Once all the entries are judged, three top winners are chosen along with a number of honorable mentions and those stories are illustrated by UNCW graphic design students and published by the UNCW Publishing Laboratory. The top three winners are also awarded cash prizes, First prize - $200.00; Second prize - $150.00; Third prize - $100.00 (applied to their student accounts). In April, we have a big party/reading/reception and we celebrate!


This Year's Theme:


Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit organization working to ensure that every American has the access to the transformative power of the arts, defines Public Art as this:

"... exactly that, art in public spaces. The term “public art” may conjure images of historic bronze statues of a soldier on horseback in a park. Today, public art can take a wide range of forms, sizes, and scales—and can be temporary or permanent. Public art can include murals, sculpture, memorials, integrated architectural or landscape architectural work, community art, digital new media, and even performances and festivals!"

At Randall Library we pride ourselves on our public art collection which features art and artists from southeastern North Carolina and strives to highlight artwork from UNCW faculty and staff, past and present. This year's Flash Fiction Contest and theme correspond with our spring exhibit, a UNCW Student Art Invitational in partnership with the UNCW Department of Art & Art History. Randall Library's Sherman Hayes Gallery will feature student artwork that is handpicked by the Department of Art & Art History's faculty and a few selections of book art from the Department of Creative Writing. The exhibit, on display through May 10th, will be juried by members of the UNCW and Wilmington communities and, along with prizes for the top winners, the best in show will earn a place in Randall's permanent art collection.

Flash Fiction Contest Rules
If any of these rules are not followed your story will be automatically disqualified.

  • Must be a UNCW student, currently enrolled.
  • 500 words or less.
  • Must include theme (PUBLIC ART). Must mention Randall Library
  • Double spaced.
  • 12 pt., Times New Roman.
  • 1 inch margins on all sides.
  • Use one tab to indicate every paragraph indent.
  • Stories due by Wednesday, February 10th at 5 pm.
  • Four (4) hard copies delivered to the Randall Library Circulation Desk.  
  • Note:  The circulation desk is ONLY a drop- off point.  No information about the contest will be available from Circulation Staff.
  • Each copy MUST have a cover sheet with name, phone, and 850 number. DO NOT include name on actual story.
  • One story per student

If your Story is selected, the following regulations must be adhered to:

  • An emailed .doc version of your story. DO NOT save as .docx.
  • Section breaks should be notated by (***).
  • Turn off all auto-formatting features (such as automatic paragraph indenting, outlining, bullet points).
  • Enter only one space after terminal punctuation. If you used two spaces, search/replace to update your file.
  • For dashes, use em-dash character (shift, option, hyphen), with no space on either side, or use two hyphens, and we’ll search and replace the em dash during typesetting.
  • For any special characters or glyphs, such as trademark symbols, accents, or irregular punctuation, please note them by highlighting them in yellow with MS Word's "text highlight color" feature. 
  • If you'd like to include a special character or a glyph but you don't know how to set it, please submit a hardcopy of your story with specific instructions for the placement and type of special character to be inserted.
  • Files should be saved as follows: lastname_firstname.doc.

      NOTE: Edits and revisions will NOT be allowed after submissions, nor will the publisher have time to check your work. Take care that your piece is fully edited and perfected before submitting.

      NOTE: If your story is selected for publication, you will be required to sign the following release: Release for Use of Student Work(