Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Glimmer Train Family Matters

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Guidelines for the FAMILY MATTERS category:
We are interested in reading your original, unpublished short stories about family!

We don’t publish stories for children, I’m sorry.
It's fine to submit more than one story or to submit the same story to different categories.
When we accept a story for publication, we are purchasing first-publication rights. (After we've published it, you can include it in your own collection.)

To make a submission: Please send your work via our new online submission procedure.
It’s easy, will save you postage and paper, and is much easier on the environment.
Just click the yellow Submissions button above to get started!

The category will be open to submissions for one full month, from the first day through
midnight (Pacific time) of the last day of the month. Results will be posted at

January. Results will be posted on April 30.
April. Results will be posted on July 31.
July. Results will be posted on October 31.
October. Results will be posted on January 31.

Reading fee:

$15 per story.


1st place wins $1,200, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of that issue.
2nd-place: $500

Other considerations:

Open to all writers.
Stories–about family–not to exceed 12,000 words.(No minimum, though it's rare for a piece under 500 words to read as a full story.)
This category has stimulated lots of questions about fiction/non-fiction/creative non-fiction, since many people have significant real-life stories they want to write. It seems to us that a substantial proportion of fiction submissions are heavily rooted in actual experience, which is entirely fine with us, but we do want stories to READ like fiction and anything we publish is presented as fiction. (Also, sticking too tightly to "truth" can limit the larger truth that fiction is able to reveal.) I would certainly recommend changing details that would allow the real-life people to say, Hey, that character is--without a doubt--me. I hope that makes sense.

We look forward to reading your work!

Amy Stockwell Mercer is a freelance writer living in Charleston, SC with her husband and three sons. An MFA graduate in Creative Writing from Queens University, she writes about art and artist profiles for Charleston Magazine, The City Paper, Charleston Art Mag, and Art Papers. Amy also writes about living with chronic illness, and is finishing a book about women with diabetes for Demos Health. When she needs to get out of her own head, she teaches college students how to write the 5 paragraph essay. You can read more of her writing at her website.

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