Sudden Fiction

Sudden Fiction

Judged by Tara Laskowski

1st prize: £1000. 2nd prize: £300. 3rd prize: £100

1500 words max.

Sudden Fiction could be defined as bits and pieces. Short, sharp, affecting stories, longer than Flash Fiction. The Han Chinese call this form: Zhang yan, literally ‘Smoke-long’, because the reading is over in the time it takes to smoke a cigarette.

Emotional economy. Brevity. Elisions. The balance between what is said and what is not said is hugely significant. Prompting what goes on in your readers’ imaginations, how they fill in the gaps, join the dots, this is quite the puzzle to piece together.

Test yourself against one of the best. Our judge, Tara Laskowski, is an American master of Sudden and Flash and Micro Fiction. She has written two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders. She has had stories published in Mid-American Review, Barcelona Review, and the Norton anthologies Flash Fiction International and New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction.

Her Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine story, “The Case of the Vanishing Professor,” won the 2019 Agatha Award and her Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine story, “The Long-Term Tenant,” won the 2020 Thriller Award. Tara was the winner of the 2010 Santa Fe Writers Project’s Literary Awards Prize, was the longtime editor of the popular online flash fiction journal SmokeLong Quarterly.

Send us your Sudden Fiction. To be long listed (final 20) will be a feather in your cap. To be shortlisted in the Top 10, may create a platform that literary agents will be interested in. To win, or place second or third, is a validation of your skills that might just get your work published in future.

“Flash has what I like to call a magic rhythm to it. The best ones are like songs, full of purpose and urgency.”

Tara Laskowski

The Prizes

First Prize: £1000

Second Prize: £300

Third Place: £100

Top 10

The 10 shortlisted entries will be published in The Plaza Prizes Anthology, which will be launched at our awards ceremony, August 2023.

Terms and Conditions



  • Deadline: 30th November 2022
  • Writers can enter any number of times. (£14.00 Subsequent entry: £7.00)
  • Sudden Fictions can be in any style or form, but must be in English, and written for adults.
  • Entries must be submitted online. No email submissions.
  • Enter the correct version of your work. If you make a mistake, entry fees will not be refunded. (You will have to enter again.)


Read the rules carefully before entering the competition. Entry implies acceptance of all the rules and failure to comply will result in disqualification.

All entries are judged anonymously. Please do not include your name, address, phone number, email, website, twitter handle etc on the document or in the file name or it will be disqualified.

Entries will be disqualified if they are over the word limit, sorry, there will be no refund.

Entries must be entirely your own work.

Entries must NOT have been traditionally published in book or magazine form. Work that has been self-published on a website, blog or online forum is eligible for entry.

Entries must NOT have won in any other competition. If your entry was long-listed or shortlisted in other competitions it is eligible.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed but if an entry wins a prize elsewhere, is published or scheduled for future publication, prior to the date of prize giving, you must inform us to withdraw immediately. Entry fees will not be refunded.


Maximum 1500 words.


£14 per Sudden Fiction. (Subsequent entry: £7.00)

Entries must be submitted online via Submittable. No email submissions.


  • Entries must be typed in Times New Roman 12 pt font, double-spaced with numbered pages and the Sudden Fiction’s title on every page.
  • Save as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or PDF file with the title as the file name. Do not include your name in the file name as this will lead to disqualification.
  • Max 2MB file. Include the word count for the Sudden Fiction, top right, first page.
  • Do not add cover pages
  • No illustrated work


The judges’ decision is final. No individual correspondence can be entered into. Judges are unable to comment on individual entries. The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to change the judge without notice.


Copyright remains with the author, but The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to publish extracts from any of the 10 shortlisted Sudden Fictions for publicity purposes.

Results & Awards

The Sudden Fiction 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize-winners will be announced on the website and social media on 1st March 2023. The 10 short-listed entries will be published in The Plaza Prizes Anthology, which will be launched at our awards ceremony in August 2023.

Bursary Scheme

In 2022-2023, we are offering 50 FREE ENTRY BURSARIES across all our competitions to writers on low incomes, and from underrepresented groups. You can apply for a bursary if low income, class, race, age, gender, sexuality, caring responsibilities, location, disability, or mental and physical health affects your writing. We want to encourage equality to discover quality new writing from diverse voices. Click here to apply for our Bursary Scheme.


The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to amend the rules where it deems necessary. Any changes to the rules will be posted on our website.

If you have a query about eligibility, please contact: hello@theplazaprizes.com

Are you ready to share your creation?

Enter now