Submissions open June 1 - November 1
$1,000 Prize
$20 Entry Fee

Awarding one of the richest purses among literary magazines—$1,000 for the winning story—the John Steinbeck Award for Fiction recognizes exceptional works of fiction. Aesthetically, we are open to most styles and approaches, including experimental and literary. All works should be stand-alone short stories, not chapters of a longer work. Please limit prose submissions to 5,000 words. 


Please be sure to:

  • include your name, address, phone number, and email address on the first page

  • format stories in double-spaced 12-point font

  • include word count

  • number pages

  • provide a 50-word bio

  • make sure your Submittable profile is up-to-date


The contest reading fee is $20, which includes a free copy of the latest edition of Reed. (Please note that submitters with US addresses on file will receive print copies of the journal, whereas those with overseas addresses will receive digital copies.) Multiple submissions are accepted as separate entries. Contest submissions not selected for final judging may still be considered for publication in the magazine.


Issue 154 Judge

Rita Bullwinkel is the author of the story collection Belly Up, which won the 2018 Believer Book Award. Bullwinkel’s writing has been published in Tin House, The White Review, Conjunctions, BOMBVice, NOON, and Guernica. She is a recipient of grants and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Brown University, Vanderbilt University, Hawthornden Castle, and The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. Both her fiction and translation have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. She is an Editor at Large for McSweeney’s and a Contributing Editor for NOON. She lives in San Francisco and teaches at the California College of the Arts.

John Steinbeck (1902-1968) won the 1962 Nobel Prize for Literature. Born and raised in Salinas, California, Steinbeck attended Stanford University, but did not graduate. The Grapes of Wrath, his novel chronicling the lives of California migrant farmers, won the Pulitzer Prize and is considered by many to be Steinbeck’s magnum opus. Steinbeck is the author of more than twenty-seven novels and short stories, including Of Mice and MenTortilla FlatIn Dubious Battle, and East of Eden. Steinbeck is regarded as one of the masters of California literature, and San José State University hosts a permanent collection of Steinbeck research materials through the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies.