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Our oldest stories are about the bonds between kin and clan – how they’re broken, how they’re renewed, and how kinship can form between people with no shared genes at all. Family can embody one person’s treasured ideal of love, warmth, and home and another’s soul-crushing nightmare. The past two years have taught us a lot about our relationships with other people, and hence family is the theme of this year’s QuaranCon short story competition.


The rules:

  1. Submissions must be speculative fiction short stories (no poetry, songs, or films, as cool as those competitions would be).

    1. Speculative fiction means anything that falls into the science fiction–fantasy bucket, from fairy tales to magic realism to cyberpunk to horror.

    2. The story must be complete, e.g., not a chapter of a book or other excerpt from a longer work.

  2. In some way, the submission must fit the theme of family – but how you wedge your words into that framework is up to you.

  3. Submissions must be 2500 words or less (no exceptions; in past competitions we’ve disqualified some outstanding submissions because they exceeded the word count limit).

  4. Submissions should be in MS Word. In addition:

    1. They should be formatted in 12-pt Times New Roman font and double spaced.

    2. Each page should be numbered.

    3. The title and word count should appear in the header of every page.

    4. The author’s name should not appear anywhere in the file.

  5. Submissions must be original stories written by the person submitting them.

  6. Submissions may not be formally published.

    1. By this we mean it should not be available for sale elsewhere, e.g., as part of an anthology or included in a magazine or journal. Stories posted on your blog or given for free to your newsletter subscribers are acceptable.

  7. No erotica. (This is a family-friendly con – sort of, because we do like swearing.)


Some tips:

  1. A good short story has a resolution; otherwise, it’s just an anecdote.

  2. Poor spelling and grammar will not serve you well in this or any other competition, so give us your best work.


How to submit:

  1. Submit your story between 1 February 2022 and 24 March 2022.

  2. Fill out your information and upload your story here: 



A competition manager will ensure that submitted stories meet submission criteria and will ensure author names are removed so that stories are judged anonymously. Judges will select a winner and 2 runners up. Stories will be judged on the usual factors, such as readability (grammar, style, flow, etc.), plot and character development, and overall impression of quality. 




The winning story will be read during the awards session of the con. The winner and runners up will also receive a QuaranCon Short Fiction Competition badge to go with the all-important bragging rights! Other prizes include:


First place: Free edit of up to 10,000 words of fiction (short story, book chapter, etc) – worth £100!

First, second, and third place: QuaranCon badge, a QuaranCon book package (some ebook, some physical copies), and placement in the next QuaranCon Short Fiction Anthology (published every 2 years).



All works submitted to QuaranCon will remain the sole property of the author. If the story places in the top three and is entered into the anthology, earnings are split equally between all authors and QuaranCon. QuaranCon will cover all costs for artwork and editing. By submitting your work, you agree to these terms.

QuaranCon2022 Short Fiction Banner.jpg
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