Writing Contest: Best 2022 of 2022

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These two cats are ready to read your writing contest submissions.

Update: This contest has concluded. Thank you to all writers who entered. We hope you enjoyed the exercise.

2022-Word Writing Contest Winners

Best 2022-word essay: “Getting Somewhere” by Wendy Fontaine

Essay honorable mentions: Nick Gaudio, Kevin Grauke

Best 2022-word short stories: “Lifecycles” by Edie Meade, “Cup-O-Noodle” by Christopher Mohar

Fiction honorable mentions: Z.H. Gill, Robbie Herbst

Best 2022-word poem: “Some People Take the Edge Off” by Bradley David

Poetry honorable mention: J-T Kelly

Bonus Winners: The Best 22-Word Poems of 2022

Winner, best set of two 22-word poems: Diane Gottlieb

Runner up, best set of two 22-word poems: Angela Acosta

Winner, best individual 22-word poem: Fatima van Hattum

Runner up, best individual 22-word poem: Julia Watson

Read The Best 22-Word Poems of 2022.


We are now accepting short stories, poems, and essays for our 2022 writing contest.

We offer four ways to enter this contest:

  1. Fiction: Submit a short story exactly 2022 words in length.
  2. Nonfiction: Submit an essay exactly 2022 words in length.
  3. Poetry: Submit a 2022-word poem.
  4. Poetry Bonus: Submit one set of two poems that are exactly 22 words each (44 words total).

Titles are not included in the above word counts.

Writers can enter once in each category.

Submit your entries via email in a Word-compatible document with the title "Best of 2022 submission" to Matt Borondy at editor@identitytheory.com. Please indicate whether your entry is fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. (If your piece is a hybrid work, choose one primary genre.)

This contest will close at 11:59pm PST on November 30, 2022. Winners will be announced in December 2022 (or January 2023 if we get overwhelmed by amazing entries—so let's hope for January 2023).

Will there be prizes? Yes. But we don't know what they are yet. It's 2022. Embrace the mystery for now. (See below for updates and details.)

Who will judge this contest? We don't know the names for sure yet, but it will be a mix of staff members, magazine contributors, and special guests.

Are you interested in judging it? You don't know yet. (But please contact us if you feel like being a guest judge.)

Listen: we haven't thought this through.

But, hey, it's worth a shot.

Here's what we know about our 2022 writing competition so far:

2022 Writing Contest Entry Fees

This contest is free to enter.

We hope/request that participants will follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTokLinkedIn, and/or Substack.

You're also welcome to send us a donation. This may help boost the prize pool but will not increase your chances of winning! Speaking of the prize pool...


We will announce four winners: one for fiction, one for nonfiction, one for poetry, and one for the bonus poem.

Those four winners will receive publication on our site.

Winners will also earn additional prizes to be announced soon. The prizes will be cool. They will have value. That is all we know. We will announce them as soon as we know more.

Non-winners will be eligible for consolation prizes, which may include a special interview on our site, books, tools for writing, corgi mugs, and more. These consolation prize winners will be drawn at random, and some may be limited to entrants from North America for ease of distribution.

We will also consider immediate runners up for publication on our site if the writer desires this consideration.

Additional Rules and Considerations

Since the entry period for the contest lasts most of 2022, we'll attempt to notify a portion (approximately 50%) of non-winners early in the process. We’ll do this monthly to free non-winners up to submit their pieces to other publications.

Writers may submit one piece per section to the contest (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, bonus poetry). Each piece will earn one entry into the consolation prize drawing (excluding the winners). The maximum number of drawing entries for consolation prizes will be four per writer (one per piece submitted).

Entries should be original, not previously published, written in English, and may not be submitted by agents.

This contest is subject to change—as you may have gathered by now. But we will do our best to make sure it changes for the better.

Enter the 2022 Identity Theory Writing Contest Now

Submit to this contest now by sending us your submission in a Word-compatible document in an email with the title "Best of 2022 submission [fiction/essay/poetry/bonus poetry]" to Matt Borondy at editor@identitytheory.com.

And if 2022 isn't your thing, you can still submit your work for regular publication. Obviously.

Contact us if you have questions. (We'll find the answers eventually and continue to update the details in this space.)


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