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What is the Deathmatch?

Since 2008, Broken Pencil: the magazine of zine culture and the independent arts, has been running the world’s most audacious short story contest — The Indie Writers’ Deathmatch Short Story Contest.

“This is definitely not a contest for sensitive writer types. If you can’t handle the thought of your short story being smacked down by online voters, then you’ll want to stay well clear of this one. Think Literary Survivor. On an island. Surrounded by a sea of sharks.”
– Jennifer Moss, The Vancouver Sun

But for the 2020 contest, we decided to try something different…


The Indie Illustrator’s Deathmatch!

Entrants all draw the beginning of a short story to be released in September 2020. The top 20 are selected to battle it out in our online arena. The top 10 illustrations go on to the next round and illustrate the next section of the short story. This continues until a winner is crowned by our readers! (Four rounds in total.) With thousands of votes cast each year, the Deathmatch is a high stakes struggle for artistic bragging rights! Complete rules are here.

Fame, Fortune & More

The winners and runners-up get published in Broken Pencil Magazine, plus cash prizes of up to $500 and BP prize packs. The ultimate winner also gets an in-depth consultation with the BP staff about their career, plus their illustrations featured in Broken Pencil Magazine.

Enter …If You Dare

DEATHMATCH 2020 is now open!

☠️ Deadline to enter is December 31, 2020.

☠️ Contest begins on January 30th, 2021.

If you have questions about Deathmatch, email our fiction editor at [email protected].