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What is the 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

Since 2008, Broken Pencil: the magazine of zine culture and the independent arts, has been running the world’s most audacious short story contest.  In the Deathmatch short story contest, the top stories as selected by Broken Pencil are pitted against each other in our online arena. The winning story is decided by Broken Pencil readers themselves, through a vote on the official magazine website. In the online arena, anyone and everyone can read the stories and vote on which one deserves to reign supreme. The authors will be in constant communication with their audience through the comment boards, and they can hype up their own story, or trash-talk their opponent’s writing. The winning story moves on to the next round until there are only two stories left, battling it out for ultimate victory! With over 100,000 votes cast, the Deathmatch is a high stakes struggle for literary bragging rights!

The winners and runners-up get published in Broken Pencil, plus cash prizes and prize packs. The ultimate winner also gets the unique Indie Writers Makeover in which they meet with an editor at a publishing house, an established literary agent, and an acclaimed writer. They will comment on the work, guide the winner on entering the publishing industry, and make suggestions for next steps. 

The Deathmatch is open for submissions every year from October 1 to Dec 31. Check back here for a link to our submission page.

If you are interested in being a Deathmatch sponsor or have any other questions about Deathmatch, email fiction@brokenpencil.com.