Skip to main content

Eleventh Annual Popular Fiction Awards: List of Winners

Writer’s Digest would like to congratulate the winners of the Eleventh Annual Popular Fiction Awards. Each year, writers submit their very best short stories in one of six categories: crime, horror, romance, science fiction, thriller, and young adult. The winners of this year’s awards were chosen from 1,300 entries and represent the very best in genre fiction. Please join us in congratulating our winners!

For complete coverage of the Tenth Annual Popular Fiction Awards, see the May/June issue of Writer’s Digest. The stories of the Grand Prize winner and the First Place winner in each genre have been posted for you to read and enjoy (see links below).

For more details on the Twelfth Annual Popular Fiction Awards, click here!

Grand Prize

“Don’t Be Scarred,” Kristen Roupenian (read it here)

For an extended interview with Roupenian, click here.


First Place

“A Special Agent,” Steven Briggs (read it here)

Honorable Mentions

“A Change in the Weather,” Mary H. Fox

“Get,” Mark Cohen

“Canned Ham with Murder on the Side,” Jill Peterson

“Bagatelle,” P. Jo Anne Burgh


First Place

“Phantom Limb,” Chris Page (read it here)

Honorable Mentions

“Write to Harm,” David LaConte

“Seeds,” S.J. Hartsfield

“The Dead Lie,” Raymond Esposito

“The Black Hole,” Arin Kambitsis


First Place

“That Which Remains,” Timothy L. Jones (read it here)

Honorable Mentions

“Homecoming,” Dave Cenker

“Mind the Gaps,” Liss Young

“Bits and Pieces,” Erin Chavis

“The Muse,” Davood Bina

Science Fiction

First Place

“The Twentieth of July,” C.R. Hodges (read it here)

Honorable Mentions

“Taka-Tak-Taka-Tak-Taka-Tak,” Adriana DiNardo

“The Holes,” Yvonne Tibbs

“A Walk by the River,” Clarissa Wilson

“Entangled,” Robert G. Ferrell


First Place

“Night Vision,” C.J. Sweet (read it here)

Honorable Mentions

“Leaving Long Island,” Agnes Blum

“Water Views,” Alice McTyer

“Blood Brothers,” Karin Goodwin

“Front Page News,” Paula Phillips

Young Adult

First Place

“Stuffy,” Jan Flynn (read it here)

Honorable Mentions

“Birna,” Joyce Audy Zarins

“Giants,” Michael Hurd

“The Calf,” Rio Henson

“Good Walls Make Good Neighbors,” Robyn West


Samantha Vérant: On Romance and Recipes

Author Samantha Vérant discusses how her writing process changed while writing her new contemporary romance novel, The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 633

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a warm up poem.

Do I Pitch Different to Agents vs. Editors?

Do I Pitch Different to Agents vs. Editors?

Every so often writers ask if they should pitch different to agents vs. editors. This post answers that question and provides some extra help on how to successfully pitch both.

Urban Legend

Urban Legend

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, feature an urban legend in your story.

Grose, 12:6

Jessica Grose: On the Unsustainability of Parenting

Opinion writer and author Jessica Grose discusses the complicated subject of modern motherhood in her new nonfiction book, Screaming on the Inside.

Elizabeth Shick: On Research Through Immersion

Elizabeth Shick: On Research Through Immersion

Award-winning novelist Elizabeth Shick discusses the complete rewrite she devoted to her debut novel, The Golden Land.

6 Habits Writers Can Learn From Athletes

6 Habits Writers Can Learn From Athletes

Author and athlete Henriette Lazaridis shares six tips and habits that writers can learn from athletes.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Last Chance to Nominate Your Favorite Writing Websites, Our Historical Fiction Virtual Conference, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce the deadline to nominate your favorite writing websites, our Historical Fiction Virtual Conference, and more!

4 Tips for Writing a Modern Retelling

4 Tips for Writing a Modern Retelling

From having reverence for the original to making it your own, author Nikki Payne shares four tips for writing a modern retelling.