WOW! Women On Writing Flash Fiction Contest Winners!

Custom Search

Best Writing Contests of 2023, recommended by Reedsy

Strengthening Your Fiction with Dawn Carrington, Editor-in-Chief of Vinspire Publishing

How to Write a Dystopian Novel with Madeline Dyer

Fall 2023 Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Spring 2023 Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Spring 2023 Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Winter 2023 Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Spring 2022 Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Winter 2022 Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Writing the Senses with Kimberly Lee

Revision Zoom Workshops with Christy O'Callaghan

Summer 2021 Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Summer 2021 Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Narrative Structures - 8 week workshop with Madeline Dyer

Writing Short, Writing Deep - 6 week writing workshop with Sheila Bender

Drawing with Light, Painting with Words - Enhancing Writing with Photography

Winter 2021 Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Fall 2020 Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Spring 2020 Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Fall 2019 Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Writing Horror and Gothic Fiction with Madeline Dyer

Dissecting Rejection workshop with Dawn Carrington

Submissions Consultation

Best Writing Contests of 2023, recommended by Reedsy


Go to wow-womenonwriting.comArticlesContestMarketsBlogClasses

WOW! Winter 2024 Flash Fiction Contest Winners


We had an open prompt this season. Our only guidelines were that the entries be fiction with a minimum of 250 words, and a maximum of 750 words. So, enjoy the creativity and diversity!


Thanks to our Guest Judge:

Literary Agent Hannah Andrade

Literary Agent Hannah Andrade

WOW was honored to have guest judge literary agent Hannah Andrade choose this season’s top winners. Thank you, Hannah, for sharing your time and efforts to make these contestants’ dreams come true!

Hannah’s bio:

Hannah Andrade (she/her) started as an agency assistant before moving on to acquire her own clients. She’s been with Bradford Literary Agency since 2017 and has had the privilege to work with a number of bestselling authors across a variety of genres. She likes to think of herself as an editorial-focused agent and is particularly eager to acquire BIPOC/underrepresented voices. She is prioritizing stories of joy where identity isn’t the focus and is especially excited about stories rooted in history, mythology, and legends, particularly those that are lesser-known or underrepresented in traditional publishing.

Hannah is very interested in stories that explore the intricacies of multicultural identities. She loves stories of immigration (not relegated to America) and of first/second generation Americans who struggle balancing the values of their country with the culture and heritage of their parents (as in the TV shows Ramy or Gentefied). As a Mexican-American, she would particularly love to see the stories that she grew up with showcased in new and creative ways.

Hannah’s page at Bradford Literary Agency:

Follow her on Twitter: @hhandrade93



Note to Contestants:

We want to thank each and every one of you for sharing your wonderful stories with our guest judges this season. We know it takes a lot to hit the send button! While we’d love to give every contestant a prize, just for your writing efforts, that wouldn’t be much of a competition. One of the hardest things we do after a contest ends is to confirm that someone didn’t place in the winners’ circle. But, believe it when we say that every one of you is a true winner for participating.

To recap our current process, we have a roundtable of 12+ judges who blindly score equally formatted submissions based on: Subject, Content, Technical, and Overall Impression (Style). That’s the first step of the process. If a contestant scores well on the first round, they receive an e-mail notification that she passed the initial judging phase. The second round judging averages out scores and narrows down the top entries. From this point, our guest judge helps to determine the First, Second, and Third Place Winners, followed by the Runners Up.

As with any contest, judging so many talented writers is not a simple process. With blind judging, all contestants start from the same point, no matter the skill level, experience, or writing credentials. It’s the writer’s story and voice that shines through, along with the originality, powerful and clear writing, and the writer’s heart.

We’ve enjoyed reading your stories, each and every one of them. Thank you for sharing your work with us. We hope that you continue writing and submitting so we can watch you grow as writers and storytellers, because each season is a rebirth of opportunity.

Now on to the winners!

Drum roll please....

1st Place Winner
1st Place:  Leslie Fiering
Pescadero, California
Congratulations, Leslie!
Leslie Fiering

Leslie’s Bio:

At the age of five, Leslie Fiering promised herself she’d live in California someday. At fifteen, she was horse crazy and wanted to live on a horse farm someday. At twenty, she got to California but didn't have a horse farm yet. Now, at the age of seventy-three, she has spent the past twenty-three years owning and happily living on a horse farm overlooking the California coast.

In the interim, she worked for a technology think tank writing about personal computing and mobile computing trends as well as their impact on work, play and business. Recent retirement has given her the luxury of spending more time on her farm as well as following her passion for writing both memoir and fiction. Her essay, “On the Road to Being” was recently published in the anthology, The Gift of a Long Life: Personal Essays on the Aging Experience (The Birren Center, March 2024).


Printable View


House Specials at the Castaway Grill


Pre-dinner Cocktail

I want to order the restaurant’s famous Bloody Mary. It’s made with fresh pureed tomatoes, celery juice, lemon juice and grated horse radish.

His eyes open wide in shock and surprise. “Didn’t anyone tell you? I don’t drink. I’ve never touched a drop of alcohol in my life.” What follows is a lengthy explanation, bordering on too much information for a first date, about how his alcoholic father’s abusive behavior destroyed his family. My mother’s friend who set up the blind date failed to mention that.

“Of course, that shouldn’t stop you from ordering a drink. Don’t worry about me.”

We both order iced tea.


It’s hard to decide which appetizer to order. The crab croquettes with remoulade sauce on frisée lettuce sound wonderful. The bacon wrapped scallops are tempting. I go with the Wagu beef on the recommendation of a friend who lives midtown and eats here often.

My date doesn’t order anything but looks at me balefully until finally admitting he’s vegan and can’t eat anything that has eyes.

Of course, I feel guilty, no longer enjoying the appetizer. Still, I can’t resist asking him, “Then why are you wearing a leather belt and shoes?”

He responds without a trace of irony, “I work in finance and have to dress the part.”

Do scallops have eyes? Maybe I should have ordered them instead.


The waiter recites the specials. Ribeye steak with roasted asparagus and potatoes au gratin; Dungeness crab served on a bed of wilted radicchio and watercress; or a NY Strip/lobster tail plate with roasted corn and tomato halves. I salivate a little more at the mention of each special when I notice the look of distress on my date’s face. Every entrée has eyes.

“What can you eat?” I ask.

“Maybe just a side of the asparagus and the corn.”

Unable to bear the thought of eating another course under my date’s baleful gaze, I cave and order a pasta dish. The waiter, realizing he’s not going to make his usual tip, hurries off.

My sacrifice is in vain.

“Don’t you know that wheat is terrible for you? Haven’t you noticed that bloated feeling and the brain fog you get after eating it?”

Screw it. In spite of the eyes, his or the cow’s, I decide to switch to the steak but the decision comes too late. The waiter is just stepping into the kitchen at the other side of the room.

Frustrated, I can’t help asking, “if you can’t eat anything on the menu, why did you choose this restaurant?”

“Oh, because it’s close to the office and I figured I could head back if things didn’t work out between us tonight.”


“There’s a gluten-free lava cake on the dessert menu,” I point out to my date after both of our barely touched dinners have been taken from the table. Of course, he can’t eat it. The sugar would break his keto diet.

“How about the Bananas Foster? They’re flambé which means the alcohol will burn off.”

“No way I’d eat that. It’s a myth that you can completely cook off alcohol. There’s always an alcohol residual.”

I settle for a plate of strawberries, hold the whipped cream. I’m simply not ready for a lecture on lactose intolerance or the cruelty of the dairy industry. He asks for a refill on his iced tea.

While he leans back in his seat contentedly watching the other diners in the restaurant, I chew each bare strawberry on the plate with the same intensity an animal uses to gnaw its foot free of a trap.

After Dinner Coffee, Liqueur, Porto and Cognac Selection

When I finish the strawberries, the waiter returns to see if we’d like an after-dinner drink. He recommends the Castaway Grill latte with dark, sweet rum and dusted with Mexican chocolate—or maybe a taste of the 12-year-old Taylor’s port, which is drinking particularly well now. My date lets it be known that he might like to stay for a cup of coffee, but only if it’s fresh ground—and free trade, of course.

Not daring to waste the opportunity for a hasty retreat, I decline with a mumbled excuse of early AM work commitments. As we’re pulling on our coats, he looks into my eyes with a warm smile. “I had a wonderful time this evening. When would you like to get together and do it again?”



What Leslie Won:

  • $400.00 Cash Prize
  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Publication of winning story on website
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin
2nd Place Winner
2nd Place:  Mira Fu-En Huang
Baltimore, Maryland
Congratulations, Mira!
Mira Fu-En Huang

Mira’s Bio:

Mira Fu-En Huang is a professional musician who likes to tell stories through singing as well as writing. When she is not dashing about for concerts or working her day-job in the nonprofit sector, Mira enjoys reading, writing, café-hopping, crafting, and collecting stuffed animals. She is currently working on a young adult coming-of-age novel (which may or may not ever see the light of day), and is honored to have her first publication under WoW. To learn more about Mira’s other work, please visit

Printable View


That Place Beyond the Sky


The lantern is conceived as a skeleton of bamboo bones, each curved and secured into place with reverent care. From that framework sprouts a skin, a quilt of paper patches fastened with fine layers of glue. Fins, eyes, and scales are painted upon the skin in brilliant red tones, and with the help of a candle and a holding rod, a glowing paper fish is born.

The fish greets its owner, a girl whose height only exceeds the dining table by a ponytail that bursts atop her head like a firecracker. She snatches the rod with giddy glee, and the fish learns to fly in the hands of a haphazard puppeteer. The mother dresses her in wide-legged pants and a Mandarin collared top, secured by buttons of knotted brocade.

For a while, the fish accompanies her everywhere, a glowing paper lollipop in an enamored child’s hands. She shows her prize to everyone: her neighbors, her teachers, her classmates. Her classmates use fingers to stretch their eyes into slanted slits and dash away, laughing.

The girl laughs, too, or at least she pretends to. She hides the fish in her closet with the pants and the Mandarin collared top. More items join the disheveled pile: a crumpled red envelope, house slippers, a pendant in the shape of a Chinese character. Dust wraps hundreds of minute gray fingers around them.

A gap in the closet door allows sunlight to bleach the fish’s eye. Though blinded, the fish still watches. The girl slinks her way to middle school, hiding from a mother whose heavy accent embarrasses her in front of her friends. The girl patters into high school, an awkward combination of ripped jeans, bleached hair, and angry pimples. More items are added to the dusty closet’s grave: a CD of music, a picture book, a pair of jade earrings.

The girl’s departure barely affects the little fish. The closet gains space as she shoves clothing into moving boxes, only to be refilled with drafts of stifling air. Once a month, the mother opens the closet doors, allowing the fish a small reprise. Suns and moons dance an unending ballet to the accompaniment of a buzzing news channel and a mother chopping vegetables downstairs.

The music stops. The house grows dark and quiet. Dust chokes the fish’s scales as pallid air presses down like a cloak. And then, the door opens.

The girl is older now. Gone is the bleached hair, and she wears a simple black top and pants. She pulls the Mandarin collared shirt from its forgotten vault and sneezes when she shakes it clean. Embroidered bamboo, faded yet proud, blazes against red polyester as she holds the piece up to herself.

It’s too small, and she cries.

She folds the shirt and pulls the other items out, one by one. The red envelope contains a crumpled ten-dollar bill and a note with the symbol for prosperity. The picture book tells the story of red slippers and a Chinese New Year.

The fish is retrieved with hesitant care. The weight of its comrades has snapped bones and torn delicate skin. She carries it to a table and opens her laptop. The Google searches “Chinese paper lantern” and “How to fix a paper lantern” reflect against the fish’s unseeing eye.

In the end, she doesn’t fix it—she is afraid to. New searches like “Paper lantern festival” and “Chinese sky lantern” spit out the words “history,” “culture,” and “wish.” She retrieves strips of bamboo and curves them into a new form, doggedly trying and retrying as the wood buckles and snaps in her inexperienced hands.

When complete, the new lantern is clumsy and misshapen but functional. She carries it outside on a chilly February night. Unlit but nestled in the crook of the woman’s arm, the fish watches her light the base of her creation.

The wavering speck of light floats lazily from the woman’s hands, up into a cloudy night. As the lantern rotates on a gentle breeze, the fish sees words on its side:

I wish you happiness
in that place beyond the sky

They watch, fish and girl, as the lantern meanders upward. For a moment, they are young again, young and happy and proud. But it’s a fleeting moment, and alone, they go back inside.



What Mira Won:

  • $300.00 Cash Prize
  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Publication of winning story on website
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin
3rd Place Winner
3rd Place: Amanda Smith
Silver Spring, Maryland
Congratulations, Amanda!
Amanda Smith

Amanda’s Bio:

Amanda Smith is a budding flash fiction writer, aspiring children’s author, poet, and former high school English teacher. She finds time for writing after working her day job in philanthropy—and putting her toddler to bed. She lives in Silver Spring, MD with her daughter, partner, and two dogs. You can find her on Twitter @amanda-n-smith.

Printable View



Her gaze is fixed on the screen. It has been two years since the cancer took him, since her life ended. Now, she’s about to speak to him again—or at least, to what’s left of him. There is so much left to say, so many questions to ask. Her cursor hovers shakily over the infinity-shaped Eternity icon, a deep breath steadying her electric nerves before she clicks.

[Welcome to Eternity: Where Memories Live Forever] reads the window. She impatiently spins the honey-yellow amber ring on her finger and waits for the slogan screen to disappear.

“Marianne,” the familiar voice flickers to life through the speakers as his face materializes, a ghost incarnated in pixels.

“Hi,” she whispers incredulously.

He smiles, revealing the dimple on his left cheek. Marianne finds herself relaxing, reflexively letting out the breath she was holding.

“How are you?” His head cocked just so, emerald eyes twinkling.

“I’ve been better.” Her fingers begin unknotting a tangle in her hair.

“You look good.” He grins, smoothing his own onyx-black mane impishly.

“Liar.” She laughs despite herself. He always did have a way of disarming her.


[Your session will end in 2 minutes] reads the discreet timer at the top of the screen.

“We have to say goodbye soon.”

“I’ll be back.”

“I'll be waiting. Love you, mean it.”

“Love you.”

As the session ends, she crumples, alone again, emotions roiling. Is it worth it to see him again? To stir up the grief that she works so hard to stifle? Impulsively, she moves the mouse down to the “Purchase Session Pack” button and clicks. She fills in her credit card number by memory and then checks the “Save Payment Method” box. Ping. [Your Eternity Session Pack is Confirmed!] The electric glow of the screen dims, plunging her into darkness as she sits motionless in the hollow of her chair.


Morning light seeps through shuttered blinds and awakens her.

Sloughing off the pajamas she’s been wearing for countless days into a heap on the bathroom floor, she lets the hot water fog the mirror. Memories of their life envelop her along with the steam—movie tickets, ice cream, hidden love notes. And then his death: piles of bills, the lingering scent of his cologne—and a woman’s amber ring concealed in his drawer. Was any of it real? She takes the green mitt from where it is looped on the shower caddy and runs it over her body that hasn’t been touched by any hands but hers in endless empty-bedded nights. She watches the water swirl around the drain like the whirlpool of tenderness, joy, grief, betrayal, and rage she feels pouring out of her.


After slipping on her silk bathrobe (a 12th-anniversary gift), she meticulously applies her lipstick (“Lady in Red,” his favorite). She plods to the kitchen, pulls the last two eggs from the nearly empty fridge to scramble, and puts a kettle on.

After ensuring her email pinging is silenced, and her phone is set to “do not disturb,” she opens her laptop and clicks the Eternity icon, a ritual now.

“Hi,” he says with the same light-hearted demeanor of every session, and from all their years together—before he broke her heart. Once with his death, and again with secrets unearthed after he was buried.

The shriek of the kettle pierces the air. Marianne’s simmering question erupts.

“Who was she?” Marianne demands.

His face freezes in a look of stunned surprise. His mouth parted. A black box of text appears, obscuring his eyes.

[This is an AI-simulated avatar developed by Eternity. It is here to provide companionship and the comfort of cherished memories based on shared experiences. Responses are generated based on past interactions and available data. For discussions outside the programmed knowledge, we recommend seeking human advice or interaction.]

Marianne stares unmoving at his static face as the minutes tick by. The kettle continues to scream untended.

[Your session will end in 1 minute]

[Thank you for using Eternity: Where Memories Live Forever]

The screen’s glow extinguishes, leaving only her reflection staring back. She shuts the laptop, the amber ring clinking against its plastic lid as it closes.



What Amanda Won:

  • $200.00 Cash Prize
  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Publication of winning story on website
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin

RUNNERS UP (In no particular order):

Congratulations to the runners-up! It was very close, and these stories are excellent in every way.

Click on their entries to read:

The Chaperone by Kimberly Crow, Medfield, Massachusetts

Sea Monkeys by Jordan Bass, Virginia

The Rest Area at Chautauqua Lake by Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar, New Albany, Ohio

The Ghost of Louise Gluck Takes Persephone Apple Picking for the First Time by Liz Chang, Malvern, Pennsylvania

Wings by T.C. Kemper, Louisville, Kentucky

Captivity and the Indignity of Hunger by Brigid Sim, Plainfield, Illinois

The “London” Cafe by R.H. O'Brien, Golden, Colorado

What the Runners Up Won:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Publication of winning story on website
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin

HONORABLE MENTIONS (In no particular order):

Congratulations to our Winter 2024 Contest Honorable Mentions! Your stories stood out and are excellent in every way.

Michael Was Friends with Janet First by Anne Freeman, Melbourne, Australia

There Is a Lot of Waiting When It Comes to Death by Sophie Goldstein, Los Angeles, California

Achromatopsia by Erica Sharlette, London, UK

It Was Gavin’s Father, Not Mine by Brooke Carnwath, Bozeman, Montana

Word Allergies by Francisca Bullock, Canada

Speech Meet by Alicia Luna, Sacramento, California

Never Did Run Smooth by Sochi, Hamilton, ON, Canada

My Little Green-Eyed Monster by Kiara Smalls, Jacksonville, Florida

Impossible Hopes by Marlene Archie, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Buttercream by Wanlin Jiang, Irvine, California


What the Honorable Mentions Won:

  • $20 Amazon Gift Card


This brings the Winter 2024 Flash Fiction Contest officially to a close. Although we’re not able to provide a prize to every contestant, we will always give our heartfelt thanks for your participation and contribution, and for your part in making WOW! all that it can be. We hope to read more of your work. Write on!

Check out the latest Contest:


    About WOW! Women on Writing | Ad Rates | Contact Us | Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2024 All rights reserved.

Graphic Design/Illustration by Mackintosh Multimedia.
Web Design/Programming by Glenn Robnett.