$20,000 ‘Flash Fiction’ Competition Open to English, Arabic Submissions

The third annual Museo de la Palabra Short Tales contest is now open. The Toledo, Spain-based competition runs from now through November 23, 2012 (GMT+1), which is the “International Day of Words.”

The contest has been gradually opening up to world writers. In its first year, the short-short story contest was only open to Spanish-language contributions of 100 words or fewer. Last year, it opened to three additional languages: Arabic, English, and Hebrew. However, according to Museo Subdirectora Silvia Ronquillo, last year “we had to translate the ones in Arab[ic] and Hebrew… The translated stories were translated by a company we hired to do so.”

Unsurprisingly, none of the foreign-language stories made the contest’s list of finalists last year. However, Ronquillo said, “we know this is not ideal and we will try and get Arab and Hebrew members for the Jury for this edition.”

Ronquillo also added that “on the last edition we received many more in Spanish, that’s maybe the reason why the winner and finalists were all in Spanish language although they were from many countries worldwide.”

The opening to Arabic-language stories seems natural to Spain, as there is a long relationship between the two languages. As to why Hebrew was included, Ronquillo said that it’s because the foundation’s headquarters are in Toledo. “This city has had a huge tradition for centuries of coexistence between Christians, Arabs, and Hebrews, so we want to use it as an example of how the peace and coexistence is possible between different backgrounds and cultures.”

The contest has both a “social” and a literary aim, and each story must somehow address the idea of “words and freedom.” Ronquillo added the foundation’s motto is “Words are the bond of humankind.”

You can read last year’s winning story, “La sopa,” online.

Each interested author can submit two stories. The winner will take $20,000, with $1,000 for three runners-up for the best stories in each language. Stories must be original and previously unpublished, and the winner will be published online.

According to Ronquillo, since they receive so many entries, the process is a bit complicated:

“[Last year,] first there a group of twenty teachers and professors from the Escuela de Escritores in Madrid, which is a creative writing school, They select about two hundred short stories and then there´s a jury composed by relevant personalities of politics, culture and arts that choose the winner and the finalists from those two hundred stories that were selected.”

If you’d like to enter, the participation form is at the bottom of this page.