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Doomsday Diary

Write a short piece of dystopian fiction involving a heart-shaped locket.

Supported by Unbound

Prizes

First place:
$20,000
Second place:
$5,000
Third place:
$2,500

Status

Completed

Timeline

Submissions opened

Jun 09, 2021

Submissions closed

Jul 01, 2021 5:59 AM CUT

Results

Jul 13, 2021

Prizes

First place:
$20,000
Second place:
$5,000
Third place:
$2,500

Status

Completed

Timeline

Submissions opened

Jun 09, 2021

Submissions closed

Jul 01, 2021 5:59 AM CUT

Results

Jul 13, 2021

About this challenge

DEADLINE EXTENDED: This Challenge will now stop accepting submissions at 1:59 AM ET on July 1, 2021.

For as long as we’ve had popular culture, we’ve had stories about the inevitable dystopia of the future—the world that will exist after our world is destroyed. This Challenge, celebrating the launch of our much-anticipated fiction community, is simple: write a short creative fiction piece, no longer than 2,000 words, about a post-apocalyptic dystopia. This is your opportunity to channel your inner Phillip K. Dick, Margaret Atwood, or Cormac McCarthy. The only requirement is that your story must include a heart-shaped locket. This necklace can be a central plot point, or just a minor detail about one of your characters, or anywhere in between. The rest is up to you. Happy creating!

Judges

John Mitchinson, founder of Unbound, has a decades-long background in publishing; prior to founding Unbound, Mitchinson was the first marketing director at Waterstones, the major British book retailer, and sat in senior publishing roles at major publishing houses Orion, Cassell, and Harvill. He currently co-hosts Unbound’s Backlisted podcast.

Erica Wagner, author, critic, literary editor, and Vocal's Lead Editorial Innovator, was literary editor of The Times for seventeen years, and is now a contributing writer for the New Statesman and consulting literary editor for Harper’s Bazaar. In addition, she writes for The New York Times, The Economist and the Guardian, teaches at Goldsmiths College in London, and has twice served as a judge of the Booker Prize.

How to enter

For your story to be eligible, it must be between 600 and 2,000 words and adhere to our Community Guidelines. Stories published on Vocal and entered into the contest up until June 30, 2021, at 1:59 AM EST will be entered for consideration. Official Rules for the Challenge can be found here.

The Doomsday Diary Challenge is exclusive to Vocal+ members. To learn more and upgrade to Vocal+ visit https://vocal.media/vocal-plus.

To be eligible to win the grand prize, second place, or third place prizes, you must be over the age of 13 and residing in a country where Stripe is available at the time of entry. A complete list of countries where Stripe is available can be found here—winners will need to have a Stripe account created and connected in order to receive the prizes. For this reason, entrants located outside of any of these countries will not be eligible to win.

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