The Great Chicago Novel, in 750 Words

Can you write the Great Chicago Novel, in 750 words or less?

If you try, you’ll be competing with one of Chicago’s greatest authors, and you’ll be judged by another. To go along with its selection of Saul Bellow’s The Adventures of Augie March as the 10th Anniversary “One Book, One Chicago,” (we said the book closely resembled Rahm Emanuel's life) the Chicago Public Library and DePaul University are sponsoring a Flash Fiction Writing Contest.

Following the theme of Bellow’s famous opening line, “I am an American, Chicago born” the stories must be set in, and inspired by, Chicago.

The judge? Stuart Dybek, an author known for his short stories about growing up on the South Side during the 1950s and 1960s. Dybek’s books include I Sailed With Magellan and The Coast of Chicago (itself a One Book, One Chicago). 
Three finalists will read their stories at the Stop Smiling storefront, 1371 N. Milwaukee Ave., on Thursday, October 13. (If we're lucky, Dybek will also read from the very funny novel he's working on, as he did at a recent Stop Smiling event.) The winning entry will be published in The Chicagoan, a reboot of the classic Chicago magazine, published by the same guys who brought you Stop Smiling.
    Here are the entry details:

· Reading Fee: None
· Send no more than three pieces per entry, 750-word maximum per piece.
· Only one entry per person.
· All entries must be prose fiction.
· All entries must be submitted via email to
· All entries must be anonymously submitted (see below).
· Previously published works and works forthcoming elsewhere are acceptable.
· Simultaneous submissions are OK.
· All entrants must currently live in the Chicagoland area.

Postmark Deadline: Friday, September 23, 2011

Entrants must include their name, phone number, postal address and email address in the body of their email. Please attach each entry as its own .doc or .pdf file. No personal information may be included on the entries themselves. Chicago Public Library cannot consider work from anyone who is a current or former student of the prize judge. We also will not consider work from anyone who is a personal friend of the judge. Winners will be notified by email on or around October 6. For contest details go to  and click on the contest link.

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