Welcome to the Moment Magazine-Karma Foundation Short Fiction Contest

Note: The 2020 contest has ended. The deadline for 2021 entries is September 1, 2021.

Submit your short story for a chance to be published, win a cash prize and meet one of our illustrious contest judges!

The Moment Magazine-Karma Foundation Short Fiction Contest encourages writers to submit stories related to Judaism or Jewish culture or history. Established in 2000, judges and special guests for this international annual contest have included Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Pinsky, Walter Mosley, Nicole Krauss, Erica Jong, Jonathan Safran Foer, Geraldine Brooks, Andre Aciman and Dara Horn. Winners receive monetary awards and are honored at a ceremony in New York.

The contest is now accepting submissions for the 2021 contest. Moment will award up to three prizes to outstanding works of unpublished short fiction with Jewish content, including $1,000 for first place.

Winners may be invited to an awards ceremony.  If so, the contest covers transportation and one night in a hotel. All travel arrangements are made by Moment.

After the submission deadline, Moment editors will review all stories and contact winners if their stories are being considered for publication. Moment Magazine reserves the right at all times to select material for publishing. All selected material is subject to editing by Moment editors.

Entry Fees:

$25 for each entry (multiple submissions are accepted).

For each entry, submit an original short story—maximum length 5,000 words— with Jewish themes. You must acknowledge that you have read and agreed with the Official Contest Rules

No previously published works, or works already accepted for publication elsewhere, are eligible. Work may be under consideration elsewhere, but must be withdrawn from the competition if accepted for publication.

Moment is not responsible for information in previous guidelines or advertisements. All deadlines may be extended or changed and may carry over into the next calendar year. Moment Magazine and the Karma Foundation are not liable for any misprints or errors of any kind.

The 2019 awards ceremony was going to be held April 1 with Max Brooks at the 92nd Street Y in New York, but was canceled because of the coronavirus lockdown.

The 2018 awards ceremony was held February 7, 2019, at the  JCC Manhattan. Winners Jed Cohen and Joan Leegant read from their stories, followed by a conversation with author Andre Aciman, contest judge and author of the books Call Me By Your Name and Enigma Variations and Debra Granik, director of Winter’s Bone and Leave No Trace.


The 2017 awards ceremony was held January 16, 2018, at the Eman-El Streicker Center in New York with special guests Dani Shapiro, bestselling author of the memoirs Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion, and five novels, and Tova Mirvis, author of the memoir The Book of Separation and three novels, including the bestseller The Ladies Auxiliary. 

“Winning the contest, and being treated so kindly by everyone from Moment, was as magical an experience as I’ve had.  And to appear on the same bill as Andre Aciman, Debra Granik, and Joan Leegant—what a thrill! That Moment and the Karma Foundation, in the face of ever-dwindling interest in fiction—nay, in reading—continue to sponsor the Short Fiction Contest is a testament to those institutions’ enduring belief in the written word, and I’m over the moon to have been recognized by two organizations so vital to Jewish culture (and culture, period).” – Jed Cohen, 2018 contest winner

“I can’t begin to describe how important Moment’s Karma Foundation fiction prize is for writers. I sometimes hear people say they don’t read fiction because they only want to read “the truth,” and I have to tell them that, actually, fiction’s job is precisely to tell the truth. To shine a light on the most pressing things in life: how we live and love and thrive and suffer, and ultimately on what makes us one human family. For those of us who explore our humanity through stories, the recognition and validation that winning the Moment fiction contest provides is so exceptionally affirming.” – Joan Leegant, 2018 contest winner



Judge:: Max Brooks
First place: Diana Bletter, “What if I’ve Changed my Mind
Second place: Joan Mora, “The Anniversary Camera”
Third place: Phillip Cohen, “Call me Gefilte”


Judge: André Aciman
First place: Jed Phillip Cohen, “Goldfader in Full”
Second place: Joan Leegant, “The Eleventh Happiest Country”


Judge: Susan Coll
First place: Michalle Gould, “The Garden of Evil
Second place: Judith Kay Jacobson,“The Mark”



Judge: Nicholas Delbanco with Robert Pinsky
First place: Steven Volynets,Turboatom
Read an interview with the author here



Judge: Jami Attenberg
First place: Miriam Karmel,Summer is for People
Second place: Jason K. Friedman, “Vanished Jews of Hetta



Judge: Alice Hoffman
First place: Paul B. Cohen, “Lecha Dodi
Second place: Danielle Leshaw, Killing Brother Michael
Third place: Courtney Sender,”Lead Apron



Judge: Alan Cheuse
First place: Becky Tuch, The Inker
Second place: Lauren Watel, “The Nothing of History
Third place: Roberta Newman, “The Girl of the Comet”



Judge: Walter Mosley
First place: Joan Leegant, “Roots
Second place: Ruchama King Feuerman, “A Beggar’s Place
Third place: Avital Chizhik, “Those Who Go About the City



Judge: Nicole Krauss
First place: Jason K. Friedman, “Blue
Second place: Dalia Rosenfeld, “Infections
Third place: Laura Price Steele, Processes



Judge: Erica Jong
First place: Sherri Mandell, “Jerusalem Stone
Second place: Sally Schloss, “The Goose Girl
Third place: Kathryn Winter, “Mirušenka Moja”



Judge: Anita Diamant
First place: Racelle Rosett, “Levi
Second place: Judith Groudine Finkel, “Two By Four”
Third place: Amy Graubart Katz, “The Kiss”



Judge: Geraldine Brooks
First place: Joe Kraus, “How Beautiful Are Your Tents, O Jacob
Second place: Andi Arnovitz, “Three Dreams
Third place: Ellen Davis Sullivan, “Yiddish Land



Judge: Jonathan Safran Foer
First place: Shaun Levin, “Mark Gertler in 13 Sketches
Second place: Lisa K. Buchanan, “Trade Show”
Third place: Sande Boritz Berger, “The Sweetness”



Judge: Judy Budnitz
First place: Susan Messer, “Remanants, Like Dust in Pocket Seams”
Second place: Andrew Fox, “Raoul Wallenberg in Orbit”
Third place: Isaac Leung, “Notes on Jewish Beauty (or Tamara Herschel)”