Million Writers Award
Notable Stories of 2005

Here they are: The best online short stories published during 2005.

All genres of short stories are represented below. All types of writing styles are on exhibit. Journals and magazines from around the world are highlighted. The only criteria used to select these stories was excellence and, as you will see, there is plenty of excellence to be found among online journals and magazines.

Thanks to everyone who nominated a story. And a big thanks to the preliminary judges who helped screen the nominations and/or nominated their own lists of favorite stories: Sefi Atta, Randa Jarrar, Kyle Minor, Bob Thurber, Dan Wickett, and the three additional judges who wished to remain anonymous.

The top ten stories of the year will be released on April 1, with the public vote for the top story also beginning then. If you enjoy the Million Writes Award, consider supporting storySouth by making a donation to help cover the costs of using a secure vote system for the public vote part of the award (this will prevent people from hacking or manipulating the vote).

Thanks to everyone for helping to support online literature.

Jason Sanford
fiction editor and publisher

Top Online Magazines and Journals

Million Writers Award for best online publication

  • Strange Horizons wins this award for having seven of their stories selected as notable stories of the year (more than seven stories, actually, since the "Tales of the Chinese Zodiac" by Jenn Reese is 12 individual stories published over 12 months).

Million Writers Award for best publisher of novella-length fiction

  • The King's English wins this award for the second year in a row. The site continues to be the premiere place for longer fiction on the web (they even published a very good novel-length story, Halcyon by J. Todd Gillette).

Million Writers Award for best new online magazine or journal

  • Anderbo wins this award. This new journal features a top-notch editorial crew and started 2005 out with a bang. The journal should achieve even greater heights in the years to come.

Finally, SCIFICTION is awarded an honorary "can't believe the bastards shut you down" award because, well, it is still hard to believe that the penny-pinchers at the Sci-Fi Channel shut down the top online market for quality speculative fiction.

Notable stories of 2005:


Adirondack Review



The Barcelona Review



Blithe House Quarterly: queer fiction lives here

The Blue Moon Review

ChiZine: Treatments of Light and Shade in Words


Crime Scene Scotland

Danforth Review


Dublin Quarterly

Eclectica Magazine


Fiction Warehouse

FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry

Gator Springs


Hardluck Stories


Identity Theory

The Infinite Matrix

Ink Pot

The King's English

Laura Hird


Literary Mama

Lit Rag

McSweeney's Internet Tendency

Me Three

Mississippi Review

MWU: Muslim Wake Up!

Narrative Magazine

North American Review

Outsider Ink

Paumanok Review


The Pittsburgh Quarterly Online

Poor Mojo's Almanac(k)

Raging Face


SHOTS Magazine

Shred of Evidence

Small Spiral Notebook

Southern Gothic Online

Spoiled Ink

Stickman Review

The Story Garden 5.O: The Best of Scrawl


Strange Horizons

Swink Magazine

Thieves Jargon

Thirst for Fire

The Thrilling Detective Web Site

Thunder Sandwich


Toasted Cheese


Underground Voices

Velvet Mafia


Words Without Borders

Word Riot

Preliminary Judges for the 2006 Million Writers Award:

Sefi Atta was born in Lagos, Nigeria and currently lives in Mississippi, U.S.A.. She was awarded PEN International's David T.K. Wong Prize for Short Fiction and her debut novel Everything Good Will Come was published in 2005. Learn more about her at

Randa Jarrar was born in Chicago in 1978 and raised in Egypt and Kuwait. She moved back to the U.S. after the Gulf War, and currently lives with her son in Austin, Texas. She has published her stories in a number of literary journals, including Ploughshares and Eyeshot. Her short story "You Are a 14-Year-Old Arab Chick Who Just Moved to Texas" won the 2004 Million Writers Award.

Kyle Minor's fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in nationally-distributed literary magazines including Quarterly West, The Carolina Quarterly, River Teeth, Antioch Review and Mid American Review. His stories and essays have won several literary awards, most recently from Writer's Digest and The Atlantic Monthly. He is a regular book reviewer for the Columbus Dispatch and editor of the Frostproof Review. He teaches fiction writing at the Ohio State University. Learn more about him at

Bob Thurber is an award winning writer who studied literary technique and practiced his craft daily for twenty-five years before submitting anything for publication. He’s presently working on his second novel, chain-smoking Camels, and waiting for his agent to call. To learn about more of his transgressions visit

Dan Wickett runs the Emerging Writers Network (, and, where he is developing a community of readers and writers of literary work.  A proponent of literary journals, Dan conducted 12 e-panels with interviews of the editors of 75 print and online journals last year.

There were also three judges who wished to remain anonymous (so, in the words of one of these judges, her writing friends wouldn't get mad when she didn't pick their stories).

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