The storySouth Million Writers Award
Notable Stories of 2010

Here they are: The best online short stories published during 2010.

Many thanks to the editors and readers who nominated stories. And a big thanks to the preliminary judges who screened the nominations and/or picked their own favorites: Forrest Anderson, Zachary Amendt, Adam Callaway, Thom Didato, Rusty Keele, Travis Kurowski, Dorothee Lang, Svetlana Lavochkina, Judah Mahay, Karen L. Newman, Gavin C Pugh, Nick Ripatrazone, and Wayne E. Yang (along with the judges who wished to remain anonymous).

The top ten stories of the year will be released by the end of May, with the public vote for the top story beginning then. Thanks to the support of our donors, the winners of the public vote will receive the following monetary prizes:

  • $600, plus the $100 ThinkGeek gift certificate for the first place winner;
  • $200 for the runner-up;
  • $100 for the honorable mention (third place).

If you are curious about my comments on these notable stories as I read them over the coming month, please check out my blog and website.

Thanks to everyone for their support of online literature.

Jason Sanford
founding editor

Top Online Magazines and Journals

Million Writers Award for best online publication

  • The winner of this year's Million Writers Award for best publication is Words without Borders, the online magazine of international literature. Words without Borders, whose goal is to open "doors to international exchange through translation, publication, and promotion of the world's best writing," had another amazing year, publishing 12 monthly issues on themes such as Urdu fiction from India, writings from Hungary, and much more. If you're not reading Words without Borders, you're literally missing a world of literature.

    I should also note that the winner of this award has always been the magazine which lands the most stories on the notable stories list. However, this year Blackbird tied Words without Borders, with both receiving six nominations. Because Blackbird won the award only three years ago, I decided the award would be given to Words without Borders while Blackbird was named runner-up. I strongly suggest people check out both of these great online magazines.

Million Writers Award for best new online magazine

  • The winner of this year's Million Writers Award for best new online magazine is Lightspeed Magazine. Edited by John Joseph Adams, Lightspeed has quickly established itself as one of the premier professional markets for science fiction and landed four nominations on this list. Equally as impressive, "Arvies" by Adam-Troy Castro was selected by more Million Writers Award judges than any other story in the history of our award.

    I should add that it was difficult to pick this year's winner because so many great magazines debuted in 2010. The runner-ups for best new magazine are Daily Science Fiction, Jersey Devil Press, Metazen, Prime Number Magazine, and TriQuarterly Online (formerly the print magazine Triquarterly, which transitioned to online only last year).

The Notable Stories of 2010

3AM Magazine



Abyss & Apex


Apex Magazine

The Apple Valley Review


The Barcelona Review

Bartleby Snopes

Beneath Ceaseless Skies



The Canadian Science Fiction Review

Carve Magazine

Cerise Press

Cha: An Asian Literary Journal

Cherry Bleeds

Chiaroscuro (ChiZine): Treatments of Light and Shade in Words

Clarkesworld Magazine

Clapboard House

The Collagist


Corium Magazine


Daily Science Fiction

Daybreak Magazine

Drunken Boat

Eclectica Magazine



Fantasy Magazine

Fifty-Two Stories

Fix It Broken



The Fox Chase Review

Freight Stories

Fried Chicken and Coffee

Fringe Magazine

FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry


Gray Sparrow Press

Guernica Magazine


Hot Metal Bridge

Identity Theory

Istanbul Review


Jersey Devil Press



Kill Author

Knee-Jerk Magazine

Lightspeed Magazine

Literal Latte


Matchbook Literary Magazine


Menda City Review



Narrative Magazine

Necessary Fiction

Night Train

  • “This Is How We Walk on the Moon”*

    * Note: Technically this story is just under the 1000 word minimum limit for the Million Writers Award. However, the judge who selected it said it's "good, good, good" so, in the interested of promoting "good, good, good" stories we included it here.

NOÖ Journal

On The Premises

Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show

Our Stories


Pedestal Magazine

Plots with Guns

Prick of the Spindle

Prime Number Magazine

Red Fez Publications

Redstone Science Fiction

Referential Magazine

Rose and Thorn

Saltimbanque Review

Silver Blade

Slush Pile Magazine

Spinetingler Magazine

Spork Press



Strange Horizons


Summerset Review

Super Arrow

Superstition Review

  • "Rabble of Butterflies" by Joy Lazendorfer
    Link not currently available

Swink Magazine


Toasted Cheese

TriQuarterly Online

Underground Voices

Word Riot

Words without Borders

Writers' Bloc Magazine

Preliminary Judges

Many thanks to the preliminary judges who selected these notable stories. To avoid any conflicts of interest or peer pressure, these judges remained anonymous to both each other and the general public until they made their selections. In addition, they were not allowed to select stories or authors with which they had a conflict of interest (this means, for example, that judges could not select their own stories for inclusion on this list).

Forrest Anderson teaches creative writing and composition at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina. He has a PhD from Florida State University, where he worked for two years as an archivist and assistant for Robert Olen Butler. His fiction and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Narrative, The Southeast Review, Blackbird, The Chattahoochee Review, and elsewhere.

Zachary Amendt is a frequent contributor to Underground Voices Magazine and the author of Portland, Boregon, a collection of short stories.

Adam Callaway has neutronium bones, the brain of Deep Thought, and the blog Sensawunda.  He also has his first professional short story coming out in online mag AE Scifi in 2011, so keep that in mind for next year's MWA.

Thom Didato is the publisher and founding editor of the award-winning online literary and arts magazine failbetter. He has published stories in many literary journals and is the co-editor the widely used classroom text, The Fiction Gallery (Bloomsbury USA). The former Program Manager at The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, Thom currently serves as the Graduate Programs Coordinator at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Rusty Keele is a computer programmer who lives in northern Utah with his wife and three kids. He has spent most of his life reading science fiction, comics and anthropology books. He runs several web sites, including one where he reviews a science fiction short story each week. You can find his blog at

Travis Kurowski is founding editor of Luna Park ( and an assistant professor at York College of Pennsylvania. His writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Lumberyard, Wigleaf, Hobart, Kill Author, and The Rumpus.

Dorothee Lang is a writer, web freelancer and traveler, and the editor of BluePrintReview. She lives in Germany, and always was fascinated by languages, places and stories, themes that reflect in her own work and her web projects – the latest being “>language >place”, a collaborative blog carnival. She blogs in virtual notes.

Svetlana Lavochkina was born and raised in Eastern Ukraine, where the cities steam with important factories, where the daily bun in the school canteen is called "Romantica". A decade ago, she moved to Eastern Germany, where Leipzig teems with parks and stucco nymphs call from the pink façades. Svetlana's short stories and translations of Ukrainian poetry were published or are forthcoming in Witness, Chamber Four Fiction Anthology, Mad Hatters' Review, The Literary Review, Eclectica (shortlisted for Million Writers' Award 2010) and In Our Words Anthology.

Judah Mahay was born and raised in the rustic backwoods village of Talkeetna, Alaska, and currently lives on Long Island. His writings have been published in numerous journals. In 2008, he won the North Shoreian Yearly Writing Contest and had his story “Lord of the Dome” made into a short film after winning a contest by WeMakeYourMovie. He is also the founder of the business community and resource The website has grown to over seven hundred artists and has published eleven video/audio podcasts, co-published ten articles with North Shoreian Magazine, and hosted the annual Be Your Art Writing Contest. In 2010, he was accepted to Robert Wilson's Watermill Center residency by a panel of internationally acclaimed artists to write his Watermill Grimoire. Find out more at

Karen L. Newman lives in Kentucky where she's an active member of Horror Writers Association and edits the magazines Illumen and Cosmic Crime Stories. She’s also a book editor for Morrigan Books. She’s been named Chair of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award jury for Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection and is the 2011-2012 East Regional Director for the Kentucky State Poetry Society.  She edited the online magazine Afterburn SF for over four years before the market closed. Over four hundred of her short stories and poems have been published both online and in print in places such as Dark Tales of Terror, Kentucky Monthly, and The Pedestal Magazine. She writes a column for The Black Glove: Horror Culture and Entertainment. Her poetry collections include EEKU (Sam’s Dot, 2005), ChemICKals (Naked Snake Press, 2007), Toward Absolute Zero (Sam’s Dot, 2009), and ChemICKal Reactions (Naked Snake Press, 2010). Two of her poems received honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She's been nominated for a Rhysling Award, James B. Baker Award, and twice nominated for a Dwarf Star Award. Please visit her online at

Gavin C Pugh is a reader who blogs and tweets about books a lot. When he's not online he's reading. You can find his blog here:

Nick Ripatrazone is the author of Oblations (Gold Wake Press 2011), a book of prose poems. His writing has appeared in Esquire, The Kenyon Review, The Collagist, West Branch, The Mississippi Review, Sou'wester and Beloit Fiction Journal. He edits The Fine Delight, a site devoted to all things Catholic in contemporary literature. His personal site is

Wayne E. Yang grew up in South Carolina, where he learned to eat grits the proper way: smothered with butter and sprinkled with salt. You can imagine his horror when he went to graduate school in upstate New York and saw people eating their grits with milk and sugar. His writing and photography have appeared in The North American Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Asian Review of Books, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle,, and other publications. He is a former associate editor at literary magazine Night Train. His web site is

There were also four judges who wished to remain anonymous.

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