Great Story Project

An international competition for fiction and nonfiction. We believe a great story is never defined by its length and welcome all genres and themes with compelling characters and evocative moments. We’re looking for our generation’s Hemingway, Oates, or Steinbeck.

Formerly the Plaza Literary Prize, we now accept novels, novellas, and short story collections from June 1 through July 31. Our team of readers will consider each submission for content, craft, and voice and select ten (10) finalists to be reviewed by our judge. One (1) book will be selected for publication. Submit your story via Submittable.


Conditions and Requirements

  • Only accepting fiction and nonfiction novels, novellas, and short story collections.
  • Submission Period – June 1 through July 31
  • The work must be submitted in English.
  • The entry must be the entrant’s own original creation and must not infringe upon the right or copyright of any person or entity.
  • Entrants must be individuals and not a company or organization.
  • Entrants must submit their work using their real name.
  • Entrants must be over 18 years of age at the time of submission.
  • Entrants must pay the entry fee in order to be eligible.
  • Only submissions received and paid for by midnight (Pacific Standard Time) July 31st will be considered.
  • Entries that are not paid for, incomplete, are corrupted or submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
  • The identity of all entrants is withheld throughout the process.
  • To ensure the quality and diversity of the selections, each submission is considered by several readers.
  • Finalists will be notified by email when they have made the list.
  • Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted.
  • No editorial feedback will be provided.
  • The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the judging process.
  • Entrants will retain copyright of their work. However, in submitting your work, you give permission to Heritage Future to publicize and promote your work if appropriate (and use your names, title of work and photographs of you in such publicity).
  • The competition is not open to employees of Heritage Future or members of the judging panel. Family members of any of the aforementioned are also not eligible.
  • Only submissions which meet all Conditions and Requirements will be considered.
  • By entering this competition, each entrant agrees to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
  • Entry fees collected are used to cover administrative costs.
  • All submissions must be submitted through Submittable unless otherwise noted.
  • If you experience problems with your submission and need technical support, please contact Submittable’s help desk via email (, phone (855-467-8264, ext. 2) or by visiting

Cover Artwork

Cover artwork for the 2019 Great Story Project will be provided by Curt Merlo. Merlo’s editorial illustrations have been seen in the following notable publications: Wired, The Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Guardian, The Observer, Scientific American, The Nation, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, Seattle Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, and many more. His work has also appeared on album covers, theater posters, and in movies. Merlo’s work has been recognized in the American Illustration Annual the 3×3 Illustration Annual No.8, No.11, No.12,  and Gestalten’s book Illustration Unlimited.


Former artists include international award-winning animators, designers and illustrators: Davide Bonazzi, Tuna Bora, Marcos Chin, Eric Diotte, Noah MacMillan, Benjamin Mills, David Moscati, Steve Niilo, Sam Pash, Jeannie Phan, Irvin Rodriguez, Jonny Ruzzo, Ryan Sanchez, Mark Smith, Mariya Suzuki and Matthew Woodson.


The 2019 Great Story Project will be judged by Abbey Lenzie. Abbey is a writer from Huntsville, Alabama. After studying creative writing and film at Birmingham-Southern College, she moved to Los Angeles with her husband. Her passions include eating fried okra, crocheting blankets, and identifying plants with field guides. In the Desert, winner of the 2018 Plaza Literary Prize, is her first novella. She is currently working on a middle grade novel about a pirate girl and a merboy and their adventures on the high seas.


Former judges include award-winning authors, editors, journalists, and professors: Jonathan Alexander, Neelanjana Banerjee, Michael Dean Clark, Panio Gianopoulos, Rachel Howzell Hall, R. Dean Johnson, Yi Shun Lai, Krys Lee, Ben Loory, Namrata Poddar, Irena Praitis, Lilliam Rivera, Kevin Smokler, Héctor Tobar and David L. Ulin.