The Challenge

Fiction has long served as a powerful means for exploring hypotheticals and envisioning alternatives. CIMSEC and the U.S. Naval Institute have partnered to invite authors to share their vision of the future of international maritime security, in this world or another.

Authors can explore the future and flesh out concepts for how potential conflicts may play out. They could probe the past, and use historical fiction as a device to explore alternative histories. Authors are invited to submit their stories along these lines and more as they craft compelling narratives.

Submission Guidelines

  • Open to all contributors -- active-duty, military, reservists, veterans, and civilians.
  • Short story must be no more than 5,000 words maximum, 1,000 words minimum (excludes any endnotes/sources).
  • Include word count on title page of short story but do not include author name(s) on title page or within the short story.
  • Submit short story as a Microsoft Word document online at www.usni.org/fictionessay.
  • Your short story must be original and not previously published (online or in print) or being considered for publication elsewhere.
  • Essay must be original and not previously published (online or in print) or being considered for publication elsewhere. 
  • Only one entry per contestant. 

Selection Process

The Naval Institute and CIMSEC staffs will evaluate all entries submitted in the contest and provide the top essays to a select panel of military novelists for judging. All short stories will be judged in the blind--i.e., the judges will not know the authors of the manuscripts. Finalists will, be judged by August Cole, Peter Singer, Kathleen McInnis, Ward Carroll, David Weber, and Larry Bond.

First Prize: $500 and a 1-year membership in the Naval Institute and CIMSEC

Second Prize: $300 and a 1-year membership in the Naval Institute and CIMSEC

Third Prize: $200 and a 1-year membership in the Naval Institute and CIMSEC

Additional prizes may also be awarded.

Publication

The winning essays will be published in Proceedings magazine and on the Naval Institute and CIMSEC websites. Some non-winning essays may also be selected for publication.

 

Deadline

Submit your Essay

 

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Cosponsored by
U.S. Naval Institute
Cosponsored by
CIMSEC
CIMSEC

Previous Winners