Contest Eight: “Bridges”

Artwork Finalists

Artwork finalists have been posted on the Contest Eight Artwork Finalists page.


Entry statistics for Contest Eight are available on our Contest Eight Statistics page.



First Place (tie):

“Bridge the Gap” by Jonathan Hsu

“Trestle” by Michael Webb


Grand Prize: “The Legacy” by GennaRose Nethercott

Second Place: “No Heaven” by Mark McCaig

Third Place: “180 Bridges Cross the Chicago River” by Ashley Kramer

Honorable Mention:

“Three Constructions” by Nolan Liebert

“The Seven Bridges of Königsberg” by Jaine Rice

“Transition” by Barth Landor


Grand Prize: “Pale Rider” by Ann Hillesland

Second Place: “The Long Way” by Jennifer Dupree

Honorable Mention:

“Cauliflower Skies: A Fable” by Jacob Budenz

“Other Side” by Julia Bindewald

Theme: “Bridges”

Bridges take us from here to there. They signify transition, crossing, and connection. Entries in this contest should feature a transition, crossing, connection, or even a literal bridge. Your bridge may be mechanical—as in our featured artwork—or your bridge may be metaphorical, musical, or magical.

Featured Artwork

This interpretation of our theme was provided by poet and photographer James Lewis.
Antioch Bridge — photo by James Lewis


Entries will be  accepted from December 15, 2014 to January 4, 2015.
Artwork finalists will be posted for public vote January 23, 2015.
Winners for all three categories will be announced February 6, 2015.

Poetry & Prose Guest Judges

Artwork Judges

Finalists are selected by the senior editorial staff of Spark. Up to six artwork finalists will be posted January 23, 2015 on for popular vote.


No fee is required for this contest. You will have an opportunity to make an optional donation once your entry is submitted. We rely on your tax-deductible contribution to keep our contests free.

Spark’s production costs are covered and contributing writers are paid in part through sales of the anthology and in part by generous donations from people like you. Funds for all remaining expenses are donated by Brian & Amy Lewis.

About the Guest Judges

Cherry Potts is a writer and the editor of Arachne Press (London). In addition to managing Arachne Press, she edits anthologies (short stories and poetry) and Young Adult novels. She also organizes live literature events, including the regular The Story Sessions, and the forthcoming Solstice Shorts Festival. Her first collection of stories Mosaic of Air was published in 1992 and has been republished by Arachne Press.

John Chu  is a microprocessor architect by day, a writer by night. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming at Boston Review, Bloody Fabulous, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Apex Magazine and His short story The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere won a Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 2014.

Awards (Artwork)

Grand Prize

  • US$500.00
  • Publication as the cover art of an upcoming volume of Spark: A Creative Anthology
  • One-year print & digital subscription to Spark: A Creative Anthology

Awards (Poetry & Prose)

Grand Prize

  • US$500.00
  • Publication in an upcoming volume of Spark: A Creative Anthology as the first (poem) or second (prose) piece in the collection
  • Lifetime Premium Membership at Scribophile, the online writing group for serious writers
  • One-year subscription to Duotrope
  • One-year print subscription to American Poetry Review or Poets & Writers magazine or The Writer magazine
  • One-year print & digital subscription to Spark: A Creative Anthology

Second Place

  • US$100.00
  • Lifetime Premium Membership at Scribophile
  • One-year digital subscription to American Poetry Review
  • One-year digital subscription to Spark: A Creative Anthology
  • One print copy of Spark: A Creative Anthology, any volume

Third Place

  • US$20.00
  • One-year Premium Membership at Scribophile
  • One-year digital subscription to Spark: A Creative Anthology
  • One-year digital subscription to American Poetry Review


  • Contest entries will be accepted from December 15, 2014 until the stroke of 5:00 pm, U.S. Pacific Time, on January 4, 2015. (In other words, make sure your entries are submitted before 4:59 pm on January 4).
  • There are no genre restrictions for this contest, and content guidelines are similar to our standard submission guidelines, including what we are not accepting.
  • Prose includes both fiction and creative nonfiction, but we have not divided the category further because we believe that well-written creative nonfiction should tell a story so well that the result is indistinguishable from fiction. Prose must be less than 12,000 words.
  • Poetry includes all styles, meters, and rhyme schemes, or may be free-form. Poetry must be less than 300 lines.
  • Awards for poetry and prose are selected according to our contest judging criteria.
  • Artwork includes every medium that can be reproduced as a two-dimensional book cover, including photographs of three-dimensional sculpture. Entries should be appropriate for general audiences and avoid nudity or gore. See our cover gallery for examples of the variety we’ve accepted in the past. For details on dimensions, see Contest Artwork Dimensions.
  • The award for Artwork is nominated by public vote from finalists selected by Spark editorial staff. This implies a high level of subjectivity.

Category Limits

Because contest readers on our judging panel are volunteers, we must put a reasonable limit on the total number of entries we read.

  • Prose: One entry
  • Poetry: Up to three entries
  • Artwork: Up to three entries.
  • No matter what categories you enter—one category or all three—you may enter at most three pieces total in this contest.

Rules & Restrictions

  • You may enter any or all categories in this contest, but each entrant can win at most one prize, no matter how many entries are made.
  • When we select semifinalists for the contest, if you have more active submissions in any category than allowed under “Category Limits,” all of your entries will be disqualified—please take care to select and enter your best work, and withdraw any superfluous entries before the entry period closes.
  • Poetry and prose publication rights remain with the author or poet. Poetry & Prose Grand Prize winners are not obligated to publish their winning entry in Spark, but if our publication offer is accepted, the cash portion of the prize serves as the purchase payment for First Publication rights as outlined on our Rights & Rates page. All other entrants, including runners up, retain full rights to submit and publish their entries as they wish, including to Spark.
  • Rights to original artwork remain with the artist. As part of accepting the award, the Artwork Grand Prize winner grants the Empire & Great Jones Little Press the right to reproduce the artwork as the cover of one volume of Spark and to reproduce it in various print and digital formats for the purpose of promoting Spark. The artist does not grant any other rights, and Empire & Great Jones Little Press must negotiate any other use of the artwork. The artist always retains the right to include the entry in his or her professional portfolio.
  • Prose limits: We are looking for excellent writing and storytelling, not length. A compelling and well-written flash-fiction piece has an equal chance against a novelette. Prose must be less than 12,000 words.
  • Poetry limits: We are looking for evocative imagery that paints a small story in a poem. A haiku or tanka has equal chance against a sonnet or epic. Poetry must be less than 300 lines.
  • For both poetry and prose, only previously unpublished works will be considered. You may enter a previously-written piece if you feel that it satisfies the prompt for this contest, so long as it has not been published. Artwork that has appeared on your website or blog is eligible so long as it has not been reproduced in print or licensed for use in another print or digital publication.
  • This is an international competition, but funds will be sent to winners in USD and converted to local currencies as necessary. PayPal is the preferred service for transmitting prize monies.
  • There are no age restrictions for this contest other than legal restrictions imposed by your local jurisdiction.
  • In the event that a poetry or prose winner is ineligible for the Scribophile prize because of age or chooses to decline the membership, a three-year print and eBook subscription to Spark: A Creative Anthology will be substituted.
  • Spark: A Creative Anthology contest judges and their immediate families are not eligible.
  • Because this contest uses “blind judging” for poetry & prose—that is, the author’s name is withheld from the judges until the contest is complete—please omit personal information (such as author name or contact details) from the manuscript. Entries with any part of the author’s name or contact details in the manuscript or filename will be disqualified.
  • Also because this contest uses “blind judging,” authors and poets who have previously had work accepted for any volume of Spark: A Creative Anthology may enter this contest.
  • Blind judging does not apply to artwork. Artists who have previously provided cover art for any publication of Empire & Great Jones Little Press may also enter this contest.
  • In the event that a Grand Prize winner is an author or poet whose work has been accepted for Spark: A Creative Anthology, Volume VIII, we may choose to postpone or decline publication of either the previously-accepted work or the winning contest entry.
  • You may withdraw and re-enter the contest during the entry period without penalty, but any piece withdrawn after the entry period cannot be re-entered.
  • Judges will be unable to provide feedback on specific pieces.
  • Spark: A Creative Anthology reserves the right to post “No Award” for any category in the event that fewer than 30 total entries are received or fewer than three qualified entries can be selected for the final round of judging. This has happened before: in Contest Three (too few total entries) and Contest Five (too few finalists).

About the Awards

Scribophile is the largest online writing workshop and discussion group, boasting over 320,000 peer critiques written by community members ranging from amateur writers to professional authors and editors. Learn more at

Duotrope is a subscription-based service for writers that offers an extensive, searchable database of current fiction, poetry, and non-fiction markets, a calendar of upcoming deadlines, submissions trackers, and useful statistics compiled from the millions of data points they’ve gathered on the publishers they list, including Spark.

Cash Prizes are made possible by generous supporters like you. Sign up as a sponsor today and join these patrons:

Notes & Disclosures

The Lifetime and one-year Scribophile Premium Memberships were donated by Scribophile, the online writing group for serious writers. Learn more at
The one-year Duotrope subscriptions were purchased at a discount by Brian Lewis.
Magazine subscriptions are purchased at current retail prices by Brian Lewis.
Spark: A Creative Anthology is administered and published by the Empire & Great Jones Creative Arts Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

23 thoughts on “Contest Eight: “Bridges”

  1. Pingback: Poetry Contests | Poet Under Construction

  2. Pingback: Unusual Calls for Submissions: December Edition | Tate Street High Society

  3. Is there an age limit? I am looking to submit my son’s story it is amazing but he is in the third grade with an incredible imagination!

    • There is not an age limit, but there may be some unfair disadvantage since the story would be competing against hundreds of entries from adults.

      If you would like to give him the experience of submitting and following the contest, even though the competition is fierce, that would be acceptable, but it might be better to wait for a contest from another publication (like Ember).

    • Yes. Work posted to or its sister site, fan, is browsable and therefore counts as previously published.

  4. I have question related to submission for “bridges”. Please answer:
    1. If I am narrating the story then is it acceptable that i mention my real name in the story as it obviously comes at various places since i am involved in the story. I am asking this as it is mentioned that we should not mention real names in the story?
    2. Will you send a free copy of the book to all winners? Incase if my story is selected, I mean even if it is a runner up also?
    3. When is expected date of publication of the bridges?
    Sorry for bothering.

  5. Unfortunately, now that the contest has closed, it cannot be reopened again. I very much regret the inconvenience.

    • Between January 10 and January 15, depending how quickly volunteers read through the entire list. Every entry is viewed by at least two people, and most are read by several more.

      That takes a lot of time!

  6. I’m getting a bit antsy, I’ll admit; will the winners be notified and posted soon?
    Thank’s for all the work you’ve been doing for this, by the way

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