Tillie Olsen Short Story Award

Tillie Olsen was the author of the short story collection “Tell Me a Riddle,” the story “Requa I” as seen in Best American Short Stories 1971 and several journalistic pieces from the 1930s about the struggle for economic justice. 


Olsen was born in 1912 on a tenant farm in Nebraska, the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants. Early in her life, she began crusading for worker rights, and was jailed for organizing packinghouse workers and participating in strikes. She continued working as an activist her entire life, especially in her San Francisco community. She and her partner Jack Olsen suffered under McCarthy’s witch hunt. Olsen died at the age of 95—a mother, grandmother, award-winning writer, feminist, and human rights and anti-war activist.

Olsen’s family has graciously given The Tishman Review permission to name our short story contest in honor of one of our heroes, Tillie Olsen.

Our 2019 final judge is the award-winning author Valerie Fioravanti. Read more about her.

Submission Guidelines

  • Entries should consist of unpublished (including online and personal blogs) short stories not longer than 5,000 words in length. Manuscripts and file names must not contain any identifying information. Please double-space and paginate your entry. Please use only one space after a period. All entries must be received through Submittable with the $15.00 entry fee per story. Writers may enter as many stories as they wish, but each one must be entered separately and with the $15.00 fee.
  • Entries will be accepted between April 1st and May 30th of 2019. Simultaneous submissions are allowed. Please withdraw your story immediately if it is accepted elsewhere for publication.
  • This contest is judged blind throughout the entire process. Please ensure that no identifying information is on the manuscript or in the filename.
  • Please only include a cover letter in the Comments Section area on Submittable. In the cover letter, please identify your work with title, word count, and include a short third-person bio of no more than 50 words. Please make sure you submit your entry under the proper contest entry tab on our Submittable page.  All entries received in the general submission boxes will be treated as such and NOT as a contest submission.
  • Contest winners will be announced on October 30th, 2019. The winner will receive $500.00 and publication in the October issue. All entries will be considered for publication.
  • Your contest entry grants you a complimentary e-book of the October issue of TTR. This e-book is delivered through Mail Chimp. By entering the contest you are giving us permission to send through Mail Chimp your e-book. If you do not wish to receive this complimentary e-book please email us to cancel: thetishmanreview@gmail.com. Thank you.
  • The Tishman Review buys First Electronic Publication Rights, Non-Exclusive Print on Demand rights and Archival Rights.