Winner of the historical fiction contest

The fiftieth issue of Ancient Warfare (IX.4) will go the print towards the end of next month. This issue will be extra thick, weighing in at 84 pages. Aside from articles and recurring features, this issue will also include a short story on a topic that fits the general theme of warfare in the ancient world.

In order to decide which short story to include in the issue, I organized a historical fiction contest back in November. I received nearly forty submissions, which I looked through and then sent on to a panel of judges consisting of notable authors of historical fiction, namely Ben Kane, Christian Cameron, Anthony Riches, and Harry Sidebottom.

After careful consideration, the judges have picked a winner, namely the short story ‘We left our dead at the Polytimetos (Sogdia, 328 BC)’ by Marcus Pailing. Marcus has self-published some of his work over at Amazon (as have a few of the other contestants), but has never been published before by a third party (as per the rules of the contest). So congratulations to Marcus! His story will be richly illustrated throughout by Simon Walpole, who is working on sketches as I write this.

I have contacted everyone who submitted an entry to the contest. Whenever possible, I shared comments that the judges made (anonymized, of course) regarding the submitted story or I tried to explain why your submission wasn’t picked as the winner. (If you submitted something but somehow didn’t hear from me in the past week, I do apologize and would ask that you contact me via email.)

I have received a number of questions from contestants as to where else they might get their stories published. To be honest, I have no idea. There are magazines that publish speculative fiction (e.g. fantasy, science-fiction), but as far as historical short stories are concerned, I think the pickings are slim. Publishers are usually only interested in novel-length treatments (in excess of 60,000 words), so that is something to keep in mind. Still, if anyone has any tips, please share them in the comments, below.

My thanks again to the Ben Kane, Christian Cameron, Anthony Riches, and Harry Sidebottom for being so kind as to read through all of the submissions. My thanks, also, to everyone who submitted a short story: I’m sorry you couldn’t all win, but I’d certainly try again some other time! Or, indeed, try your hand at self-publishing.

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