Short Story Book Club (SSBC) awards an annual scholarship in the amount of $250 to 12th- grade high school students (or the equivalent) who successfully demonstrate knowledge of the short story genre in a written essay.
The SSBC Short Story Scholarship limits the award of its scholarship funds specifically to United States citizens who are no older than 21 and enrolled in a 12th-grade education program or its equivalent. Equivalent programs may include enrollment in official courses for the obtaining of a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, National External Diploma (NED), or similar program. Applicants must expect to graduate by September of the scholarship award year and be able to show proof of subsequent enrollment in a college or vocational program no later than December of the same year. For example, an applicant who receives an award in May 2022 must graduate or receive a certificate by September 2022 and enroll in a college or vocational program by December 2022 to qualify.
To apply, applicants are to select and read a short story of no more than 40,000 words and write an essay of no more than 1200 words that describes the story’s merits. Essays must include a discussion about the story’s theme, tone, characters, plot, language, use of literary devices, or other elements and conclude with remarks on what makes the story for them more or less interesting to read.
In addition, applicants are to include two letters of recommendation with their essay. A copy of the applicant’s high school or academic transcripts are not required. However, applicants will need to be able to show proof of subsequent enrollment in a college or vocational program by December of the scholarship award year.
Scholarship applications will be accepted January 2 through April 15 of each year. Awardees will be announced in May of each year. Awards will be paid directly to the awardee’s college or vocational program.
By applying, applicants give Short Story Book Club permission to publish or feature their essay in all Short Story Book Club media.
Essays should be no more than 1200 words and may be submitted either electronically or by postal mail.
To submit your essay and required materials online, use our online application form. To submit your essay and materials by postal mail, follow the directions below:
- In the header of each page of the essay, include your first name, last name, email address, and telephone number.
- In the footer of each page, include both the title and author of the short story being featured in the essay.
- The essay should be typed, double-spaced on 8.5 x 11 paper. Handwritten or otherwise illegible submissions will not be accepted.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation may be submitted either electronically or by postal mail.
To submit letters online, follow the instructions in the online application form. You will need to have an e-mail address for each person you are requesting a recommendation letter from.
When submitting letters by postal mail, ensure that they are printed on official letterhead, signed, and placed in a sealed envelope. Include the letters and your essay together in a single envelope, following the instructions below for postal mail under Submitting Your Application.
Submitting Your Application
A complete application may be submitted either electronically or by postal mail.
To submit your application electronically, please use our online application form.
To submit your application by postal mail, send your essay and letters of recommendation together in a single envelope addressed to:
Short Story Book Club
3000 Homewood Avenue, #7107
Baltimore, Maryland 21218
The SSBC Short Story Scholarship is open from January 2 to April 15 of each year. All submissions must be submitted online or postmarked by 11:59 pm ET on April 15. Late submissions will not be accepted.
Award decisions will be announced in May of each year.
Short Story Book Club is not responsible for incomplete, missing, or misdelivered applications. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the accuracy and delivery of all application materials.
Past winners of the Short Story Book Club Scholarship have been invited to speak briefly at Short Story Fest, the Short Story Book Club annual literary festival. Click the hyperlink to view the Short Story Fest 2021 morning session, which includes remarks from the most recent winner.