The Peter Wells Short Fiction Contest is an opportunity for Aotearoa-based LGBTQIA+ authors.

The contest runs near the end of each year, and the winners are announced during our festival in February.

First prize is $1,000 for the winning story, $500 for the runner-up and $500 for the best writing by a promising young writer aged under 25.

The contest is designed to encourage local authors to write new material exploring their LGBTQIA+ identity.

The contest is dedicated to the life and work of Samesame But Different founder Peter Wells, a writer, filmmaker and historian.







Entering the Contest

The 2024 contest is now closed. Keep an eye out for upcoming opportunities – we’ll announce this on our social media and email newsletter.

For 2024 we are going to camp and asking you to tell us a camp fire tale – one that excites, mystifies, frightens, inspires: makes us laugh, swoon, rage.

What counts as a campfire story is up to you and while writers do not have to restrict their story to any particular theme, genre or setting, it will have relevance to the broader Aotearoa New Zealand LGBTQIA+ community.

And we would like to see the word ‘camp’ and/or ‘fire’ used at least once in any way and in any place in the stories.

The full criteria and information for entering is listed on this page. You can also download a PDF of this:

Entering the Contest

To enter, entrants must adhere to the following:

1. Stories must be your own original works of fiction, and not previously published or con-currently submitted elsewhere.

2. You must identify as LGBTQIA+, and your story should have relevance to Aotearoa’s LGBTQIA+ community.

3. The word ‘camp’ and/or ‘fire’ must be used at least once in any way and in any place in the stories.

4. Stories must be between 1,200 and 2,000 words in length. Any entry above or below this limit will be disallowed automatically.

5. Please include your word count at the end of your story.

6. Stories must be emailed as attachments in Word format to: [email protected].

7. Stories must be received by midnight on Friday 5 January 2024. Late entries will not be accepted.

8. Your name must not appear in headers, footers or anywhere in your story – our judges read all stories in blissful ignorance of the writer’s identity.

9. Please give your work a title as a heading on the first page of your story. This helps us identify each piece.

10. Be sure to include your full name, pronouns, email address and contact phone number as well as the title of your story in your submission email.

11. We only accept stories from writers resident or normally resident in New Zealand.

12. To enter the promising young writer category, please confirm in your email that you are aged 25 or under. You will still also be eligible to win the Overall Winner Peter Wells Short Fiction Contest prize.

13. If you submit a story to the competition, you are also giving us permission to publish it, which may be online or in a printed publication.

14. The winner may be invited to read their work at our Contest Winners Announcement event during the Samesame But Different festival, held annually in February.

15. You may submit more than one story.

16. Previous winners of either award are not eligible to win in the same category.


The winners of the 2024 contest were announced as part of the February 2024 festival.

The contest is judged ‘blind’, meaning the judges don’t know who’s written each story. The 2024 judges were Luna Lee of Parallel Books and editor Damien Levi.

The overall winner was Isaac Williamson’s story I wish I knew the rules here. The runner up was Flame and Stone by Catherine Hart. In the Promising Young Writer category, the winner was Dee Nicholls, for their story The Orchestra in the Distance.


Isaac Williamson
I wish I knew the rules here


Catherine Hart

Flame and Stone


Dee Nicholls

The Orchestra in The Distance

Contest Coordinator Michael Giacon

2023 Winner I. S. Belle reading an excerpt from Minotaur Reading

2023 Winner I. S. Belle

Judge Grace Shelley congratulating Promising Young Writer winner Jackie A. E. Ritchie

2023 Judges Oscar Upperton (L) and Grace Shelley (R)

previous Winners