Sonder |

n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own -- an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you'll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

(Definition reproduced from 

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows 

by John Koenig)



Jessica Hollander





We would also like to congratulate this year's runners-up and honorable mentions 

First Runner-up

Kate Finegan // ABLAZE

Second Runner-up

Samuel Shaw // MOTORISTS

Honorable Mention


Beth Konkoski // GATHER AT THE RISK

Carroll Susco // BEAN SPILLER

Thank you to all who submitted for this year's competition. We had the pleasure of receiving an outstanding number of well-crafted, engaging works of both fiction and creative nonfiction and deeply appreciate your patience as we took a little extra time to give our full consideration to the remarkable quality of work. We are looking forward to our 2020 award with great anticipation! Submissions open April 1st and will close December 31st, 2020.

The Best Small Fictions 2020 Anthology

available this fall

126 total selections

13 spotlighted pieces

5 spotlighted journals/presses

guest edited by Elena Stiehler

more information

full selections

Now Available

This Is How He Learned to Love


Randall Brown

First Runner-up of the SONDER PRESS 2018

Chapbook Competition


First runner-up in the Sonder Press 2018 Chapbook Competition, Russell Brown’s This Is How He Learned To Love, is a masterfully crafted collection of 37 brief, yet luminous fictions. Brown’s prose is spare, and as delicately rendered as the windows he grants into the worlds of his characters, yet the stories gathered here are deeply, utterly resonant. This Is How He Learned To Love captures the true vastness of the human heart—its susceptibility and perseverance; its resilience; and, above all, its indelible, persistent yearning for connection.

Now Available 

A Brief Family History of Drowning


Bryce Emley


Chapbook Competition


Winner of the 2018 Sonder Press Chapbook Competition, Bryce Emley’s A Brief Family History of Drowning, is a haunting, delicate ode to family, gracefully charting the weathered wash of a shared past salted with the sting of loss and longing. From a father’s stroke, to the death of a mother and a brother’s incarceration, this collection of works, some essays, others less easily defined, chronicles the vast and enduring weight of grief, and the indelible tether of blood shared. Emley’s prose is exquisite, precise and masterfully crafted. Water permeates these pages, language ebbs and flows, swells, engulfs. A Brief Family History of Drowning renders in brilliant relief the weighted voyage of a son searching for a path through the rising swells of the present and desperate undertow of the past.




Sonder Press, sister to The Sonder Review, is an independent publisher of fiction and narrative nonfiction.  We publish short fiction and essay collections, as well as full-length works.  We also hold an annual chapbook competition, open to both fiction and narrative nonfiction, published in the spring; and are home to The Best Small Fictions anthology We believe in the profundity of the written word and the necessity of paper beneath your fingertips.


We seek well-written, engaging works of prose with a penchant for language.  Writing which has been crafted with care and precision; which attends to detail and astonishes sensibility.  Narratives which provoke and pursue.  We wish to be transported, rearranged and awakened; to feel the weight of every word.  We want distinct visions rendered in piercing prose. Storytelling which is thoughtfully wrought and delicately vibrant – which throbs the gut and burns the throat; which brings the peculiar, the off-angles and edges, to light; which leave us breathless and aching, shivering with the resplendent, churning pulse of human experience.


All of our titles are printed as perfect bound trade paperback books with a unique ISBN and distributed via our website, print-on-demand platforms, and retailers worldwide.  We believe incredibly strongly in our authors and take immense pride in bringing their vision to fruition.  We also do our best to promote their voices and nominate their work for applicable awards and prizes.


Please visit our submissions page for more information on how, what, when, and where to submit.  We look forward to reading your work.



©2017 Sonder Press, all rights reserved

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