Flash Fiction Contest: Virology

Holy moly! Was it only seven months ago the Vault ran our first Flash Fiction contest? What an exciting half year it has been. With an influx of new followers on social media, I’m going to take this opportunity to tell you a little more about us, and why we run these contests.

The Story Seed Vault is an online micro-fiction publication that aims to entertain and educate our readers about scientific research through fiction. We are an international publication based in Sydney, Australia. As Story Seed Vault is new to the industry, we are pushing to increase our reach and to partner with science communicators all over the world.

One of the ways that we do this is by holding thematic Flash Fiction contests. Our first competition was based on Antarctic research, judged by two members of the Australian Antarctic Division, and our second is on bees, judged by two prominent European researchers. You can read about these contests here and here.

This time around, we’ve taken a different tack. Instead of picking a theme that was based on our site views or audience selection, I reached out to several researchers I admire to see if they were available to judge our contest. The first to respond with enthusiasm was Dr. Bish Marzook, a virologist currently based in Oxford. Her enthusiasm is definitely catching and so, it is with great excitement that I introduce our judges for the first Flash Fiction Contest of 2018!

Our Judges

Dr Ben Johnson is Head of Communities & Engagement at Springer Nature. He runs the Nature Research Communities, where authors and editors tell their personal stories. Ben has a PhD in influenza virus and researched vaccines at Imperial College London, before entering publishing. He can be found on Twitter @drbenjohnson.

Dr. Bish Marzook is a virologist, comedian, and writer. Armed with a PhD in virology from The University of Sydney, Australia, she recently moved to the UK for a post-doctoral position in biochemistry & cell biology at Cambridge. Viruses remain her one true love. She can be found on Twitter @bish_marz.

The Topic: Virology

We want your best micro-fiction, 140 characters or less, inspired by research on Virology. Innovative vaccine delivery systems, viral warfare, viruses that hijack personalities – we want them all. Go forth and research!


  1.  It must be based on topics/research relevant to VIROLOGY. The more recent the research, the better. We will judge a great story with science from a few years ago  over an alright story with a study published yesterday.
  2. If the story is about VIROLOGY but the research provided is generic educational info, it will not be awarded a placing.
  3. The story has to be able to stand on its own – the science can provide context/make it more interesting, but it should not rely heavily on the science to be entertaining.


Like our previous Flash Fiction contests, we will be selecting 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place entrants.We will paying the placed winners $10 each.

If you are happy to waive this prize, we will be donating this amount to Virology Comics, an educational organisation based in Europe. The funds raised will be used to ship free comics to American public schools. Virology Comics is run by Dr. Susan Nasif, who can be found on Twitter @VirologyComics.

Submission Timelines

Submissions open 10PM AEST January 25, 2018.
Submissions close 10PM AEST January 27, 2018.
Results will be announced 1PM AEST February 1, 2018 and the winning stories will be published over the week of February 5th, 2018.

See our submissions page for how to submit and information on payments and copyrights.


2 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Contest: Virology

  1. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 1/23/18 Always Scrolling Home | File 770

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