Historical & Mythological Short Fiction

Ink of Ages Fiction Prize

World History Encyclopedia's international historical and mythological short story contest

Meet our Judges

The Ink of Ages Fiction Prize is judged by invited guest judges and World History Encyclopedia volunteers.

Timothy Bent

Oxford University Press Editor

Timothy Bent is an executive editor at Oxford University’s New York office, where he acquires trade history and narrative nonfiction. Before Oxford he was an editor at Harcourt Trade and St. Martin’s Press, where he acquired both fiction and nonfiction. At Oxford, he manages the Pivotal Moment in American History series in conjunction with David Hackett Fischer and James McPherson. He has been an avid reader of historical fiction since first introduced to Mary Renault’s books decades ago.

J.F. Fox


J.F. (Jenny) Fox grew up surrounded by the past, minutes from Virginia’s Historic Triangle. After graduating from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Jenny moved to New York City to pursue a career in children’s publishing, working first at Penguin then Lee & Low Books. Following years of editorial work, Jenny shifted her focus to writing books and raising her two sons. She is the author of the Head-to-Head History series published by Kids Can Press, which currently features the titles Napoleon vs. the Bunnies and The Van Buren Sisters vs. the Pants Police.

Helen Nde

Author & Mythology Researcher

Helen Nde is a writer and artist currently based in Atlanta, GA. She curates Mythological Africans, an online space for exploring mythology, folklore, spirituality, and culture from the African continent. She is the author of The Runaway Princess and Other Stories, a collection of poems and short stories recounting the deeds and misdeeds of memorable women from African history, legend, and folklore.

Stefan Vranka

Oxford University Press Editor

Stefan Vranka has been an acquisitions editor in the Academic & Trade division of Oxford University Press, New York, for more than fifteen years. Stefan's list covers Classics, Archaeology, and Ancient History. While the core of the list is focused on the Mediterranean basin from the Bronze Age to Late Antiquity, his editorial interests extend to all parts of the ancient and early medieval world, including translations of primary texts.

Wendy Orr


Wendy Orr is an acclaimed Canadian-Australian author of over 40 books and has been published in 29 languages. Her Nim’s Island was the first Australian children’s book adapted for a Hollywood feature film. Wendy has always been fascinated by ancient history; a career highlight was spending time with the late archaeologist Dr Sabine Beckmann, on a research trip to Crete for her Bronze Age novels. Dragonfly Song, Swallow’s Dance and Cuckoo’s Flight, written in free verse and prose, were highly awarded – but no award was more significant to Wendy than Dr Beckmann’s approval of the finished works.

David Tollen

Author & Speaker

David Tollen is a best-selling and award-winning author, expert witness, attorney, sought-after speaker, and instructor at U.C. Berkeley Law School. He specializes in explaining complex topics in simple, user-friendly language. His books include The Jericho River, a novel that uses fantasy to teach world history. David teaches IT contracts at U.C. Berkeley Law School. And he works as a lawyer, legal trainer, and expert witness at companies he founded. He also serves on the board of advisors for World History Encyclopedia.

Louise M. Pryke

Historian & Author

Louise M. Pryke is an historian and author who has taught numerous courses in ancient languages, myth, and literature at Macquarie University and the University of Sydney. Louise's research interests include the myths and narrative literature of the ancient Near East, and the interplay between humanity, animality, and divinity in the ancient world. She is the author of Scorpion (2016), Ishtar (2017), Gilgamesh (2019), Turtle (2020), and Wind (2023).

Joanne Taylor

World History Encyclopedia

Joanne is a writer, fiction editor, and proofreader passionate about language and culture, world mythology and folklore, and human-centred marketing. One of her favourite mythological creatures is the makara.

Zhihui Zou

World History Encyclopedia

Zhihui Zou has served as a submission screener and editor at numerous magazines. His academic and creative writing work has appeared in Santa Ana River Review, Western Historical Quarterly, and elsewhere. His research mainly covers American history, the American West, and digital humanities.

WHE submission reviewers:

Joshua J. Mark, Ibolya Horvath, Kim Martins, Liana Miate, Fiona Richards, Joanne Taylor, and Zhihui Zou

Judging Criteria

Literary Merit

The quality of the writing,

including language use and overall craftsmanship.

Evaluation of the story's style, prose, and ability to engage and captivate the reader.

Originality & Creativity

The uniqueness and freshness of the ideas and concepts presented in the story.

Creative approaches to

storytelling, character development, or narrative techniques.

Historical Interest

The portrayal of historical settings, events, or figures with accuracy or plausibility and attention to detail.

The ability to evoke a sense of time and place, creating an immersive


Impact & Enjoyment

The overall impression and impact the story has on the reader.

The enjoyment and satisfaction derived from

reading the story.

Judging Process

  • All submissions that meet the entry requirements will be read.
  • WHE volunteer reviewers will select a longlist, followed by a shortlist, followed by judges selecting prize winners, based on the judging criteria.
  • From the shortlist, guest judges, supported by WHE judges, will select first, second, third, and two highly commended submissions. The Youth Prize will have five Champions.
  • All decisions made by the judges are final.
  • By submitting, you are agreeing to all contest rules, eligibility criteria, and Terms and Conditions.
  • Contest rules, eligibility criteria and Terms and Conditions are subject to change.
  • Submissions that do not follow the rules, eligibility criteria, or Terms and Conditions will be disqualified.