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Boston Review is pleased to adopt a contest model shaped by social justice and accessibility concerns.

Contestants from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe pay an entry fee of $20, which helps subsidize the entry of contestants from outside of those countries, as well as those claiming hardship, all of whom pay nothing to enter our contests. Free entries and paid entries are read in the same way and given equal weight.

In addition, while a winner will be chosen in each genre, many more runners-up will have their work published, increasing the likelihood that entrants will have their work shared with Boston Review’s audience.

Finally, Boston Review commits to publishing an annual themed literary issue, and the contests share the issue’s theme. This offers contestants more transparency about what Boston Review’s editors are seeking in any given year. All contestants will receive a free copy of the issue, either in print (for paid entries) or digital (for unpaid entries).

under the sheets

Complete instructions for submission to each contest can be found below.

Aura Estrada Short Story Contest

Deadline: April 15, 2020 (free global/hardship entries); May 31, 2020 (paid entries)
Judge: Ivelisse Rodriguez
First Prize: $1,000 and publication



Who are your people? Who made you who you are? What about you only makes sense to someone who knows where you’re from? What’s a secret about your past?

It is rare now for people to stay where they were raised, and usually when we encounter one another—whether in person or online—it is in contexts that obscure if not outright hide details about our past. But even in moments of pure self-invention, we are always shaped by it. Ancestors asks today’s most imaginative writers to consider what it means to be made and fashioned by others: parents, grandparents, family, the deep past, the animal and natural world, epigenetic memory, predispositions for health or illness, political forebears, inherited social and economic circumstances, settled (and unsettled) ideas about gender and sex, class and racial history, the elders of whatever you feel beholden to or unable to outrun—not to mention your own best and worst decisions. Can we choose our family, or is blood always thicker? And looking forward, what will it mean to be ancestors ourselves, and how will our descendants remember us?

For submission guidelines, click here.

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