NOTE: Because of COVID-19, Boston Review has decided to temporarily suspend its internship program and will not be accepting applications for the fall. Please check back in coming months for information about winter/spring 2021 internships.

Boston Review has 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 is 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 publishes 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 receive a free copy of the issue, either in print (for paid entries) or digital (for unpaid entries).

Complete instructions for submission to each contest can be found below. Please make sure that you choose the category, paid or free entry, that applies to you. They are separate forms.

We are currently only open to nonfiction pitches and submissions. Please check back in coming months for contest guidelines for 2021.


Boston Review is a national magazine of ideas and culture. We mainly publish long-form essays and book reviews ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 words in length. We are independent and nonprofit and have a small editorial staff. We try to review submissions within two weeks of the submission date, but delays can occasionally lead to much longer response times.

1. You may submit nonfiction pitches and drafts up to 5,000 words, subject to these limitations:

  • We DO NOT ACCEPT memoirs or personal essays. These submissions will be rejected without being read.
  • We DO NOT ACCEPT op-eds of fewer than 1,500 words. These submissions will be rejected without being read.

2. Please include your email address in all documents you submit. Your submission may be rejected out of hand if your submission letter and attached document do not contain an email address.

3. If you have published work elsewhere, please include links to clips of your other writing.

4. If you are submitting a pitch instead of a draft, please describe in a substantive paragraph what argument you intend to make as well as what structure, length, and frame you expect the essay to take. Pitches shorter than a couple of sentences are always rejected out of hand.

5. Submissions tend to perform better when they show some familiarity with work Boston Review has published.

Boston Review