We are currently accepting paid submissions to our poetry and fiction contests (the deadline for free submissions was May 31),  nonfiction pitches and submissions, and applications for our fall editorial internship. Please read descriptions for the individual categories very carefully.


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).

In the next section you will find a description of this year’s theme for both contests, and then continue reading below that for genre-specific contest guidelines.

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The Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest and the Aura Estrada Short Story Contest share the same theme this year:

Repair

We bear deep wounds—individually and collectively, for generations, for a lifetime, for a year, for a day. All have been worsened by a destructive period of pyrrhic politics that left us ill-equipped to respond to a global health catastrophe. As we struggle as a society to recover our footing and grieve our dead, Arts in Society believes that the literary arts must have a voice in the conversation about how we heal.

Tell us what it means to repair from a terrible rupture, a life-threatening harm or illness. How do we return to health, to wholeness? Is “return” even the right idea? We want to know if you think repair is possible from toxic politics, from pandemic, from racist horrors, from class warfare, from Islamophobia, from gendered violence and “reparative” therapy, from ecological brinksmanship.


Consider the meditations of Adrienne Rich:

these scars bear witness

but whether to repair

or to destruction

I no longer know

—Adrienne Rich, “Meditations for a Savage Child”


Or the words of Cameron Awkward-Rich:

Sometimes you don’t die

when you’re supposed to

& now I have a choice

repair a world or build

a new one inside my body

—Cameron Awkward-Rich, “Cento Between the Ending and the End”


Reflect on the Japanese art of 金継ぎ (kintsugi), where the repair is highlighted by a seam of gold.

We are thinking about the timeliness of Toni Morrison writing that wishes for a “return to normal” are distractions from righteous demands for something more revolutionary, more catalytic: “They fill their mind and hands with soap and repair . . . because what is waiting for them, in a suddenly idle moment, is the seep of rage. Molten. Thick and slow-moving. Mindful and particular about what in its path it chooses to bury. Or else, into a beat of time, and sideways under their breasts, slips a sorrow they don’t know where from.”

Or, as Haruki Murakami writes, “I don’t want to be ‘repaired’.”

But because we believe in the power of art, we are also thinking of when Jonathan Saffron Foer, in Everything Is Illuminated, says, “I can repair my mistakes when I perform mistakes. . . . With writing, we have second chances.”

Or when Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says: “Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

Tell us where we go from here. Tell us how we get out of this mess.


Deadline: June 30, 2021

Judge: Sonia Sanchez

Prize: $1,000


Sonia Sanchez 


Sonia Sanchez—poet, activist, scholar—was the Laura Carnell Professor of English and Women's Studies at Temple University. She is the recipient of both the Robert Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime service to American poetry and the Langston Hughes Poetry Award. One of the most important writers of the Black Arts Movement, Sanchez is the author of sixteen books.

______________________________

HOW TO ENTER:

This form is for paid entry for those living in the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe. For those living outside of those countries, as well as those experiencing hardship, please enter the contest for free HERE.

Complete guidelines:

  • All entries must be related to this year’s theme of Repair. We want the theme to be very broadly interpreted, but we also shouldn’t have to guess at the connection between the theme and your entry.
  • The winning author will receive $1,000 and have their work published in Boston Review's special literary issue Repair (March 2022). Some finalists and semi-finalists will also be published in the issue or online.
  • Send up to 5 poems or 10 pages, whichever comes first. The poems must be unpublished.
  • “Unpublished” means the poems have never received print publication of any kind, nor are they available anywhere on the Internet.
  • Simultaneous submissions are OK but if your poems are accepted or published elsewhere (including anywhere on the Internet), you must immediately withdraw them via Submittable. Individual poems can be withdrawn by adding a note to the entry. This does not invalidate the other poems from being considered; however, failure to notify Boston Review that some poems in the entry are no longer available may result in the entry as a whole being invalidated.
  • Do not include a cover note. Your name should not appear anywhere in the uploaded file. All entries much be in English; translations are acceptable if they are done in collaboration with the author and the poems are unpublished in any language.
  • Submissions may not be modified after entry. The contest judge and Boston Review staff, however, reserve the right to recommend edits to the winning story as well as finalists and semi-finalists they are interested in publishing.
  • Contest entrants cannot have a close personal or professional relationship with this year’s judge or with any editors, staff, or contest screeners at Boston Review. It is fine to have met these people, talked with them, perhaps even taken a workshop. For our purposes, “close” can be glossed as if you would socialize with any of these people, be in a position to ask them to help you with something (for example, write a recommendation or offer advice), or if there is any chance they would recongize your work even without seeing your name.
  • Make sure your physical mailing address in Submittable is correct, as this is the address where your free copy of Repair will be sent in early 2022.

Read winning poems from past years:


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).

In the next section you will find a description of this year’s theme for both contests, and then continue reading below that for genre-specific contest guidelines.

------------------------------------------

The Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest and the Aura Estrada Short Story Contest share the same theme this year:

Repair

We bear deep wounds—individually and collectively, for generations, for a lifetime, for a year, for a day. All have been worsened by a destructive period of pyrrhic politics that left us ill-equipped to respond to a global health catastrophe. As we struggle as a society to recover our footing and grieve our dead, Arts in Society believes that the literary arts must have a voice in the conversation about how we heal.

Tell us what it means to repair from a terrible rupture, a life-threatening harm or illness. How do we return to health, to wholeness? Is “return” even the right idea? We want to know if you think repair is possible from toxic politics, from pandemic, from racist horrors, from class warfare, from Islamophobia, from gendered violence and “reparative” therapy, from ecological brinksmanship.


Consider the meditations of Adrienne Rich:

these scars bear witness

but whether to repair

or to destruction

I no longer know

—Adrienne Rich, “Meditations for a Savage Child”


Or the words of Cameron Awkward-Rich:

Sometimes you don’t die

when you’re supposed to

& now I have a choice

repair a world or build

a new one inside my body

—Cameron Awkward-Rich, “Cento Between the Ending and the End”


Reflect on the Japanese art of 金継ぎ (kintsugi), where the repair is highlighted by a seam of gold.

We are thinking about the timeliness of Toni Morrison writing that wishes for a “return to normal” are distractions from righteous demands for something more revolutionary, more catalytic: “They fill their mind and hands with soap and repair . . . because what is waiting for them, in a suddenly idle moment, is the seep of rage. Molten. Thick and slow-moving. Mindful and particular about what in its path it chooses to bury. Or else, into a beat of time, and sideways under their breasts, slips a sorrow they don’t know where from.”

Or, as Haruki Murakami writes, “I don’t want to be ‘repaired’.”

But because we believe in the power of art, we are also thinking of when Jonathan Saffron Foer, in Everything Is Illuminated, says, “I can repair my mistakes when I perform mistakes. . . . With writing, we have second chances.”

Or when Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says: “Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

Tell us where we go from here. Tell us how we get out of this mess.


Deadline: June 30, 2021

Judge: Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Prize: $1,000

Kali Fajardo-Anstine is the author of Sabrina & Corina (One World, 2019), finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Bingham Prize, The Story Prize, The Saroyan International Prize, and winner of an American Book Award and Reading the West Award. Fajardo-Anstine is the 2019 recipient of the Denver Mayor’s Award for Global Impact in the Arts. Her writing has appeared in print and online at Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, O, the Oprah Magazine, The American Scholar, Boston Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The Idaho Review, Southwestern American Literature, and elsewhere. Kali has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, Tin House, and Hedgebrook. She holds an MFA from the University of Wyoming and is from Denver, Colorado. Her work has been translated into multiple languages.

______________________________

HOW TO ENTER:

This form is for paid entry for those living in the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe. For those living outside of those countries, as well as those experiencing hardship, please enter the contest HERE.


Complete guidelines:

  • All entries must be related to this year’s theme of Repair. We want the theme to be very broadly interpreted, but we also shouldn’t have to guess at the connection between the theme and your entry.
  • The winning author will receive $1,000 and have their work published in Boston Review's special literary issue Repair (March 2022). Some finalists and semi-finalists will also be published in the issue or online.
  • Stories must not exceed 5,000 words and must be unpublished.
  • “Unpublished” means it has never received print publication of any kind, nor is it available anywhere on the Internet. If a story is not available for Boston Review to publish as a first serial, it is not eligible to win the competition or be named as a finalist or semi-finalist.
  • Do not include a cover note. Your name should not appear anywhere in the uploaded file. All entries much be in English; translations are acceptable if they are done in collaboration with the author and the story is unpublished in any language.
  • Simultaneous submissions are OK but if your story is accepted elsewhere, you must immediately withdraw it via Submittable.
  • Submissions may not be modified after entry. The contest judge and Boston Review staff, however, reserve the right to recommend edits to the winning story as well as finalists and semi-finalists they are interested in publishing.
  • Contest entrants cannot have a close personal or professional relationship with this year’s judge or with any editors, staff, or contest screeners at Boston Review. For our purposes, “close” can be glossed as if you would socialize with any of these people, be in a position to ask them to help you with something (for example, write a recommendation or offer advice), or if there is any chance they would recongize your work even without seeing your name.
  • Make sure your physical mailing address in Submittable is correct, as this is the address where your free copy of Repair will be sent in early 2022.

Our contest is named after Aura Estrada (1977–2007), a promising young Mexican writer and student and wife of Francisco Goldman. This prize is meant to honor her memory by supporting other burgeoning writers. Aura's writing, and more about her life, can be found here.

Read winning stories from past years: 

Fall internships are for the months of September through December. Because of the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be happy to consider in-person (Boston) and remote interns.


Interns at Boston Review work on a variety of editorial and promotional projects and have an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of editing, producing, and marketing a publication for serious and demanding readers.

Prior work experience in publishing is less important than applicants’ knowledge of Boston Review and the level of commitment and creativity that they can bring to the magazine. Candidates are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with Boston Review before applying.

Full-time (five days a week) interns receive a stipend of $2,500; part-time (three days a week) interns receive a stipend of $1,500. Stipends are paid in three installments over the course of the internship.

Interns are closely involved in the nuts and bolts of the publication process, proofreading and fact-checking articles for print and Web, helping with art research and permissions, reading submissions, and helping with writing contests. While most of an intern’s time is spent on end-stage editorial work, interns sometimes provide input in the development stage. Interns will also perform some administrative duties, as well as occasional marketing and publicity duties.

Interns typically have responsibilities that matter, not endless busywork. The skills accrued are essential to any job application, and the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of this rewarding and challenging occupation is invaluable.

The cover letter is by far the most important element of your application. It is your opportunity to explain why an internship at Boston Review is important to you and to demonstrate your abilities as a writer, which are the foundation of any career in publishing.


Please submit the following materials in a single file:

1) A cover letter of no more than one page. Be sure to specify whether you are seeking a full- or part-time position.

2) Your CV 

3) The names, phone numbers, and email addresses of two references. Please specify their relationships to you. We prefer, but do not require, that at least one reference be a past or current employer.  

Please read the following guidelines before submitting.

Thank you for your interest in Boston Review! We welcome nonfiction and book review submissions on a wide range of subjects, from politics, philosophy, and economics to science, law, gender, and race.

Please note that we are a U.S. literary and political magazine with a global audience; we are not a local Boston news organization. We mainly publish substantial, 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 or pieces of fewer than 2,000 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 substantive detail 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 much better when they show some familiarity with work Boston Review has published. Please consider reading a few of our essays before you submit to get a sense of the style and substance we are looking for.

Boston Review