Each year, Boston Review runs competitions in poetry and fiction. We also partner with the Unterberg Poetry Center/92nd Street Y to publish the winner of the annual “Discovery”/Boston Review poetry contest. We now accept online submissions exclusively through Submittable:
Online submissions are strongly encouraged; contestants also may submit entries via postal mail, but will not receive acknowledgement of successful submission. Email submissions are not accepted.
Our old submission system, in which you can check the status of submissions made prior to 2016, is currently down for repair but will be back up soon. Please check back in a couple weeks. However, it will no longer accept new submissions. If you have an active submission there, there is no need to resubmit it; we are still reviewing submissions there.
All contest entry payments are non-refundable and previously published work may not be submitted to any contest. All winners are announced publicly and informed prior to that announcement. Please do not contact us to ask whether you have won a contest.
Complete instructions for submission to all contests follow.
Annual Poetry Contest
Deadline: June 1, 2018
Judge: Mary Jo Bang
First Prize: $1,500 and publication
The winning poet will receive $1,500 and have his or her work published online by Boston Review. Submit up to five unpublished poems, no more than 10 pages total. Any poet writing in English is eligible, unless he or she is a current student, former student, relative, or close friend of the judge. Mailed manuscripts must be submitted in duplicate, with a cover note listing the author’s name, address, email, and phone number. No cover note is necessary for online submissions. Name and other identifying information must not appear anywhere in the submission itself. Simultaneous submissions (i.e., when the same poems are simultaneously submitted to other magazines) are not permitted, submissions will not be returned, and submissions may not be modified after entry. All permissions for copyright purposes must be cleared in advance of submission. Failure to comply with any contest guidelines may result in your submission being disqualified. A non-refundable $20 entry fee, payable to Boston Review in the form of a check or money order or by credit card, must accompany all submissions. All submitters receive a complimentary copy of Boston Review's 2018 special literary edition, Evil Empire. Mailed submissions must be postmarked no later than June 1, 2018.
The winner will be announced in the fall on the Boston Review Web site. All poems submitted to the contest will be considered for publication in Boston Review.
Please enter online using Submittable:
Or mail submissions to:
Poetry Contest, Boston Review
PO Box 425786
Cambridge, MA 02142
Read winning poems from past years:
Mia Kang (2017)
Cori A. Winrock (2016)
Safiya Sinclair (2015)
francine j. harris (2014)
Scott Coffel (2013)
Sarah Crossland (2012)
Heather Tone (2011)
Anthony Caleshu (2010)
John Gallaher (2009)
Sarah Arvio (2008)
Elizabeth Willis (2007)
Marc Gaba (2006)
Mike Perrow (2005)
Michael Tod Edgerton (2004)
Susan Wheeler (2003)
Max Winter (2002)
D. A. Powell (2001)
Christopher Edgar (2000)
Stephanie Strickland (1999)
Daniel Bosch (1998)
For more poetry in Boston Review, click here.
Aura Estrada Short Story Contest
Deadline: October 1, 2018
Judge: Alexander Chee
Prize: $1,500 and publication
Aura Estrada (1977–2007) was a promising young Mexican writer and student, and the 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.
The winning author will receive $1,500 and have his or her work published on Boston Review's website. Runners up may also be published. Stories should not exceed 5,000 words and must be previously unpublished. Mailed manuscripts should be double-spaced and submitted with a cover note listing the author’s name, address, and phone number. No cover note is necessary for online submission. Names should not appear on the stories themselves. Any author writing in English is eligible, unless he or she is a current student, former student, relative, or close friend of the judge. Simultaneous submissions are not permitted; if you submit your story to another publication, you must withdraw it from our submissions manager or inform us by email. All permissions for copyright purposes must be cleared in advance of submission. Submissions will not be returned, and submissions may not be modified after entry. A non-refundable $20 entry fee, payable to Boston Review in the form of a check or money order or by credit card, must accompany each story entered. All submitters receive Boston Review's special literary issue, Evil Empire, complimentary with their entries. Submissions must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2018. The winner will be notified in the spring of 2019 and publicly announced by July on the Boston Review Web site.
Entries are accepted exclusively through Submittable:
Or mail submissions to:
Short Story Contest, Boston Review
PO Box 425786
Cambridge, MA 02142
Read winning stories from past years:
Herselman Hattingh’s The Recorder (2018)
Gina Balibrera’s Álvaro (2017)
Mikayla Ávila Vilá's Trumpeteers (2016)
Barbara Hamby's Dole Girl (2015)
Leslee Becker's Severance (2014)
Kerry-Lee Powell’s There Are Two Pools You May Drink From (2013)
Alexandra Thom’s The Piano (2012)
Kalpana Narayanan’s Aviator on the Prowl (2011)
Adam Sturtevant’s How Do I explain? (2010)
Jessica Treglia’s Canceled (2009)
Patricia Engel’s Desaliento (2008)
Padma Viswanathan’s Transitory Cities (2007)
Tiphanie Yanique’s How to Escape from a Leper Colony (2006)
Lisa Chipongian’s Intramuros (2005)
D.S. Sulaitis’s If It’s Anywhere, It’s Behind Us (2004)
Gale Renee Walden’s Men I Don’t Talk to Anymore (2003)
Manini Nayar’s Home Fires (2002)
Kate Small’s One Night a Year (2001)
Girija Tropp’s The Pretty Ones Have Their Uses (2001)
Pauls Toutonghi’s Regeneration (2000)
Jacob M. Appel’s Shell Game with Organs (1999)
Kris Saknussemm’s Unpracticed Fingers Bungle Sadly Over Tiny Feathered Bodies (1998)
Kiki Delancey’s Jules Jr Michael Jules Jr (1997)
Mary Ann Jannazo’s No Runs, No Hits, No One Left on Base (1996)
Tom Paine’s The Milkman & I (1995)
Michael Dorris’s Layaway (1994)
For more fiction in Boston Review, click here.
"Discovery"/Boston Review 2017 Poetry Contest
Deadline: Fri, Jan 13, 2017, at 5 pm
Preliminary Judges: Timothy Donnelly and francine j. harris
Final Judges: Henri Cole, Douglas Kearney and Monica Youn
Four Prizes: $500
Submissions are accepted by 92Y only; questions should be directed to email@example.com.
The Discovery Poetry Contest is designed to attract large audiences to poets who have not yet published a book. For the tenth year, 92Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center is proud to partner with Boston Review. Each of four winners is awarded a reading at the Poetry Center, publication, and $500. Many winners of this contest have gone on to distinguished careers as poets, among them John Ashbery, Eduardo C. Corral, Lucile Clifton, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Solmaz Sharif and Mark Strand.
The contest is open to poets who have not published a full-length poetry collection. Poets who have published chapbooks of less than 42 pages or in editions of less than 500 are still eligible to apply.
For guidelines, and to submit, visit 92y.org/Discovery.