Polyphony Lit Fall Contest 2022: Modernize a Myth or Legend


The theme for the contest is “Modernize a Myth or Legend.” There will be one winner and two finalists. For more details on the contest prize, see below!

Storytelling is an art that dates back to early civilizations… So this fall, Polyphony Lit wants to explore the ancient roots of storytelling and see how legends of mythic proportions might look in new, nontraditional forms.

As a precursor to poetry, oral storytellers used verse-like techniques in order to memorize traditional myths and legends, and often, they tried to make sense of the world around them through stories that explained the ways of nature, established social precedence, or illustrated moral principles. Now, it’s up to you to take the historical, lyrical, and allegorical and make it new again. Maybe you want to retell a myth with teenage characters in today’s era… or maybe you want to reflect on an old legend from a modern point of view and show how the themes are still relevant today. What is your idea for a modern twist?

If you want to draw from Greek and Roman mythology, then take us on an Odyssey. But it doesn’t need to be all Greek… If you want to modernize the Polynesian trickster Maui or Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, then feel free to explore legends from a multicultural perspective. Or maybe you want to draw inspiration from epic stories, such as the tale of the Elephant Rider, Trieu Thi Trinh, the epic of the lion king, Sundiata… Either way, we can’t wait to see what you create!

With that in mind, there is one rule: please don’t send us fanfiction or submissions that feature copyrighted characters, settings, etc… If you want to write about Zeus, then bring the thunder. But if you want to write about Camp Half Blood, then this isn’t the contest for you… We ask that you draw inspiration from myths/legends that are in the public domain, and we ask that you add enough of your own unique twists and changes to ensure that your submission represents your own creative work.


Looking for examples that Polyphony Lit has published already? Then check out “anti-apotheosis” and “frog at the bottom of the well.”

Polyphony Lit Fall Contest Guidelines


Submissions will open on October 1st and will remain open until October 31st or until we reach our submission cap of 200 submissions.

Please note that this is a separate submission category from Polyphony Lit Volume 19.​ Submissions to Polyphony Lit Volume 19 will receive feedback from the editors, but for the Summer Contest category, only the winning submissions will receive feedback from the judge.

If you have already submitted your work to the Volume 19 category, then please do not send the same submission to the Fall Contest category.

If you submit to the Fall Contest category first and your work is declined, then you may submit it to the Volume 19 category after the Fall Contest is finished.

Writer Qualifications

  • High school students from anywhere in the world are eligible to submit.

  • Works must be written in English.

  • .Submit a maximum of three pieces.

  • We accept simultaneous submissions and work that has been published elsewhere. If your submission is accepted, you must note if the work was previously published. If it is accepted elsewhere after you submit to us, you must notify us immediately. In this case, if we accept it for publication, we will acknowledge the site of the original publication.

  • All submissions that have not been previously published are eligible for both the Polyphony Lit Editors Choice Award and the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards.


  • Submissions must be 1,800 words or fewer, double-spaced.


  • Do not put your name on the piece, as all work is blind juried.

  • Submissions longer than one page should have the page number inserted at the top (right or left side) of every page, as it would help our Judge specify the location for their commentary.

  • We accept submission in .doc, .docx or .rtf formats.

  • We prefer common conventions:
               Color: Black & white
               Font Size: 12 pt throughout, including titles
               Font Type: Times or Times New Roman
               Margins: 1-inch at the top and bottom, and 1.25 inch at the left and               right. One space after periods. There should be no extra returns after             paragraphs unless you have a meaningful reason for the extra space.

Using Submittable

  • Please upload submissions through Submittable. We do not accept email submissions or hard copies via mail.

  • Upload only one piece per submission file; to submit more than one piece, make more than one submission file.

  • There is a $5 submission fee.

  • There is a submission cap of 200 submissions, so we may close submissions for the Fall Contest before the deadline of October 31st if we receive 200 submissions. We recommend submitting early in the month, to ensure that you do not miss the deadline.


There will be one winner and two finalists. The winners/finalists will receive:

  • Publication in Polyphony Lit Volume 18

  • Eligibility for the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards

  • Editorial feedback from the Contest Judge, Claire Nam

  • Social media posts announcing the winners

  • An honorary emblem next to the published work on the website

  • A full scholarship for Polyphony Lit’s "How to be a Literary Editor" course. Upon completion of the course, students will be eligible to join the editorial staff of Polyphony Lit!

Please note that only the three winners will receive feedback from the Judge. However, if your work is declined for the Winter Contest, then you may submit to the Volume 18 category and receive regular feedback from our editors.

To meet our Contest Judge, and Readers, see their bios below!

Meet the Judge













Claire Nam is a junior at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, New York. Her favorite genres of writing are horror, but she loves to read teenage romance and realistic fiction! When she's not writing, she's visiting museums and editing for Polyphony Lit. She hopes to one day be a journalist or museum curator.

Meet the Readers








Sanya Tinaikar is a 17-year-old writer and student from Pennsylvania. Her work has been recognized by The New York Times, Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Columbia College Chicago, The WEIGHT Journal, and Tiger Zine, among others. She additionally serves as the Editor-in-Chief for her school's newspaper, The Summit. Find her @sanyatinaikar on Twitter or attempting to draw The New Yorker cartoons.






Fiona Lu is a high schooler from the San Francisco Bay Area who is passionate about storytelling, no matter what form it may take. In her free time, she likes to read, go on walks by the water, and eat very, very good food. She hopes you have a great day!

Cynthia Wang is a high school junior from the Bay Area. She writes creatively about social justice and experiences associated with her heritage, and her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. When she is not playing soccer, she loves traveling spontaneously with friends, eating dim sum, and biking.

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