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Pride Month Contest 2023:
June 1st - June 30th, 2023

Banner artwork by A. Riccobon

Pride Month Contest 2023


In celebration of pride month, Polyphony Lit is honoured to present a special contest for individuals who identify as being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. The theme for this month’s contest is “Found Family.” For more details on the contest prize, see below.

Pride month is primarily a celebration of identity; it is about being yourself, fully and completely. It is about being unapologetically hopeful for a future where acceptance is a guarantee and not a struggle.

But a celebration by yourself is lonely – a party on your own is never really as fun as with friends. So for this contest, we are celebrating the people who you choose to love and who choose to love you – the ones who are bonded not by blood, but by something deeper – the ones who find you along the way, and help you to fully realize the identity and expression that makes you the happiest. This contest, we’re celebrating Found Family. 

Who is the Found Family in your life? Maybe it’s the best friend you’ve loved since childhood, or the older drag queen who took you under her wing. Maybe it’s the English teacher who supported your use of pronouns. Maybe your Found Family isn’t a person at all, but a pet who saved you when you didn’t know you needed saving. Or maybe it’s someone you haven’t met yet, but you feel, deep down, you know them already.

The theme is open to your interpretation – be creative, and have fun with it!


Want to learn more about how poetry impacts the LGBTQIA+ community around the globe? Check out our upcoming poetry workshop, “Around the World of Poetry in 80 Days,” where we hear from writers / editors discussing the LGBTQIA+ community in the U.S., Bangladesh, and New Zealand, among other places!

Pride Month Contest Guidelines


Submissions will open on June 1st and will remain open until June 30th or until we reach our submission cap of 200 submissions. If the turnout is lower than expected, then we might extend the deadline by a couple of weeks, in order to give submitters more writing time.

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 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 Pride Month Contest.

If you submit to the Pride Month Contest first and your work is declined, then you may submit it to the Volume 20 category after the Pride Month Contest is complete.


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

  • Publication in Polyphony Lit Volume 19.

  • Eligibility for the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards.

  • Editorial feedback from the Contest Judge, Eliza Mahon.

  • 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!

A limited number of scholarships for our “How to Be a Literary Editor” training course will also be awarded to additional LGBTQIA+ submitters with financial need. In order to take the course, students must be sufficiently fluent in English. Students who complete the course will be invited to join the staff of Polyphony Lit as a Junior Editor. If you are interested in the scholarship opportunity, then please submit an application here.

Please note that only the three winners will receive feedback from the Judge. However, if your work is declined for the Pride Month Contest, then you may submit to the Volume 20 category and receive regular feedback from our editors.

Writer Qualifications

  • High school students who identify as LGBTQIA+ are eligible to submit. We understand that the LGBTQIA+ community covers a wide spectrum of identities, so we hope that you will not be limited by this term in any way. If you do not fall under these demographics, but are still interested in writing about the theme, then feel free to submit to our Volume 20 submission category, which opens on July 1st 2023.

  • Submit a maximum of three pieces.

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

  • 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.

  • Pieces that have been published elsewhere are not eligible for the Claudia Ann Seaman Award for Young Writers.


  • Please upload only one document per submission.

  • Do not put your name on the piece, because 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

  • We accept submissions 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

  • Submissions are free.

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

  • There is a submission cap of 200 submissions, so we may close submissions for the contest before June 30th. We recommend submitting early to ensure that you do not miss the deadline.


Contest Judge

Eliza Mahon (she/they) is a queer author and student from Edmonton, Alberta. Their work has been published in Second Chance Lit and Blue Things Zine, among others. Previously, she was the Poetry Genre Managing Editor and member of the Junior Board at Polyphony Lit. You can find them on Instagram @e.lie.zah or on Twitter @eqom22.

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Contest Reader

Shaliz Bazldjoo is a sophomore in Laurel School’s class of 2024 and, according to all her Google Docs of half-finished novels, technically a writer. Work of hers has been featured in the Cleveland Scholastic Writing Awards and as Power of the Pen’s 2021 humor award winner. She is excited to see the myriad of stories and styles that Polyphony Lit receives. In her free time, she enjoys reading obscure books about the Cold War and nitpicking B-list spy movies.

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Contest Reader

Anna Olteanu is an incoming freshman at Carleton College originally from the suburbs of New York. They are enamored with words—their shapes, sounds, flavors—and particularly enjoy anaphora. If they aren't writing, they're probably peeling an orange, working on a new Spotify playlist, or battling invasive plants around town.


Contest Reader

Sarah Rosales is an aspiring writer with a thirst for magical and emotional tales. She's currently studying Journalism with a minor in English at her local university. In the free time she's blessed with, she enjoys drawing and brainstorming ideas for her next wonderful fanfiction.

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Contest Reader

Dominic Anaya Gulaya, who also goes by Xalli, is a young QTPOC and disabled writer from Los Angeles studying creative writing at California School of the Arts - SGV. He's always enjoyed literature and storytelling in general, and began to find joy & challenge in editing when he was in middle school, leading him to Polyphony Lit. Outside of writing, however, she's also passionate about zine making, jazz piano, ecology & traditional healing/medicinal practices, and social justice— especially prison & police abolition, restorative justice, and mutual aid. You can learn more about him and his work on his Instagram @desertfirelight.

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