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Contest 2024

In celebration of pride month, Polyphony Lit is honored 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 “Queer Joy.”


For more details on the contest prize, see below.


Contest 2024

In celebration of pride month, Polyphony Lit is honored 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 “Queer Joy.” For more details on the contest prize, see below.


Pride month celebrates and commemorates the shared beauty, struggles, and joy that comes with being part of the LGBTQIA+ community. 


With the death of Nex Benedict among many others, the rise of bans on gender-affirming care, the fear that many still have for their lives across less-accepting countries and cultures, such tragedies serve as painful reminders of the struggles and marginalization queer individuals have experienced, are experiencing, and will continue to experience. In the face of grief, pain, and loss, it is important to celebrate the little moments of accomplishments and happiness that are refreshing in today’s landscape: queer joy.


What does queer joy mean to you? Maybe it was the best friend that tackled you into a hug when you came out to them, or maybe it was a parent or a teacher using your preferred pronoun for the first time. Maybe it was smiling through your tears as you watched an episode of your favorite queer TV-series, maybe it was trying on clothes that you finally felt comfortable in, or maybe it was attending a relative’s same-sex wedding. Maybe it was your first pride parade, seeing the colors and smiles as you realize that you are a part of something so powerful, resilient, and beautiful.


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

Looking for examples that Polyphony Lit has published already? Then check out And So Love is Said to be a Child by Kendal Bazerman, to being girls together by Aarna Tyagi, and blood of the covenant // water of the womb by Anoushka Swaminathan.

Interested in joining our staff as an editor? Our Summer Editing Apprenticeship is open for registrations until June 22, 2024. Be sure to grab a spot before registrations close!

Many of our editors believe that learning how to edit poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction not only gives them a opportunity to interact with a global community of like-minded writers, but also offers them invaluable skills that applicable for write and revising their own work.


Pride 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.

  • Please note that this is a separate submission category from Polyphony Lit Volume 20.​ Submissions to Polyphony Lit Volume 20 will receive feedback from the editors, but for the seasonal contests, only the winning submissions will receive feedback from the judge.

  • If you have already submitted your work to the Volume 20 category, then please do not send the same submission to the Pride Contest category.

  • If you submit to the Pride Contest category first and your work is declined, then you may submit it to the Volume 21 category after the Pride Contest is finished.

Writer Qualifications

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

  • We do not accept submissions from any editors who currently serve on the staff of Polyphony Lit.

  • Submit a maximum of three pieces.

  • If submitting multiple pieces, please upload as separate submissions. Multiple pieces submitted in a single document will be withdrawn, and you will be asked to resubmit your pieces separately.

  • We accept simultaneous submissions and work that has been published elsewhere. If submitting previously published work, please send a message in Submittable noting where and when your work has been published, and if it is eligible for republication. If it is accepted for publication elsewhere after submitting to Polyphony Lit, please notify us immediately but do not withdraw your submission if you are still interested in publication at Polyphony Lit. If we accept a previously published submission for publication, we will acknowledge the place of the original publication.

  • Previously published pieces are not eligible for the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards


  • Poetry must be 80 lines or less.

  • Fiction and creative nonfiction must be 1,800 words or less.


  • 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.

  • Submissions for this contest are free.

  • There is a submission cap of 200 submissions, so we may close submissions for the contest before the deadline if we receive 200 submissions. We recommend submitting early, 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 20

  • Eligibility for the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards (if work is previously unpublished)

  • Editorial feedback from the Contest Judge

  • 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.

Additional Guidelines for Creative Nonfiction​

  • At Polyphony Lit, we look for creative nonfiction pieces that are written in the style of short personal memoirs. We are looking for pieces that are informal, flexible in form, and most importantly, personal. Personal discovery is the keystone of a personal essay. Self-revelation, human experiences, humor, and flexibility of form are all aspects that we look for in pieces we publish as creative non-fiction.

  • We do not look for op-ed pieces, critical analyses, research papers, or academic essays.

  • We would advise reading some samples of our work, in order to understand the material that we publish. Here are some samples of creative nonfiction that we have published:

  • Memories of the Boy I Didn't Know

  • responses to love

  • Holiday in a Burning City

Submission Calendar
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the Judge

Premrudee "Premmy" Mepremwattana | Contest Judge


Premrudee (Premmy) Mepremwattana is a junior in Thailand, who spends summers in North Carolina. Having been recognized by the Alliance for Young Writers and Artists, she serves as founder and co-editor-in-chief for the Alexandrian Review and edits for other magazines. She is also the co-president of Fifty Squared, a UN-recognized nonprofit feminist organization, and is dedicated to amplifying voices among marginalized and underrepresented communities. When not reading, writing, or getting too emotionally invested in fictional characters, she spends her time drinking bubble tea and creating memories with friends and family. She loves editing for and being a part of Polyphony!

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Seasonal Contests Page Art by Ally Chen.

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