What is Boston in 100 Words?

Boston in 100 Words is a writing contest that invites all Boston residents to write stories of no more than one hundred words depicting everyday life their communities. A team of renown, local authors will select winning stories, which will be published in large format and posted throughout the city for everyone to read and enjoy.

We believe that storytelling is a powerful social tool that connects individuals to each other despite our differences. Through Boston in 100 Words, we seek to share placed-based stories about life in the city of Boston with each other. We believe that by doing this, our community will be stronger and our city a better place to live.

Boston in 100 Words is modeled after a contest that originated in Santiago de Chile in 2001. After years of success in Chile, the contest expanded to cities in Mexico, Colombia, Poland, The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia. Boston will be the first city in the United States to become part of this transnational urban writing project.

This contest seeks to celebrate the city of Boston through a celebration of its people and their individual creative talents. Everyone has a story to share. We want to hear yours.

Rules for the First Annual Short-Story Contest Boston in 100 Words

1. Contest participation is open to anyone living, working, or going to school in the city of Boston, which includes the following neighborhoods: Allston, Back Bay, Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Brighton, Charlestown, Chinatown, Dorchester, Downtown, East Boston, Fenway, Harbor Islands, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Leather District, Longwood Medical Area, Mattapan, Mission Hill, North End, Roslindale, Roxbury, South Boston, South Boston Waterfront, South End, West End, West Roxbury. Participants must submit a mailing address in one of these neighborhoods where they can be reached.

2.Participation is also open to anyone living in the following towns: Arlington, Cambridge, Belmont, Brookline, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Newton, Revere, Watertown, Winthrop. Participants must submit a valid residential mailing address in one of these towns.

3. Stories must be about life in the city of Boston.

4. Stories must be originally written by the author for the purpose of this contest, they cannot be previously published, and they cannot be more than 100 words; the title of the story does not count as part of the 100 words.

5.Participants can submit up to five stories each. Stories can be submitted through the contest website and in accordance with the instructions listed there.

6. Stories can also be submitted in person at the Copley Square branch of the Boston Public Library, or by mail at: Boston in 100 Words P.O. Box 961883 Boston, MA 02196. If submitting in person or by mail, please submit stories in a sealed envelope with a pseudonym in place of your real name. Inside the sealed envelope, each story should include a title and your pseudonym; also include a separate document with the following information: pseudonym, title of story (or stories if submitting more than one), first and last name, date of birth, mailing address, phone number, and email.

7.Stories can be submitted from September 8-November 8, 2019.

8. Contest judges are renowned Boston-based writers Gish Jen, Callie Crossley, and Porsha Olayiwola who work in collaboration with a screening committee convened by contest organizers.

9. Contest judges will select a total of eleven winning stories, including 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, 7 honorable mention awards, and one youth prize (for contestants under 17 years old).

10. Winning stories will be printed in large format alongside an original illustration and posted in public spaces throughout the city of Boston. They will also be distributed through the contest’s social media platforms.

11. Monetary awards for winning stories are as follows: $500 for 1st place, $300 for 2nd place, $200 for 3rd place, $100 for each honorable mention award, and $500 for the youth prize.

12. Stories submitted to the contest will not be returned to the author.

13. Stories must be original, meaning they are written by the submitting author for the purpose of this contest and have not been previously published elsewhere. Participants who fail to adhere to this rule accept personal responsibility for any damages incurred and contest organizers have the right to take any applicable legal action.

14. By submitting stories to the contest, participating authors implicitly accept these rules and give contest organizers exclusive permission to reproduce, publish, translate and adapt stories for the purpose of free distribution when and where they choose.

15. By submitting stories to the contest, participating authors implicitly accept that their story, along with their name, age, and town of residence can be published by the contest in paper and/or online formats.

For questions, please email: contact@bostonin100words.com.

Frequent Answers Questions

About the contest

It’s a writing contest! We invite residents of greater Boston to write stories of no more than 100 words depicting everyday life in the city. Winning stories will be printed in large format and posted throughout the city for everyone to read and enjoy.

Anyone who has a mailing address where they can be reached in the city of Boston or a select number of surrounding towns can participate. A complete list of eligible towns is available in the “Rules” section of our website.

Our panel of judges are renowned, Boston-based writers: Gish Jen, Callie Crossley, and Porsha Olayiwola.

Winning stories will be announced at a public awards ceremony in spring 2020. More details coming soon!

You can submit your stories through the website, in person at the Copley Branch of the Boston Public Library, or by mail. Our mailing address is: P.O. Box 961883 Boston, MA 02196. Please refer to the “Rules” section of our website for explicit instructions on how to submit stories in person or by mail.

No. Only the words in the story will be counted.

The story has to be written by the person who submits it, the story cannot have been previously published and it should be written explicitly for the purpose of this contest.

Our contest is modeled after another contest that originated in Santiago, Chile in 2001. The contest currently exists in six cities throughout Chile and in six other cities around the world. More information about the history of this contest and its global expansion is available at: https://en100palabras.com/web/en.

Stories should be about life in the city of Boston. Stories can be completely fictional or based on personal experiences.

Winning authors will receive a small monetary prize and a plaque of the illustrated poster of their story.

There will be a total of 11 winning stories: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, 7 honorable mentions, and one youth prize.

No. You can still win even if you can’t come to the public awards ceremony.

You can submit your stories from September 8-November 8, 2019.

Each person can submit up to 5 stories.

You need to include your name, a mailing address where we can contact you, a phone number where we can contact you, an email address and your date of birth.

We accept stories from contestants of all ages.

You can include words or phrases in languages other than English but the majority of the text must be in English.

Winning stories will appear as large, illustrated posters installed in public spaces throughout the city of Boston.

How to participate