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Attention: LeVar Burton wants to read your short stories.

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June 29, 2021, 10:35am

Those of you with fond memories of LeVar Burton reading to you through Reading Rainbow, you have the opportunity to turn the tables: with some work on your end, LeVar Burton might read your story aloud.

Lit Hub is excited to announce that the Reading Rainbow star’s podcast, LeVar Burton Reads, is partnering with FIYAH Literary Magazine for their first-ever writing contest. Writers can submit their sci-fi, fantasy or horror stories between 2800 and 5200 words—the winner will receive $500 and have their story read by LeVar Burton himself on an episode of the LeVar Burton Reads podcast. Here are the contest guidelines:

We are interested in stories that examine the magical joys and tragic pitfalls of blended civilizations and cultural exchanges in all their forms. As our worlds change, what precious things do we carry with us and allow to be altered or demand they remain untouched? What is taken from us and what will we do to get it back? What do we allow ourselves to remember of our histories, our roots, and what do we allow ourselves to forget? What do we leave behind and what do we choose to carry into the future?

Some things to consider as you think about the guidelines.  How is it that blended civilizations and cultural exchanges might impact the following categories:

-gods

-faiths, religious traditions

-food traditions

-language

-gender recognition

-concepts of community

-concepts of identity

-race prejudice (human vs. other species)

We welcome works of the Indigenous fantastic, the other-worldly, and alternative histories. Works must include speculative or fantastical elements.

The contest deadline is August 31, and the winner will be announced October 15. More information about the contest can be found here. Said Burton himself, “For a couple of seasons now, we’ve been trying to figure out how to conduct a short story contest with all of the submissions coming from listeners of the podcast. I’m happy to report that we have finally cracked the code!”

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