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What is Boston in 100 Words?

“Boston in 100 Words” is an annual flash fiction writing contest in the greater Boston metropolitan area. The contest invites anyone living, working, or going to school in Boston and some surrounding towns to write stories of 100 words or fewer that depict everyday life in their communities. A team of local, renowned writers select winning stories, which are made available to the public for free in the form of large, illustrated posters installed throughout the city. “Boston in 100 Words” seeks to impact the largest number of Bostonians possible, as authors and readers of 100-word stories. Participation in the contest is free to everyone.

2020 was the inaugural year of the contest in Boston in which we received 619 stories from 596 individuals located in 22 (out of 24) Boston neighborhoods and 13 surrounding towns. The youngest authors to submit stories were in the third grade and the oldest was a 92 years old man. We awarded prizes for first, second, and third place, seven honorable mentions and a youth prize. 900 large illustrated posters of all 11 winning stories circulated throughout the MBTA system (including subway stations, subway train cars, commuter rail train cars, and buses). The first-place story circulated in English and Spanish translation; the third-place story circulated in English and Chinese translation.

“Boston in 100 Words” is modeled on a highly successful project, “Santiago in 100 Words,” that has run annually in Santiago, Chile, since 2001. After years of success in Chile, the contest expanded to cities in Mexico, Colombia, Poland, The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia. Boston is the first city in the United States to become part of this transnational urban writing project.

We believe that storytelling is a powerful social tool that connects individuals to each other despite our differences. “Boston in 100 Words” 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.


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 valid 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, Somerville, Revere, Watertown, Winthrop. Participants must submit a valid mailing address in one of these towns where they can be reached.

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 or by mail to: Boston in 100 Words 40 Elson Rd. Waltham, MA 02451. If submitting 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 May 19 to July 27, 2021.

8. Winning stories will be selected by a group of local, renowned writers who work in collaboration with a screening committee convened by contest organizers.

9. Contest judges will select a total of thirteen winning stories, including 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place plus 7 honorable mention awards in the general category and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the youth category (for contestants under 17 years old).

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

11. Monetary awards for winning stories are as follows: $300 for 1st place, $200 for 2nd place, $100 for 3rd place in both the general and youth categories.

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, including an author’s personal website, social media accounts or blogs. 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:


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.

Winning stories are selected by a panel of judges who are renowned, Boston-based writers. An announcement of the judges for the second annual contest (2021) coming soon!

Winning stories will be announced at a public awards ceremony in October 2021. More details coming soon!

You can submit your stories through the website or by mail. Our mailing address is: 40 Elson Rd. Waltham, MA 02451. 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 (including on websites or social media) 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:

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

Small monetary prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the general category and the youth category. All winners (including honorable mentions) will receive and copy of the illustrated poster of their story.

There will be a total of 13 winning stories: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place plus 7 honorable mentions in the general category and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the youth category (17 and under).

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

You can submit your stories from May 19-July 14, 2021.

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, a current 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.

Individuals must provide a current physical address where they can be reached in the city of Boston or one of the 13 eligible surrounding towns in order to participate.

How to participate

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