Writing Black Joy

GrubStreet Writing Contest

Writing Black Joy: True Stories From Real People

This year, the City of Boston declared September 12, 2020 Black Joy Day. Created with the help of City Councilor Julia Mejia and non-profit leader, photographer, and community activist Thaddius Miles, Black Joy Day is a day to appreciate and celebrate our power to uplift ourselves and others despite the challenges we face in our world today.

We want to hear true stories from you about joy—specifically Black joy: moments, scenes, memories, that celebrate Black families, relationships, culture, and history. Black joy is perseverance, Black joy is healing, Black joy is laughter, and Black joy is critical to our survival. It is a reminder that our laughter, the things we love, our unapologetic joy fuels our liberation.

The winner will receive $1000, 2nd place $750, and 3rd place $500. All three prize essays will also be published on our blog, GrubWrites.

Judging: We are excited to announce that the final judge for this year's contest is best-selling novelist Lauren Wilkinson, author of American Spy, an NAACP Image Award nominee, an Anthony award nominee, and an Edgar Award nominee.

Specifications: Submissions must be true stories between 500 and 1000 words. Submissions can be in any genre: prose, poetry, or cross-genre. Submit your essays using the link below!

Eligibility: Open to any resident over the age of 18 in New England (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine) and New York state. 

Deadline: Due to the election and the ongoing pandemic, we have extended our deadline to11:59PM on Sunday, December 6th, 2020.

Winners will be notified by the end of January.

This contest is in partnership with MBK Boston and the Black Joy Project by Thaddeus Miles. 


Deadline to submit has passed. Winners will be notified by the end of January.


About Writing Black Joy:

"Over the last few weeks and months, many have awoken to the fact that we live in a society shaped by oppression, racism, and violence. We find it on full display daily on our social media timelines, articles, and televised reports. While the marches are important, visual conscious acts and expressions of joy are vital forms of resistance. In support and encouragement of our expressions of joy, we are launching The Black Joy Writing Contest.

Black Joy has a lot of different meanings. For some, it is living radiantly and unapologetically in your skin – being fierce and in a true celebration of yourself no matter what your personal or collective circumstance. For others, Black Joy is dancing, singing, and laughing even in the most challenging times.  It’s surrounding yourself with your culture and people, as well as feeling safe and at home."  Thaddeus Miles, Author, Non-Profit Leader, Photographer  

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