Submissions period: 2 June to 10 July 2024

Sine Theta are pleased to announce the sixth iteration of our annual writing contest! We are delighted to announce Kim Fu (author of Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century) as this year’s Fiction judge and Mary Jean Chan (author of Bright Fear) as this year’s Poetry judge.

Submit by 10 July 2024 for a chance to be published in our upcoming issue, sinθ #32. This year, we’re able to offer the winner in each category a $150 USD cash prize. Thank you to our Patreon subscribers for the support that makes this award possible.

We’re accepting entries for both fiction (prose) and poetry. We invite you to reflect on the following three prompts as inspiration for your pieces. You may reflect on the prompts separately or as a collective, drawing themes and ideas that resonate with you. Entries must engage with the prompt(s), and can do so either directly or indirectly.

There is no submission fee.

You may only submit one entry per category, so send us your best work!

  1. Write something pungent.
  2. “Image: Still from 过春天 / The Crossing (2018) dir. Bai Xue. Through a window, a girl in school uniform sits at a restaurant table, eating. She is the only figure visible inside the restaurant. Visible in the window reflection there is a man standing on the street, smoking and looking into the distance. Behind this man, also in the reflection, there is a red car indicating street traffic.

  3. “I relaxed my grip on the seed momentarily and then squeezed it more tightly than ever in the firm grip of my winding coils. The yellow flesh sweated, effused scent. In my tight grip, something inside the seed seemed to stir. I felt a slight, momentary vibration. Though I held the heart of the fruit, the fruit held me. Its strange acids worked at my flesh in a way that discomfited me. I found a small hole in the seed. I scaled further down and crawled inside. I became the seed and the seed became me. Whatever grows from it will be mine.”

    ——Larissa Lai, Salt Fish Girl (2002)


Email with “Writing Competition - NAME - CATEGORY” as the subject line. Attach your submission as a PDF or Word document, with the document title as “CATEGORY - WORK TITLE”. Do not include your name on the document, as entries will be judged anonymously. If you are entering a poetry and a fiction piece, please submit each piece separately via email.

Please include the following completed form with your submission in the body of your email:

  • Name:
  • Chinese name (if available):
  • Short third-person bio (less than 80 words):
  • If poetry - line count:
  • If fiction - word count:
  • Do you identify as a member of the Sino diaspora?: Yes/No (If the answer is no, please do not submit.)
  • Do you confirm that the submitted work is entirely your own, and that all quotes have been appropriately attributed?: Yes/No (If the answer is no, please do not submit.)
Fiction judge:

Kim Fu is the author of two novels, a collection of poetry, and most recently, the story collection Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, winner of the Washington State Book Award, the Pacific Northwest Book Award, and the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, as well as a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Ignyte Awards, and the Shirley Jackson Awards. Stories in this collection have been selected for Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy and Best of the Net, featured on Levar Burton Reads and Selected Shorts, and optioned for television and film. Fu lives in Seattle, Washington.

Poetry judge:

Mary Jean Chan is the author of the poetry collection Flèche, published by Faber & Faber (2019) and Faber USA (2020). Flèche won the 2019 Costa Book Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize, the Jhalak Prize, the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Poetry Prize and a Lambda Literary Award. Chan's second book, Bright Fear (Faber, 2023), is a Guardian Best Poetry Book of 2023 and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection and the Writers' Prize (formerly the Folio Prize). Bright Fear is currently shortlisted for the 2024 Dylan Thomas Prize. Chan co-edited the anthology 100 Queer Poems (Vintage, 2022) with Andrew McMillan and recently served as a judge for the 2023 Booker Prize. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Chan is the 2023-24 Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellow at the University of Cambridge and a judge for the 2024 Singapore Literature Prize.

  1. The competition is open to all members of the Sino diaspora, regardless of age or nationality.
  2. Submissions are free of charge.
  3. All entries must be received by 11:59PM Pacific time on 10 July 2024.
  4. An entrant may submit only one piece per category (poetry and fiction) for consideration. Pieces may not be altered once submitted.
    1. If you are also planning to submit other works for the issue’s general submissions period, please send general submissions in a different email than your contest submission. Please also read the relevant submission guidelines for general issue submissions before submitting.
    2. Please note that issue general consideration and contest consideration have different deadlines — the contest’s deadline closes before the issue’s deadline closes. It is not a guarantee that you will receive the results of the contest before the issue’s deadline also closes.
  5. The competition organizers reserve the right to change the judging panel without notice.
  6. Our editorial board will review all pieces and forward shortlisted pieces to judges, who will determine the winners. Judges’ decisions are final. There will be no additional correspondence between the editorial board and judges about the works during the adjudication process.
  7. All winners are guaranteed publication in sinθ #32.
  8. All contest entries will also be considered for regular publication in sinθ #32.
  9. All authors published in sinθ receive a $10 USD honorarium. For the two contest winners, there is an additional $140 USD prize, amounting to a total of $150 USD.
  10. All entries are judged anonymously — do not include your name on your works.
  11. Every piece must have a title.
  12. Pieces must engage with the prompt(s) provided, either directly or indirectly.
  13. Word counts: fiction submissions can be no longer than 3000 words (excluding title), and poetry submissions can be no longer than 35 lines (excluding title).
  14. Entries must be submitters’ original work. Plagiarized work will be disqualified from the competition. We do not accept AI-generated work.
  15. Prose pieces must be works of fiction.
  16. We do not accept simultaneous submissions for the contest. Entries also may not have been previously published, whether online or in print (including self-publishing on a blog).
  17. Entries can include Chinese or other languages so long as they are written primarily in English.
  18. Winners will be notified after the judging period has concluded in July.
  19. We look forward to receiving your entries!
Past Winners:


Poetry: "Motherlore, in the flock of cries" by Zen Ren

Short fiction: "The Last Daughter" by Trini Feng

Judged by Lan Samantha Chang and Ching-In Chen


Poetry: "Autumn, as a Color" by Lily Zhou

Short fiction: "Pleasantries" by Daisuke Shen

Judged by Yanyi and Jamie Marina Lau


Poetry: "Untitled, 2020 (after Ren Hang)" by Alice Liang

Short fiction: "The Wedding Dress" by Celeste Chen

Judged by Chen Chen and Rebecca F. Kuang


Poetry: “etymology of ‘moon’” by Stella Li

Short fiction: “The Girlfriend Place” by Ariel Chu

Judged by Sally Wen Mao and K-Ming Chang.


Poetry: “Self-Portrait as the Dead Fish in Some Guy’s Tinder Profile Picture” by Erin Jin Mei O’Malley

Short fiction: “Auntland” by K-Ming Chang

Judged by Sharlene Teo and Nancy Huang.