Summer Writing Competition

The deadline for submitting to our 2021 summer writing competition has passed. The contest will return again in 2022. The information below remains as an archive.

Our upcoming sinθ #20 marks another year of Sine Theta! To celebrate, we are bringing back our summer writing competition for its third iteration. We are delighted to announce RF Kuang (author of THE POPPY WARS trilogy) as this year’s Fiction judge and Chen Chen (author of National Book Award-longlisted WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE A LIST OF FURTHER POSSIBILITIES) as this year’s Poetry judge.

Submit by June 27th for a chance to be published in sinθ #20 and receive feedback from established writers! First place in each category will receive a $50 USD cash prize.

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), but can do so either directly or indirectly. You may only submit one entry per category, so send us your best work!

Set your written piece on a horizon.


“The night gave me black eyes, but I used them to search for the light.” –Gu Cheng, ‘A Generation’ (1979)

“We are wiped of age first thing in the morning

sleep is a light wash / and don’t we know it

we are wrung and wrung”

– Jenny Xie, ‘Letters to Du Fu’ (2017)


Email with “Writing Competition - NAME - CATEGORY” as the subject line. Attach your submission as a PDF or Word document. Do not include your name on the document, as entries will be judged anonymously. If you are entering a poetry and a prose 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 prose - 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 – RF Kuang

Rebecca F. Kuang is a Marshall Scholar, Chinese-English translator, and the Astounding Award-winning and the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Award nominated author of the Poppy War trilogy and the forthcoming Babel. Her work has won the Crawford Award and the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel. She has an MPhil in Chinese Studies from Cambridge and an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies from Oxford; she is now pursuing a PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale.

Poetry – Chen Chen

Chen Chen is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency (BOA Editions, 2022) and the forthcoming book of essays, In Cahoots with the Rabbit God (Noemi Press, 2023). His debut book of poems, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. He teaches at Brandeis University.

  1. The competition is open to all people of Sino descent, regardless of age or nationality.
  2. All entries must be received by 11:59PM PDT on June 27th, 2021.
  3. 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, please send issue submissions in a different email than your contest submission. Please also read the relevant submission guidelines for regular issue submissions before submitting.
    2. Please note that issue 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.
  4. The competition organisers reserve the right to change the judging panel without notice.
  5. 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.
  6. Winning pieces are guaranteed publication in our upcoming sinθ #20. Additional prizes may be available, subject to availability.
  7. All contest entries will also be considered for regular publication in sinθ #20.
  8. All authors published in sinθ receive a $10 USD honorarium. For the two contest winners, there is an additional $40 USD prize, amounting to a total of $50 USD.
  9. All entries are judged anonymously--do not include your name on your works.
  10. Every piece must have a title.
  11. Pieces must engage with the prompt(s) provided, either directly or indirectly.
  12. Word counts: prose submissions can be no longer than 2000 words (excluding title), and poetry submissions can be no longer than 35 lines (excluding title).
  13. Entries must be submitters’ original work. Plagiarized work will be disqualified from the competition.
  14. Prose pieces must be works of fiction.
  15. 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).
  16. Entries can include Chinese or other languages so long as they are written primarily in English.
  17. Winners will be notified after the judging period has concluded in August.
  18. We look forward to receiving your entries!
Past Winners:


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.