Beacon Street Prize


We launched the Beacon Street Prize in 2012, in honor of our 10th anniversary, and writers and readers responded with such enthusiasm that we now hold it annually. Welcoming submissions of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, the 2016 contest will open February 15 and close April 30. The $20 entry fee includes a complementary one-year print subscription to Redivider, and will qualify each short story, essay, or poem $1,000 each and publication in Issue 14.1 (our Winter 2016 issue).


$1,000 prize for fiction | $1,000 for nonfiction | $1,000 for poetry



Alexandra Kleeman (fiction)

Steven Church (nonfiction)

Amy Gerstler (poetry)



  • Length Restrictions: 8,000 words max for fiction; 8,000 words max for nonfiction; three (3) poems max.
  • Submission Period: February 15, 2016 through April 30, 2016.
  • Submission Fee: $20 per entry, including a complementary one-year print subscription to Redivider.
  • More about Submissions: Entrants may submit as many times as they please, to as many categories as they please, with the fee dropping to $10 for each subsequent submission.
  • Manuscript Specifications: Fiction and nonfiction writers should include one short story or essay per file per submission; poets should compile up to three poems into a single file for each submission. Submissions must not contain the author’s name or any other identifying information. All entries must go through our online submission manager.
  • Eligibility: All are eligible except current and former Emerson College students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, our judges’ students, or those with a personal connection to any one judge, are asked not to submit to that judge’s category.



For questions or comments, please contact our contest assistant at



Ryan BurdenFiction: Ryan J. Burden takes home this year’s top prize in fiction for his short story, “Coming of Age.” Ryan is a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and the current Managing/Fiction editor of Four Way Review. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crack the SpineFoundling ReviewGulf Stream, and JMWW, among others. He is currently a doctoral candidate at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he is finishing his first novel.

About Ryan’s winning story, fiction judge Alexandra Kleeman writes, “With phenomenal grace, ‘Coming of Age’ succeeds at bringing the reader inside the mind of Mason, a child struggling to interpret the murky world in which he lives through the use of a dark, private mythology. Ryan J. Burden brings to life an age when real and unreal shade together uneasily, and anything you do seems to tangle the two further.  A vivid piece, uncommonly intimate, this story will envelop you, touch you, and remind you of yourself, many years past.”

Photo WeddingNonfiction: From the wealth of stellar essays submitted this year, judge Steven Church identified Jessica Wilbanks’s “Language in the Latter Days” as the top entry. Jessica is the author of On the Far Side of the Fire, a memoir forthcoming from Beacon Press. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize as well as creative nonfiction awards from Ninth Letter, Sycamore Review, and Ruminate magazine. Jessica received her M.F.A. in creative nonfiction from the University of Houston, where she served as nonfiction editor for Gulf Coast. For more information, visit​

About Jessica’s essay, Church writes, “‘Language in the Last Days’ combines end-times philosophy with biographical sketches of Wittgenstein’s life and thinking with the author’s family history into a smart and deeply resonant examination of the way we talk and think about the apocalypse as well as the role of faith in helping us understand larger questions of metaphysics and language. Wilbanks combines a relentlessly curious mind with deep attention to form and technique; and she demonstrates how the public and the personal intersect, overlap, and bounce off each other to create deeper meaning on the page.”

Melissa Stein photo smallPoetry: Melissa Stein’s “Vitrine” earns the top prize in poetry. Melissa is the author of the poetry collection Rough Honey, winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize. Her work has appeared in New England Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Best New Poets, and many other journals and anthologies, and she has received fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, as well as several awards. She is a freelance editor in San Francisco.

About “Vitrine,” judge Amy Gerstler writes (in part), “I love the passionate imagination in this poem. I love its images, including the image that the title refers to, of the sea, made miniature, trapped in a vitrine, a sea in which most, or all of the speaker’s family have drowned. ‘Vitrine’ turns family trauma and pathology into rich, spellbinding vision, into lyric, without blame or self pity. It’s a poem of invention, resilience and transformation. It’s also a poem that sings of the blessings of moral struggle, of trying to do the right thing, to keep one’s head above water, to reach or help others, even in a hopeless situation.”



AuthorPhotoAlexandra Kleeman is a NYC-based writer of fiction and nonfiction, and a PhD candidate in Rhetoric at UC Berkeley. Her fiction has been published in The Paris ReviewZoetrope: All-StoryConjunctionsGuernica, and Gulf Coast, among others. Nonfiction essays and reportage have appeared in Tin Housen+1, and The Guardian. Her work has received scholarships and grants from Bread Loaf, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Santa Fe Art Institute, and ArtFarm Nebraska. She is the author of the forthcoming debut novel You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine (Harper, 2015) and Intimations(Harper, 2016), a short story collection.

13268be877b735d65863291f4f7d1666_400x400Steven Church is the author of The Guinness Book of Me: a Memoir of Record, Theoretical Killings: Essays and Accidents, The Day After The Day After: My Atomic AngstUltrasonic: Essays (Lavender Ink) and a forthcoming fifth book from Dzanc Books. His essays have been published in Passages North, DIAGRAM, Brevity, River Teeth, The Rumpus, AGNI, The Pedestrian, Colorado Review, Creative Nonfiction,, and many others. He is a Founding Editor and Nonfiction Editor for the nationally recognized literary magazine, The Normal School; and he teaches in the MFA Program at Fresno State.

Photo on 9-5-13 at 11.26 AMAmy Gerstler is a writer of poetry, nonfiction and journalism. Scattered at Sea, a book of her poems, was published by Penguin in June, 2015, and longlisted for the National Book Award. Her book Dearest Creature (Penguin 2009) was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book, and was short listed for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry. Her previous twelve books include Ghost Girl, Medicine, Crown of Weeds, which won a California Book Award, Nerve Storm, and Bitter Angel, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. She was the 2010 guest editor of the yearly anthology Best American Poetry. Her work has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including The New Yorker, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, Poetry several volumes of Best American Poetry and The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry. She has taught writing and/or visual art at the California Institute of the Arts, Cal Tech, Art Center College of Design, the University of Utah, Pitzer College, and elsewhere. She currently teaches in the MFA Writing Program at the University of California at Irvine, where she is a professor of English.


Stay tuned for announcements about our 2017 Beacon Street Prize, along with the second annual Blurred Genre Contest coming this fall!