Contest and Judges

 2018 Contest: The Future

Each year, three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Sonora Review are awarded to a short story, an essay, and a poem or group of poems. We’d like to announce our judges for our 2018 contest, whose theme is The Future.

Fiction Judge: Charles Yu
Nonfiction Judge: Rubén Martínez
Poetry Judge: Harmony Holiday

Submit to the contest/Issue 74: The Future.

You may submit up to 6,000 words of fiction, an essay of up to 5,000 words, or four to eight pages of poetry, with a $15 entry fee through Submittable. Multiple submissions are allowed. The contest will be open for submission from January 16th to March 15th. All entries are considered for publication in our themed issue, The Future. Please see our preview page for details on what we’re looking for.

CharlesYu-FINALCharles Yu is the author of three books, including the novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, which was a New York Times Notable Book and named one of the best books of the year by Time magazine. He was nominated for two WGA awards for his work on HBO’s Westworld and has also written for an upcoming show on AMC, Lodge 49. His fiction and non-fiction has been published in a number of publications: The New Yorker, The New York Times, Slate and Wired. He is currently on the writing staff for an upcoming HBO show created by Academy-Award winning writer/director Alan Ball.

A native of Los Angeles and the son and grandson of immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador, Rubén Martínez is a writer, performer and teacher. He holds the Fletcher ruben_martinez_photo_by_angela_garciaJones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University, and is an artist in residence at Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts. He is the author of: Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail, The New Americans: Seven Families Journey to Another Country and The Other Side: Notes from the New L.A., Mexico City and Beyond. His new book, Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West is now available in hardcover from Metropolitan/Holt Books.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, poet and choreographer Harmony Holiday is the daughter of harmony-holiday-448Northern Soul singer/songwriter Jimmy Holiday. Her father died when she was five, and she and her mother moved to Los Angeles. Holiday earned a BA in rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley and an MFA at Columbia University. She is the author of Negro League Baseball (2011), winner of the Fence Books Motherwell Prize; Go Find your Father/A Famous Blues (Ricochet Editions, 2013), a “dos-a-dos” book featuring poetry, letters, and essays; and Hollywood Forever (Fence Books, 2017).  In 2013 she was awarded a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. She lives in Los Angeles.

Former Contest Winners


Sonora Review 2017 Essay Prize (judged by Irina Dumitrescu): (winner) “The Pace of Death: On Illness and Borders in the Sonora” by Easton Smith

Sonora Review 2017 Fiction Prize (judged by Brian Evenson): (winner) “Luz, Milagro” by Kate Berson

Sonora Review 2017 Poetry Prize (judged by Anselm Berrigan): (winner) “I Want to Die in Designer” by Benjamin Krusling


Sonora Review 2016 Essay Prize (judged by Elena Passarello): (winner) Danielle Zaccagnino (1st runner-up) LaTanya McQueen (2nd runner-up) Clinton Peters

Sonora Review 2016 Fiction Prize (judged by Molly Antopol): (winner) Sean Gill (1st runner-up) Laura Legge (2nd runner-up) Jess Arndt

Sonora Review 2016 Poetry Prize (judged by Mathias Svalina): (winner) Renia White (1st runner-up) Jennifer Givhan (2nd runner-up) Mary Block


Sonora Review 2015 Essay Prize (judged by Amy Leach): (1st) Kimberly Burwick (finalists) Rachel May, Samantha Deal, Bryce Emley, Misha Rai, Matthew Weinkam, Landon Houle, Kimberly Burwick, Katharine Monger.

Sonora Review 2015 Fiction Prize (judged by Stuart Dybek): (1st) Angela Corbett (finalists)  Barbara Ganley, Stephanie Carpenter, Michael Pearce, Raul Palma, Elise Winn, Cassandra Powers, Sam Martone, Joshua Garfinkel

Sonora Review 2015 Poetry Prize (judged by Rusty Morrison): (1st) Safiya Sinclair (finalists) Erin Miller, Emily Skaja, Katie Willingham, Felicia Zamora, Liz Robbins, Khaty Xiong


Sonora Review 2014 Essay Prize (judged by Jenny Boully): (1st) Corey Zeller (2nd) Shaelyn Smith (3rd) Julie Marie Wade & Denise Duhamel

Sonora Review 2014 Poetry Prize (judged by Eduardo Corral): (1st) Justin Carter (2nd) Michael Luis Dauro (3rd) Jess Poli

Sonora Review 2014 Fiction Prize (judged by Matt Bell): (1st) Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara (2nd) Niloo E. Sarabi (3rd) Chelsea Werner-Jatzke


Sonora Review 2013 Essay Prize (judged by Dinty W. Moore): (1st) Harrison Candelaria Fletcher (2nd) Lia Woodall (3rd) Kelly Clancy

Sonora Review 2013 Short-Fiction Prize (judged by Ben Marcus): (1st) Michael Fidel Marquez (2nd) JoeAnn Hart (3rd) Lucas Church