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Here at Lifehacker, we’ve made our stance on LeVar Burton and his podcast LeVar Burton Reads pretty clear: We’re grateful for and appreciate both of them. In 2019, the former Lifehacker employee Nick Douglas selected the two-parter in which LeVar “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” (Part 1, Part 2) as his choice for that best podcast episode of the year.

Then, a few months (which now seem like a lifetime) later, in April 2020, Lifehacker’s editor-in-chief Meghan Moravcik Walbert penned a post titled “LeVar Burton will read to us, thank God” in response to the announcement that he would read stories live on Twitter three times a week. If ever there was a time when we needed a calming, soothing voice, it was this time. (And also now and all the time in between.)

Now we are back with more good news: From now until the end of this month you have the opportunity to Submit your own speculative short stories for LeVar to read on the podcast. Here’s what you should know.

The LeVar Burton Reads Writing Contest

In collaboration with FIYAH literary magazine and, the LeVar Burton Reads podcast is currently holding its first writing contest – and Burton will read the winning short story of speculative fiction (science fiction / horror) in season 10 of the podcast.

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Here’s more from Burton himself, via a statement on the podcast website:

For several seasons we’ve been trying to figure out how to run a short story competition with all the submissions from listeners to the podcast. I am happy to announce that we finally cracked the code! It is my great pleasure to announce the first LeVar Burton Reads competition for short story writing. #bydhttmwfi

The competition prizes are:

  • First price: $ 500, post your story on, and LeVar reads your story on his podcast (Estimated Retail Value: Priceless)
  • Second prize: $ 250, post your story on
  • Third Prize: $ 100 to post your story on

Submission guidelines and other rules

But before you get started, take the time to review the competition results Submission guidelines and rules. The theme is “Origins and Encounters” and the judges are “interested in stories that explore the magical joys and tragic pitfalls of intermingled civilizations and cultural exchanges in all their forms”.

The information provided is pretty thorough, so take advantage of this – including instructions how do i format correctly Your template.

Further guidelines are:

  • Submissions should be between 2,800 and 5,200 words.
  • Submissions must contain speculative or fantastic elements. Works of the indigenous fantastic, otherworldly and alternative stories are welcome.
  • Sexually explicit works or those depicting graphic violence / anger do not fit this competition well.
  • Simultaneous submissions, reprints, fan fiction or excerpts from longer works will not be considered.
  • Submissions must be prose. Poems, scripts and scripts are not taken into account.

In the end, a word from FIYAH:

Although FIYAH is a limited demographic release, this competition is open to everyone. We strongly recommend listening previous episodes of the podcast to get acquainted with the taste of LeVar.

How to submit your short story

Once you’ve finished your story Fill out this form to submit – along with your name, email address and a short bio of 500 words or less telling the judges about yourself and your work.

All submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on August 31, 2021. Competition judges include Diana M. Pho and LD Lewis, with final selections being made by LeVar himself. The winner will be announced on October 15, 2021.

Good luck and see you next time.