We’re pleased to reveal the three finalists for the LeVar Burton Reads short story writing contest, a contest produced in collaboration between Tor.com, FIYAH Magazine, and the LeVar Burton Reads podcast, co-edited by L.D. Lewis and Diana M. Pho.

Working under the theme ”Origins & Encounters,” each of these stories examines the ways in which blended civilizations and cultural exchanges would affect the subject of faith, languages, racial prejudice, gender recognition, and concepts of community and identity.

All three stories will be available to read for free on Tor.com on Tuesday February 22, 2022.

1st Place

“The Last Truth” by AnaMaria Curtis

The Last Truth by AnaMaria Curtis

Artwork by Juan Bernabu

A runaway and indentured thief, Eri must provide a new secret to open each new lock, at the cost of her own memory. Hundreds of locks later, Eri can barely recall her own past. An unanticipated alliance with a musician may prove the key to both their freedoms—if Eri doesn’t lose herself in the process.

2nd Place

"Girl Oil" by Grace P. Fong

Girl Oil by Grace P. Fong

Artwork by Sara Wong

Chelle’s friend, Wenqian, has everything Chelle doesn’t. A slim figure, pale skin, and most notably the affection of her longtime friend Preston. Like the ocean waves she calls home, Chelle feels transparent and overflowing all at once. So when she’s handed a body oil that promises to fix all of her mistakes, she’ll use as much as it takes to reach perfection; no matter how much it hurts.

3rd Place

"Synthetic Perennial" by Vivianni Glass

Synthetic Perennial by Vivianni Glass

Artwork by Dani Pendergast

K’Mori has died once already. Brought back to life, she struggles with the limits of her reanimation while the world struggles with its meaning.

L.D. Lewis is an award-winning SF/F writer and editor, and publisher at Fireside Magazine. She serves as a founding creator and Project Manager for the World Fantasy and Hugo Award-winning FIYAH Literary Magazine. She also serves as the founding Director of FIYAHCON, boardmember for Diverse Voices, Inc., Researcher for the LeVar Burton Reads podcast, and pays the bills as the Awards Manager for the Lambda Literary Foundation. She frequently authors studies about the treatment and experiences of racially/ethnically marginalized authors in speculative literature. She is the author of A Ruin of Shadows (Dancing Star Press, 2018) and her published short fiction and poetry includes appearances in FIYAH, PodCastle, Strange Horizons, Anathema: Spec from the Margins, Lightspeed, and Neon Hemlock, among others. She lives in Georgia, on perpetual deadline, with her coffee habit, two very photogenic kittens, and an impressive Funko Pop! collection. Tweet her @ellethevillain.

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