3 Min Read
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3 Min Read

Introducing The Medium Writers Challenge

Featuring judges Natalie Portman, Roxane Gay, Saeed Jones, Susan Orlean, and more


Tell us about an experience you’ve had coming back to something — or someone — after time away. What changed in your absence? How did you change? What are the funny moments, faux pas, discomforts, and joys that came with returning to an old situation (or your pre-pandemic life) with new eyes?


People die, of course, but so do other things. Ideals. Relationships. Jobs. Life phases. Pieces of who we once were. A death isn’t always inherently sad, either; sometimes, it’s a positive step, freeing us from what was weighing us down or allowing us to move forward. Illusions can die. Grudges. Bad habits. Tell us about a death you’ve experienced, for better or worse, and how you marked the loss — whether it was with mourning or celebration.


“Work” is a term that contains multitudes. Maybe your work is a key pillar of your identity. Maybe it’s the thing that allows you to focus on other pursuits. Maybe it fulfills you; maybe it drains you. Maybe the real work in your life isn’t the same as the way you make money. We want to know what “work” means to you — and the factors that have shaped your thinking. What’s the most important work you do, however you define it? What’s the value of work in your life? What’s your dream job? Is there such a thing as a dream job? Is there a moment, a person, a role that’s changed the way you approach your work?


Whether we’re letting our imaginations run wild or focusing on what’s in front of us, our day-to-day lives are defined by space: living space, personal space, outer space. We make space. We claim space. We practice social distancing. We turn spaces into homes, into communities, into refuges, and we forge relationships with others and ourselves within those spaces. We wonder, with varying degrees of skepticism and belief, about the beings that occupy the space beyond our planet. However you define it, tell us a story about a role space has played in your life.


In the tag field, start typing the appropriate tag, and it will populate the drop down menu, and you can select it.

  • From a published story, click the three-dot menu in the lower-right corner, click “Story settings,” set the tags, and save.
  • From a published story page, click the three-dot menu in the lower corner, click “Edit story,” click the three-dot menu in the top right corner, and click “Change tags,” and click “Save.”


NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY. Except for residents in Quebec, Canada, open to Medium users who are at least age 18 (or the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence, whichever is older) at the time of entry. “Contest Period” is from 12:00:01 a.m. ET on 07/28/21 to 11:59:59 p.m. ET on 08/24/21. There will be four writing prompts made available at the start of the Contest Period. To enter: (i) log into your Medium account; (ii) publish an essay of 500 words or more in response to a prompt; and (iii) tag the essay with that prompt (i.e. MWC Reentry, MWC Death, MWC Work, MWC Space). One entry per person per prompt and four entries total during Contest Period. Submissions will be scored based on: (i) creativity (40%); (ii) originality (30%); and (iii) writing quality (30%) by September 23, 2021. 100 honorable mentions will each receive $100; four finalists will each receive $10,000; and one grand prize winner will receive $50,000. Total Value of All Prizes: $100,000. Odds of winning depend on number and quality of eligible entries. Submissions must comply with the Medium Rules and meet Medium’s Distribution Standards. Contest subject to Official Rules. Details and restrictions apply, so visit here for Official Rules. Sponsor: A Medium Corporation.



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Jermaine Hall

Jermaine Hall is a digital publishing executive. When he’s not running his two sons and wife from place to place he’s watching Lakers games.