Banned Books Week

Oppression wants to cover our lives in a blanket of darkness, but each small act of resistance, each defiant moment of hope, brings light to our shared spaces.

September 22 to September 28, 2019 is Banned Books Week, an annual international event celebrating the freedom to read and raising awareness of the immense social value of free and open access to information.

Our 2019 theme is Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark. Turn the Light On! Cast of Wonders is continuing its tradition of holding a specific submission call for YA fiction to air that week. Please bring us your light!

What We’re Looking For

Sunshine is the best disinfectant, as the saying goes, and stories are like sunshine for the soul.

We want to see stories of hope and warmth, but we’re also open to stories that might not have happy endings. Sometimes the light of day is harsh, and sometimes we need that harshness to better see the truth. We’re looking for clarity, hope, light, resistance, and love. Religious and political themes are welcome, though we’re not looking for anything preachy or dogmatic. We’re open as far as genre and tone go. Just give us your truth.

The Details

Our regular submission guidelines will apply to this themed event. Please also note the points highlighted below. We have a strong desire to showcase the work of authors under 18, and take our diversity pledge seriously. Nothing would make us happier than to showcase an entire week’s worth of fiction from these groups!

Submissions will be accepted from 19 May to 1 June, through our Submittable portal.

  • #ReadTheGuidelines
  • We’re a YA podcast, and choose not to feature stories which include explicit and gratuitous violence, language and sexual content. If you wouldn’t give your story to a teenager to read, it doesn’t belong in our slush pile.
  • The “What We’re NOT Looking For” section of our guidelines absolutely apply. Submissions showcasing these elements will be rejected.
  • Manuscripts should continue to be submitted anonymously; you can find an example manuscript here. Authors are encouraged to identify where a story is #ownvoices.
  • Original and reprint fiction are welcome.
  • No multiple submissions. Only one story may be submitted per author. Multiple entries received from the same author, regardless of length, will result in all stories being rejected unread.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted. We anticipate completing our selections no later than July 1st.
  • Stories will be paid at EA standard rates — $0.06/word for original fiction, $100/$20 for reprint short/flash fiction, and use our standard contract. Cast of Wonders is a SFWA Qualified market.
  • Don’t self­-reject. If in doubt, please send us your story!
Please query guest editor Julia Rios if you have any questions on the above before you submit. If in doubt, ask, and make sure you ask in time to receive a response! Extensions won’t be granted for pending queries.

Prior Episodes

2018’s theme was Libraries.

With a library you are free, not confined by temporary political climates. It is the most democratic of institutions because no one – but no one at all – can tell you what to read and when and how.” – Doris Lessing

People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.” – Saul Bellow

A good library can give you answers to the questions you never knew you had. A good librarian can open doors to worlds you never knew existed.


2017’s theme was  Text Against Tyranny: the stories some would silence, and the power of literature, in all its forms, to enlighten humanity’s darkest hours.


Cast of Wonders 214: The Price of Stories by Shannon Connor Winward, narrated by Katherine Inskip

Cast of Wonders 215: Problematic by Brian Lawrence Hurrel, narrated by Tatiana Grey

Cast of Wonders 216: This Story Begins With You by Rachael K. Jones, narrated by Jen. R. Albert

The following episodes are examples of the type of stories we have run for prior Banned Books Week events: