Congratulations to Yiru Zhang, whose story “Dear Mothers, We Are No Longer Lost” was selected by judge Kali Fajardo-Anstine as the winner of the 2021 Aura Estrada Short Story Contest! About Zhang’s winning story, Fajardo-Anstine writes:

‘Dear Mothers, We Are No Longer Lost’ is a wondrous and beautiful short story about two people and what pulls them together and rips them apart. Intimate and atmospheric, I knew by page one that I was reading a unique and special voice. I felt held by such graceful and powerful lines as: ‘We Chinese girls were forever haunted by our Chinese mothers. No matter where we were heading in life, their shadows would always follow us, weeping like a lost child.’ Or: ‘Back then we could only afford to share a basement. It was poverty that brought us together, I often thought. In the soil of poverty, our love grew.’ This short story addresses those universal themes of love, belonging, and the desire for the freedom to be who we truly are. This is a writer to watch, a voice I want to read again and again.

Born in Nanjing, China, Zhang writes in both English and Chinese. In English, she has works published or forthcoming in Reed Magazine, the Florida Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Gordon Square Review, and other venues. In her native Chinese, she has works published in Taiwan and Hong Kong Literature, Fiction World, and elsewhere. A finalist for the John Steinbeck Award for Fiction and a recipient of the Literary Journal’s New Criticism Award, she works as a literary reporter, and translates American short stories into Chinese as well. She is currently working on a collection of short stories threading boundaries, brokenness, and intimacy.

About her winning story, she writes:

For years, I have been wondering about the possibility of crossing boundaries. Having spent my teenage years in both Michigan and China, I often find myself lost between two languages, two cultures, and two identities. When I lived in North America again after my college years, I met those who left their home countries out of hope or despair. I tried to capture what it’s like to be wandering, to be found, and to be repaired.

Zhang’s story will appears in our special winter arts issue, Repair. To be among the first to read it, order a copy! For a limited time, use the code “ARTS20” at checkout to receive 20% off and free domestic shipping.


Fajardo-Anstine also selected a finalist:

  • Emma Dries, “Heat Index”


As well, there were seven semifinalists, including another story from Zhang!

  • Olivia Cheng, “Six Months of Salad”

  • Lin King, “Warm Juice”

  • Katrina Prow, “Half-Moon Teeth”

  • Rolando Rodriguez, “The Healing Song”

  • Ronan Ryan, “Her Face in the Darkness”

  • William Pei Shih, “The Paris of China”

  • Yiru Zhang, “The Shipwreck”


Our contest honors Aura Estrada (1977–2007), a promising young Mexican writer and student and wife of the writer Francisco Goldman. Boston Review published several of her works. More on her life and writing can be found here.

Congratulations to Zhang, as well as all the finalists and semifinalists! We’re grateful for the support of everyone who entered!