personal essay

Hindsight: Untold Stories from 2020




Hindsight is a book about 2020, written by people like you.

It’s rare to look around and say, “This is going to be written about in history books.” But in 2020, that was about the only thing we could count on. It was year unlike any other, for which there was an endless stream of descriptors: “unprecedented,” “the new normal,” “dumpster fire.”

But history books don’t capture the details of what it was like to live in a year when the earth stood still. They can’t describe the way hospital units came to resemble war zones or the way a cough turned heads on the subway.

So we put out a call for stories from 2020. We received hundreds of submissions from people in more than 28 countries about their lives during that trying time. Teachers and students, fathers and mothers, nurses and lovers — everyone had a story to share.

We have done our best to compile an anthology of stories that is equal parts fascinating, diverse, and authentic to the experience of living through 2020. The end result is Hindsight, a book of true stories about 2020 written by everyday people.

We are temporarily reopening our submission window in order to fill some gaps in our editorial lineup. These gaps concern two major events in 2020 for which we have not received narratives that meet our editorial goals: the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. Please see the descriptions below for more information on the stories we are seeking about these events.

Black Lives Matter — In the wake of George Floyd’s death in May 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement swelled to never-before-seen levels of support. Over the course of the summer, protests cropped up in virtually every major U.S. city as well as many suburban neighborhoods and small towns. We are looking for people whose stories capture this perspective in time. You needn’t be a leader of your local chapter to contribute (although that we would certainly like to read that story), only someone who participated in the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 and can speak to the motivation, emotion, and experience of that period.

2020 U.S. Presidential Election — The months leading up to the 2020 presidential election were some of the most dramatic, unsettling, and unprecedented in history of U.S. politics. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, President Trump and future-President Biden traded barbs in an altogether demoralizing debate, and the country held its breath for days after President Trump contracted the coronavirus. We’re looking for voices that can capture the tumultuous period in time. Whether you cast a ballot, worked the polls, or campaigned for a candidate, we want to hear your perspective on this period of political history.

Submissions close again on August 12th, so don’t delay in sending your story! 

To submit your story or learn more about our requirements, visit our website at

We look forward to hearing your stories on these subjects!


Entry Fee:

Contact & Links: 

Hindsight: The Untold Stories of 2020




Hindsight is a collection of stories about 2020, written by people just like you. We’re seeking stories from around the world that capture what it was like to wake up every day to a new normal — whether that means navigating emergencies as a first responder or tying the knot over Zoom. We're particularly interested in material that gets up close and personal with the struggles of 2020, rather than headlines or commentary on current events.

Hindsight is an independent, one-time publication. Content will be made available in two forms: Some stories will be shared on our website; the very best submissions will be compiled into a print anthology, which will be published in 2021.

Submission fee: None

Length: Up to 2,000 words

Deadline: Rolling

Compensation: Writers whose work is selected for the print anthology will receive a complimentary hard copy of the book, as well as a digital file.

To learn more, please visit our website:

Prize Summary: 
Prizes Details: 

Writers whose work is selected for the print anthology will receive a complimentary hard copy of the book, as well as a digital file.

Entry Fee:

Fee Detail: 
Contact & Links: 
Subscribe to personal essay