Contest: Imagine 2200: Write the future
Deadline: June 13th, 2023
Prizes: Grand Prize: $3,000, with the second- and third-place winners receiving $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. An additional nine finalists will each receive $300.
Theme: Writers from all over the globe to imagine a future in which solutions to the climate crisis flourish and help bring about radical improvements to our world.
Grist is excited to announce our third-annual climate fiction short story contest, Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors.
Imagine 2200 is an invitation to writers from all over the globe to imagine a future in which solutions to the climate crisis flourish and help bring about radical improvements to our world. We dare you to dream anew. [Get Imagine updates: Sign up for our email list]
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Submissions for our 2023/2024 contest are now open. We’re looking for stories of 3,000 to 5,000 words that envision the next 180 years of climate progress — roughly seven generations – imagining intersectional worlds of abundance, adaptation, reform, and hope.
A great Imagine story showcases creative climate solutions, particularly through narratives that center the communities most impacted by the climate crisis, and that envision what a truly green, equitable, and decolonized society could look like. We celebrate fiction rooted in hope, justice, and cultural authenticity, and aim to amplify voices that have been, and continue to be, affected by systems of oppression.
There is no cost to enter. Submissions close June 13, 2023, 11:59 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time.
The winning writer will be awarded $3,000, with the second- and third-place winners receiving $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. An additional nine finalists will each receive $300. All winners and finalists will have their story published in an immersive collection on Grist’s website.
Stories will be judged by a panel of literary experts, including acclaimed authors Paolo Bacigalupi, Nalo Hopkinson, and Sam J. Miller.
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Imagine 2200 was inspired and informed by literary movements like Afrofuturism and Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, disabled, queer, and feminist futurisms, along with hopepunk and solarpunk. We hope writers of all genres look to these movements for inspiration, and we urge writers within these communities to submit stories.
We also invite you to bring climate fiction and the principles of Imagine 2200 into other genres. Write a climate mystery or comedy. If you love steamy romance, thread a climate story through that titillating enemies-to-lovers arc. Climate connects to every part of life — all sorts of stories can be climate stories.
So dream big — envision a world where we prioritize our well-being, work to mend our communities, and lead lives that celebrate our humanity. We can’t wait to read what you come up with.
Imagine 2200 celebrates stories that envision the next 180 years of equitable climate progress, imagining intersectional worlds of abundance, adaptation, reform, and hope. Stories must be set between today and the year 2200, in a future that shows the path to a clean, green, just world. We are looking for stories that showcase creative climate solutions and community-centered adaptations. We especially want to read — and share — narratives that center solutions from the communities most impacted by the climate crisis and stories that envision what a truly equitable, decolonized society could look like.
In 3,000 to 5,000 words, show us the world you dream of building.
We love to see stories that are rooted in cultural authenticity (a deep sense of place, customs, cuisine, and more) and rich subcultures that uplift traditions not often seen in mainstream literature. In addition, we love rich characters with fully-fledged identities, stories that challenge the status quo of extraction and oppression, and stories that incorporate real world climate solutions or climate science. Stories need not be overly optimistic or rosy — the path to climate progress will involve hard work, struggle, and adaptation, and we invite you to show that, too.
Finally, we are also excited to see climate themes in stories from across genres — love stories, fantasy adventures, mysteries, comedies. Give us YOUR take on climate fiction and what hope for our future means to you.
We’ll be looking for these core elements:
- Creative climate solutions
- Hope in action
- Vivid characters
- Compelling story
- Decolonized futures
We will also judge submissions based on the quality of artistic voice, originality, craft, and technique.
What we’re offering to winners:
- Cash prizes
- Publication on Grist and Grist partner sites as part of our Imagine 2200 collection
- A reason to stay hopeful
The winning writer will be awarded $3,000, with the second- and third-place finalists receiving $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. An additional nine finalists will get $300 apiece. All winners and finalists will have their story published in an immersive collection on Grist’s website.
The deadline for submission is June 13, 2023, by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time.
Inspiration: Imagine 2200 draws inspiration from Afrofuturism, as well as Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, disabled, feminist, and queer futurisms. The contest is also grounded in hopepunk and solarpunk — literary genres that uplift equitable climate solutions and continued service to one’s community, even in the face of despair.
We are excited to see what you write and to dive into the worlds you create!
Imagine is produced with support from NRDC.
Nuts & bolts
- Entry is free!
- Submissions close June 13, 2023, 11:59 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time.
- The contest is open to writers anywhere in the world, except where participation is prohibited or restricted by applicable law.
- Authors must be 18 years or older at the time of submission.
- Submissions must be fictional stories between 3,000 and 5,000 words.
- Submissions must be written in English. We are not able to translate stories from other languages at this time.
- Submissions must not have been previously published, nor received a prize or distinction in another contest.
- We do not accept simultaneous submissions (stories can only be submitted to this contest and not to others, until we have informed you of the result).
- Only one submission will be accepted per entrant.
- Submissions can be co-authored by more than one entrant. Only one of the co-authors should submit the story. The submissions form will offer a way to list the other co-author(s). If a co-authored story is selected for publication, all authors will be credited, and prize money will be divided between them.
- Submissions will only be accepted through Submittable — click the “submit” button at the bottom of this page when you’re ready! If you need accessibility accommodations, please email the team at [email protected].
- Stories will be judged by a board of literary experts, including acclaimed authors and editors Nalo Hopkinson, Sam J. Miller, and Paolo Bacigalupi.
- The first-prize story will be awarded $3,000; second prize is $2,000; and third prize is $1,000. Nine additional finalists will each receive $300.
- All 12 final stories will be published on Grist’s website and partner sites as part of our Imagine 2200 collection.
- Worldwide copyright and ownership of each story remains with the author.
How to prep your story file:
- Your short story should be uploaded as a word document (.doc acceptable; .docx preferred.)
- Your word document should be named as such: title of your story, submission date. Ex. “Story Title, 2/15/2022”.
- Your document should not contain any identifying biographical information (including your name).
- The first page of your document should include your story’s title and word count at the top in Arial 14-point font.
- The rest of your document should be in Arial 12-point font with double line spacing, and at least one-inch margins.
- All document pages should include a header in the upper right-hand corner with the correct sequential page number, starting on page 1, and your story’s title.
Read the full, official rules here.
For more specific questions, check out our FAQ post here. You can also contact us at [email protected].
Frequently Asked Questions
Below, we’ve answered some FAQs to explain the concepts that drive this project. If you’re ready to start writing, you can find our submissions portal here.
And if you’d like to get in touch or have additional questions, you can reach us at imaginefiction [at] grist.org.
Writing your story
Q. Can I submit a story longer than 5,000 words?
A. We’re excited that you’re excited, but the submission guidelines are not flexible. Stories need to be between 3,000 and 5,000 words.
Q. Does my story need to be set in the year 2200?
A. Nope! We’d be just as happy to see your visions of amazing, just, and decolonized worlds in 2136 or 2098. We just want to encourage writers to think well beyond our present moment and with a sense of expansive possibility.
Q. Can my story include supernatural or fantastical elements?
A. Sure! Of course, like everything in your story, it should serve a purpose. We’re open to magical realism, spiritual elements, and supernatural twists, especially where they’re culturally significant.
Q. TBH, I’m not that hopeful about the future of the planet. Can my story be grimdark and apocalyptic?
A. We get it. The world can seem pretty dark these days. That’s why it’s so important to make space for visions of a future worth fighting for. We firmly believe in the power of imagination to help set our compass toward a better world. We’re not saying you need to feign optimism, but bear in mind that hope is one of the core elements we’ll be reading for. And hope takes many forms. We know that achieving a clean, green, and just future will require the sustained efforts of many people, some conflict, and a whole lot of adaptation. We invite you to show those aspects in your story as well.
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Submitting your story
Q. Is there a cost to enter the contest?
A. Zero dollars!
Q. Who can submit? Are there any restrictions on age, geography, etc.?
A. Writers must be at least 18 years old to submit to Imagine 2200. The contest is open to folks anywhere in the world, except where participation is prohibited or restricted by applicable law. Stories do need to be written in English.
Q. Can a submission have more than one author?
A. We do accept co-authored stories. Only one of the co-authors should submit the story — the submission form will offer a way to list the other co-author(s). If we select a co-authored story for publication, all authors will be credited and prize money will be divided between them.
Q. Do authors keep the rights to their stories?
A. Yes, authors maintain the copyright and ownership of their stories. Grist will have the right to publish and distribute your story on our site and with partners. We also ask for 12 months of exclusive rights to publish your story in a print anthology (like our Afterglow anthology). If a story is republished elsewhere after the contest, we simply ask for a credit line indicating that the work first appeared in Grist’s Imagine 2200 collection. See all the information about rights and licensing in our full official rules.
Q. OK, I’m in! How do I submit a story, and how can I help spread the word?
A. Woo-hoo! For more complete guidelines and criteria, head to our submissions portal here. If you’d like to help get the word out or have a question we haven’t answered, drop us a note at imaginefiction [at] grist.org. We can’t wait to read your story!
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Q. How can I learn more about Imagine and cli-fi at Grist?
A. Check out our About page for more information and to see past contest winners and collections. Or sign up for our email list to get updates on Imagine contests and publications.
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Stuart Conover is a father, husband, published author, blogger, geek, entrepreneur, horror fanatic, and runs a few websites including Horror Tree!