Stories to Change the World

Full details 

Future Folklore is a speculative fiction contest that imagines a world where equitable climate change initiatives have been set in motion.

Open June 14 - August 9, 2021

Length: 1,400-2,000 words

Format: Short Story

Topic: a positive and possible climate future

13 winning stories will be selected for cash prizes and publication!

First prize $400

Second prize $275

Third prize $150

Special Selections (10) $50 ea

We want tales that capture the wildest dreams of your ancestors and the necessary, hopeful reality of the generations to come. This is also a call to practice an emergent genre called Climate Fiction (Cli-Fi), which uses a speculative format to respond to the climate crisis. Whether your tale is set ten years from now, or two hundred, show us how you envision innovating the values, practices and technologies of the past and today. 

Stories are judged based on creativity, practicality, and writing strength. 

“Creative” writing should surprise us. You want the reader to think both “aha” and “oh”! 

The measure “practicality” can be achieved by demonstrating an understanding of Climate Change. It will be practical if it is an extension of our current reality.

The measure “writing strength” can be achieved by successful use of literary devices. Winning stories tend to have a balance of cheer and severity, and must elicit emotional response.  

Submissions open June 14, 2021. 

Optional Prompts

Here are some prompts to get you thinking! Please feel free to innovate and deviate as you see fit. 

  1. Replication: Humans can now replicate, in any capacity, one natural process that can help with climate change. What process or lesson is it? (Think: the cooperativeness of mycorrhizal fungi; symbiosis between two species; the transference of nutrients through networks). How, where and why would this process be used? 

  2. Revival: What would the future look like if we revived aspects from a pre-colonial era? For example, what traditions and practices would you revive from your background or community? Which ones fit into your vision of a sustainable future? 

  3. Appropriate technology: What technology should or could replace one-size-fits-all technology in the context of your land? Imagine anything!

  4. Reversal of dominant narratives: Data shows us that “developed” nations actually emit the biggest carbon footprint per capita, despite the dominant narrative that “underdeveloped” nations do. Another dominant, cultural belief of some cultures is that the earth exists to be extracted from. Create a counter-narrative to the dominant narratives that exploit people and places.

  5. Elder Vision: What hopeful world did your ancestors desire or predict? Pick a point where you think their desired world deviated and imagine it differently. 

  6. Imagination: What innovative social practices will be present in the future? What role does imagination play in the future to curtail climate change?

  7. Small nation activism: Imagine a world in which small nations play a larger role in determining policy over the planet’s future. Choose or imagine a small nation and who its leaders and activists are. What issues have they challenged? What issues have they overcome? What do they know that can save the planet?



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