We are living in a new phase of the climate crisis. Millions of people are struggling to survive and make sense of our quickly changing planet where heat domes, superstorms, historic droughts, and century floods are becoming the norm. Wildfires, too, are burning at an astonishing scale—from Algeria to Siberia, from the wetland marshes of the Brazilian Pantanal to the foothills of Athens and the shores of Lake Tahoe.
The era of a solo ranger watching for smoke from a fire lookout tower is over. We are all called to be on the lookout now. Whether you live on the frontlines of wildfire, in the constantly shifting plume of toxic smoke, or care deeply for the people, animals, and places that are affected by fire, we invite you to explore how we are shaping this era of megafires and how it is shaping us.
We invite writers and artists to scan the horizon and share stories and ideas that can guide us through this critical and disorienting time with such questions as: What can we learn about transformation from fire’s destructive and creative force? How should we live differently, both with each other and on the planet, in this era of wildfires? How can we honor fire as an ancient, rejuvenating element while also honoring all that has been lost to wildfire?
Terrain.org is partnering with the Spring Creek Project on this new literary, technical and artistic series that will publish beginning in May 2022. The Spring Creek Project brings together the practical wisdom of environmental science, the clarity of philosophy, and the transformational power of the written word and the arts to envision and inspire just and joyous relations with the planet and with one another. The organization hosts events and writing residences throughout the year.
Spark Your Imagination
As a source of inspiration for this call, writers and artists are invited to attend the lecture series Lookout: Envisioning Futures with Wildfires, which Spring Creek Project is hosting on Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m. PST beginning January 4, 2022. The 11-week series will feature writers, artists, activists, humanities scholars, and environmental scientists.
Priority submission deadline is April 4, 2022, at midnight. Notifications will be made beginning in May 2022.
Writers and artists whose work is selected (whether one piece or multiple pieces) will receive an honorarium of $200.
The selected works will be published in Terrain.org beginning in May 2022 and announced via Terrain.org and the Spring Creek Project.
Terrain.org’s editors and guest editors will read all entries and make final selections.
Original submissions will be considered for the following genres. You are welcome to submit pieces in more than one genre, but do not submit more than two submissions until you have heard back from us.
Please include a cover letter containing your brief bio with your submission, and indicate whether your submission is poetry, nonfiction, fiction, art, video, or mixed media/genre/hybrid in the cover letter.
- Poetry need not follow any particular form. Submit from one to six poems of any length in a single document. We also consider poem/image combinations. Photos or other graphics may be inserted into the document, but if accepted will be requested as separate files.
- Nonfiction may include creative nonfiction, personal essays/memoir, photo essays, and other essays or articles, which need not follow any particular style. Accompanying resource links, graphics, and sidebars are encouraged. Photos or other graphics may be inserted into the document, but if accepted will be requested as separate files. 5,000 words maximum.
- Fiction including short stories, excerpts from novels, flash fiction, and other forms of fiction will be considered. 5,000 words maximum.
- Art may include photographs, drawings, paintings, graphics, and/or any other visual media. Submit up to 12 images, graphics, or visual art pieces per entrant with overall project title and captions/descriptions, as appropriate.
- Multimedia and mixed genre submissions include video/film, audio, or other work not included in the genres detailed above. Video submissions should be no more than 5 minutes long. Given the size of video and/or audio files, please post the submission on Vimeo, YouTube, Google Docs, Box, or Dropbox and share the link with your cover letter.