CONTEST: Writing a better future: writing competition (19 April 2018)

Peter Sands's picture
Writing a better future: writing competition
This is a great new writing competition to solicit short stories (<3500
words) set within a Utopian sustainable society. It is free to enter,
there are prizes and opportunities for publication, and the deadline is
19th April 2018. Details are on Also see
@GreenstoriesUk   and  Instagram: greenstoriessoton
Why we are doing this
We are currently living beyond our means - if everyone lived as we do in
the UK we'd need 3 planets, so the aim of sustainable development is to
find ways of living where there is less wasteful distribution of
resources. We need to work out ways that we can all have what we need
using fewer resources and be just as happy. The necessary societal
transformations to sustainable societies require profound systemic
changes across social, cultural, economic, environmental, political and
technological domains. But to imagine how all aspects can come together
within one society is more the domain of creative fiction. Therefore
this competition aims to harness the creative visions of writers to
imagine sustainable societies.
Why we ask for a positive view
Stories are powerful means of inspiring positive change. The Black
Mirror series reflects anxieties about our future, and climate change
discourse further creates fear and avoidance. What we really need are
some positive visions that allow potentially transformative solutions to
be showcased and played out. The difficulty in promoting sustainable
behaviours is that they are often seen negatively as 'doing without' and
the typical fear-based discourse can turn people off. This matters as in
turn, political parties tend not to see environmental issues as 'vote
winners' which limits potential for green policy making.
Just as some books/films product place products, we aim to 'product
place' sustainable attitudes behaviours products and policies. The story
doesn't have to be specifically about climate change or catastrophic
shortages, it can be any kind of genre - rom com, crime drama, legal
drama, children's book, sci fi etc. as long as it showcases sustainable
technologies, practices, products or ideas in the background. Or another
acceptable approach could be to focus on characters. Currently
characters in fiction who are green/ethical are often portrayed as
priggish or aggressive, we'd like to see attractive characters behaving
in sustainable ways.
Future competitions
This is a small-scale competition just asking for short stories. But the
hope is to run a competition on a much larger scale next year, with more
formats (film, screenplays, radio plays, tv series, full-length novels
etc.) and larger prizes and media involvement. We hope this will create
a cultural body of work showcasing sustainable solutions. Entering this
competition will not affect entry into the follow-up competition. We'd
love to get sponsorship from organisations that share these values to
sponsor a prize.
Kind Regards
Dr Denise Baden
Southampton Business School
University of Southampton
Room 4038, Building 2, Highfield Campus
SO17 1BJ
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 8966