Enter Essay Contest

2023 Waterman Fund Essay Contest for Emerging Writer

Since 2008, Appalachia, the mountaineering and conservation journal published by the Appalachian Mountain Club, and the Waterman Fund join to sponsor an annual essay contest for new writers.

Writers who have not published a book-length work of fiction or narrative nonfiction on topics of wilderness, wildness, or the ethics and ecology of environmental issues are eligible. The Waterman Fund provides generous prize money of $1,500 and $500 for the first- and second-place essayists. Entries are due March 15.

The Waterman Fund was established in 2000 to memorialize climber, writer, and homesteader Guy Waterman, who died that year, and his wife, the writer Laura Waterman (author of Losing the Garden and co-author with Guy of Forest and Crag and many books on wilderness ethics).

For the 2023 contest, we are looking for pieces on climate change:

  • Are we planning trips to mountain and wilderness areas in consideration of the climate changes we experience now?
  • How about our relation to flora and fauna? How are climate changes affecting our expectations of what we'll see and hear when we get out there?
  • The warming trend can: melt glaciers and loosen rocks, thereby increasing rockfalls; cause avalanches the consistency of mush; lead to heavy rains making river crossings more dangerous; worsen hot spells, increasing heat exhaustion, dehydration, and death.
  • How have these tangible results of climate change affected the way we move through the wilderness and the human need for wildness? Will fewer or more people find their way out there?  And what would that mean for both us and wildness?

We welcome personal, scientific, adventure, or memoir essays; fiction, poetry, or songs are not eligible for this contest.

To submit online, please visit our Submittable page with the Appalachian Mountain Club.

To mail your submission through the post or for other inquiries please contact Appalachia Editor-in-Chief, Christine Woodside.