As the world hums along, what wilderness and wildness mean to cultures and individuals changes as well. Guy and Laura Waterman spent their lives exploring, living and writing within the boundaries of culture and nature, and through the annual essay contest, the Waterman Fund seeks new voices on the role and place of wilderness in the modern world. Political turmoil, refugee crises, climate change, 24-hour news access, gun violence, racial and religious intolerance, pollution and all the rest play out alongside wild mountaintops and deep forests—as such changes always have.
At the Waterman Fund, we believe that the silence and adventure found in wild places remain vital to human society, even as the world beyond the trailhead becomes freshly fraught. For the 2018 essay contest, the Waterman Fund invites emerging writers to submit personal essays between 2000 and 3000 words. The topic is, simply, wilderness and wildness. We hope that writers will welcome the freedom of this invitation. We look forward to seeing what journeys and perspectives the writing of emerging voices guide us towards.
Essays will be accepted through February 2, 2018. The winning essay will be awarded $1,500. The runner-up essay will receive $500. Both will be published in online and in Appalachia. Essay winners will be selected and announced by mid-summer 2018. For the purposes of this contest, an emerging writer is considered someone who has a solid writing background or interest, but has not yet published a major work of prose on this topic or been featured in national publications. We welcome all inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org.