Enter Essay Contest

2024 Waterman Fund Essay Contest for Emerging Writers

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

Writers who have not published a major 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 $3,000 for the first-place essay selection and $1,000 for a runner-up.

For 2024, our prompt is as follows:

Wilderness has the capacity to create memories, some of which are so powerful they affect the entire course of a life.  Describe a single moment you have experienced in the wilderness that profoundly changed you.  How did that moment reverberate through your life?  What changes to your world exist because of that single moment in time?

The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2024. We welcome personal, scientific, adventure, or memoir essays; fiction, poetry, or songs are not eligible for this contest. Submissions should be 2000-3000 words.  Please include contact information and a few lines about why you feel your essay is appropriate for the contest.  Online submissions should be double-spaced, manuscripts in 12-point font.  Word .doc compatible files are preferred.  If submitting by mail, please include an email address.

Please send inquiries to [email protected].

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.