Is change a sparkling jewel of fate or an unnecessary diversion in what was already a good thing? We’re interested in creative nonfiction essays on change over time with an environmental lens, particularly dealing with the concept of solastalgia—"the homesickness you have when you are still at home." How has the environment progressed around you, and how is it causing existential distress to your community? What’s happened to your hometown that you only visit twice a year? Have you noticed how your body reacts to the pollen in the spring, when you've never noticed it at all? We love to see a rainbow at the end of the storm, but we’re also perfectly fine watching the gray skies from our window. Let’s see how your places have changed.

As opposed to nostalgiathe melancholia or homesickness experienced by individuals when separated from a loved homesolastalgia is the distress that is produced by environmental change impacting on people while they are directly connected to their home environment.

We believe that the work our writers create has value, so we pay an honorarium of $100 for selected work. The author with the winning creative nonfiction essay will receive $1000 and mentorship in either craft or professional development from our guest judge, Erica Hoffmeister.

All selected writers are also encouraged to participate in two FREE craft workshops taught by Erica in the year following their submission for the contest.

Submissions close on July 31, 2024.

Is change a sparkling jewel of fate or an unnecessary diversion in what was already a good thing? We’re interested in creative nonfiction essays on change over time with an environmental lens, particularly dealing with the concept of solastalgia—"the homesickness you have when you are still at home." How has the environment progressed around you, and how is it causing existential distress to your community? What’s happened to your hometown that you only visit twice a year? Have you noticed how your body reacts to the pollen in the spring, when you've never noticed it at all? We love to see a rainbow at the end of the storm, but we’re also perfectly fine watching the gray skies from our window. Let’s see how your places have changed.

As opposed to nostalgia—the melancholia or homesickness experienced by individuals when separated from a loved home—solastalgia is the distress that is produced by environmental change impacting on people while they are directly connected to their home environment.

We believe that the work our writers create has value, so we pay an honorarium of $100 for selected work. The author with the winning creative nonfiction essay will receive $1000 and mentorship in either craft or professional development from our guest judge, Erica Hoffmeister.


All selected writers are also encouraged to participate in two FREE craft workshops taught by Erica in the year following their submission for the contest.


GUIDELINES

  •  We want your best creative nonfiction essays between 2,000 and 6,000 words (WC can have some wiggle room if it’s a stellar essay). We prefer mainstream literature, though don’t be afraid to send in something experimental—Leslie Jamison’s “The Empathy Exams” is a great reference.
  • Double-space your work, Times New Roman or Garamond, font size 12. Page number in the top right header. 
  • PDFs are accepted, but we prefer a word document.
  • Must be a brand new or emerging writer—if you’ve published a book on a national level, please leave room for those who haven’t sunk their teeth in the writing industry yet. Chapbooks, magazine and literary journal publications are okay. 
  • We welcome and strongly encourage BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled, and women writers to support our mission of giving those voices the space they deserve.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions, but please let us know if it’s get taken somewhere and we can remove it from our queue. We will send our congrats, of course!
  • Feel free to identify if your piece needs a content warning—it’s a messy world but messy topics should be heard.
  • If selected, you must have a PayPal, Zelle QuickPay, or Venmo account to accept payment. If you're an international writer please be sure to have a payment system that will accept USD. We are unable to accommodate wire transfers or send money through payment platforms like G-Pay, Wise, Western Union, etc. If you cannot have a PayPal, Zelle, or Venmo account, we cannot accept your submission.
Four Palaces Publishing