Reminder: io9's Environmental Writing Contest

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

A reminder: The deadline for io9's Environmental Writing Contest is less than two weeks away! io9 is going to pay $2000 each to two people who write the best science fiction and nonfiction stories about environmental disaster. Details below.

io9 is looking for stories that deal with environmental disaster, whether caused by random asteroid impacts or oil drilling accidents. We believe that the first step to solving planet-scale problems is to assess, honestly and critically, what it would mean to experience such a disaster. We need mental models that can help policy-makers, researchers, and individuals prepare for the kinds of cataclysmic events that have occurred regularly throughout Earth's history.

We're holding this contest to reward people for coming up with ideas that could help avert the next Deepwater spill and Pacific garbage gyre - or help people prepare better for the next Indian Ocean tsunami and Haiti earthquake. Storytelling is a powerful tool. We want you to use it well.


Our awesome team of judges includes Elizabeth Kolbert (The New Yorker's environment reporter), Paolo Bacigalupi (author of Ship Breaker and Windup Girl), and Jonathan Strahan (editor of the Eclipse anthologies).

Contest Guidelines
Your story should be between 3,000-5,000 words. It must be an original story that has not been published elsewhere.


The contest has two categories: Non-Fiction and Science Fiction. We will pick a winner from each.

Guidelines for Non-Fiction Entries:
Your story can be a piece of investigative journalism, a well-researched history, biographical/autobiographical narrative, or science/technology writing for a lay audience. You can write a profile of people or groups dealing with environmental disaster, analyze the science behind environmental problems, or cover the story of a disaster that has already happened. We prefer stories that involve reporting and research. Though the story must be original, you may base it on research you have already done for another project or piece of reporting.


Guidelines for Science Fiction Entries:
Your story should deal meaningfully and plausibly with some aspect of environmental disaster. There are no limits on the kind of disaster you explore. It could be an exploding star, a plague, tachyon pollution, nanotech diseases, climate change, or something else. What's important is that your story deal with causes and consequences. How did the disaster happen, who will benefit from it, how will people (or other creatures) respond to it? We don't want morality tales or after school specials here - just good stories that deal realistically with the subject matter.

Here's what you'll win:
Winning stories will be published on io9, and we will give $2000 each to the winners in each category.


Deadline for all stories is midnight PST, December 11.

How to submit your entry:
You may submit only ONE story. Please mail your submission as a .doc or .rtf attachment. In your cover letter, be sure to include your name and a reliable way to contact you. Also, please specify whether you are entering the science fiction or non-fiction category. Mail submissions to


This contest is open to sentient beings everywhere in the world, though your exchange rates may vary.

Here are the fine print contest rules. FYI when you read these, just to clarify: (1)The rules do not mean that Gawker Media owns your stories - we own the right to print/reprint them, but full rights will revert to you and you can do what you like with the story after we run it; and (2) This contest is an exception to the "US only" and "18 or over" rules - you can enter regardless of what country you are in, regardless of age.