Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors 

Grist is excited to open submissions for the fourth year of our Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors short story contest.

Imagine 2200 celebrates stories that envision the next decades to centuries of equitable climate progress, imagining futures of abundance, adaptation, reform, and hope. We are looking for stories that are rooted in creative climate solutions and community-centered resilience, showing what can happen as solutions take root, and stories that offer gripping plots with rich characters and settings, making that future come alive.

In 2,500 to 5,000 words, show us the world you dream of building.

Your story should be set sometime between the near future and roughly the year 2200.

A great Imagine story is not afraid to explore the challenges ahead – the path to climate progress will involve struggle and adaptation, and we invite you to show that – but ultimately offers hope that we can work together to build a more sustainable and just world. We want to see stories that incorporate real world climate solutions and climate science, as well as cultural authenticity (a deep sense of place, customs, cuisine, and more) and characters with fully-fledged identities. We especially want to read – and share – stories that center solutions and voices from the communities most impacted by the climate crisis. 

If you’re newer to climate or climate fiction, check out our FAQs page for some resources to get you started in finding inspiration from existing solutions, and some past Imagine stories to look to for examples. Feel free to use these as a jumping off point, or to bring in any climate and justice solutions you find inspiring.

Your story can bring these principles into any genre – we love seeing climate themes show up in love stories, mysteries, adventure, comedy, and more. Climate connects to every part of life, and all sorts of stories can be climate stories, so dream big — envision a world where climate solutions have flourished, and where we prioritize our well-being, work to mend our communities, and lead lives that celebrate our humanity. We can’t wait to read what you come up with.

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There is no cost to enter. Submissions close June 24, 2024, 11:59 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time.

The winning writer will be awarded $3,000. The second- and third-place winners receive $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. An additional nine finalists will each receive $300. All winners and finalists will have their story published in an immersive collection on Grist’s website.

We are also partnering with Oregon State University’s Spring Creek Project, which will offer the winning writer (or a runner-up, in the case the winner cannot accept) the opportunity to participate in its Environmental Writing Fellowship and Residency, including a writing residency at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek for the winner to spend up to four weeks in residence to continue their climate writing project. The Fellow will receive a $3,000 honorarium from Spring Creek Project.

Stories will be reviewed by a panel of experts, and judged by acclaimed authors Omar El Akkad and Annalee Newitz.

Your submission must be an original fictional story of between 2,500 and 5,000 words that has not been previously published. See additional details in our FAQs.

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Nuts & bolts

  • Entry is free!
  • Submissions close June 24, 2024, 11:59 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time.
  • The contest is open to writers anywhere in the world, except where participation is prohibited or restricted by applicable law. 
  • All authors must be 18 years or older at the time of submission.
  • Submissions must be fictional stories between 2,500 and 5,000 words.
  • Submissions must be written in English. We are not able to translate stories from other languages at this time.
  • Submissions must not have been previously published, nor received a prize or distinction in another contest.
  • We do not accept simultaneous submissions (stories can only be submitted to this contest and not to others, until we have informed you of the result).
  • Only one submission will be accepted per entrant.
  • Submissions can be co-authored by more than one entrant. Only one of the co-authors should submit the story. The submissions form will offer a way to list the other co-author(s). If a co-authored story is selected for publication, all authors will be credited, and prize money will be divided between them. 
  • Your story may not have been generated or written, in whole or in part, by artificial intelligence.
  • Submissions will only be accepted through Submittable — click the “submit” button at the bottom of this page when you’re ready! If you need accessibility accommodations, please email the team at imaginefiction@grist.org.
  • The first-prize story will be awarded $3,000; second prize is $2,000; and third prize is $1,000. Nine additional finalists will each receive $300. 
  • Oregon State University’s Spring Creek Project will also offer the winning writer (or a runner-up, in the case the winner cannot accept) the opportunity to participate in its Environmental Writing Fellowship and Residency, including a writing residency at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek. The Fellow will receive a $3,000 honorarium from Spring Creek Project.
  • All 12 final stories will be published on Grist’s website, and may be published on partner sites, as part of our Imagine 2200 collection.
  • Worldwide copyright and ownership of each story remains with the author. See additional details in our FAQs or the official rules.

How to prep your story file:

  • Your short story should be uploaded as a word document (.doc acceptable; .docx preferred.)
  • Your word document should be named as such: title of your story - YEAR; Ex. Story Title - 2024
  • Your document should not contain any identifying biographical information (including your name).
  • The first page of your document should include your story’s title and word count at the top in Arial 14-point font.
  • The rest of your document should be in Arial 12-point font with double line spacing, and at least one-inch margins.
  • All document pages should include a header in the upper right-hand corner with the correct sequential page number, starting on page 1, and your story’s title.


Read the full, official rules here. 

For other questions, check out our FAQ post. You can also contact us at imaginefiction@grist.org.

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Imagine is produced with support from NRDC.

Grist