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Writing Opportunities: Center for Humans and Nature

The Center for Humans and Nature contributes reviews to EcoLit Books.

But did you know they also publish a blog, a journal (Minding Nature) and an ongoing series: Questions for a Resilient Future?

And they are now looking for contributions. If you have a story to share, an idea to explore, check out their publication opportunities here.

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Six new additions to our list of environmental magazines and journals

Gull Literary Journal
http://www.gullzine.com/

We now have a list of 46 journals and magazines dedicated to environmental essays, stories and poetry.

Here are five of the newest additions:

 

As always, if you have anything new to add to our list, let me know.

 

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Opportunity for Writers: SAGE Magazine

An interesting opportunity for environmental writers and artists — the window is closing quickly…

We are inviting all members of the SAGE community to submit your stories, photographs, original artwork and more for inclusion in the upcoming 2018 Print Edition of SAGE Magazine. If you are interested submitting a piece for inclusion in the print edition, please fill out the form below with information about your story idea by Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at the latest. If your pitch is accepted, you’ll be invited to submit a final draft for our print edition released this spring.

Submission Details:

PITCH DEADLINE: Wednesday, January 31, 2018
FINAL DRAFTS DUE: Monday, February 19, 2018

Link

 

 

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Cold Mountain Review: Special Issue on Extinction

Literary journal Cold Mountain Review is currently taking submissions for its Fall 2017 special issue devoted to extinction:

As species decline globally at an accelerating rate, greater than at any time in the past 65 million years, we invite submissions that give voice to endangered and vanishing creatures, cultures, and tongues; re/imagine and express creaturely relationships on the brink, including the human and more-than-human; imagine ourselves ceasing as a species; and encounter and name the political, economic, and cultural forces driving this human-induced extinction event.

http://coldmountainreview.org/special-issue-extinction/

 

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Q&A with Mary Woodbury of Moon Willow Press and Eco-Fiction.com

I’m pleased to welcome to EcoLit Books an interview we conducted recently with Mary Woodbury, founder of Moon Willow Press and Eco-Fiction.com. Mary also played an instrumental role in getting Ecofiction added to Wikipedia!

You’re a writer and a publisher. Can you tell us a bit about your writing and how you came to found Moon Willow Press?

Most of my writing these days is in the form of nature writing and posts for my running blog and interviews and essays at the main site. However, I have written several short stories and two novels. One novel (Back to the Garden) is published under pen name Clara Hume at Moon Willow Press; it fits in perfectly with the natural-world-in-fiction focus I am building at the press and is quite Aracadian, a genre seemingly forgotten among current fears that lead to grim outlooks in fiction. I’m also writing another novel that I describe as ecological weird fiction. It’s set in futuristic Ireland, and I’m basing it off places I’ve visited and mythologies surrounding them. The novel is inspired by Yeats, whose physical poetry said essentially that embracing nature could set us free. Not just embracing it as a concept but being in it, celebrating it, preserving it, admiring its power, and understanding and accepting the side of nature that isn’t comfortable to us humans who like climate-controlled abodes and plenty of materialistic conveniences (our trappings). I have run in Sleuth Wood mentioned in “The Stolen Child,” and boated to the “Lake Isle of Innisfree” (a small island in Lough Gill). The idea of going “to the waters and the wild” is my muse.

My life-long love of fiction, and the great outdoors, led to Moon Willow Press, which not only focuses on nature fiction and nonfiction but has a strong environmental ethic regarding energy used in the office, using only recycled or sustainably acquired forest products, following a print-on-demand (PoD) model, and so on. I’ve also been donating to tree-planting programs since I opened in 2010. So far, I’ve donated to the planting of 1,312 trees, which are planted in areas that are economically and ecologically depressed.

What books do you have in the works?

I have two scheduled novels for 2017 so far and am accepting more for 2018—though I’m considering getting my masters in 2019 and may put submissions on hold then. The first, coming this spring, is Cave Walker, by Donelle Dreese. She is an author and professor of Environmental and Multicultural Literatures, American Women Poets, and writing courses at Northern Kentucky University. Her novel is about a woman who has a family secret: she can foresee the future, like the other women in her family who came before her. Each had a different way of dealing with this talent (or curse), which in several cases foretold the death of their significant others. To figure out her own future, she travels through caves, which is interesting and serves as a metaphor for walking through time. Donelle pays strong attention to the natural world’s past, present, and future as well.

The other novel, coming this summer, is by Annis Pratt, whose early academic publications studied the way poets and novelists use myths and symbols. Dylan Thomas’ Early Prose: A Study in Creative Mythology (Pittsburgh University Press, 1970), was about pre-Christian Welsh mythology. Her next book was Archetypal Patterns in Women’s Fiction (Indiana UP, 1981, published in England by Harvester Press). I’m breaking pattern by publishing the next in a series of Annis’s Infinite Games novels. I’ll be publishing volume 4. The series starts when a young girl, Clare, opens her eyes to industrialization taking advantage of her people’s marshlands. I fell in love with this adventure series, which Annis has been so far publishing on her own. She’s a terrific writer, and her style nods to the simple beauty of earlier pastoral literature.

You’re based in Canada. What’s the ecoliterature market like up north?

It’s looking good. One of the larger presses here, Talon Books, publishes a lot of First Nations authors and aims to preserve Canadian cultural and natural history through fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Another publisher in Vancouver, Arsenal Pulp Press, “asks probing questions about the world around us,” and has some eco-fiction titles.

We also have many authors who put the environment into the center of their stories: Stephen Collis (poet), Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Katherena Vermette, Wade Davis, Richard Wagamese, Eden Robinson, Naomi Fontaine, Claudia Casper, Margaret Atwood, Joseph Boyden, Katie Welch, Thomas King, and many others. I have worked with a few in the past on special projects, including in fall 2016 when we had an Eco-fiction stage at Vancouver’s biggest literary festival, “Word Vancouver.”

Tell us about your website Eco-Fiction.com.

I was researching other novels about climate change when I was writing my own novel, beginning in 2008. I found that the approach to novels about climate change ranged from dystopian to apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic to romance to adventure to fantasy to science fiction, and everything in between. It’s reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s calling climate change “everything change.” There is no one genre that can contain these novels, and authors and readers alike are drawn to a variety of different types of books, from literary fiction to genre fictions. These novels may be realistic, based upon current events, futuristic, mildly speculative, or wildly speculative.

Before ever starting the website, I wrote an article listing the novels I could find that approached climate change head-on (many other novels are far more subtle). I noticed that no other site was curating these titles, so I began to do so in the summer of 2013, after my book was published. I thought it would be an especially good resource for academics and readers of nature novels. Over the next several months I looked at a broader range of novels that were beneath the umbrella of eco-fiction and expanded the site to beyond just novels about climate change. It was (and is) a voluntary project affiliated with Moon Willow Press. All my life I have been enamored of stories that have elements of the wild in them. This project has been both a learning and teaching experiment and has drawn me close to many others who enjoy these books.

What can environmental writers do to be a part of Eco-Fiction.com?

The submission guidelines are at the site. I ask that novels be at least somewhat notable, though in the early days I was thrilled to find any decently written book about nature or the environment. I’ve become stricter lately about notability and also just began a feature specifically about prominent authors who write about climate change. And I spotlight popular books each month on a sidebar. The database has hundreds of books, and I like to be able to point the reader to the well-known works in this field.

As long as authors have a somewhat notable book, with positive reviews in the media and on book sites, they can get involved and I will add their book to the site, which also auto-adds their book to a sortable database of books. Authors can also submit a short sample of their book at the subsite Green Reads. And I interview authors whose books are getting good reviews. If the author is new, they can join our Google newsgroup or Facebook page—both titled “Ecology in Literature and the Arts,” and both with a wider range than just fiction. Members are free to post their comments and writing at either place, though it is good to get involved first and get to know the other members rather than just posting a new book and never appearing again. The Facebook community is very new, while the Google group has been around a couple years and is over 1,000 members.

What books inspire you and do you feel deserve a wider audience?

Though I do work awfully hard to get environmental books noticed, I simply like well-written books that tell a good story, and some of my favorite categories of fiction are mysteries and mythological stories. Jeff VanderMeer’s The Southern Reach Trilogy was my favorite set of novels read in 2016. I think he definitely has a following already, and the novels are being adapted to film; the first should come out this year and is being directed by Alex Garland. I interviewed Jeff after the trilogy was published and began to read some more weird fiction that has an ecological slant. Jeff and his wife Ann edited The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, which had some great stories, but my favorite inclusion in that anthology was an older novella called The Other Side of the Mountain (originally La montagne morte de la vie), by Michael Bernanos—published in 1967. He had spent time in the wild forests of South America, and the beauty of the book (and yeah, the horror) mesmerized me. I like how Gio Clairval, from Weird Fiction Review (November 21, 2011), described it:

“His intent was to move us by the terrible beauty of his images, without rational explanation, only following the inspiration of an author who wrote as a visual artist would have painted. Poetry, yes, but not so much in the choice of words or the music of sentences: the interest of this novella is not on the paragraph level; it rather lies in the author’s ability to create an atmosphere of staggering landscapes, unearthly storms and constant psychological disquiet.”

These things inspire me, much like I would imagine our early Earth, before humankind began destroying it.

What’s your outlook for the next few years in regards to environmental literature?

There’s definitely a niche of readers, like me, who seek well-written environmental novels, yet I also hope that the novels are not known just for their category but for their impact overall. I’ve noted before in conversation with others that impact is greater than intent. I made the mistake of being a little didactic in my first novel, though I still think it’s a good story and the intent was unique for its time. Impressions happen, however, by subtle appeal and human relatability more than preachiness on environmental (or any other) issues, and readers will be turned off unless they are in the choir already.

I think also that we are entering a dark age, given the last presidential election, wherein we cannot stop climate change but could still avert some of it; is it even possible now with Trump at the wheel? I say this with a positive outlook: that maybe the worst won’t happen and people will rise to do the right things, but with a corrupt leader of a powerful country not even believing in climate change and promising to deregulate environmental plans in both government and corporate branches, we may be headed down a black path. I strongly believe that the candles to light this path will include art and literature.

Also, Ron Melchiore’s Off Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness (the most recent published memoir at Moon Willow Press) has become quite popular and is getting good reviews. The following for this book, and others like it, shows some evidence of the growing number of people seeking out information on prepping, living off-grid, DIY, sustainable living, and homesteading. Like John Muir said nearly a century ago, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home, that wildness is a necessity.” I think most of us can relate to this today, more than ever.

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Introducing the Center for Humans and Nature

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I’m pleased to welcome a new contributor to EcoLit Books: The Center for Humans and Nature.

This is an amazing organization and I thought a Q&A would be a great way for you to get to know them.

What is the Center for Humans and Nature?
We are an organization based in Chicago that explores and promotes ethical thinking and dialogue—particularly as it pertains to ideas of environmental responsibility, ecological stewardship, and bettering the relationship between humans and nature.

What are your goals?
We believe that solutions to today’s challenges begin with big ideas. In order to inspire the great actions needed for transforming humanity’s relationship with nature, we share ideas that help us reimagine how to live responsibly on planet Earth. Our overarching goal is to share these ideas with students, teachers, conservationists, policy makers, and the larger thinking and caring community. We bring together philosophers, ecologists, artists, political scientists, anthropologists, poets, and economists, among others, to think creatively about how people can make better decisions—in relationship with each other and the whole community of life.

Can you tell us about a recent project/success story?
Our Questions for a Resilient Future series poses big-picture questions that explore and challenge our thinking about who we are and how we ought to relate to other living beings. Our most recent question is: What are our moral and civic responsibilities to water? Artists Betsy Damon and Patricia Johanson sparked the conversation with essays on reimagining a more responsible water infrastructure and valuing the essential connections between water and life. Others, including Lakota activist Tioksin Ghosthorse and Grand Chief Tamale Bwoya of the Buganda Kingdom, have added their voices on the importance of fostering a water ethic.

Beyond our Questions series, we also house an active and engaging storytelling blog called “City Creatures.” Connected to our City Creatures anthology (University of Chicago Press, 2015), this story forum invites people to submit and share their reflections on urban wildlife and how cities can offer opportunities for transformation, intimacy, and connection with other species and one other.

What projects do you have in the works?
We recently launched a new project called “Curations.” Inspired by a current event or topical conversation—such as ideas on identity and place or discussions around political polarization—we curate a collection of essays, videos, and question responses to highlight relevant insights from our diverse group of contributors.

We have also developed a new “Center Artist of the Month” series, and we are currently partnering with environmental youth organizations and university programs to share ideas from the next generation of nature-minded scientists, artists, and activists.

Additionally, we publish insightful articles in our triannual Minding Nature journal, and we create videos, organize events, and produce books by our staff and our Center fellows.

What books inspire you and do you feel deserve a wider audience?
Our individual reading lists are fairly diverse, but collectively Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac is probably our organization’s desert island book. We also love Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, Paul Taylor’s Respect for Nature, Lauret Savoy’s Trace, David Abram’s The Spell of the Sensuous, Simon Schama’s Landscape and Memory, and, of course, the many books by our friends and contributors.

To learn more visit The Center for Humans and Nature.

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Call for Submissions: Zoomorphic

The magazine Zoomorphic seeks submissions for its upcoming anthology of oceanic life.

We are currently inviting submissions of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, conservation journalism and art for our first printed anthology. The book will be launched on 2nd December at a Zoomorphic event hosted by ONCA as part of their “Do You Speak Seagull” season. The printed anthology will be themed around marine wildlife and will accompany our digital issue. Submissions are invited for both formats. The launch event will include a display of Zoomorphic graphics and art as well as audio poems and sound recordings. 

The deadline for poetry is September 16; the deadline for prose (both fiction and nonfiction) is October 10.

For complete guidelines, click here.

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Introducing The Hopper

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I’m pleased to introduce the new environmental literary journal The Hopper, along with a Q&A with the founders.


 

Tell us a bit about The Hopper and how it came to be.

Green Writers Press (our mother organization) produced one issue of a more casual and smaller distribution magazine called Greenzine last April 2015. When Sierra Dickey got involved with GWP as a poetry editor, the previous editors of Greenzine had since left the press. She was interested in the periodical process and decided to revive the publication and bring it up to a place where it could compete with other regional literary magazines.

 

What types of writing are you looking for?

We are interested in writing that examines the intersection of nature and culture, that explores human and more-than-human connections, and that articulates unique human experiences in nature. We are also interested in work that challenges environmental injustice and investigates the impacts of modernity. We publish poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, science narratives, ecocriticism, interviews, and book reviews, in addition to visual art.

 

Any contests?

We are currently running our first annual Hopper Prize for Young Poets poetry contest. The winning chapbook will receive $500 and publication. Please do learn more about it here.

 

Tell us a bit about your editors and backgrounds?

Dede Cummings is our publisher. At Middlebury, she studied poetry and was recently (30 years later) awarded a writer’s grant and a partial fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. She is a book designer and letterpress aficionado and she loves designing the words of others.

Sierra Dickey is the founding editor who now oversees long term business development and organizes the Room for Craft interviews. An environmental humanities major at Whitman College, Sierra was sold on eco lit when she realized how crucial literature is to one’s understanding of the natural world.

Rose Alexandre-Leach works with our writers of prose and manages The Hopper’s website. She studied biology at Oberlin College and came to publishing by way of science education. She believes in the power of a good story.

Jenna Gersie is our grammar guru. She completed her master’s degree in environmental studies with a concentration in writing and communications at Green Mountain College. She works in environmental education and study abroad and is passionate about place-based literature and meanings of home.

Anna Mullen studied environmental literature at Middlebury College and the Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference. She works in farm education and communications at Retreat Farm. Anna loves to read writing that reminds us that scientific soundings and artistic inquiries are not so different as we might believe.

We also have had great support from Green Writers Press editor John Tiholiz and interns Kaitlyn Plukas, Ron Anahaw, Emily Blohm, and Ferne Johansson, all students at Bennington College.

 

What writers inspire you?

We are all fans of classic “pioneering” nature essayists with our own contributing quirks. Jenna is a Hermann Hesse devotee, Sierra could read Mary McCarthy for weeks, Rose will read anything with a dragon on the cover, Anna loves reading about sea and space voyages, and Dede is a poetry hound—she loved it when her mentor, the Vermont poet Galway Kinnell, was asked if he was a “nature poet,” to which he replied, “What other kind of poet is there?”

 

What advice do you have for writers of environmental poetry and prose?

Please read widely (we’re all big proponents of opening up the nature writing canon) and eschew clichés. The weirder angle you have on an experience or a natural object, the better. Try to enter the mind of George Saunders’ and Annie Dillard’s hypothetical child. Pay attention to and discuss non-natural things to bring your real ideas about nature to light. Stop using the word nature.

The Hopper

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Zoomorphic magazine now accepting submissions

zoomorphic

We first introduced Zoomorphic a year ago with this Q&A.

Zoomorphic is now accepting submissions for their next two issues. Here is the call:

Zoomorphic magazine was founded a year ago and is now an established eco-literature publication. We have featured work by many award-winning and respected international writers in our first 5 issues.

We are now seeking submissions of fiction, journalism and creative non-fiction for our summer and autumn issues. We are happy to receive material from published and unpublished writers, and will give editorial feedback to new writers with strong ideas. Work concerning oceanic wildlife is particularly encouraged.

Essays and fiction should be between 500 and 3000 words.

Submissions guidelines can be found here: zoomorphic.net/submissions.

Or contact James Roberts (editor@zoomorphic.net) to discuss your ideas.

 

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Calls for submissions

There are two new calls for submissions to announce for eco-minded writers.

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First, Flyway Journal seeks submissions for its Notes from the Field nonfiction contest, which celebrates writing about vivid experience, whether abroad, at home, in your line of work, or in any other unexpected environment.

Flyway‘s guidelines: Submit one (1) work of creative nonfiction, previously unpublished, five thousand words maximum. Your cover letter should contain your name and contact information; your name should NOT appear anywhere else on the submission. Winning and runner-up selections will be announced late December and will be published in Flyway thereafter. Visit the Flyway submissions page for more details and to submit.

And Eco-Chick (a website site covering green fashion and beauty for women since 2005) has announced its first annual writing contest, Women in the Water. Writers are invited to submit a work of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry related to the theme of women and the water.

Eco-Chick’s guidelines state, “Writers can interpret our theme in any way they choose, as long as their piece has something to do with women and water. Though our contest is focused on women, we encourage anyone to submit no matter where you fall on the gender spectrum. Your submission should have an element related to women, such as a female character or a theme related to women’s issues.” Visit the website for more information and to submit.

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Thanks for supporting organizations and publications that aim to enlighten readers and protect the planet and its creatures!