Fall 2018 Essay Contest

The contest is now closed to entries. Thanks to all who submitted essays and the winners will be announced soon.

Our annual fall essay contest invites nonfiction submissions of up to 1,500 words in the form of autobiographical essay, reportage, profile, memoir, or narrative nonfiction. We seek essays that express a moment of significance — personal transformation, awakening, adventure, exploration, reward, accomplishment, revelation — that is inspired by or set within a park space or public land. Essays need not be about a U.S. national park—national forests, municipal and state parks, BLM lands, beaches, lakeshores, campgrounds, designated woodlands—and more—are great subjects. Also note that the writer does not need to be the subject of the essay. First, second and third place entries will be published on Parks and Points, as will the names of finalists. All entries are considered for publication. 

Winners will be selected by contest judge, Jimin Han.

The submission period was August 1, 2018 to November 15, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. E.S.T. 

Read the winning essays from 2016 and 2017 by clicking the year.


We have chosen prizes that we hope will support your impulse to travel:

  • 1st Place $200 Southwest Airlines gift card

  • 2nd Place $100 Hilton gift card

  • 3rd Place $50 AirBnB gift card

Please note that prizes are sourced from the entry fees and inclusion of the travel company does not imply their endorsement.


  • Winners will be announced by Jan 1, 2019 and published on Parks & Points shortly thereafter.

  • Submissions of original and previously unpublished work should be no more than 1,500 words. Facebook and blog posts are considered “published” writing.

  • Upon publication all rights to written work will revert to the author.

  • A $3 submission fee is required to enter. Multiple entries are permitted, but each requires a separate entry .

jimin han parks and points writing conest

Jimin Han was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in New York, Rhode Island, and Ohio. She attended Cornell University as an undergraduate and earned an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her writing can be found online at NPR’s “Weekend America,” Poets & Writers Magazine, Entropy, The Rumpus, Hyphen Magazine, Kartika Review, KoreanAmericanStory.comand elsewhere. A Small Revolution, her first novel, has been selected as a 2017 best beach read over at CNN, Redbook Magazine's 20 Books By Women You Must Read This Spring, Buzzfeed's Binge-Worthy Literary Books of May, Pleiades Magazine's best books of 2017 , Entropy Magazine's Best Books of 2017, and on a list of galvanizing books about political protest at Electric Literature.  She teaches at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and lives outside New York City with her husband and children.