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.
We are delighted to host our second annual poetry series, in honor of National Poetry Month. Poetry presents an extraordinary lens through which to explore public lands, the outdoors, and our instincts for adventure and self-reflection.
You can read the winners of our Fall 2017 Essay contest here! Thanks to all who submitted writing to the contest, we received so many powerful and beautifully written entries. We are grateful for the wisdom and insight of our contest judge, Melissa Faliveno, and hope you will enjoy reading her selections.
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.
In April, we are celebrating the awe we so often feel in nature, on public lands, through a month-long poetry series to coincide with National Poetry Month. Click here to read along throughout the month; we will share the poems, featuring work by twenty-four poets whose work celebrates parks and other public lands.
Our series is edited by Celeste Hackenberg, and features poems by:
- Phillip Bannowsky
- Karen Berry
- Joe Betz
- Gary Bloom
- Jeff Burt
- Gabriella Brand
- Ann DeVilbiss
- Iris Jamahl Dunkle
- Andy Fogle
- J.M. Green
- Mary Christine Kane
- Richard Kempa
- Joshua Lefkowitz
- Jennifer Moore
- Julie Moore
- Kevin Oberlin
- Kristin Rajan
- Thom Schramm
- Marjorie Thomsen
- Kerry Trautman
- Brendan Walsh
- BJ Ward
- Kory Wells
- Tom Zimmerman
We wish to acknowledge our finalists:
- KB Ballentine “Comfort of Solitude”
- George Campbell, “I Walked All Day Upstream”
- Jan Chronister, “Door County”
- Anne E. Johnson “Dead and Alive in Turkey Run”
- Jennifer Lagier “Moonstone Morning”
- Leah Mueller “Glacier”
- Ken Pobo “Climbing a Tithonia”
- Lara Poulton, “Going to the Sun”
- Alexandra Renwick “particles of your mud still flush my veins”
- Elizabeth Spragins “Eventide”
- Mary Ellen Talley “Whistler Campground at Jasper National Park” and “Lake Melakwa, 1973”
- Paul Thiel, “Split Rock”
- Tyson West, “Solstice Skateboarders Around the Salmon Fountain”
We have been thrilled, in our first Parks & Points & Poetry series, to receive so many entries which express the natural beauty and profound impact parks and designated natural spaces have on visitors. We are doubly thrilled to welcome P&P contributor Celeste Hackenberg as our Poetry Editor.
Celeste Hackenberg earned her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in December 2016. As a graduate student, she assisted in planning the Sarah Lawrence College Poetry Festival, and co-created an annual Alumni Festival to showcase the talent of previous students. She also served as Art Director and reader for LUMINA, Sarah Lawrence’s student-run literary magazine, for two years. Currently, she is based in Westchester county, with her three cats and one person. She works as an academic advisor at CUNY Start and writes mostly prose poems and haiku.
Announcing Parks and Points
Fall 2016 Writing Contest!
The deadline for the fall nonfiction contest has been extended to October 12, 2016.
The centennial of the U.S. National Parks Service has inspired us to contemplate our reverence for all shared public parklands; these are spaces for exploration and adventure, self-discovery and self-reflection, and identification with community. Parks and Points is dedicated dually to celebrating park spaces and to promoting domestic travel as accessible and affordable.
For our first writing contest, we are seeking nonfiction submissions of up to 1,500 words, in the form of autobiographical essay, reportage, profile, memoir, or narrative nonfiction that express a moment of significance — personal transformation, awakening, adventure, exploration, reward, accomplishment, revelation — that is inspired by or set within a park space. Note that your entry is not required to be about a U.S. national park, and that the writer does not need to be the subject of the essay. First, second and third place entries will be published on ParksandPoints.com, as will the names of finalists. All winners will be selected by contest judge Leigh Stein.
As we are a travel and points based website, we are excited to offer prizes that reflect our love for and interest in travel:
- 1st Place $200 Delta Airlines gift card
- 2nd Place $100 American Airlines gift card
- 3rd Place $50 AirBnB gift certificate
*Our submission portal will be open from open from August 26, 2016 to 11:59 p.m. EDT on October 9, 2016.
*Winners will be announced by November 30, and published on Parks and Points shortly thereafter.
*Submissions of original and previously unpublished work should be no more than 1,500 words.
*Upon publication all rights to written work revert to the author.
*A $3 submission fee is required to enter. Multiple entries are permitted, but each requires a separate entry.
* Submissions will be judged blindly, without identifying information on the text, by contest judge Leigh Stein. Former or current students of Leigh Stein are regretfully ineligible for the contest.
*Email email@example.com with questions.
Leigh Stein is the author of three books, including the new memoir Land of Enchantment. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Allure, Poets & Writers, BuzzFeed, Salon, and Slate. She is the executive director of the nonprofit organization Out of the Binders, and lives outside New York City.