Emerging Environmental Writers Contest

SAGE celebrates the voices of unpublished writers with our annual writing contest. Each year, we invite manuscripts about people, place, and nature that align with our mission of expanding environmentalism.

Spring 2014 Contest

The  contest deadline has passed and submissions are currently in review.  Details about the contest are below.

Writing Contest 2014 Poster Digital

    • $500 for 1st place,
    • $300 for 2nd place
    • $200 for 3rd place
  • Finalist judges Gretel Ehrlich, Elizabeth Kolbert and Carl Zimmer.  Read more about our judges below.

Submission Guidelines

  • All manuscripts must be received by 12:00pm EST on April 15, 2014.  Send your manuscript along with the submission form (see below) to sagemagazine@gmail.com.
  • Manuscripts must be original and unpublished and unaccepted by any other publisher at the time of submission. This includes self-published pieces and blogs.
  • One submission per author.
  • Manuscripts must be between 1000 and 5000 words in length. Please indicate total word count at the top of the first page.
  • Manuscripts must be submitted as a Word document, double-spaced, Times New Roman, with 12-point font and one-inch margins. Please paginate in the top right corner.
  • All manuscripts must include a title; please do not include author’s name on the manuscript.
  • All manuscripts must be accompanied with a completed entry form that includes a one-paragraph author’s biography.
  • SAGE Magazine editors and its affiliates are ineligible for the contest.

All judging will be anonymous. Winners will be notified by June 1, 2014. The top three manuscripts will receive cash awards ($500 for 1st place; $300 for  2nd place; $200 for 3rd place) and will be published in our online magazine or our annual print issue.

Finalist Judges

Gretel Ehrlich is an award-winning essayist, novelist, and poet whose work has appeared in many publications including Harper’s, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Orion, and National Geographic. Ehrlich’s writing has been anthologized in The Nature Reader, Best Essays of the Century, Best Travel Essays, Best Spiritual Essays, and Nature Writing. The author of 13 books including The Solace of Open Spaces (1985), Islands, the Universe, Home (1991), and In the Empire of Ice: Encounters in a Changing Landscape (2010), Ehrlich has also worked as a correspondent for NPR’s Day to Day, and is a founding member of the UK’s Cape Farwell artists and climate change project. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2010 PEN Henry David Thoreau Prize for Literary Excellence in Nature Writing, a Bellagio Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two Expedition Council Grants from the National Geographic Society.

Elizabeth Kolbert is an award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker best known for her writing on climate change. Her three-part series, “The Climate of Man” won the 2006 National Magazine Award for Public Interest, the 2005 American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Award, and the 2006 National Academies Communication Award. Kolbert is also the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe (2006), and The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014), and was Editor of The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009. She has received a Lannan Literary Fellowship (2006), a Heinz Award (2010), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2010), and won the 2010 National Magazine Award for Reviews and Criticism. Kolbert also served as a judge for the PEN E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award in 2012.

Carl Zimmer is an award-winning science writer and columnist at The New York Times. Zimmer is the author of 12 books including Soul Made Flesh (2004), Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life (2008), and The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution (2009), a textbook for non-majors. His essays have been anthologized in The Best American Science Writing and The Best Science and Nature Writing series, and his articles have appeared in National Geographic, Time, Scientific American, Science, and Popular Science. Zimmer work, including his popular blog, The Loom, has earned numerous honors including the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Journalism Award (2012, 2009, 2004), and the National Academies Science Communication Award (2007). Zimmer is a regular lecturer at Yale University, and was elected to the Board of Directors of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing in 2011.

Past Winners


2013: Second Annual Writers Contest

1st Place: Sarah Maslin, “A Tale of Two Trails”
2nd Place:
David Johnson, “Return to the Mountain”
3rd Place:
Nigel Pitman, “The Pit in the Woods”
Honorable Mention: Alycia Parnell, Ari Phillips


2012: First Annual Writers Contest

1st Place: Megan Kimble, “Wager for Rain”
2nd Place: Mira Manickam, “Just Enough: Fishing for Happiness in Southern Thailand”
3rd Place:  A. Kathleen Higgins, “An Ice Rink at 16,000 Feet”


Other Submissions

Are you interested in submitting an article, but don’t want to enter the contest?  Or do you have an idea for a photo essay, infographic, short documentary, or podcast?  We accept submissions from journalists and visual artists from all over the world.  Read our How to Contribute Guide or contact us at sagemagazine@gmail.com.