Flyway short fiction contest is now accepting entries

The environmental literary journal Flyway has launched a short fiction contest: The Sweet Corn Short fiction contests celebrates fiction about the environment. We interpret “the environment” broadly here and encourage work that surprises us with your interpretation of the word. We’re looking for fiction that focuses on place, environmental issues, the urban environment, or perhaps …

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Residency opportunity in France for environmental and nature writers

This looks like a wonderful place to spend a month writing: Secluded in the foothills of the French Pyrenees, at the end of an ancient stone track, Bordeneuve is a rustic, woodland retreat for artists, musicians and writers. We are delighted to announce that we will be granting a one-month residency in 2014 to a …

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Call for Writers: Voices for Biodiversity

Anthropologist Tara Waters Lumpkin is founder and executive director of a nonprofit project and e-zine called Voices for Biodiversity. Our goal is to provide a multimedia platform where citizen eco-reporters can share their stories about biodiversity and their relationships to other species and the ecosystems that support us all. We hope to awaken humanity to the …

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Bellevue Literary Review seeks environmentally themed submissions

Published by the Department of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, Bellevue Literary Review is best known for being a journal that focuses on illness, health, and healing, with wonderfully broad and creative interpretations of these themes. Bellevue Literary Review is now open to submissions for an upcoming theme issue: Our Fragile Environment. This issue’s aim …

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Announcing the Bear Deluxe Magazine Doug Fir Fiction Award

Calling all fiction writers: Save the date (September 3 deadline) for submissions to the Bear Deluxe Magazine Doug Fir Fiction Award, co-sponsored by the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, Ashland Creek Press, and Hawthorne Books. Please see below for complete guidelines, and you can also click here for details and more info. The Bear …

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The Earth Goddess and Fiction

 

Goddess by Baraka Berger
Goddess by Baraka Berger

With the Summer Solistice upon us, it’s a good time to revisit the Earth Goddess and her literary legacy. In sync with the first Earth Day in 1970, when I was an impressionable 14 year-old, women were throwing off the shackles of patriarchy in the streets and in their homes, even in churches, chucking out any male god who lived on a cloud. Many turned to the Old Religion, governed by the Goddess, who once reigned over a peaceful, matrilineal world in harmony with Nature. Then, according to legend, the priests came, driving her and her followers underground where they were called witches, and thus began civilization’s slide into constant war and ecological devastation.

 

Women writers of the 70’s and early 80’s incorporated this mythopoeic vision into their novels, and I read them all. Marge Piercy, in Woman on the Edge of Time, wrote about an ideal society based on the assumed female principles of peace and love of the earth, set against a cautionary tale of continued male domination and its attendant disregard for the planet. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood created a dystopia of sexism and violence after men become infertile by a toxic event of their own making. Other writers contemplated the past instead of the future. Marion Zimmer Bradley retold the King Arthur myth from Morgan le Fay’s point of view in The Mists of Avalon, making the goddess worshipper the heroine and not the villain. Jean Auel, in Clan of the Cave Bear, placed the goddess plunk in the center of the Stone Age.

mists-of-avalon

By the mid-80’s, as women put on their shoulder pads and floppy ties and went to the office, feminism began to pull away from the Earth Goddess. Flouting one’s fertility and innate peaceful nature at the office was not going to break any glass ceilings. The focus had turned to job equality and pay equity, so academic and political interests set out to prove there were no differences between the genders. And rightly so. It’s a small step from archetype to stereotype.

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Writing for animals: Advice for writers of animal rights fiction

In mainstream fiction today, “normal” characters tend to be carnivores, or at least omnivores, and “fringe” characters tend to be vegetarian or vegan. Naturally, I disagree with this distinction. But I also understand that most writers are simply following convention, simply writing about the world as they see it today. But the world is changing. …

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Writing Opportunity: The 2014 EarthLines Essay Prize

The EarthLines Review has announced the 2014 EarthLines Essay Prize. The EarthLines Essay Prize is awarded annually for a piece of creative prose writing that explores the relationship between people and the natural world. It is open to writers of any nationality, over the age of 18. Entries will be accepted between July and December of this …

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