Following a successful launch in 2021, we are delighted to announce the second Extinction Rebellion global short story competition. Hosted by XR Wordsmiths, the Solarpunk Showcase invites people of all ages, from all around the world to imagine a sustainable and equitable future for our planet and to turn their ideas into an engaging piece of fiction.
Solarpunk is a genre of speculative literature and art that envisions and inspires a future in which humanity and technology no longer dominate nature, but instead coexist in harmony for the benefit of all. We want to use this genre to stimulate your imaginations in the fight against the climate and ecological emergency. If we can’t picture the kind of world we want for ourselves and future generations, then how can we move towards its creation?
XR Wordsmiths is a group of XR Rebels battling against the climate and ecological emergency primarily via the written word. This year, as with last, the Wordsmiths are asking aspiring storytellers to consider the kind of societal changes that would be necessary in order to have a world not merely fit to live in but also to enjoy.
Last time, we were flooded by inspirational stories from old and young. We received tales of floating cities, arctic-cooling technology, Solarpunk schools, sustainable communities, utopian hospitals, climate disaster memorial statues – all spectacular imaginings of a post-anthropocene future in which humanity, non-human nature, and technology are thriving harmoniously. You can read the stories on our solar-powered website.
The winning entries from this year’s showcase (3 adults, 3 teenagers, and 3 children plus some additional categories: Runners Up, and Honourable Mentions) will be announced in spring 2023 after being selected by a diverse panel of judges including eco-authors, scientists, and teachers. These stories will be published across Solarpunk Magazine, Solarpunk Society Magazine, Shoreline of Infinity Science-Fiction Magazine, and in Extinction Rebellion publications.
Other prizes include full scholarships to a 12-week online course on climate change by Terra.do (the world’s first online climate school) worth $1900 each. One of last year’s winners, Chris Muscato, wrote of his experience, “My Terra.do course was an incredible opportunity to learn about climate issues and science, as well as to connect with people around the world. My cohort included climate activists from the US, Sweden, Germany, India, Indonesia, Brazil, and other places. The guest speakers were some of the top minds in their fields, and the instructors made the material accessible and relatable. I not only actively use what I learned from the course, but the networking opportunities were truly invaluable”.
Like last time, a team of generous artists from around the world (Chile, South Korea, the UK, Brazil, the US, and Canada) will create illustrations for the winning tales. One of last year’s winners, Katrina Eilender, said “My favourite part of the showcase was seeing my story illustrated by Rita Fei, a brilliant artist. The picture above is me holding her lovely illustration. I’ve obviously never had an artist illustrate my work before so it was amazing to see how those two art forms work together!”.
The creative domino effect of the 2021 showcase did not end with the prizes – some of the winning stories have also been adapted into virtual drama workshops by Hamburg-based sociodrama group, Dandelion Spaces, which have so far been attended by over 150 participants tuning in from multiple countries. To quote one winner, Spencer R. Scott, “I got to watch actors from all over the world read my play and act out parts of it as a practice in embodying the Solarpunk ideology. It was a truly magical experience. I cried!”. And Dandelion Spaces are eager to repeat the experience with this year’s winners.
That so many talented individuals are willing to put in time, effort, and imagination towards a common goal of storytelling-inspired future-building has been encouraging, to say the least. We hope for the ripple effects of our project to continue through this year’s venture and for years to come. We hope our initiative will spark similar projects in different languages around the world. As such, please get in touch if you would like to create a Solarpunk Showcase in your language – we would love to help you!
Information on how to submit your story to the current showcase here: solarpunkstorytelling.com. If you have any questions about the Showcase, please contact email@example.com. The XR Wordsmiths are also active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.