ACR's Last House Program Coordinator Susie Allen is excited to announce the Second Annual Last House Writing Contest,in celebration of the power and magic of survival skills. The contest honors the style and spirit of M.F.K. Fisher, who lived on ACR’s Bouverie Preserve for the last two decades of her life and whose war-time tale How to Cook a Wolf continues to inspire courage and creativity during contemporary times of crisis.

“It is all a question of weeding out what you yourself like best to do, so that you can live most agreeably in a world full of an increasing number of disagreeable surprises.”
—M.F.K. Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Emerging writers of all ages are invited to submit an original, unpublished essay, short story, or poem that examines and explores how leaning into nature—ours inside and the world around us—helps us always, and, in particular, during challenging times. Do the foods we prepare, eat and share, and the ways we engage with the natural world around us, affect our very ability to survive and thrive?

Entries accepted beginning June 14, 2021 through August 2, 5:00 p.m. Winners will be announced August 23, 2021 on ACR's website and social media.


The judging panel, coordinated by Clark Wolf, includes some of the most accomplished, discerning writers, chefs, naturalists, and mentors working today:

  • Dr. Marion Nestle, Educator, Author
  • Ruth Reichl, Author, Editor
  • Tanya Holland, Chef, Author, Restaurateur
  • John Ash, Chef, Teacher, Radio Host
  • Kennedy Golden, Educator, M.F.K. Fisher’s daughter
  • Kathleen Thompson Hill, Journalist, Author, Radio Host
  • Mayukh Sen, Writer, Educator
  • Traci Des Jardins, Chef, Restaurateur
  • Celia Sack, Omnivore, Books on Food
  • Alice Waters, Chef, Author, Activist

Entries accepted in three age categories:

  • Children (8 –12) (must have parent or legal guardian's consent)
  • Youth (13–17) (must have parent or legal guardian's consent)
  • Adults 18 and older

Format: Essay or short story, PDF format, 300–500 words for children and youth, 750 words maximum for adults 18 and older.

Registration fee: $35/adults. Join as a new member of ACR with a donation of $65.00 and entry fee is waived. (No preference will be given to ACR members.)
FREE for Children and Youth; Entries have been sponsored by Sonoma Valley Chapter of The North Bay Association of Realtors.

Deadline for submission of entries: 8/2/2021 at 5:00 p.m. Register at Eventbrite:

Prizes to be announced.

ACR retains royalty-free rights to edit, reproduce, share, and/or publish all winning work. ACR welcomes people of all races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations and abilities.

Proceeds will benefit Audubon Canyon Ranch's programs and the continuing restoration of Last House.


About M.F.K. Fisher’s Last House

Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR) is restoring the legendary author's home on the 535-acre Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen to capture the spirit and the flavor of her life on the preserve and as an exclusive destination honoring her love of food, wine, literature and nature.

Fisher, described by W. H. Auden as “America’s greatest writer,” welcomed friends such as Julia Child, James Beard, and Maya Angelou. It also was at Last House that she wrote 13 books (one third of her collection) during 21 years of residence.

Built for her by landowner and architect David Pleydell-Bouverie, the two-room palazzino features a simple design, her signature Chinese red walls, built-in bookcases for over 2,000 books and arched porches that look west to Sonoma Mountain and east to the 535 acres of land protected by ACR.

Complementing the renovation are paintings, furnishings and memorabilia donated back to the house by family and friends. “Reaching out to family and friends who have lovingly shared items, memories, and stories has been rich,” said Kennedy Golden, Fisher’s daughter and an advisor on the project. Among the donated items, Fisher’s Coronomatic typewriter sits quietly in one corner, rough draft secured on the platen for curious observers.