Fifth Annual Last House Writing Contest

May 17, 2024
- 5:00 pm


By now dark had almost come. I sat on the balcony feeling a little like the owl on the telephone pole, the hawk on the branch, waiting …. I waited, but everything looked as it always did from my balcony on a hot July night. The new moon was almost down, and a jet plane lowered itself gently toward the city, coming perhaps from very far away ….”

Many of our memories are formed by our experiences in the natural world and emerging writers are invited to explore a moment in nature, for example, a walk in a neighborhood park, foraging for mushrooms with friends, gathering to share food and connect with community, bird watching, or imaginative play by the ocean. How did an experience in nature influence how you view nature and yourself in nature?

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Emerging writers of all ages are invited to submit original, unpublished essays or short stories that explore the theme “belonging in nature.” How does culture and/or life experience influence how one views nature and oneself in nature?    

Entries are accepted through May 17, 2024 in three age categories:  

  • Children (8–12) (must have a 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 for adults 18 and older.  

Deadline for entries: 5/17/2024 at 5:00 p.m. (PDT). 

Winners are to be announced on and social media (@auduboncanyonranch).  

Prize:  $500.00 will be awarded to one grand prize winner. Submission will be featured in Audubon Canyon Ranch publications.   

The judging panel, coordinated by Northern California NPR host and consultant Clark Wolf with assistance from Susan Ryan, bookseller, includes an esteemed panel of professionals in the literary, food, and agriculture fields: Ellen Cavalli, farmer, writer; Jon Cheng, food writer, restaurant critic; Jeff Cox, food, wine, and gardening author/writer; Kennedy Golden, retired academic, educator, daughter of M.F.K. Fisher; Michele Anna Jordan, author, columnist; Kathleen Thompson Hill, food writer, author, radio host; Celia Sack, owner of Omnivore Books on Food.

Registration fee: FREE for Children and Youth; $40/adults. Join as a new member of Audubon Canyon Ranch with a donation of $65.00 and entry fee is waived. (No preference will be given to members.)  

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