Cosmic Outlaws: Coming of Age after the End of Nature (a call for papers)

I recently received this intriguing call for papers through email. If you’re a young and aspiring writer and have an interest in the natural environment, sustainability issues, and related subjects, check this out!

In the prescient 1988 book, The End of Nature, Bill McKibben forecast the end of a primordial relationship between humans and the untrammeled earth. Evidence abounds that our ancient connections with the home planet have irrevocably altered.  What happens to individuals and societies when their most fundamental cultural, historical, and ecological bonds attenuate—or snap?  How do the young, especially, cope in a baffling and mutable new world? “When the Pleiades and the wind in the grass are no longer a part of the human spirit,” wrote Henry Beston, “man becomes, as it were, a kind of cosmic outlaw. . .  .”  It is vital that we hear from members of the generation who have grown up on the new earth, who can express their challenges, fears, dreams, and sources of resilience for living and thriving as cosmic outlaws.

Co-editors Julie Dunlap and Susan A. Cohen are soliciting submissions for an anthology tentatively titled, “Cosmic Outlaws: Coming of Age after the End of Nature.”  Submissions are invited from young writers, born in 1982 or later. We are interested in essays, short fiction, and poetry that explore themes including (but not limited to) growing up in a warming climate, accepting biodiversity decline, defining responsible consumption, understanding the relevance of wilderness, interpreting moralities of resource allocation, new views of urban design, sustainability, and environmental justice, technological optimism or pessimism, environmental heroes for the future, and sources of joy in a diminished place.

Julie Dunlap is co-editor of Companions in Wonder: Children and Adults Exploring Nature Together (MIT Press, 2012) and an award-winning author of children’s books, articles, and essays about nature, science, and environmental history. Susan A. Cohen (formerly Susan A. C. Rosen) is co-editor of Wildbranch: An Anthology of Nature, Environmental, and Place-Based Writing (University of Utah Press, 2010), editor of Shorewords: A Collection of American Women’s Coastal Writings (University of Virginia Press, 2003), professor of English at Anne Arundel Community College, and the author of numerous essays on American literature and the environment.

Please submit materials electronically (.doc or .rtf files only for essays and fiction – .pdf files will be accepted for poetry) by December 31, 2012, along with contact information and a one-paragraph author bio.  We will accept essays & fiction up to 4,000 words (one per contributor) and up to three poems per person.  Please submit copies of your work to both of the e-mail addresses below.  If you must submit by mail, please send TWO double-spaced copies to both addresses below.  We will be reading and selecting pieces in early 2013.  We are happy to accept simultaneous submissions, but we ask that you please notify us if your submission is accepted elsewhere.

Send your work to:

  • Julie Dunlap: (6371 Tinted Hill, Columbia, MD 21045)
  • Susan A. Cohen: (40 Johnson Road, Pasadena, MD 21122)

Thank you.  We look forward to reading your essays, stories, and poems!

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