Awards, Judges Set for “Our Waters, Our Future” Writing Contest

MADISON — Two of Wisconsin’s literary leaders will help decide the winner of the Our Waters, Our Future writing contest. Peter Annin, journalist and author of Great Lakes Water Wars, and Fabu, as Madison’s third poet laureate is professionally known, have agreed to help select the top stories that imagine a positive future for water and people in south-central Wisconsin.

What is your vision for the future of Madison's lakes? Image:
What is your vision for the future of Madison’s lakes? Image:

The contest encourages Wisconsinites to envision a desirable future and participate in building that future through storytelling. Representatives from Madison Magazine, which will publish the winning story, will also be part of the judges’ panel.
Peter Annin. Photo: Northland College
Peter Annin. Photo: Northland College

“We are leaving the century of oil and entering the century of water, which means water will become the most important natural resource in the world by 2100. Communication—especially writing—can play a key role in helping people understand just how important water is becoming on a regional, national and international level,” says Annin, who is also the co-director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College.
Originally from the southern United States, Fabu draws on her connection with the Mississippi River, which she says has “watered [her] both historically and creatively.”

“I felt at home in Wisconsin when I saw the Mississippi River in La Crosse. It has been a pleasant discovery learning about the various waters in Wisconsin. Our Waters, Our Future speaks to the importance of this resource, and I am excited to read what writers say about this topic,” says Fabu, who served as Madison’s poet laureate from 2008 to 2012.
Several local businesses specializing in outdoor recreation have offered their support of the contest as awards sponsors for the winner and top finalists, including Fontana Sports Specialists, Brittingham & Wingra Boats, Rutabaga Sports and REI. Local artist John Miller, whose work often features water, will also create an illustration for the winning story.
The contest seeks short stories that are solutions-oriented and, while fictional, are also scientifically plausible. Stories should take place in the year 2070 and in the region around the Yahara Watershed and/or the affiliated counties of Dane, Rock and Columbia.
Despite this regional focus, the contest is open to all Wisconsin residents and students 18 years or older. Since the region contains the state’s capital and flagship university, thousands of acres of productive farmland and valuable water resources, including the Yahara river and lakes, the issues it faces have statewide significance.
The deadline to submit stories is February 1, 2016. Complete contest details can be found at
The contest is a collaborative effort by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Water Sustainability and Climate project and Center for Limnology, Madison Magazine, Sustain Dane and the Wisconsin Academy and Sciences, Arts & Letters.


CONTACTS: Peter Annin,, 715-682-1360; Fabu,, 608-235-4745; Jenny Seifert,, 608-512-6259