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(USA)—I’m very honoured for one of my speculative short stories, Good Harvest, to win first place at the inaugural Bright21st solarpunk short story contest. My story speculates on our evolving relationship with death through those who have chosen to have their remains be turned into fruit-bearing trees.

Bright21st focuses on inspiring, optimistic futures:

Stories shape our culture. With an over saturation of gloomy dystopic narratives streaming throughout our screens, it is no wonder why so many of us feel paralyzed by the inevitability of war, poverty, climate disaster, or AI overlords.

While those stories can be an important tool for staying informed and presenting dark futures to consider based on current events, there are few stories engaging the public imagination with possibilities of inspiring new social norms, shared values, or systems for organizing society to uplift humanity. 

What would happen if the dominant narratives in society seeded our imaginations with inspiring futures and positive alternate realities? Would our culture change?  We think so. That’s why we created Bright21st.

I believe in the power of the arts—in all forms—to imagine better futures and to get us to be emotionally invested in designing these positive, inclusive, and sustainable futures. This was fun to write; I’m happy this story paid its rent in my brain. I’m also appreciative of how these speculative and non-dystopic communities are popping up all over. Future-oriented fiction is becoming increasingly important as we navigate all the challenges of today. Redesigning our world takes a lifetime and needs a lot of work—let’s put our reps in, one story and project at a time.

Thank you to the jury and congratulations to all the other winners. You can read the stories on the website (registration required), or just my story here.