Food—and the way we grow, source, prepare, and eat it—links us to our families, our histories, our culture, our health, our environment, and our bodies… not to mention to tradition, ritual, and celebration!
On the importance of food, J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a much merrier world.” And another literary superstar, George Orwell, had this to say: "Changes of diet are more important than changes of dynasty or even of religion. The Great War, for instance, could never have happened if tinned food had not been invented.” Orwell went on to marvel at how rarely food is recognized for its influence. “You see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops, but none to cooks or bacon-curers or market-gardeners."
This month, dear writers, we invite you to move food to the front burner! Whether you write about your grandmother’s sumptuous steamed buns, the carbon cost of food production, or the sugar in school lunches, we hungrily await your entry.
And remember, food writing matters because, as the journalist and cookbook author Ramin Ganeshram puts it, “it’s not really about the food.” We’re not looking for five-star restaurant ratings or writers waxing poetic about overpriced escargot and the velvet pioppini (that’s a mushroom). Food writing can be an investigation, an exposé, an odyssey, or a memoir. Here’s a taste of what we mean:
- MORE THAN FOOD: How can your piece be about something more than food? Can you draw connections to culture or politics or family or geography? What is the underlying importance of your subject? Even if you're writing about your favorite recipe, how can you dig into the social or historical or ethical elements of that food?
- OPENING LINES: Does your beginning tantalize your reader? How can you make your reader bite at the first line?
- MEMORABLE DETAILS: Have you drawn on sensory details? Taste and smell perhaps? Or texture? Sound?
For more ideas, check out the resources "How to Cook a Wolf" and "Recommended Reading," and be sure to read Lisa Hiton's blog post, Eating Like a Writer
Who is Eligible?
Young writers ages 13-18
600 – 1,000 words
Best Entry: $100 (winning piece + author interview will be featured on Write the World’s
website and blog)
Runner up: $50
Best Peer Review: $50 (reviewer interview will be featured on Write the World’s
website and blog)
What’s Different about Write the World Competitions?
Prizes: The winning entrant(s) will receive $100, and the best peer-reviewer will receive $50.
Professional Recognition: The winning entry, plus the runner-up and best peer review, will be featured on our blog, with commentary from our guest judge.
Expert Review: Submit your draft by Monday May 14th and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals.
May 7: Competition Opens
May 14: Submit draft for Expert Review (Optional. We will review the first 100 drafts submitted.)
May 18: Reviews returned to Writers
May 22: Final Submissions Due
June 1: Winners Announced
Our Science Fiction Competition opens Monday, June 4th.
Stay tuned for more details!