Call for Submissions

Call for Submissions: Society for Humanistic Anthropology 2020 Ethnographic Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Competition

The Society for Humanistic Anthropology is pleased to announce that we are opening our annual writing contest for Ethnographic Fiction and Creative Nonfiction. We celebrate the use of creative literary prose genres to explore anthropological concerns, and we encourage you to share your work with us.

As a guideline, ethnographic fiction and creative nonfiction use literary elements to bring stories to life and engage the reader. Whether fiction or nonfiction, these creative prose pieces reflect insights about the real world seen through an anthropological lens or reflecting an anthropological sensibility (related to any field of anthropology). Successful works generally have concrete vivid details, a clear focus, and a consistent authorial voice.

Submissions should not exceed 20 pages typed double-spaced (5,000 words), and need to work as stand-alone stories. There is a limit of one submission per applicant.

We do expect contestants to be affiliated with the field or practice of anthropology and/or ethnography in some manner (institutional affiliation is not required). There is no entry fee for this competition.

Submission deadline this year is September 1, 2020. Submissions must be previously unpublished and not currently under consideration elsewhere.

The entry consists of two parts:

  1. The online Entry form which collects cover page information (name, contact information, etc.).  Information on this form is not taken into account while judges make their award selections, and information collected is used only for award granting and notifications.
  2. Your story in one pdf file (double spaced) with title but without the author’s name (anonymized), PLUS an extra final page with a statement of no more than 400 words that answers the question: “How is this piece anthropologically informed and in what ways has your background in the field contributed to it?” This statement will be taken into account as the judges make their award selections. Please use your story title as your document file name. This file should be emailed as a pdf to [email protected]


  • All winners will receive one year Society for Humanistic Anthropology (SHA) and American Anthropology Association (AAA) gift memberships.
  • The first-place winner will also receive an award of $100 and publication in the Society’s journal, Anthropology and Humanism.
  • The second-place winner will also receive $75.
  • The third-place winner will also receive $50.
  • All winning entries and honorable mentions will be recognized online by the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, and all winners will receive a certificate of their award. (Conditions permitting, we hope to be able to honor all 2020 and 2021 winners in person at our SHA awards ceremony at the American Anthropological Association meetings in Baltimore, November 17-21, 2021.)

JUDGES: Julia Offen (Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Editor, Anthropology and Humanism), John Wood (Professor, University of North Carolina Asheville), Katrina Daly Thompson (Professor, University of Wisconsin Madison), and Sowparnika Balaswaminathan (Fellow, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History).