The Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature, Sponsored by Ashland Creek Press

2015 Siskiyou Prize Winner: Jennifer Boyden

Ashland Creek Press is pleased to announce Jennifer Boyden has won the 2015 Siskiyou Prize for her novel THE CHIEF OF RALLY TREE.

Of THE CHIEF OF RALLY TREE, judge Ann Pancake writes: “Inventive, smart, and often hilariously funny, The Chief of Rally Tree delivers a social critique both searing and sly.”

Jennifer Boyden is the author of two books of poetry, The Declarable Future (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013), winner of The Four Lakes Prize in Poetry; and The Mouths of Grazing Things (University of Wisconsin Press, 2010), winner of The Brittingham Prize in Poetry. She is a recipient of the PEN Northwest Wilderness Writing Residency and has taught writing and literature courses at a variety of places, including Suzhou University in China, The Sitka Center for Arts and Ecology, Whitman College, and at various workshops. On the faculty of Eastern Oregon University’s low-residency MFA program, Jennifer also works for an environmental nonprofit in the San Juan Islands. She lives in Friday Harbor, Washington.

About the Winner


The novel THE PLACE WITH NO NAME, by José María Merino, translated from the Spanish by Elizabeth Polli

The essay collection THE SHAPE OF MERCY: ESSAYING THE GEOGRAPHY OF HOME by Alison Townsend


The novel THE PTEROPOD GANG by Nancy Lord


We would like to thank everyone who submitted and for your continued support of environmental writing.

The Siskiyou Prize will open again in Summer 2016. To be notified when the prize opens, please join our (very infrequent) mailing list.

The 2016 Siskiyou Prize

Judge: To be announced

The winner will receive:

  • A cash award of $1,000
  • An offer of publication from Ashland Creek Press
  • A four-week residency at PLAYA (Details below)

The contest is open to unpublished, full-length prose manuscripts, including novels, memoirs, short story collections, and essay collections.

Manuscripts should be approximately 40,000 to 90,000 words (i.e., please do not send novellas or individual essays or stories; please also note the contest is not open to poetry or children’s books).

Please see below for complete guidelines.


“New environmental literature” refers to literary works that focus on the environment, animal protection, ecology, and wildlife.

We're looking for work that redefines our notions of environmentalism and sustainability, particularly when it comes to animal protection. We are not seeking books about hunting, fishing, or eating animals—unless they are analogous to a good anti-war novel being all about war. Under these basic guidelines, however, we’re open to reading a wide range of fiction and nonfiction with environmental and animal themes.

About the name

The Siskiyou Prize is named for the Klamath-Siskiyou region of northern California and southern Oregon, one of the most diverse eco-regions in the world. The Klamath-Siskiyou has the highest concentration of Wild and Scenic Rivers in the nation, the largest area of roadless wildlands in the Pacific Northwest, and the tallest old-growth trees on earth. Due to this large network of still-intact lands, the region is a refuge for fish and other wildlife that struggle for survival in other parts of the world. Considered a global center of biodiversity, the Klamath-Siskiyou region is an inspiring example of the importance of preservation.

Contest Guidelines

Manuscripts must be submitted no later than (to be announced).

All submissions must be made online via Submittable and must include the following:

  • a cover letter with author’s full contact information, including name, address, phone number, and email address; if the manuscript is a collection of stories or essays, please include acknowledgments in the cover letter
  • the full manuscript, including a table of contents, if applicable (NOTE: author’s name must be omitted from the manuscript, as final judging will be blind)
  • a nonrefundable $25 reading fee

A Few More Details…

  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but submitted manuscripts must be unpublished* and not under contract elsewhere. Ashland Creek Press will offer a publication contract for the winning manuscript.
  • Multiple submissions are welcome, but each must be submitted separately and accompanied by the $25 reading fee.
  • The $25 reading fee is nonrefundable, and we are unable to accept changes or additions once manuscripts are submitted. (If your manuscript is selected, you will have the opportunity to make changes before publication.)
  • *Self-published books are eligible for the contest, provided that the author identifies the book as self-published in the cover letter and retains all rights to the book.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.


Can I submit more than one work?

Yes. There is no limit to the number of works submitted by one author, but each manuscript must be entered separately and be accompanied by the $25 reading fee.

Can I mail you a print copy of my manuscript?

No. We place a priority on minimizing our use of paper resources, so we cannot accept print works. Only submissions sent via Submittable will be considered.

Do you offer refunds?

Unfortunately, no. The entry is used to cover time, expenses, a stipend for judging, and the cash award for the winner.

I submitted a draft that I wish to revise. Can I send an updated draft?

We're sorry, but we cannot consider revisions once you've submitted. If your manuscript is chosen as the winner, you'll have an opportunity to make changes during the editing process.

How do I know whether my manuscript qualifies as "new environmental literature"?

We define "new environmental literature" as works that focus on issues pertaining to the protection and conservation of the planet and all species of animals. This emerging genre makes a solid connection between the way we treat animals and the way we treat our planet; it extends protection to all animals, human and non-human, and calls for responsibility and evolution for a changing planet.

Please feel free to visit Ashland Creek Press to get an idea of the types of books we like and for a sampling of eco-fiction. Free excerpts are available for all of our titles, and you can also download our free Eco-Fiction Sampler. Please also check out our anthology, Among Animals, to get an idea of the types of stories we feel represent animal literature. We also welcome books with vegetarian and vegan themes if they relate to animal welfare.

In fiction, what genres can be submitted?

We will consider all genres (for example, literary, mystery, YA, thriller), as long as the book has strong environmental/animal protection themes. Our top considerations are the environmental issues explored in the book as well as the quality of the writing.

Do you accept submissions from outside the United States?

Yes, we accept prize submissions from authors all over the world; manuscripts must be submitted in English.

If I win, do I have to publish my book with Ashland Creek Press?

The Siskiyou Prize is designed to encourage new environmental writing and will be awarded to the best unpublished manuscript. The contest winner will be offered a publication contract but is not obligated to publish with Ashland Creek Press. However, all manuscripts must be unpublished and not under contract elsewhere to be considered for the prize. For any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

What if my manuscript is more than 90,000 words?

Our guideline for manuscripts of approximately 40,000 to 90,000 words is just that: a guideline. Manuscripts will ultimately be judged on quality, not word count. This guideline is primarily to indicate that we are seeking book-length manuscripts, not individual essays or stories. For any further questions, please feel free to contact us.


On the edge of the Great Basin in central Oregon, PLAYA offers creative individuals the space, the solitude, and the community to reflect and to engage their work. The winner of the Siskiyou Prize will receive a four-week residency at PLAYA.

A residency at PLAYA provides private lodging in a fully equipped cabin with kitchen/living room, a place to write, and two dinners a week (Mondays & Thursdays) with a cohort of residents, at no charge. (Transportation and other meals are not included.) Playa allows uninterrupted time and solitude amidst a spectacular landscape.

PLAYA is a nonprofit organization supporting innovative thinking through work in the arts, literature, natural sciences, and other fields of creative inquiry.

Learn more about PLAYA


Ashland Creek Press is an independent publisher of books with a world view. Our mission is to publish a range of books that foster an appreciation for worlds outside our own, for nature and the animal kingdom, and for the ways in which we all connect.

If you have any questions about the contest or the press, please submit them here.