2021 Alaska V3 

Creative Writing Contest


Envisioning our future with Alaska’s next leaders

We all have an idea of what we’d like our communities to look like, but no one knows exactly how we’ll get there. Together with the Alaska Humanities Forum, Alaska Version 3 challenged all of Alaska to answer one question in an essay, short story, or poem these past few months. The question was simple: 

What does Alaska look like 30 years from now?

Why bother asking such a vague question?

Because Alaskans of all ages are seeking a new road map for our future, with creative ways to reach yet undefined locations. We all want to know where we are headed, but more importantly, we all want a say in what our future looks like. So we looked to you, the community members taking part in the future of Alaska, for fresh views and wild new ideas for what the future could look like.

2021 Writing contest details

We asked anybody interested in the contest to describe the Alaska that the next generation will live in — the “Next Alaska” of 2050 and beyond. We knew we may have attracted stories of an apocalyptic warning, or poems of an optimistic vision of a shining state on top of the globe. Ultimately, whatever your future Alaska looks like, we wanted to hear it.


Essay, short story, or poem


We selected up to $1,000 to be awarded across 6 categories:

  • Grand prize winner — $300
  • Top submissions in other two categories — $200 each
  • Top youth (under 18) in all three categories — $100 each

At the end, only 4 prizes were distributed:

  • Grand prize winner — $300
  • Top submissions in other two categories — $200 each
  • Top youth (under 18) in the short story category — $100

The remaining $200 will be recycled back into Alaska Version 3’s funding for future programming and writing contests.


Judging Criteria

We are sought community volunteer judges to help us decide on the best-fit winners for the following criteria:

  • Creativity
  • Follows prompt
  • Within bounds of rules (see below)
  • World-building / “show don’t tell”
  • Thought-engaging / conversation-starting

We came together to discuss the entrants, rules, and guidelines for judging across 4 weeks to ensure anonymity and all final submissions were read and analyzed properly.


The rules we outlined for writers were as follows:

    1. Submissions must be original work, by the person or persons (groups are encouraged to apply!) submitting the work.  Work published previously in any copyrighted newspaper, magazine, book or other medium is ineligible. Writing for school publications may be entered.
    2. The author retains the copyright to the submitted work, and agrees to publication in AK Humanities Forum, print and online editions, and on the Alaska V3 website. Winners may be asked to provide a photo to appear with their entries.
    3. The contest is open to all Alaska residents, including out-of-state college students. All judges and the Alaska V3 leadership team, and their immediate family are ineligible.
  • Contestants may enter one work in each category, fiction or nonfiction.
    1. Submissions should not exceed 3,000 words. There is no minimum. 
    2. Each submission requires a separate completed entry form. Entries were to be completed no later than 5:00 p.m., Monday, May 17th, 2021. Only entries in digital format were accepted. 
  • No submissions will be returned.
  • Judging and winner notification will be completed no later than June 14th.
  1. The decisions of the judges are final. Submission indicates acceptance of all contest rules at the time of submission.  The organizers reserve the right to make any changes to rules or terms, or reject any submission. 


These rules were adapted in part from the ADN Annual Statewide Creative Writing Contest

Support for this effort

We originally sought any financial support to gift bigger and better prizes to all participants—and were overwhelmed with the graciousness from our community.

Our sponsors personal included:

  • Ky Holland of Holland Consulting
  • Kitty Farnam
  • Stephanie Holthaus
  • Ryan Witten of Streamline

Our company sponsors included:

    Learn Grant Writing Logo
    Katari Creative Logo
    Alaska Humanities Forum logo

    Thank you immensely to everybody who donated their time, money, and efforts to making this Writing Contest a reality!

    About Alaska V3

    Alaska Version 3 is here to support the work of Alaskans who want to strengthen Alaska’s communities, people, and opportunities — resulting in a vibrant, self-sufficient, and globally relevant Alaska that supports its rural and urban citizens’ economies for generations to come.  

    We are working on Compiling, Contextualizing, Connecting, and Creating materials that will assist in bringing Alaskans together to explore the questions: 

    1. What is Next for Alaska’s civic and market economies?  
    2. How will we get there? 

    Our steering group is meeting weekly and welcome individual and organizational guests to join the discussion and help us design and launch future events.  For additional information, contact alaskaversion3@gmail.com or join our newsletter list below.


    %d bloggers like this: