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March 22, 2016

Announcing the results of the Our Waters, Our Future writing contest

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A story about a young woman learning to manage a hops farm under a warmer climate is the winner of the Our Waters, Our Future Writing Contest. The story, called "Antigone lupulus" and written by Sally Younger of Madison, appeared in Madison Magazine’s June 2016 issue.

The contest sought short stories about positive and possible futures for water and people in south-central Wisconsin, looking specifically to the year 2070. It was a collaboration of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Water Sustainability and Climate project and Center for Limnology, Madison Magazine, Sustain Dane, and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters.

“The genius of this contest is that it asks us as writers and readers to extrapolate half a century into the future. It humanizes the conversation,” says Younger, who is also a technical writer for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

“Antigone lupulus has a captivating storyline and gives off a strong Madison vibe. We're looking forward to publishing this wonderfully written entry,” says Karen Michel, editor of Madison Magazine.

The second-place story was written by Kitt Healy, a graduate student in agroecology at UW-Madison. Madison Magazine will publish her story, called "The Incarnation of Nelmi Jane," in the online edition of their June issue.

“This contest was an effort to encourage imaginative thinking about what kind of future we want to build for our region, which can be more inspiring than the gloom-and-doom stories we commonly hear, especially with matters like climate change,” says Jenny Seifert, contest coordinator and science writer/outreach coordinator for the Water Sustainability and Climate project. The contest is a spinoff of Yahara 2070, the project's scenarios about the future of the Yahara Watershed.

Contest submissions came from all over Wisconsin and were judged in part based on their scientific plausibility, a call made by a team of four scientists from UW-Madison.

Wisconsin-based literary leaders Peter Annin, journalist and author of Great Lakes Water Wars, and poet Fabu, Madison’s third poet laureate, along with Madison Magazine, made the final decision on the winner and runner up.

“The fact that water will be the most important resource in the world's future made reading the futuristic words of these writers truly fascinating,” says Fabu.

Younger and Healy were officially awarded at a World Water Day event called “Writing Wisconsin’s Waterways," which was organized by the Wisconsin Academy.

Healy, on left, and Younger, on right, after receiving their awards. Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Academy.