Call out for Sci-Fi/Speculative Poetry and Fiction Inspired by Endangered Species


We need YOU to imagine a future for the plants and animals in England!

Writing has always helped us to imagine possibilities for ourselves and the world around us. We need your imagination to support two projects saving endangered species: the Willow Tit Project, and the Ancients of the Future project which is working to protect 28 threatened species which live in ancient trees, including the Violet Click Beetle, the Royal Splinter Cranefly, Eagle’s-claw Lichen, Coral-tooth Fungi, Knothole Moss and the Noctule Bat.

The Willow Tit is found in post-industrial landscapes, excavating their own nest holes in rotting deadwood, and making a life in areas we might consider wastelands. What unexpected alliances might we have with plants and animals? What life might spring up in places we’ve written off?

Ancient trees provide homes for 2,000 species – they are whole ecosystems in themselves. The young trees we are planting now will watch our world change. What might they see? And how can we protect them?

Back from the Brink is creating an anthology of poetry and fiction inspired by these projects, and the wider question of how we take care of the world around us as our ways of living change.

Get inspired by the projects, and then send us your speculative stories and sci-fi poems. We’re looking for work which thinks about how humans and non-human beings relate to each other, and which imagine ways that we can create better relationships between us. We are particularly looking for work which includes the species the projects are working with in some way. You can find more information about the projects on the Back from the Brink website:

The anthology will be edited by Katherine McMahon, a writer and arts facilitator currently in residence with Back From The Brink.

The deadline for submissions is 15th December 2019, and we will endeavour to let you know the outcome by early February.

Email your submissions to


Terms and Conditions:

  • You can send up to three poems or 2,000 words of fiction.
  • The anthology will be launched in March 2020 and available until the end of November 2020.
  • It will be available as an ebook on the Back from the Brink website and promoted by the projects and their partners (including wide distribution via members’ newsletters), as well as through ebook retailers and in a limited edition of hard copies.
  • All works accepted for publication will be credited with your name.
  • The works will be part of a free resource for the public, and we are unfortunately not able to offer payment. We are grateful for your generosity in donating your writing to support Back From The Brink.
  • All copyright title and ownership to any works submitted shall remain entirely with the author.
  • By submitting any works for inclusion in the anthology the author grants an irrevocable, worldwide license to the RSPB to copy, publish and distribute the works as part of the anthology in support of the Back From The Brink project.
  • The email address attached to your submission will not be used for any other purpose outside of this call out and your email address will be deleted from our file by February 2021.
  • The deadline for submissions is 15th December 2019, and we will endeavour to let you know the outcome by early February.
  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome, and we will consider previously published work if it fits with the theme.

To see our privacy statement, please go here.

“I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies, to other ways of being. And even imagine some real grounds for hope.” - Ursula le Guin


Would you like to help these incredible species? There are numerous ways in which you can:

  • Why not volunteer for Back from the Brink? Check out our events page for opportunities near you.
  • Help us to spread the word of this species, and the others we will be helping over the next 3 years, by sharing our message across our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Follow us: @naturebftb.
  • Finally - help support the work we do across England by donating. Our impact will be greater with your help.


4 thoughts on “Call Out for Sci-fi / Speculative Poetry & Fiction Inspired by Endangered Species!

  1. I notice that your headline refers to saving species in England while later referring to plants and animals in the U.K. It is rather frustrating to UK residents who are not English to see this very frequently made error.

    1. Hi Christine – thank you for your comment. This was just a typo and has now been corrected. We appreciate you pointing it out as we would not want to mislead our supporters!

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