Creative Sonoma

CALL FOR WRITERS: Inspired by Charmian London Writing Contest

Posted by Jack London State Historic Park ; Posted on 
CALL FOR WRITERS: Inspired by Charmian London Writing Contest


As a result of interest in Charmian Kittredge London, the Jack London State Historic Park is updating the House of Happy Walls with more focus upon her extraordinary life. Known primarily as the wife of the writer, she was also a published writer, London’s collaborator, a photographer, and a sea-loving adventurer. She was a lifelong Socialist who worked for prison reform and animal rights. She challenged conventional femininity through her dress, decor, athleticism, and private behavior. As a result, she was early a celebrity in the United States, and later in Europe.

We encourage you to share her creative life with others through our Inspired by Charmian Kittredge London Writing Contest. Adults 18 and older are invited to enter with original short fiction, as described below.

To learn more about Charmian:

  1. Visit the Cottage with her bedroom, den, and clothing.
  2. Visit the new display at Happy Walls when it reopens this summer.
  3. Read one of her books, The Log of the Snark, Our Hawaii, The Book of Jack London. (Available in the Park bookstore or find free online.)
  4. Look at the latest scholarship, collected in a special issue devoted to her in Women’s Studies, Volume 4, Number 4, 2017.
  5. Read about her in Clarice Stasz, American Dreamers or Jack London’s Women

Suggestions to pique your creativity:

  • Pick a point in Charmian’s life when someone interviews her about some aspect of her life other than Jack London.
  • Imagine a conversation about her by her contemporaries, who are familiar with her public life, and respond to that image.
  • Write an article as though written by Charmian on how to raise a daughter to be independent.
  • Write a short story set in one of the locations where Charmian traveled during her life where you include the history of the place you are writing about.  E.g., the Haleakala volcano on Maui, at the leper colony on Molokai, rounding Cape Horn in a schooner. 
  • Write a short story with a strong female protagonist that encapsulates what it was like to be a woman in the early 1900s.  How was it different from today to be a woman during that time?  How was it the same?

Awards and Recognition:

First Place: $1,000 ~ Second Place: $250 ~ Third Place: $100

Winners will be recognized and asked to read their stories at the Awards Festival. Winning stories will be posted on the Jack London State Historic Park website with an interview with the author.


Category: Short story or imaginary magazine article
Word Limit: 2,000 words
Style: 12 pt type, double-spaced
File format: Word (doc, docx)
Title: Provide a title, but no author for blind evaluation
Deadline: September 1, 2018
Restriction: Must be original unpublished work
Eligibility: Open to all adults 18 years and older

Entry Fee:
$20.00 per entry (Jack London Park members); $35 nonmembers. Entry fee to be paid online at time of
submission. Writers may submit multiple entries, each with a separate entry fee.