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How can we imagine alternative futures? Speculative fiction has long provided the resources to explore, explain, and reimagine the future of society, and to cast new light on the present.

From Isaac Asimov and Ursula K. Le Guin to Octavia Butler and Margaret Atwood, the range and reach of speculative fiction derives from its ability to knit together technological, social, and individual questions. It grants us new imaginative vocabularies. In a moment of polycrisis spanning climate-related natural disasters, global pandemics, and new geopolitical tensions, we need them.

The Stott Alternative Futures Prize is open to all current Lucy Cavendish students in any discipline and understands speculative fiction very broadly to be any creative or imaginative writing interested in possible futures. This could well, but does not have to, take the form of a short story or extract from a longer piece of fictional prose. You are encouraged to respond imaginatively to this prompt. There is no minimum length for entries but there is an upper limit of 2000 words.

Entries will be judged by a panel of Fellows and other specialists on the basis of their literary and imaginative merit. The winner of the Prize will receive £100 and an invitation to the Fiction Prize award ceremony in May, where the winning entry will be announced.

Please submit your entry to

Entries for the Prize are now closed.

Read about the 2023 student prizes winners here

Dr Joe Sutliff Sanders - University Associate Professor, Fellow

Joe joined the Faculty of Education after more than a decade teaching in literature departments at universities across the United States. He is a former junior high school English teacher at a small town in Japan and a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Luxembourg. Joe works in Children’s Literature, with past books on classic girls’ novels, the Belgian cartoonist Hergé, children’s nonfiction and critical engagement, and children’s animation. His current projects include research on autism and comics, the role that comics and graphic novels have played in shaping understandings of literacy, and Chinese children’s literature. He launched the first graphic novels collection at the University, hosted at Lucy Cavendish College.

Dr Antoinette Nestor - Director of Studies Law (Undergraduate Second Year), Engagement Manager at CCRC and Cambridge Zero


Antoinette works as an Engagement Manager for Cambridge Zero and the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge. Antoinette's research interests include the intersection of climate repair and public interest law, particularly community economic development, as well as climate change law and the role of community law centres in climate justice issues. She leads the Public Interest Law Group at Lucy.