There are a lot of writing contests out there, many of which I send serially rejected stories and essays to. But here’s one that might interest some of you aspiring travel writers. Fast on the heels of Sheila’s recent post about establishment publication Transitions Abroad going online, a friend sent me a reminder of that magazine’s 2009 Narrative Travel Writing Contest.

It’s the sort of thing tailor made for intrepid travelers — and for imaginative writers. I love their description: they’re looking not for a travelogue, but for “a well-crafted and inspirational story which should appeal to those who have traveled independently overseas with open minds, sensitive souls, and empathetic imaginations.” I’d just like to meet some people like that.

The theme for this year’s contest is “Travel in a Dangerous World,” but the field is wider than that description seems to indicate. “We are looking for stories written by authors who have taken a risk — or been told that they were taking a risk — when traveling overseas,” say the editors, which leaves room for a lot of interpretation. In addition, “editors of TransitionsAbroad.com will judge entries based upon the following criteria: sensitivity to the people and culture being described, ability to engage the reader, and literary quality.” What would you consider a risk? And how well can you write about it?

The contest deadline is October 31, 2008, and the word limit is 1000 to 3000 words. The first-place winner will receive $500 (USD), the second-place entry $150, and the third-place winner $100. Any other articles selected as runner-ups will receive a $50 payment.

Full guidelines and links to last year’s winning essays here. Get your pens out!