Call for Judges: National Magazine Awards

This year the Canadian magazine industry will celebrate the 39th annual National Magazine Awards. Submissions open on December 1 for awards in 39 categories, and we are looking for volunteer judges to serve on our juries.

Each year the National Magazine Awards Foundation relies on the generously donated time and expertise of over 200 volunteer judges, who sit on three-member peer juries for our written, visual, integrated and special awards. Judging takes place between late January and late March, depending on the category.

Ideal candidates should fulfill one or more of the following criteria:

  • Editor, art director, publisher, web editor or other staff member (past or present) of a Canadian magazine, whether or not your publication participates in the National Magazine Awards (naturally you cannot serve as a judge in a category where your magazine is entered, but potentially in other categories);
  • Freelance or staff writer, illustrator, photographer or digital creator, where a significant portion of your work is in Canadian magazines (especially if you have been nominated for or won a National Magazine Award yourself);
  • Journalist (print, broadcast, digital) with expertise in a particular field represented by one or more NMA categories (such as health, business, photojournalism, science, sports, travel, lifestyle, food, finance, politics, poetry, etc);
  • Academic or industry leader with expertise in a particular field;
  • Bilingual: Not all of our judges need be bilingual, but all written categories are judged by both unilingual and bilingual juries, and most other categories include one or more bilingual members on their juries.

For more information, review the NMAF’s Judging Process on our website, as well as the Eligibility & Rules.

To nominate yourself or a colleague as a candidate to judge, please contact the NMAF at
Twitter DM

Please include your name, contact information and a brief bio or summary of your expertise.

NMA laureates Robyn Sarah, Guy Vanderhaeghe win Governor General’s Literary Awards

Robyn Sarah. Photo by Allen McEachern (via Canada Council for the Arts)
Robyn Sarah. Photo by Allen McEachern (via Canada Council for the Arts)

Montreal poet Robyn Sarah and Saskatchewan author Guy Vanderhaeghe, both previously National Magazine Award winners, have been named the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award winners for poetry and fiction, as announced by Canada Council for the Arts this morning.

The work of both writers and all the other finalists for the #GGBooks fiction and poetry prizes first appeared in one or more of Canada’s literary magazines, demonstrating yet again how important our cultural magazines are to fostering a strong and vibrant Canadian literary community.

In the spring of 2012 Robyn Sarah published a poem in The New Quarterly issue #122 called “My Shoes Are Killing Me (a poem in nine movements),” which went on to be nominated for a National Magazine Award. Three years later, now expanded into a collection of poetry under the same title, Robyn Sarah’s work has won one of Canadian poetry’s highest honours.


Robyn Sarah won the National Magazine Award for fiction in 1993 (for “Accept my Story” in the Malahat Review), and she has also twice been nominated for her critical essays in TNQ.

Two other #GGBooks poetry finalists are NMA laureates. Patrick Lane has won 3 National Magazine Awards for his poetry, most recently for “Arroyo” published in VallumKayla Czaga was a National Magazine Award poetry finalist in 2014, for “Song” and other poems in Arc Poetry Magazine.

Guy Vanderhaeghe was a finalist for the National Magazine Award in fiction this year for his story “Tick Tock” in Prairie Fire. His latest book of short fiction, Daddy Lenin and Other Stories, was named the #GGBooks winner this year, the third time he’s won the Governor General’s Literary Award.

Fellow #GGBooks fiction nominee Helen Humphreys was a National Magazine Award finalist in 2012 for her essay “Natural History” in Queen’s Quarterly.

Read more about this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award winners at

And check out some of this fall’s great writing contests from Canadian literary magazines.

NMAF partners with Indigo Books & Music on national newsstand promotion

Newsstand Promo Sign ENG FinalFor the second year, the National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is partnering with Indigo Books & Music Inc. to launch a nationwide newsstand promotion designed to increase awareness about Canada’s top award-winning magazines published in both official languages.

With this strategic initiative, made possible thanks to the generous support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation and the Government of Canada, the NMAF strives to provide award-winning Canadian publishers the opportunity to cost-effectively maintain or improve newsstand sales, subscriptions and magazine visibility within the highly competitive North American market by jointly marketing their nationally recognized award on newsstands.

From October 19th to November 29th, this year’s participating award-winning publications will be displayed in a special NMA newsstand frame in 91 Indigo superstores across the country. Magazines taking part in this initiative include 2015 Magazine of the Year winner Nouveau Projet, as well as award winners Canadian Business, Chatelaine, Cottage Life, FASHION Magazine, L’actualité, Maclean’s, Maisonneuve, MoneySense, Sportsnet, The New Quarterly, The Walrus, Today’s Parent, Toronto Life, Vancouver Magazine and Western Living.

The NMAF, whose mandate is to recognize and promote award-winning Canadian magazines and content, strives to implement initiatives that help publications thrive in the evolving magazine industry. With this newsstand promotional campaign, the Foundation is providing publishers with a distinctive opportunity to leverage their prestigious award in order to maximize their impact on newsstands.

This promotional initiative was launched for the first time in 2014. During the four weeks of the pilot project, 3,401 copies of 15 NMA award-winning titles were sold and a number of participating magazines reported an increase in sales varying from 15% to 67%.

The 38th annual National Magazine Awards took place on June 5, 2015. Visit to view the complete list of this year’s award-winning magazines as well as past winners in our free public archive.

The National Magazine Awards Foundation acknowledges the financial support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada. The NMAF also gratefully thanks Indigo Books & Music Inc. for their generous support of the NMA newsstand promotion. The NMAF would also like to thank CNW Group.


Participating magazines this year include:


2015 National Magazine Awards design wins Communications Arts Award

The NMAF is excited to pass along the news that the creative design from the 2015 National Magazine Awards has won a Communications Arts Award and will be featured in the Comm Arts Typography Annual due out early 2016.

This year’s design was created by the incredible team at Monnet Design, and the NMAF congratulates and offers its sincere and enduring gratitude to Stéphane Monnet, Agnes Wong and the entire team at Monnet for their work.



This year’s National Magazine Awards gala was perhaps the most exciting ever, thanks in large part to the wonderful creative by Monnet Design.

Photos of the NMA gala by KlixPix for the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

Video: Apply for an Internship with the National Magazine Awards Foundation

Applications are being accepted until Friday, September 25 at 5pm. Applicants must submit a cover letter, resume and one letter of reference. For details visit:

Paid Internship with the National Magazine Awards Foundation


The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is now accepting applications for one paid Administrative Internship position for the National Magazine Awards (NMAs) and the Kenneth R. Wilson Awards (KRWs) in Toronto for Winter 2015/Spring 2016.

Position: Administrative Intern

Contract Duration: September 28, 2015—June 30, 2016; 15 hrs/week on average.

Description: The successful candidate will be reporting to and working in consultation with the NMAF/KRW Communications Manager and Special Projects Manager and specifically will:

  • Assist with the day-to-day operations of the NMAF/KRW office, including support for the submissions process, judging process, and awards production;
  • Handle some of the office-related communications and outreach with the Canadian magazine industry in both English and French—including but not limited to initiating and responding to phone calls and general email;
  • Assist with the research and production of content for the NMAF blog ( and CBM Blog ( and other social media channels;
  • Copy edit and fact-check NMAF/KRW communications materials and publications, including newsletters, press releases, website copy, gala programs and related material;
  • Assist with ongoing projects to promote the NMAF/KRW and its various initiatives;
  • Attend regular staff meetings;


  • Exceptional communication skills;
  • Familiarity with the Canadian magazine industry;
  • Ability to work independently and on deadline with goal-oriented projects;
  • Solid writing and editing skills;
  • Knowledge of French a strong asset;
  • Career aspirations in the Canadian magazine industry or similar;
  • Strong interest in fulfilling the mandate and vision of the National Magazine Awards Foundation.


  • Gain practical knowledge of the Canadian magazine industry;
  • Play an important role in the execution of NMAF projects and events;
  • Make a great first impression on writers, editors, publishers and other members of the industry;
  • Enhance your skill set in communications, publicity, administration, event planning, writing, editing and non-profit organizations;
  • Learn more about Canadian magazines from the NMAF’s wonderful team of staff, board members and stakeholders;
  • Participate in one of Canada’s most cherished and important cultural events, the National Magazine Awards.

Terms and Remuneration: The length of the contract will be from September 28, 2015 until June 30, 2016. The average weekly commitment may range from 10 hours per week (Nov-Dec; Feb-Mar; Jun) to 20 hours per week (Jan; Apr-May). Working hours are flexible except at specific times, and most work may be completed remotely.

This internship is paid $11.25/hour.

Deadline: Friday, September 18, 2015. September 25, 2015.

How to apply: Applications must consist of a cover letter demonstrating your specific interest in the internship, a résumé, and a letter of reference from a professor or a mentor. Applications must be sent via email to Émilie Pontbriand, Communications Manager, at Application deadline is September 18 September 25.

The NMAF internship program has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada.

An earlier version of this post mistakenly indicated a pay rate of $11 per hour. The rate is in fact $11.25 per hour.

An Adventurous Literary Travel Itinerary (Summer Magazine Reading Series, No. 7)

Your intrepid Mag Awards blogger just returned from canoeing a great long river in Maine, where at dawn the moose pose in water while eating their grassy breakfast, and at dusk either the rain or the mosquitoes force you into the tent where you’re glad to have packed a pile of magazines to read before the ache of a long day of j-strokes puts you to sleep.

Whether you’ve got your feet up at the cottage in a Muskoka chair by the dock, or you’re stormbound in a tent deep in moose-land, summer is even more adventurous with a great magazine travel story.

This year’s National Magazine Awards travel-writing finalists brought us to many exciting places: to India, where tea is born in the Himalaya foothills; to northern British Columbia, on a haunted glacier; to Jerusalem, for a Kafkaesque citrus heist; to Newfoundland, where a cottage by any other name smells as fishy; to Brazil, in angular shadows of modern architecture; to San Francisco, where technology guides the tour; to Nunavut and Chicago and the middle of Lake Superior, all in the service of a literary sense of place.

Our summer magazine reading series continues this week with travel stories nominated at the 2015 National Magazine Awards. Make this your literary travel itinerary before summer sadly ends.

Au paradis des thés

Category: Travel–Gold Medal winner
Author: Marie-Soleil Deshautels
Magazine: L’actualité

Plusieurs critères déterminent si un thé sera ou non un « grand cru », notamment l’uniformité, la brillance et la taille des feuilles. Les meilleurs thés ont une fragrance et un goût jugés fins ou complexes.

Synopsis: An intrepid journey to the heart of India’s tea-producing northeast: Darjeeling, in the Himalaya foothills south of Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain. National Magazine Award-winning writer Marie-Soleil Deshautels explores the cycle of tea production from the seed to the cup to the exportation to Canada, examining the science that is helping tea producers meet new global demand, and the art of brewing the perfect cup. Read the story.

Another great read: The silver medal in Travel went to Eric Dupont for “Vivre à belo horizonte” (L’actualité), an architectural tour of the work of Oscar Niemeyer in Brazil.

Lemon from Sheikh Jarrah

Category: Travel–Honourable Mention
Author: Karen Connelly
Magazine: Geist

“Who took this button off your computer?” It fell off; it broke. “When?” Several years ago. It kept falling off. I just threw it away. “But not here, not while you were in Israel.” No. I was here for just over a week. “Are you sure?”

Synopsis: One of those rare dispatches from Israel/Palestine that doesn’t get tripped up over politics or bogged down by the pro-/anti- arguments, award-winning poet Karen Connelly’s elegantly simple story in the form of a letter to the lone Palestinian woman she met on an official tour of Jerusalem provides readers a fresh and authentic sense of place in an otherwise unfalteringly complex–and at times darkly comical–experience of visiting the region.

Another great read: Dan Robson of Sportsnet won Honourable Mention in Travel for “Home and Really Far Away,” which won the Gold Medal in Sports & Recreation and was profiled in the first edition of our Summer Magazine Reading Series.

Death on a Glacier

Category: Travel–Honourable Mention
Author: Jon Turk
Magazine: Explore

“The air became electric and the hair stood up on the backs of our necks,” Bill told me. “It was one of those moments that don’t dim with time. I can imagine every vivid detail to this day.” The three hunters had discovered the body of that ancient warrior, now known as Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchí — “Long Ago Person Found.”

Synopsis: Fifteen years ago, three hunters travelling around a glacier in the Tatshenshini-Alsek wilderness of northern British Columbia discovered the partial remains of a young native man who had apparently died while attempting to cross a high mountain pass more than three centuries earlier. Now, as scientific analysis has revealed much of the biography of the man posthumously named Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchí, writer Jon Turk joins the hunters as they return to the place of discovery to re-imagine his life and ponder the mysteries that remain. Read the story.

Another great read: Explore magazine also won Honourable Mention for “Across the Little North” by Conor Mihell, an account of a month-long canoe expedition through remote northwestern Ontario.

The Other Fifth Avenue

Category: Travel–Honourable Mention
Author: Lisa Moore
Magazine: Cottage Life

I stop to ask for directions from a man who’s chopping wood. When I say I’m looking for Jen Ford’s place, he pauses and looks deliberately at the horizon. “The Ford place,” he says. “Nope, never heard of it.” He gives the wood chunk sitting on the chopping block a hard smack with the axe. It splits with a loud, splintering thwack. Then he says, “Oh, wait a minute, you mean Phil’s place. A few cabins back. You just drove past it.”

Synopsis: Award-winning novellist and Newfoundland native Lisa Moore takes a rural road trip to the summer “cabins” (don’t call them cottages in Newfoundland) to discover the depth of the islanders’ appreciation for the traditional way of life, revolving around family stories, music, fishing, berry-based cuisine, “corn toss,” and never-ending home-improvement projects that bring entire communities together. Read the story.

Another great read: Cottage Life won a second Honourable Mention in Travel for “Dreamlandia” by NMA winner Charles Wilkins, set in Nirivia, a little-known trout-fishing paradise on an island in Lake Superior.

Bright Lights, Tech City

Category: Travel–Honourable Mention
Author: Andrew Braithwaite
Magazine: enRoute

“I’ve never been here before,” says Arieff. Good words to hear from a professed urban flaneur. Based on a 2009 project to map hidden spaces, SPUR launched the app in 2012. It leads curious explorers to unexpected downtown oases, like this rooftop deck off a poorly signed staircase in the corner of a retail mall.

Synopsis: Canadian ex-pat and NMA winner Andrew Braithwaite serves up five fresh views on his adopted city of San Francisco, visiting traditional tourist hotspots with technology of the sort made famous in Silicon Valley–hiking the Coastal Trail with the latest fitness-measuring gadgets; visiting the Exploratorium with a roboticist; trying out new apps to locate a POPOS (“privately owned public open space”). It’s the San Fran of the future, the city reaching the maturity of its latest techno-boom. Read the story.

Another great read: Andrew Braithwaite and enRoute magazine also received Honourable Mention for “South Side Story,” about the regeneration of Chicago’s post-industrial south side.

Subscribe to our blog to receive our Summer Magazine Reading Series in your inbox each week, and follow us on Twitter (@MagAwards) for updates and magazine news and promotions.

Did you know? You can download and read all of the National Magazine Awards finalists and winners for FREE in our online archive, at

Stay tuned for another Summer Magazine Reading Series edition next Thursday.

Moose photos by Richard A. Johnson.