Tag Archive | Personal Journalism

Your Guide to Summer 2014 Magazine Writing Contests

If this year’s National Magazine Awards taught us anything, it’s that devoting yourself passionately to literary excellence has its rewards. Kim Jernigan, longtime editor of The New Quarterly, said as much when she accepted her Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement. “When it comes to matters literary, it is better to follow your own instincts than to give the reader what you presume she wants… Perseverance counts.”

Also, this nugget of wisdom: “Caring deeply about literature is not at odds with a sense of fun.”

Apropos of which, we present our annual Summer Guide to Canadian magazine writing contests.

As always, the list below may be incomplete. Leave a comment here or pull us aside on Twitter @MagAwards #WritingContest if you know of any we missed.

 

One Throne Joust 24-Hour Writing Contest
Sections: Short (750-word) fiction
Deadline: June 25, 2014 (competition is held on June 28)
Prize: Half the pot to the winner; publication for the top 3
Entry Fee: $20
Detailshttp://www.onethrone.com/#!joust/c19mu

The Walrus Poetry Prize
Sections: Poetry, juried prize and people’s choice prize
Deadline: June 30, 2014
Prize: $4000 and publication (juried winner); $1000 and publication (people’s choice winner)
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://thewalrus.ca/projects/poetry-prize/

Alberta Views Short Story Contest
Section: Fiction
Deadline: June 30, 2014
Prize: $$1000 + publication (winner)
Entry Fee: $30 (includes subscription)
Detailshttps://www.albertaviews.ab.ca/contests/

Antigonish Review Great Blue Heron Poetry Prize
Sections: Poetry
Deadline: June 30, 2014
Prize: $600 (1st); $400 (2nd); $200 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://www.antigonishreview.com/

Matrix Magazine LitPop Awards
Sections: Poetry; Fiction; Creative Nonfiction
Deadline: July 1, 2014
Prize: For winners in each section, round-trip ticket and accommodation to POP Montreal Festival in September; publication in Matrix
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.matrixmagazine.org/litpop/

Vallum Award for Poetry 2014
Section: Poetry
Deadline: July 15, 2014
Prize: $750 (1st); $250 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: $25; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.vallummag.com/contestrules.html

Tethered by Letters Writing Contests
Section
: Poetry; Short Fiction; “Flash Fiction”
Deadline: July 15, 2014
Prize: $250 (Short Fiction winner); $50 (Flash Fiction winner); $100 (Poetry winner); publication
Entry Fee: $4-12, depending on category and entries
Detailshttp://tetheredbyletters.com/submissions/contest-submission
Note: Tethered by Letters is a US literary journal but its writing contests are open to Canadian writers; hence we have included it here.

Malahat Review Constance Rooke Nonfiction Prize
Sections: Creative nonfiction
Deadline: August 1, 2014
Prize: $1000; publication in Malahat Review; interview with winning author
Entry Fee: $35 (includes subscription); $15 for additional entries
Detailshttp://web.uvic.ca/malahat/contests/creative_non-fiction_prize/info.html

Passion Poetry Contributor’s Contest
Section: Poetry
Deadline: August 1, 2014
Prize: $100 (1st); $50 (2nd); $25 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $5; includes issue of magazine
Detailshttp://www.passionpoetrymag.com/#/contest/4583551123

Northern Public Affairs Emerging Northern Writers Fund
Sections: Essays, Fiction, Poetry, Visual Arts
Deadline: August 1, 2014
Prize: 3 awards of up to $200 each
Entry Fee: None
Details: northernpublicaffairs.ca

Up Here Sally Manning Award
Section: Aboriginal Creative Nonfiction
Deadline: September 30, 2014
Prize: $1000 + publication (1st); $500 (2nd); $250 (3rd)
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://uphere.ca/post/88968179608

Did we miss something? Email staff[at]magazine-awards[dot]com or hail us on Twitter @MagAwards.

See also:
Your Guide to Winter/Spring 2014 Magazine Writing Contests
Your Guide to Fall 2013 Magazine Writing Contests
Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines

Check out the Contests section of this blog for frequent updates on opportunities from Canadian magazines.

Photo: Kim Jernigan accepting the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement at the 37th annual National Magazine Awards, June 6, 2014. Photography by KlixPix for the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

Announcing the Winners of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards!

The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is pleased to announce the winners of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards.

At this year’s gala on June 6, presented by CDS Global and hosted by humourist (and award-winner) Scott Feschuk, the NMAF presented Gold and Silver awards in 47 categories representing the best in Canadian magazines from the year 2013.

Complete list (PDF) of all winners
Full-text of all nominated and winning articles
Twitter highlights
La version française

SPECIAL AWARD WINNERS

Magazine of the Year
Sponsored by RBC Royal Bank
Cottage Life

Magazine Website of the Year
Macleans.ca
14720

Tablet Magazine of the Year
Sportsnet

Best New Magazine Writer
Sponsored by Reader’s Digest Foundation
Catherine McIntyre

Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement
Kim Jernigan

Top Winning Magazines at the 37th National Magazine Awards:

Magazine Gold Silver HM
The Walrus 7 6 22
Maclean’s 4 1 13
Maisonneuve 4 1 9
L’actualité 3 2 18
Report on Business 3 2 16
Cottage Life 3 1 9
Eighteen Bridges 3 1 7
Legion Magazine 2 0 1
Western Living 1 3 4
Sportsnet 1 2 7
The Grid 1 1 12
Hazlitt 1 1 8
Flare 1 1 2
United Church Observer 1 1 2
enRoute 1 1 1
Malahat Review 1 1 1
Torontoist 1 1 1
Toronto Life 0 2 16
Jobboom 0 2 0

See the complete list of winners at magazine-awards.com.

INTEGRATED AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS  

Best Single Issue
Tenth Anniversary Issue
The Walrus


Magazine Covers
Larry Fink
Report on Business

Infographics
How Much Does a Street Cost?
The Grid

Editorial Package (Web)
Canada’s Best New Restaurants
enRoute
13628

Online Video
Boy Genius
Maclean’s

Single Service Article Package
Calendrier de l’avent
Ricardo

Words & Pictures
Sponsored by CDS Global
Water
The Walrus

WRITING AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS

Arts & Entertainment
Curtis Gillespie
Rebel Without Applause
Eighteen Bridges

Best Short Feature
Paul Wells
Boy Genius
Maclean’s 

Blogs
Jamie Bradburn, Kevin Plummer, David Wencer
Historicist
Torontoist

Business
Sponsored by Accenture
Charles Wilkins
This Little Piggy Went to Market…and the Farmer Lost Money
Report on Business

Columns
Sponsored by Impresa Communications Ltd.
Chantal Hébert
Politique
L’actualité

Editorial Package (Print)
Sponsored by Canadian Society of Magazine Editors
Marine Corniou, Dominique Forget, Joel Leblanc, Raymond Lemieux, Chantal Srivastava
Août 2013
Québec Science

Essays
Curtis Gillespie
In The Chair
Eighteen Bridges

Fiction
Jess Taylor
Paul
Little Brother Magazine

Health & Medicine
Ann Silversides
First Do No Harm
Maisonneuve

How-To
Jane Rodmell, David Zimmer
Best Flavour Ever
Cottage Life

Humour
Scott Feschuk
Assemble ingredients. Pause dramatically.
Maclean’s

Investigative Reporting
Adam Day
One Martyr Down
Legion Magazine

One of a Kind
Craig Davidson
The Marineland Dreamland
The Walrus

Personal Journalism
Liz Windhorst Harmer
Blip
Malahat Review

Poetry
Karen Solie
Conversion
Hazlitt

Politics & Public Interest
Lisa Fitterman
The Avenger
The Walrus

Profiles
Omar Mouallem
The Kingdom of Haymour
Eighteen Bridges

Science, Technology & Environment
Sponsored by GE Canada
Alanna Mitchell
Losing the Hooded Grebe
United Church Observer 

Service: Health & Family
Sharon Adams
Lest We Forget: The Shocking Crisis Facing Our Wounded Veterans
Legion Magazine

Service: Lifestyle
Valérie Borde
Vive le poisson éco!
L’actualité

Service: Personal Finance & Business
Sponsored by Manulife Financial
Denny Manchee
The Hand-Me-Down Blues
Cottage Life

Society
Dan Werb
The Fix
The Walrus

Sports & Recreation
Jonathan Trudel
La machine à broyer les rêves
L’actualité

Travel
Taras Grescoe
Big Mac
The Walrus

 

VISUAL AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS

Art Direction of an Entire Issue
Sponsored by The Lowe-Martin Group
Paul Sych
Issue 1
fshnunlimited (f.u.)

Art Direction of a Single Article
Underline Studio
Not in the Age of the Pharaohs
Prefix Photo

Beauty
John Van Der Schilden, Photographer
Brittany Eccles, Art Director
Juliana Schiavinatto, Stylist
Vanessa Craft, Beauty Director
Masterpiece Theatre
ELLE Canada

Creative Photography
Paul Weeks
Wall Candy
Azure

Fashion
Petra Collins, Photographer
Jed Tallo, Art Director
Corey Ng, Stylist
Pastels Take Shape
Flare

Homes & Gardens
Martin Tessler, Photographer
Paul Roelofs, Art Director
Nicole Sjöstedt, Stylist
Bright Idea
Western Living

Illustration
Selena Wong
Old Wounds
Maisonneuve

Magazine Website Design
TheWalrus.ca
The Walrus

Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Sponsored by CNW Group
Brett Gundlock
El Pueblo
Maisonneuve

Portrait Photography
Anya Chibis
Larry Fink
Report on Business

Spot Illustration
Gracia Lam
The Elite Yellow Peril
Maisonneuve

Still-Life Photography
Liam Mogan
Set Pieces
Sharp

ABOUT THE 37th ANNUAL NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS

More than 500 members of the Canadian magazine industry—publishers, editors, art directors, writers, photographers, illustrators, circulators and more—joined esteemed sponsors and other guests at the 37th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 6, 2014, at The Carlu in Toronto, presented by CDS Global.

This year, from nearly 2000 individual entries received nationwide, the NMAF’s 238 volunteer judges nominated a total of 376 submissions from 92 different Canadian magazines for awards in 47 written, visual, integrated and special categories.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The National Magazine Awards Foundation acknowledges the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, as well as the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

The NMAF thanks its corporate sponsors Accenture, GE Canada, Manulife Financial, RBC Royal Bank, The Lowe-Martin Group, Canadian Society of Magazine Editors, Penguin Random House and Reader’s Digest Foundation for their generous financial support of the National Magazine Awards.

The NMAF thanks its media partners Cottage Life Media, Impresa Communications Ltd., Masthead, Rogers Media, TC Media and Toronto Life for their generous support of the National Magazine Awards.

The NMAF thanks its event partners CNW Group and Media Vantage, The CarluDaniel et Daniel, Relay Experience, KlixPix and Michèle Champagne for their generous support of the National Magazine Awards.

The NMAF gratefully acknowledges all its suppliers and its contributors who donated gifts in kind to support the awards program. We thank them for their generosity, interest and expertise. Thanks also to our hard-working event volunteers.

And thanks again to our wonderful Master of Ceremonies, Scott Feschuk.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS FOUNDATION

The National Magazine Awards Foundation is a bilingual, not-for-profit institution whose mission is to recognize and promote excellence in the content and creation of Canadian print and digital publications through an annual program of awards and national publicity efforts.

For more information, visit magazine-awards.com and follow us on Twitter (@MagAwards).

 

 

Your Guide to Winter/Spring 2014 Magazine Writing Contests

It’s that time of year again. The calendar has rolled over, winter closes in around you, and all you want to do is write, write, write. The National Magazine Awards Foundation’s annual winter/spring contest guide is back, and in fact bigger than ever, as more Canadian magazines and writers organizations are offering prizes, publication and recognition for great new talent in poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction.

As always, the list below may be incomplete. Leave a comment here, or pull us aside on Twitter (@MagAwards) if you know of any we missed.

Prism International Short Fiction & Poetry Contests
Section: Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: January 23, 2014
Prize: $2000 (1st); $300 (2nd); $200 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription
Detailshttp://prismmagazine.ca/contests/

Matrix Magazine Robert Kroetsch Poetry Award
Section: Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: January 31, 2014
Prize: $500 + publication
Entry Fee: $30
Detailshttp://matrixmagazine.org/rkaward/

Dalhousie Review Short Fiction Contest
Section: Fiction
Deadline: February 1, 2014
Prize: $750 (1st); $250 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: $30
Detailshttp://dalhousiereview.dal.ca/contest.html

CBC Canada Writes Creative Non-Fiction Prize
Section: Non-fiction (1200-1500 words)
Deadline: February 1, 2014
Prize: $6000 + publication in enRoute + Banff Centre residency (1st); $1000 each to 4 runners up
Entry Fee: $25
Details:
http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/literaryprizes/nonfiction/index.html

Arc Poetry Magazine Poem of the Year Contest
Section: Poetry
Deadline: February 1, 2014
Prize: $5000
Entry Fee: $32; includes subscription
Detailshttp://arcpoetry.ca/?p=7349

The Malahat Review Novella Prize
Section: Fiction
Deadline: February 1, 2014
Prize: $1500 (1st)
Entry Fee: $35
Detailshttp://web.uvic.ca/malahat/contests/novella_contest/info.html

10th annual Geist Literary Postcard Contest
Section: Very short fiction or non-fiction (500 words)
Deadline: February 1, 2014
Prize: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $20; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.geist.com/articles/postcard-contest/

Atlantic Writing Competition
Sections: Creative Non-fiction; Poetry; Short Fiction; Drama
Deadline: February 3, 2014
Prize: Various
Entry Fee: $20 – $35
Detailshttp://writers.ns.ca/awards-competitions.html

The New Quarterly Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest
Section: Poetry
Deadline: February 28, 2014
Prize: $1000 + publication (1st); other prizes for runners up
Entry Fee: $40 (for first 2 poems; $5 each for additional); includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests

The Capilano Review Poetry Contest
Section: Poetry
Deadline: February 28, 2014
Prize: Three prizes of $250
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.thecapilanoreview.ca/contests/

Writers Union of Canada Short Prose Competition
Section: Non-fiction
Deadline: March 1, 2014
Prize: $2500 + assistance with publication
Entry Fee: $29
Detailshttp://www.writersunion.ca/short-prose-competition

Writers’ Trust RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers
Section: Fiction
Deadline: March 7, 2014
Prize: $5000 (1st); $1000 (each of 2 Honourable Mentions)
Entry Fee: None
Details: Writers’ Trust website

Writers’ Trust Student Non-Fiction Contest
Section: Non-fiction (open to high school students only)
Deadline: March 14, 2014
Prize: $2500 + trip to Toronto (1st); $500 (2nd); $250 (3rd)
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://writerstrust.com/students

The New Quarterly Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest
Section: Non-fiction
Deadline: March 28, 2014
Prize: $1000 + publication
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests

Narrative Magazine Winter 2014 Short Story Contest
Sections: Non-fiction and Fiction
Deadline: March 31, 2014
Prize: $2,500 (1st); $1000 (2nd); $500 (3rd); $100 (finalist)
Entry Fee: $22
Detailshttp://www.narrativemagazine.com/node/238622
Notes: Entries may be short fiction or literary nonfiction, including essays, memoirs, or any other form of unpublished manuscript, with a word limit of 15,000. All are judged in the same pool.

Grain magazine Short Grain Writing Contest
Sections: Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: April 1, 2014
Prize: $1000 (1st); $750 (2nd); $500 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.grainmagazine.ca/contest.html

CV2 2-Day Poem Contest
Sections: Poetry
Deadline: April 4, 2014 (registration; competition is held April 12-13)
Prize: $500 (1st); $300 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $26; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.contemporaryverse2.ca/en/contests/2-day-poem-contest

Event magazine Creative Non-Fiction Contest
Section: Non-fiction
Deadline: April 15, 2014
Prize: $1500 in total cash prizes; publication
Entry Fee: $34.95; includes subscription
Detailshttp://eventmags.com/contest-2014/

CBC Canada Writes Poetry Prize
Section: Poetry
Deadline: May 1, 2014
Prize: $6000 + publication in enRoute + Banff Centre residency (1st); $1000 each to 4 runners up
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/literaryprizes/poetry/index.html

The Malahat Review Far Horizons Poetry Prize
Section: Poetry
Deadline: May 1, 2014
Prize: $1000
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://web.uvic.ca/malahat/contests/far_horizons_poetry/info.html

Sub-Terrain Lush Triumphant Literary Awards
Sections: Creative Non-fiction; Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: May 15, 2014
Prize: $3000 in total prizes; publication
Entry Fee: $27.50; includes subscription
Detailshttp://subterrain.ca/about/103/lush-2013-awards-open+for+entries

The New Quarterly Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award
Section: Fiction
Deadline: May 28, 2014
Prize: $1000 + publication
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests

Did we miss one? Send us a note or grab us on Twitter @MagAwards. We’ll update this post throughout the winter and spring as more contests are announced. Others to be announced this spring include the Quebec Writing Competition and Room Magazine contests.

Find more awards, prizes and contests for magazine journalism on the Awards and Contests pages of this blog.

Related Posts:
A Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines
Your Guide to Fall Magazine Writing Contests
Your Guide to Summer Magazine Writing Contests

National Magazine Awards Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for last-minute stocking stuffers and holiday gifts? A subscription to an award-winning Canadian magazine is a great place to start. Magazines Canada’s digital newsstand offers subscription deals on dozens of great magazines. A literary magazine would make any lover of fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction squeal with delight.

Perhaps someone on your gift list would love a subscription to Corporate Knights, the magazine of clean capitalism and the winner of this year’s prestigious Magazine of the Year award.

After magazines, books are every reader’s favourite gift, so here at the National Magazine Awards Foundation we’ve compiled a short list of great new books, all by National Magazine Award-winning writers.

Non-fiction

The Dogs Are Eating Them Now, by Graeme Smith
The winner of this year’s Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust prize for non-fiction, The Dogs are Eating Them Now is a comprehensive reportage of Canada’s role in the Afghanistan War, by 3-time National Magazine Award winner Graeme Smith.

The Once and Future World, by J.B. MacKinnon
Longlisted for the 2014 RBC Taylor Prize for Non-fiction, this powerful meditation on how we can re-imagine and restore the wilderness around us, by 11-time National Magazine Award winner J.B. MacKinnon, is a must-read for anyone who lives, works or plays in Canada’s great outdoors. (Read our interview with J.B. MacKinnon.)

Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter, by Alison Wearing
In a compelling memoir about growing up with a gay father in 1980s rural Ontario, National Magazine Award-winning travel writer Alison Wearing weaves a moving coming-of-age story with the challenging social and political climate of the struggle for gay rights in Canada.

Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, by Marcello Di Cintio
Winner of the 2013 Writers’ Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, this gripping collection of travel narratives and reportage from divided lands–Israel/Palestine, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, the U.S.-Mexico border, and more–is truly inspiring.

An Inconvenient Indian, by Thomas King
Once a National Magazine Award winner for Fiction in Saturday Night (1991), aboriginal writer Thomas King (Cherokee nation) tells a comprehensive and witty history of North America’s indigenous people’s encounters with Europeans.

Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark, by Mary Janigan
Also on the long list for the RBC Taylor Prize, this investigation into the regional rivalry between Western and Eastern Canada over issues of energy strategy and economic policy is scintillating. Mary Janigan is a former journalist with Maclean’s and a winner of a National Magazine Award in 1992.

Little Ship of Fools, by Charles Wilkins
A story that began on an innovative rowboat attempting a first-of-its-kind crossing of the Atlantic Ocean and continued in the pages of Explore magazine, where it won a 2011 National Magazine Award, Little Ship of Fools, by one of Canada’s premier adventure writers, Charles Wilkins, is the complete chronicle of Big Blue, the record-breaking rowboat, and the incredible crew that propelled her across the sea.

Fiction

Hellgoing, by Lynn Coady
The winner of this year’s Giller Prize as Canada’s best work of fiction, Hellgoing by Edmonton’s Lynn Coady needs almost no introduction. Lynn Coady is a 5-time National Magazine Award nominee, including this year for the story “Dogs in Clothes” (Canadian Notes & Queries), which is part of the collection Hellgoing.

The Sky is Falling, by Caroline Adderson
Caroline Adderson won the Gold 2012 National Magazine Award for fiction, for “Ellen-Celine, Celine-Ellen” (Canadian Notes & Queries). She is the author of three novels and several children’s books. Her work has received numerous prize nominations including the the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Rogers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

Ablutions, by Patrick deWitt
Patrick deWitt won the Silver National Magazine Award for fiction in 2012, for “The Looking Ahead Artist” (Brick). Originally from Vancouver, he is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Sisters Brothers, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

The World, by Bill Gaston
Victoria native Bill Gaston won the 2011 Gold National Magazine Award for fiction, for “Four Corners” (Event). His short-story collection Gargoyles was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and won the ReLit Award and the City of Victoria Butler Prize.

Easy Living Stories, by Jesus Hardwell
Jesus Hardwell won the 2010 Silver National Magazine Award for fiction, for “Sandcastles” (Event). The story was also short-listed for the prestigious Journey Prize and featured in the Journey Prize Anthology. He lives in Guelph, Ontario.

Ballistics, by D.W. Wilson
Born and raised in British Columbia, D.W. Wilson won 2008 Silver National Magazine Award for fiction, for “The Elasticity of Bone” (Malahat Review). He is the author of Once You Break a Knuckle, a collection of short stories. He was shortlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize.

The Hungry Ghosts, by Shyam Selvadurai
Toronto’s Shyam Selvadurai won the 2006 Gold National Magazine Award for fiction, for “The Demoness Kali” (Toronto Life). He is the acclaimed author of the novels Funny Boy, which was shortlisted for the Giller Prize, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award and was a national bestseller, and Cinnamon Gardens, which was shortlisted for the Trillium Award.

Indian Horse, by Richard Wagamese
The winner of this year’s First Nations Book Award, Indian Horse, by Ontario Ojibway author Richard Wagamese, tells the story of the journey that Saul Indian Horse, a northern Ontario Ojibway man, takes back through his life, as he is dying.

The O’Briens, by Peter Behrens
Montreal-born Peter Behrens won the 2006 Silver National Magazine Award for fiction, for “The Smell of Smoke” (The Walrus). He is the author of the Governor General’s Literary Award-winning novel, The Law of Dreams, published around the world to wide acclaim, and a collection of short stories, Night Driving.

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2013 National Magazine Awards. Deadline for entries: January 15.

Off the Page, with J.B. MacKinnon

Off the Page appears regularly on the Magazine Awards blog. Today we catch up with writer J.B. MacKinnon, winner of 11 National Magazine Awards and author of The Once and Future World (Random House Canada).

NMAF: In an essay titled “A 10 Percent World” (The Walrus, September 2010), you argued that humanity’s vision of an idyllic past is myopic; that in seeking to temper the impact that we have on our environment, our purpose “is not to demand some return to a pre-human Eden, but rather to expand our options”; that “our sense of what is possible sets limits on our dreams.” What did you mean by expanding our options beyond the limits?

J.B. MacKinnon (photo by A. Smith)

J.B.: “A 10 Percent World” looks at the natural world of the historical past—a much richer and more abundant state of nature than we know today. We’ve largely forgotten this more plentiful world, and that limits our sense of the possible.

Yes, it’s depressing to find out that grizzly bears used to live on the Canadian Prairies and they don’t any more, or that Vancouver waters were home to a year-round population of humpback whales that were all slaughtered by 1908. But if we aren’t aware of these facts, then the absence of the bears and the whales seems normal. When we do become aware of them, we’re able to set a higher bar for our vision of what nature can be.

NMAF: That essay won a National Magazine Award in 2011. What impact did the magazine publication and the award have on your decision to pursue a book project, resulting in your recently published The Once and Future World

J.B.: In this case, a book idea became a magazine story. In 2011, I was already thinking about The Once and Future World, but I needed to explore whether it had the potential I thought it did.

“A 10 Percent World” was that initial foray into the depths. The story had an impact on readers, and when it also won a magazine award I was able to move forward on the book with a lot more confidence.

NMAF: You’ve been a professional writer for more than a decade, with 11 National Magazine Awards (and 31 nominations). What role do Canadian magazines play in your career, and what significance do you put on winning awards?

J.B.: I became a writer during the largely overlooked great recession of the early 1990s, and the limited opportunities of that time made a deep impression on me. Fortunately, a few Canadian editors took a chance on my work, and I’ve been able to build from there. But I’m always trying to sharpen my teeth—to push toward deeper themes or better writing. It doesn’t always work, and I appreciate that Canadian magazines are still giving me chances. They don’t always expect me to show up with all my t’s crossed and i’s already dotted.

Awards are one way to measure whether or not what I’m doing on the page is working—the awards themselves matter less to me than the nominations. Consistent nominations tell me that I’m continuing to do work that is recognizably among the best in the country. Actually taking home a gold or silver is a much less predictable matter. Of course, when it happens, well… it never gets old, let’s say that.

Read "A 10 Percent World" (Gold, Essays, 2010)

Read “A 10 Percent World” (The Walrus, Gold, Essays, 2010)

Read "Becoming an Optimist" (Gold, Science, Technology & Environment, 2008)

Read “Becoming an Optimist” (Explore, Gold, Science, Technology & Environment, 2008)

J.B. MacKinnon is the award-winning author of The Once and Future World, The 100-Mile Diet and Dead Man in Paradise. His writing has appeared in great Canadian magazines including Explore, The Walrus, This Magazine and more. He was the writer for the documentary Bear 71, which explores the intersection of the wired and wild worlds through the true story of a mother grizzly bear. Discover more at jbmackinnon.com

More Off the Page
J.B. MacKinnon in the NMA Archive

Off the Page, with Sierra Skye Gemma

Off the Page appears regularly on the Magazine Awards blog. Today we catch up with Sierra Skye Gemma, winner of the 2012 National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer.

[This post has been updated to include the new deadline for the Prism International Creative Non-fiction contest deadline: Dec 5.]

NMAF: Earlier this year you won the National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer for a story called “The Wrong Way” (The New Quarterly), a personal essay and critical meditation on the stages of grief. Tell us a bit about how you developed this story and why you decided to submit it in the annual non-fiction writing competition from TNQ?

Sierra Skye Gemma (Photo: Nadya Kwandibens)

Sierra Skye Gemma (Photo: Nadya Kwandibens)

Sierra: The Wrong Way came out of an assignment in a Creative Non-fiction course with Andreas Schroeder. I had never written a personal essay before and when I started I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to say. Not exactly, anyway. I looked up Kübler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief because I thought it would explain my experiences. I thought I could structure my essay according to the stages, but I realized that Kübler-Ross’s theory didn’t apply to my life at all. My essay then developed as a sort of antagonistic call-and-response with conventional grief theories.

I sat and wrote it in two sittings, straight through from beginning to end. I didn’t move things around after that and I barely edited it. That said, I had bits and pieces of it already written. Little vignettes that I hadn’t known what to do with before, like the story of buying my son the fish and aquatic frog. I had also taken extensive notes when my sister died and I wrote down lots of dialogue. Maybe that sounds weird; maybe not, if you’re a writer. But what do you do with a short “scene” between siblings that, when read on its own, seems to make light of the death of another sibling? Well, I guess you build an elaborate home in which it can live. The Wrong Way was that home for many of my disjointed experiences with grief.

I submitted the essay to The New Quarterly’s Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest because Andreas Schroeder told me to submit it to a contest (and not through the slush pile of regular submissions); he thought the essay was good enough to win. The New Quarterly’s personal essay contest seemed like the obvious choice. The lesson here? Always listen to Andreas Schroeder.

Click to read "The Wrong Way" by Sierra Skye Gemma

Click to read “The Wrong Way” by Sierra Skye Gemma

NMAF: What was the significance for you as a young writer winning that contest and then the National Magazine Award?

Sierra: Winning both the contest and the NMA gave me confidence in my writing, which I never really had before. Winning the NMA also got my work noticed. After I won Best New Magazine Writer, the essay was selected to appear in the Best Canadian Essays 2013 anthology, alongside some very successful writers. It is an amazing honour that I feel would not have happened without the National Magazine Awards.

NMAF: As a writer and also an editor of PRISM International, a literary magazine published by the Creative Writing Program at UBC, you are in a good position to survey the landscape of Canadian literary arts. What are the challenges and rewards of devoting yourself to this industry?

Sierra: I think the greatest challenge to being an editor of a literary magazine (or a writer for that matter) is money. There is not a lot of money in literary magazines. Small lit mags live and die by the decisions of the Canada Council for the Arts and the various provincial Arts Councils. They live and die by the seemingly small financial decisions of their staff. They live and die by their contest entries and subscriptions and by the ebb and flow of their donations. Editing and managing a literary magazine is not a career for the lazy or the extravagant. It takes a lot of careful, cautious, and sometimes tedious work to keep a literary magazine alive.

That said, it is so emotionally rewarding.  I have been a reader for the past two Creative Non-fiction Contests at PRISM and I will be a reader again this year. The emotional rollercoaster that this work has taken me on is intense. You feel the author’s highs and lows. I’ve cried and I’ve laughed until I’ve been in tears.

Although I’ve also read for other contests and other magazines, it is PRISM’s Non-fiction Contest that really makes it worth it for me because the stories are real and they matter. They matter to the author, who is risking so much to share; to the readers with whom the stories will resonate; to the editors, who have the responsibility for creating the long list and the short list; and to the contest judge who has to make the toughest decisions.

Our Creative Non-fiction Contest deadline is coming up on November 28th [Update: December 5] and I can’t wait to start reading again!

NMAF: What are your immediate goals as a writer, and what are you working on these days?

Sierra: This summer I received a grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada to perform research for a novel set in 1950’s California. I spent three months in northern California—taking notes, visiting museums and farms, interviewing seniors and experts, and exploring the countryside—so my research is nearly completed.

I’ve been meaning to finish my outline and start writing, but I’ve been a little distracted by another project that I have been working on for over a year: a humorous and irreverent parenting book that I’m co-writing with blogger Emily Wight. We have completed our non-fiction book proposal and one sample chapter, but I’d like to get a few more chapters done before I launch into the novel.

Sierra Skye Gemma is an award-winning writer and journalist working towards an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. Aside from the National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer, this year Sierra was also honoured with the first-place award in creative non-fiction in Rhubarb’s Taboo Literary Contest, a long-list nod in House of Anansi’s Broken Social Scene Story Contest, and a BC Arts Council scholarship. She is an executive editor of PRISM international, western Canada’s oldest literary magazine. Her work has been published in The New Quarterly, The Vancouver Sun, Plenitude, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter @SierraGemma.

More:
The National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer
Meet the finalists for Best New Magazine Writer
A Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines
Your Guide to Fall 2013 Canadian Magazine Writing Contests
More Off the Page interviews

A Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines & Journals

They publish much of Canada’s best poetry and prose. The writers whose creative work appears in their pages range from established icons of Canadian literary arts–such as Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood and 2013 Giller Prize winner Lynn Coady, to name just a few–to new writers published for the first time.

They are Canada’s literary magazines, and they are not only a source of reading pleasure, but also a critical part of our country’s culture and a forum for literary artists across the land.

The following list, an A-to-Z guide to Canadian literary periodicals and their submissions guidelines, compiled by the National Magazine Awards Foundation, focuses on those magazines that currently publish short fiction, poetry and/or creative (aka literary) non-fiction. Many also accept submissions for essays, literary criticism, reviews, interviews, graphic narratives and visual arts. And many have won National Magazine Awards.

Acta Victoriana
Published in: Ontario (Victoria University, Toronto)
Founded: 1878
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Visual Arts
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Award Nominations: None
Submissions Guidelines

Antigonish Review, The
Published in: Nova Scotia (St. Francis Xavier University)
Founded: 1970
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Essays, Articles, Reviews
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Award Nominations: 1
Submissions Guidelines

Arc Poetry Magazine
Published in: Ontario (Ottawa)
Founded: 1978
Genres: Poetry, Reviews, Essays
Issues per Year: 3
National Magazine Awards: 4 (most recently: Matthew Holmes, Gold, Poetry, 2011)
NMA Nominations: 18
Submission Guidelines

Brick
Published in: Ontario (Toronto)
Founded: 1977
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction
Issues per Year: 2
National Magazine Awards: 4 (most recently: Patrick deWitt, Silver, Fiction, 2012)
NMA Nominations: 10
Submission Guidelines

Canadian Notes & Queries
Published in: Ontario (Windsor)
Founded: 1968
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Reviews, Essays
Issues per Year: 2
National Magazine Awards: 1 (most recently: Caroline Adderson, Gold, Fiction, 2012)
NMA Nominations: 3
Submission Guidelines

Capilano Review, The
Published in: British Columbia (Capilano University, Vancouver)
Founded: 1972
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Reviews, Visual Arts, Interviews
Issues per Year: 3
National Magazine Awards: 4 (most recently: Weyman Chan, Silver, Poetry, 2001)
NMA Nominations: 12
Submission Guidelines

Carousel
Published in: Ontario (University of Guelph)
Founded: 1983
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Visual Arts
Issues per Year: 2
National Magazine Awards: 1 (Julie Bruck, Gold, Poetry, 1998)
NMA Nominations: 3
Submission Guidelines

Carte Blanche
Published in: Quebec (Quebec Writers’ Federation, Montreal)
Founded: 2004
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Visual Arts
Issues per Year: 2
National Magazine Awards Nominations: None
Submission Guidelines

Contemporary Verse 2
Published in: Manitoba (Winnipeg)
Founded: 1975
Genres: Poetry, Reviews, Interviews
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Awards Nominations: 2
Submission Guidelines

Dalhousie Review, The
Published in: Nova Scotia (Dalhousie University, Halifax)
Founded: 1921
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Reviews, Essays
Issues per Year: 3
National Magazine Awards Nominations: None
Submission Guidelines

Descant
Published in: Ontario (Toronto)
Founded: 1970
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Esssays, Memoirs, Visual Arts
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Awards: 6 (most recently: Adam Lindsay Honsinger, Silver, Fiction 2009)
NMA Nominations: 17
Submission Guidelines

Dorchester Review, The
Published in: Ontario (Ottawa)
Founded: 2011
Genres: Reviews, Essays, Translations
Issues per Year: 2
National Magazine Awards Nominations: None
Submission Guidelines

Event
Published in: British Columbia (Douglas College)
Founded: 1971
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Reviews, Creative Non-fiction
Issues per Year: 3
National Magazine Awards: 12 (most recently: Bill Gaston, Gold, Fiction, 2011)
NMA Nominations: 42
Submission Guidelines

Existere
Published in: Toronto (York University)
Founded: 1978
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Reviews, Creative Non-fiction, Visual Arts
Issues per Year: 2
National Magazine Awards Nominations: None
Submission Guidelines

Exit, revue de poésie
Published in: Quebec (Montreal)
Founded: 1995
Genres: Poetry, Reviews
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Awards Nominations: None
Submission Guidelines

Feathertale Review, The
Published in: Ontario (Ottawa)
Founded: 2008
Genres: Humour, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Poetry, Cartoons
Issues per Year: 2
National Magazine Awards: 3 (most recently: Cathal Kelly, Silver, Humour, 2012)
NMA Nominations: 4
Submission Guidelines

Fiddlehead, The
Published in: New Brunswick (University of New Brunswick, Fredericton)
Founded: 1945
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Reviews
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Awards: 2 (most recently: Shane Neilson, Silver, Poetry, 2011)
NMA Nominations: 12
Submission Guidelines

filling Station
Published in: Alberta (Calgary)
Founded: 1993
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Reviews, Interviews, Visual Arts
Issues per Year: 3
National Magazine Award Nominations: 1
Submissions Guidelines

Geist
Published in: British Columbia (The Geist Foundation, Vancouver)
Founded: 1990
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Awards: 5 (most recently: Karen Connelly, Gold, Poetry, 2012)
NMA Nominations: 12
Submission Guidelines

Grain
Published in: Saskatchewan (Sask. Writers’ Guild, Saskatoon)
Founded: 1973
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Awards: 4 (most recently: Ayelet Tsabari, Silver, One of a Kind, 2012)
NMA Nominations: 24
Submission Guidelines

Lettres québécoises
Published in
: Quebec (Montreal)
Founded: 1976
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Reviews, Interviews
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Awards Nominations: None
Submission Guidelines

Literary Review of Canada, The
Published in: Ontario (Toronto)
Founded: 1991
Genres: Poetry, Essays, Reviews, Interviews
Issues per Year: 10
National Magazine Awards Nominations: 6
Submission Guidelines

Malahat Review, The
Published in: British Columbia (University of Victoria)
Founded: 1967
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Reviews
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Awards: 26 (most recently: Shane Rhodes, Gold, Poetry, 2010)
NMA Nominations: 78
Submission Guidelines

Matrix
Published in: Quebec (Concordia University, Montreal)
Founded: 1975
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Reviews
Issues per Year: 2
National Magazine Award Nominations: None
Submissions Guidelines

New Quarterly, The
Published in: Ontario (St. Jerome’s University, Waterloo)
Founded: 1981
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Reviews, Interviews
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Awards: 14 (most recently: Sierra Skye Gemma, Gold, Best New Magazine Writer, 2012)
NMA Nominations: 44
Submission Guidelines

Plenitude
Published in: British Columbia (Victoria)
Founded: 2012
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Graphic Narrative
Issues per Year: 2
National Magazine Award Nominations: None
Submissions Guidelines

Prairie Fire
Published in: Manitoba (Winnipeg)
Founded: 1978
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Interviews
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Awards: 13 (most recently: Sue Goyette, Silver, Poetry, 2012)
NMA Nominations: 41
Submission Guidelines

PRISM International
Published in: British Columbia (University of British Columbia)
Founded: 1959
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Drama, Interviews
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Awards: 10 (most recently: Jennica Harper, Silver, Poetry, 2008)
NMA Nominations: 22
Submission Guidelines

Queen’s Quarterly
Published in: Ontario (Queen’s University, Kingston)
Founded: 1893
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Essays, Reviews
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Awards: 11 (most recently: Nick Mount, Silver, Arts & Entertainment, 2008)
NMA Nominations: 44
Submission Guidelines

Ricepaper
Published in: British Columbia (Vancouver)
Founded: 1995
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Visual Arts
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Awards Nominations: 5
Submission Guidelines

Riddle Fence
Published in: Newfoundland & Labrador
Founded: 2009
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Visual Arts
Issues per Year: 3
National Magazine Awards Nominations: None
Submission Guidelines

Room
Published in: British Columbia (Vancouver)
Founded: 1975
Genres: Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Interviews, Visual Arts
Issues per Year: 4
National Magazine Awards Nominations: None
Submission Guidelines

sub-Terrain
Published in: British Columbia (Vancouver)
Founded: 1992
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Reviews, Visual Arts
Issues per Year: 3
National Magazine Awards Nominations: 1
Submission Guidelines

Taddle Creek
Published in: Ontario (Toronto)
Founded: 1997
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Visual Arts
Issues per Year: 2
National Magazine Awards: 1 (Michael Cho, Silver, Words & Pictures, 2007)
NMA Nominations: 12
Submission Guidelines

Vallum
Published in: Quebec (Montreal)
Founded: 2000
Genres: Poetry, Reviews, Essays, Interviews
Issues per Year: 2
National Magazine Awards Nominations: 5
Submission Guidelines

Windsor Review
Published in: Ontario (University of Windsor)
Founded: 1965
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Interviews, Visual Arts
Issues per Year: 2
National Magazine Awards Nominations: None
Submission Guidelines

XYZ, La Revue
Published in: Quebec (Ville Saint-Laurent)
Founded: 1985
Genres: Fiction, Reviews, Interviews
Issues per Year: 3
National Magazine Awards Nominations: None
Submission Guidelines

In addition to the above list, many of Canada’s news, general-interest and arts magazines publish fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction, including but not limited to Border Crossings, The Walrus, This Magazine, Maisonneuve, Eighteen Bridges, Toronto LifeBoulderpavement, Worn Fashion Journal, Inroads, Newfoundland Quarterly, Ottawa Magazine, Georgia Strait, Alberta Views, Hazlitt, Nouveau projet, Broken Pencil.

Related Posts:
Your Guide to Magazine Writing Contests

Summer Reading Series 5: Award-Winning Personal Journalism

The fifth installment of the National Magazine Awards’ summer reading series turns your attention to Personal Journalism. For anyone unfamiliar with this type of magazine writing, let’s borrow a line from the Creative Nonfiction Mandate of The Malahat Review–the literary journal of the University of Victoria and a winner of 26 National Magazine Awards for fiction, poetry and personal journalism. What we find in this genre of writing are stories:

“… strongly based in reality that enlighten or educate the reader via fresh insights, powerful use of language, and compelling storytelling. It is not always enough that the stories have a personal basis–they must move the reader into an apprehension of wider human situations or issues.”

Well put. These NMA-winning personal essays certainly fit that bill. As always, these and other award-winning magazine articles may be mined at the National Magazine Awards archive: magazine-awards.com/archive.

1. Parti sans bruit(“He Left Quietly”) by Anne Marie Lecomte, Châtelaine (2011 Gold winner in Personal Journalism)
A woman desperately in mourning retraces the path of her motherhood after the shocking suicide of her son, probing for a psychology that will repair the catastrophic disorder of grief. Ms. Lecomte’s soulful firsthand account of enduring and transmuting the ultimate family crisis, converting it into wisdom and stark advice for all parents, won a Quebec Magazine Award as well as a National Magazine Award this past spring.

“Ce n’est que maintenant que je vois la cruelle parenté des structures que j’avais tenté d’ériger autour de lui. L’OPP pour lui faire aimer l’école, le PPO pour le mettre à l’abri des pires dérives. Mais, qu’importe nos efforts inouïs, nos enfants ne sont jamais à l’abri. J’invente maintenant un acronyme: POP, pour parents orphelins perpétuellement.” [Lire la suite]

2.Tourists of Consciousnessby Jeff Warren, Maisonneuve (2010 Gold winner in Personal Journalism)
A superdrug for the overworked psyche may have been found in the form of an elixir distilled from a tropical plant long known locally for its psychedelic properties, and the curious Jeff Warren heads down to investigate in this article that just about puts the mercy in immersive journalism.

Of course, he’s not the first outsider to try this super secret sacrament (he can’t even tell us in which Latin American country he imbibed this magical ayahuasca), and not the first Canadian magazine writer to experiment on himself for the benefit of us readers (read Michael Posner’s 2006 Walrus piece “Plants with Soul” for a nice complement to the story of the drug).

But Warren meditates on how the drug can answer the call of the spiritually needy who may still endure blueness despite a century of psycho-analytic attention from Western science.

“I was even more skeptical about the metaphysical assertions. We don’t believe dreams are “real”—why should an ayahuasca vision be any different? Nevertheless, the rich history of ayahuasca usage has undeniable authority; in the end, the only way to really answer these questions was to launch into the psychedelic troposphere and find out for myself.” [Read more]

3. Cause and Effectby Lynn Cunningham, The Walrus (2009 Gold winner in Personal Journalism)
A stirring, eighteen-year portrait of a woman’s unexpected encounter with fetal alcohol syndrome–which affects her step-grandson–and the battles she fought in both his life and her own, this memoir by former NMAF Outstanding Achievement Award winner Lynn Cunningham is the essence of the genre: splendid research and fact-finding couched in dramatic, introspective and exquisitely written personal experience.

“[S]obriety finally made it to the top of the list, along with completing the last two courses of my Ph.D. I figured quitting drinking would at least free up some dough to pay down my debt and help with the many hundreds of dollars’ worth of required reading. Besides, Andrew was already smoking dope; booze—about as healthy as heroin for FAS kids—would doubtless follow, but it’s hard to lecture about why drinking is dangerous with a third glass of wine in your hand.” [Read more]

Read these stories and more at the National Magazine Awards archive: magazine-awards.com/archive.

Previous editions of our Summer Reading Series: Travel | Essays | Sports & Rec | Fiction

Off the Page, with Alex Leslie

Off the Page is an exclusive new series produced by the NMAF that reaches out to former National Magazine Award winners to find out what their awards have meant to them and what they’re up to now. Off the Page will appear regularly on the NMA blog during the winter and spring of 2012. This week we catch up with National Magazine Award-winning writer Alex Leslie.

NMAF: You won a 2008 National Magazine Award in Personal Journalism for “Pre-History,” a moving memoir of childhood published in Prairie Fire and a piece that had previously won that magazine’s creative non-fiction contest. How did that piece evolve from your desk to the Prairie Fire contest and ultimately to a National Magazine Award?

Alex: The piece was written for a workshop led by Andreas Schroeder, and I wrote it over the course of about two months. I submitted it to the Prairie Fire contest because Mark Anthony Jarman was the non-fiction judge that year and I admire his work. Prairie Fire nominated the piece for the NMA and let me know that it was in the running.

NMAF: How did it feel to win a National Magazine Awards, and what has it meant for you as a young writer to win?

Alex: I think every award and publication helps in terms of visibility and other opportunities coming up. I was surprised to win the National Magazine Award as it was the first time I was nominated (the next year my short story “Catalogue of the Coast” got an Honourable Mention in the fiction category). As a young writer every gesture of support is very meaningful because writing is ultimately utterly solitary.

NMAF: Since then you’ve also won a CBC Literary Award and you’ve been focusing on fiction. Where are you in your writing career now and what are you working on?

Alex: My first book of short stories, People Who Disappear, will be published by Freehand Books in April. I’m looking forward to reading from the book in several cities — Vancouver, Calgary, Regina and Toronto. Freehand has been amazing to work with. I’m also guest editing the Queer issue of Poetry Is Dead, a Vancouver poetry journal; I’ll be looking for submissions of Queer poetry and experimental prose by Canadian writers. I’m working on a second collection of short stories right now and I just did my first reading outside of Canada, at an offsite reading for the Seattle MLA conference.

Alex Leslie is a Vancouver-based writer and the author of the blog Stories That Happen Elsewhere. Her forthcoming collection of short stories, People Who Disappear, will be out in April from Freehand Books. You can read more about Alex and her work at her Award-Winning Creators Profile page.

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