Winter. A shivery season not only conducive to externalizing our inner narratives in poetry and prose, but also which leaves us, as we curl under heirloom quilts with cups of tea, prone to daydreaming. Michael Pollan, in A Place of My Own–a bestseller in which the author writes the biography of his own writing cabin in the woods–used the daydream as metaphor for the writer’s first draft. “A fair amount of what [writers] call work,” wrote Pollan, “consists of little more than daydreaming edited.” He went on:
Isn’t it in our daydreams that we acquire some sense of what we are about? Where we try on futures and practice our voices before committing ourselves to words or deeds? Daydreaming is where we go to cultivate the self, or more likely selves, out of the view and earshot of other people. Without daydreams, the self is apt to shrink down to the size and shape of the estimation of others.
Like Thoreau, Shaw, Woolf and her Room of One’s Own, and countless others, Pollan understood that daydreaming depended “on a certain degree of solitude,” and resolved to build a cabin to allow his daydreaming to flourish. “What is a book but a daydream at second hand?”
Wherever you find yourself writing this winter and spring, these Canadian magazine contests may be just what you’re daydreaming for.
All contests and awards listed below accept previously unpublished works of Canadian poetry, short fiction and creative non-fiction; listed in chronological order by deadline date. (If you know one that we missed, please let us know.)
Narrative Magazine Winter 2016 Story Contest Genres: Non-fiction; Fiction; Graphic Narratives; Photo Essays Deadline: March 31, 2016 Prize: $2,500 (1st); $1000 (2nd); $500 (3rd); $100 (finalists) Entry Fee: $24 Details: http://www.narrativemagazine.com/winter-2016-story-contest Notes: Entries can be short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, all forms of literary nonfiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and nonfiction. Entries must be previously unpublished, no longer than 15,000 words, and must not have been previously chosen as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest.
Alice Munro Festival Short Story Contest Genre: Short Fiction (max 2500 words; separate categories for adults and youths) Deadline: April 1, 2016 Prizes: $1,500 (adults prize); $500 (youth prize); $500 (Arts & Letters Club Special Prize) Entry Fee: $25 (adults); $10 (youth) Details: http://alicemunrofestival.ca/?page_id=1317 Note: New this year, there is a special category for an emerging GTA author between the ages of 20 – 30. Sponsored by the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto. Must be living in the GTA or have grown up in that area.
The New Quarterly Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award Genre: Fiction Deadline: May 28, 2016 Prize: $1000 + publication Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription Details: http://www.tnq.ca/contests Note: All submissions will be considered for paid publication ($250) in the magazine.
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 Quarterlyissue #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 Vallum. Kayla 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.
Welcome to autumn, at least in the celestial sense, for tonight in the northern hemisphere is the autumnal equinox and whether or not the leaves are changing colour yet in your neighbourhood, there’s no denying that the anticipation of a new season is an inspirational moment.
Our thrice-annual magazine contest guide is back with the Fall 2015 edition (see Winter/Spring and Summer, too). These contests are presented by Canadian magazines or magazine-related associations, and open to Canadian writers and photographers. Unless otherwise indicated, these contests are open to unpublished works only.
As always, the list below may be incomplete. Leave a comment here or hail us on Twitter @MagAwards#WritingContest if you know of any we missed. The contests in our Fall 2015 edition are organized by deadline date, from September 22 to December 31.
Up Here Photo Contest Categories: Grand Prize; Science & Nature; Travel & Adventure; Arts & Culture; People & History Deadline: October 16, 2015 Prizes: Nikon 7200 HD-SLR + lens (Grand Prize winner); subscriptions for winners in each of 4 categories; publication Entry Fee: None Details: http://uphere.ca/photocontest Note: Contest open to all Canadians; photographs must be of Canada’s North
Did we miss one? Send us a note or hail us on Twitter @MagAwards. We’ll update this post throughout the fall as more contests are announced. Find more awards, prizes and contests for magazine journalism on the Awards and Contests pages of this blog.
Canada’s largest magazine & book festival–Word on the Street–is coming to five Canadian cities this month, with opportunities for readers to browse great deals on magazine subscriptions, hear inspiring stories from their favourite writers, and go home with a scintillating stack of new reads.
Halifax–Saturday, September 19, Halifax Central Library
Saskatoon–Sunday, September 20, Exhibitor Marketplace
11-time National Magazine Award winner Don Gillmor (The Walrus, Toronto Life, Eighteen Bridges) will talk about writing for magazines at the Wordshop Marquee at 12pm, and at the Great Books Marquee at 4pm, along with Evan Rosser, senior editor at Sportsnet magazine.
Check out these National Magazine Award-winning titles at the Exhibitor Marketplace and the Magazine Mews (MM). Word on the Street always brings out great deals on magazine subscriptions, often with gifts and back issues on sale, too.[Map of WOTS Toronto]
It’s good to be / Alberta Bound. Our summer reading series continues this week with a special focus on the Province of Alberta, land of “the strong and the free”; of turquoise mountain lakes, vast fertile prairies, and some of Canada’s finest magazines.
This past spring our friends at the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA) presented the 2015 Alberta Magazine Awards, recognizing excellence in the content and design of publications based in the province. Among the winners were Alberta Views, Avenue, Glass Buffalo, New Trail, Swerve, Up! Magazine, and more.
“Game Changer” by Arno Kopecky (Alberta Views)
Winner of the award for Best Alberta Story, this piece by former National Magazine Award finalist Arno Kopecky examines a legal action by the Beaver Lake Cree Nation against the Province of Alberta and the oil industry, exploring the potential of the lawsuit to challenge existing land-rights issues between First Nations and the energy industry.
Arno Kopecky is an environmental journalist and author based in Vancouver. His first book, The Devil’s Curve, a literary travelogue based on his year-long journey through Peru and Colombia, made Amazon’s top-100 list for 2012. His second book, The Oil Man And The Sea, chronicles Kopecky’s sailing expedition into British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, a legendary wilderness with the knife of Big Oil at its throat.
“Children of a Lesser Santa” by Omar Mouallem (Swerve)
Winner of the award for Best Essay, this piece by former NMA winner Omar Mouallem is a witty and endearing chronicle of the first Christmas “celebrated” by a Muslim-Canadian family in northern Alberta.
“While most Canadian children probably encounter Santa Claus within the first year of their lives— at a parade, in a mall or in their living room—I was four. My mom, perhaps noticing my sense of exclusion, or to better integrate into her adopted country, took me to the town library where families lined up to snap a photo of their children in the jolly man’s lap. What could go wrong?”
Bonus read: In the AMA Profiles category, the gold award went Marcello di Cintio for “The Long Journey of Nathan Phelps” (Swerve), which later won the silver National Magazine Award in the same category.
“A Tale of Two Forms” by Peter Takach (Glass Buffalo)
Winner of the award for Emerging Writer, this creative and poignant homage to the Dickensian epic reflects on the transitional and perhaps ephemeral nature of the novel in the digital age. The award jury noted: “As though trapped in a wacky pinball machine, A Tale of Two Forms kept punting and zapping me back and forth with its fresh ideas, literary references, form and imagery. Peter Takach’s work underlines how important it is to sometimes suspend reason and just let the words wash over you.”
Bonus read: In the AMA Poetry category, the silver award went to Erika Luckert for her work “Frog Lake” in Glass Buffalo, which was also nominated for a National Magazine Award.
To read these and all of the finalists and winners from the 2015 Alberta Magazine Awards, visit albertamagazines.com/awards and click on the section for “2015 Showcase Awards Finalists.”
In his National Magazine Award-winning poem “You Must Remember This” (Hazlitt) Richard Greene composes an elegy to the late Canadian writer Kildare Dobbs that emerges from among the fruit stalls in Toronto’s Chinatown.
I took your word for the durians: so sweet inside though they stank. I will never eat one now, I suppose, without you to prod me.
In “Krasnagorsk-2” by Tamas Dobozy, this year’s National Magazine Award winner in fiction (The New Quarterly), three brothers make a startling discovery of the artistic inclinations of their late sibling, unexpectedly opening up their family history to new and disquieting interpretation.
Andrea Bennett, in “Water Upon the Earth” (Maisonneuve), travels to the Big Valley Creation Science Museum, reflecting on the complex dichotomy of reason and faith as revived by the experience of the 2013 Alberta floods; the story won this year’s National Magazine Award for essays.
Perhaps these stories and others from among this year’s National Magazine Award winners will inspire you to create your next work of poetry, fiction or personal essay. As summer ascends to your favourite writing place, take the opportunity to finish your latest literary creation and consider submitting it to a Canadian magazine writing contest.
Our annual Summer Contest Guide provides a list of contests via Canadian magazines (or magazine-related organizations) open to unpublished works of Fiction, Poetry, Creative non-fiction and Photography. And check out our Canadian Literary Magazine Guide for other ideas for where to submit your work.
Please note: This list is organized chronologically by deadline dates from June 15 to September 22. If you know of a contest we missed, please email us or grab us on Twitter @MagAwards and we’ll update our guide.