Design Thinkers conference brings top magazine and media graphic designers to Toronto

550x305This fall the Association of Registered Graphic Designers is once again hosting the annual DesignThinkers conference, November 12 and 13, 2015, at Toronto’s Sony Centre.

With over 2,000 attendees and 25+ speakers, DesignThinkers is Canada’s largest conference for visual communicators. The inspiring event, now in its 16th year, breeds change agents who become drivers of innovation. DesignThinkers 2015 will delve into industry trends with visionaries from a range of communications-related disciplines including design, user experience, advertising, branding, consumer engagement, film, social media and entrepreneurship.

Sessions teach delegates how to create effective communications by exploring cutting-edge innovation, the latest technology, demographic and ethnographic trends, strategic management techniques, cognitive theory and much more.

Early Bird rates end October 9. Discounts are available for groups, individuals working for non-profits and members of many RGD-affiliated organizations. Click here for information on travel discounts. Get full details and register at

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:

Your Guide to Fall 2015 Magazine Writing Contests

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.

We asked our Twitter followers how the changing seasons inspired them to get in a writing mood.

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 Unless otherwise indicated, these contests are open to unpublished works only.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.

The Puritan Thomas Morton Memorial Prize
Genres: Poetry; Fiction (max 7500 words)
Deadline: September 30, 2015 October 10, 2015
Prizes: $1000 + publication + $900 book prize pack
Entry Fee: $15

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
Note: Contest open to all Canadians; photographs must be of Canada’s North

Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR) Phoenix Short Story Contest
Genre: Short Fiction (max 2500 words)
Deadline: October 25, 2015
Prizes: $750 (1st); $500 (2nd); $250 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $20

The Malahat Review Open Season Awards
Genres: Poetry; Fiction; Creative Non-fiction (max 2500 words)
Deadline: November 1, 2015
Prizes: $1500 to the winner in each section + publication
Entry Fee: $35 (includes subscription); $15 each for additional entries

CBC Canada Writes Short Story Contest
Genre: Fiction (1200-1500 words)
Deadline: November 1, 2015
Prizes: $6000 + Banff Centre Residency + Publication in enRoute & (1st prize); $1000 for each of 4 runners up
Entry Fee: $25

Humber Literary Review Fiction Contest
Genre: Fiction (max 3000 words)
Deadline: November 15, 2015
Prizes: $250 + Workshop Placement (1st); $250 (2nd); $100 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)

PRISM International Creative Non-fiction Contest
Genre: Creative Non-fiction (max 6000 words)
Deadline: November 20, 2015
Prizes: $1500 (1st); $600 (2nd); $400 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35 (includes subscription); $5 each for additional entries
Note: PRISM’s poetry and short fiction contests will have a deadline of Jan 15, 2016

Plenitude Emerging Writer Mentorship Award
Genre: Creative Non-fiction (max 4000 words)
Deadline: November 27, 2015
Prize: Mentorship + publication
Entry Fee: $20 (includes subscription)

Prairie Fire Creative Writing Contests
Genres: Poetry; Fiction (max 10,000 words); Creative Non-fiction (max 5000 words)
Deadline: November 30, 2015
Prizess: $1250 (1st); $500 (2nd); $250 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $32 (includes subscription)

Briarpatch Writing in the Margins Creative Writing Contest
Genres: Poetry; Creative Non-fiction (max 2000 words)
Deadline: December 1, 2015
Prize: $300 + print publication (1st); $75 + online publication (honourable mention)
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)

The Fiddlehead 25th annual Literary Contest
Genres: Poetry (up to 3 poems); Fiction (max 6000 words)
Deadline: December 1, 2015
Prizes: $2000 + publication (1st); $250 each to 2 honourable mention
Entry Fee: $30 (includes subscription)

Rhubarb magazine contests
Genres: Fiction; Poetry; Essays
Deadline: December 15, 2015
Prize: $500 + publication
Entry Fee: $30; includes subscription

Hamilton Readers & Writers Festival gritLIT Writing Contest
Genres: Fiction, Poetry
Deadline: December 15, 2015
Prizes: $200 (1st); $100 (2nd); $50 (3rd); publication in anthology; author pass to gritLIT event
Entry Fee: $20

Freefall Prose & Poetry Contests
Genres: Poetry (max 5 poems); Fiction (max 3000 words)
Deadline: December 31, 2015
Prizes: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); $75 (3rd); $25 (HM); publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription); additional entries $5 each

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.

To see what’s on the horizon for 2016, check out:
Your Guide to Winter/Spring Magazine Writing Contests
Your Guide to Summer Magazine Writing Contests

For a comprehensive guide to submitting to literary publications in Canada, check out:
A Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines

National Magazine Awards Guide to Word on the Street

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
  • Lethbridge–Sunday, September 20, Main Library
  • Kitchener–Saturday, September 26, Downtown
  • Toronto–Sunday, September 27, Harbourfront Centre


Here are some of the events and speakers we’re looking forward to, featuring NMA winners:

National Magazine Award winning fiction writer Lynn Crosbie will read from the works of fellow NMA winner Margaret Atwood. 12pm at the Toronto Book Awards tent.

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.

Novelist Patrick deWitt, winner of the National Magazine Award for fiction (Brick) as well as the Governor General’s Award and the Writers’ Trust Award, will speak at Sculpting New Reads at 1pm and at the Amazon Best-Seller Stage at 3pm.

John Lorinc, 7-time NMA winner for Spacing, Toronto Life, Report on Business and others, will speak about writing on urban affairs at the Nothing But the Truth tent at 5:15pm.

National Magazine Award-winning science writer Alanna Mitchell (United Church Observer) will speak about her new book, Malignant Metaphor, at the Nothing But the Truth tent at 12:30pm.

Hal Niedzvieki, founder of Broken Pencil magazine, will talk about “Trees on Mars” at the Nothing But the Truth tent, 2:15pm.

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]

  • Alternatives Journal, Booth #206
  • Brick: A Literary Journal, Booth #133
  • Broken Pencil, Booth #MM6
  • Canada’s History, Booth #113
  • Carousel, Booth #MM1
  • ELQ: Exile Literary Quarterly, Booth 185
  • Feathertale Review, Booth #MM2
  • Legion Magazine, Booth #221
  • Little Brother Magazine, Booth #MM19
  • NOW Magazine, Booth #150
  • Ontario Nature, Booth #MM10
  • Owl Kids, Booth #KS23
  • Quill & Quire
  • Shameless, Booth #MM8
  • SkyNews, Booth #184
  • Visitors usually find all kinds of Toronto swag at the Spacing magazine booth at WOTS.
    Visitors usually find all kinds of Toronto swag at the Spacing magazine booth at WOTS.

    Spacing, Booth #157

  • Taddle Creek, Booth #MM5
  • The New Quarterly, Booth #MM4
  • The Walrus, Booth #218
  • THIS Magazine,  Booth #220
  • Toronto Life, Booth #161
  • Vallum Poetry, Booth #LL12
  • Zoomer, Booth #145


Word on the Street, Toronto, is Sunday, September 27 from 11am-6pm at Harbourfront Centre, free and fun for all!


Check out Alberta Views magazine, winner of the 2008 National Magazine Award for Magazine of the Year, at their display booth at WOTS Lethbridge.


Hear National Magazine Award finalist Guy Vanderhaeghe–novelist and short story writer, winner of two Governor General’s Awards–at the Who Has Seen the Wind Tent at 3:45pm.

Check out all the events and speakers at the WOTS near you.

Cultural Magazine Summit offers great opportunities for small-mag publishers

A can’t-miss event is on the horizon that will help small and independent magazines improve their business practices and take advantage of new opportunities to grow revenue and readers.

Our friends at the Canadian Magazines blog posted this report on the 2015 Cultural Magazines Summit in Toronto on October 16, presented by Magazines Canada:

The keynote address will be by writer and literary critic John Freeman, the executive editor of Lit Hub, former editor of Granta, former president of America’s National Book Critics Circle.

Full Schedule and Registration

Among the sessions being offered:

Brand Extensions and You
How to realistically monetize brands for small titles with limited budgets. Two panelists, including David Leonard, Director of Events and Special Projects at The Walrus will examine the value of various brand extensions and offer practical dos and don’ts.

Creative Collaborations
Three concise case studies on successful collaborations, what partners are looking for in a collaboration and some hard-earned advice on how to avoid the pitfalls. Speakers: Jonny Dovercourt, Artistic Director, Wavelength Music and Arts Projects; Kathleen McLean, Adult Program Coordinator, Public Programming & Learning at Art Gallery of Ontario; Jay Millar, Publisher, Book Thug

Canada Council: New Directions and Benchmarks Study
Rowland Lorimer, Publishing Program Director at Simon Fraser University and author of the Canada Council Benchmarks study, will show you how to use your own data to make informed decisions about the future of your magazine, based on what others are earning, spending and what’s trending.

Cultivating Diversity
Straight talk about addressing diversity topics, including ways to find and cultivate new writers that better reflect the reality of your readership. Speakers: Farzana Doctor, novelist, Jen Sookfong Lee, writer and radio personality; Helen Walsh, Publisher of the Literary Review of Canada and President of Diaspora Dialogues

The Road Ahead: Multi-Year Planning
Veteran arts manager Jennifer Green, Associate Director, Toronto Arts Foundation, will show how to develop a long-term strategic plan that will help you set priorities, focus your resources and keep your magazine moving in the direction you want.

Full Schedule and Registration. The summit is October 16 at the Courtyard Marriott in Toronto.

CMC Fall Social to honour Cottage Life’s Terry Sellwood

On Wednesday, September 23, at Toronto’s Spoke Club the Circulation Management Association of Canada (CMC) and other members of the Canadian magazine industry will raise their glasses to Terry Sellwood–president of Blue Ant Media / Cottage Life Media, former chair of the CMC, current vice-president of the National Magazine Awards Foundation–who announced earlier this summer that he was retiring from Cottage Life after 15 years at the helm and a long, distinguished career in Canadian magazines.

Join the CMC at its Fall Social and enjoy some tasty food and drinks while we listen to heartwarming speeches, toasts, and a potential roast of our good friend and colleague Terry. If you have stories, we want to hear them!

The reception is open to all, but guests must RSVP as space is limited.

The Spoke Club
600 King Street West, 4th Floor
Toronto, Canada, M5V 1M3

September 23 at 5:30 PM


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.