Rebate for Small Publishers at Digital Publishing Awards

The new Digital Publishing Awards program is offering a free entry to small digital publishers whose budgets could use a break. Publishers with annual revenue under $50,000 are eligible to participate.

To apply for the Small Publishers Rebate, complete the online application form and submit by February 8 (also the DPA’s Early-Bird deadline for discounted entry fees).

The 2016 Digital Publishing Awards are open to Canadian digital publishers, designers, innovators and content creators. Awards will be presented in 14 categories:

  1. Best Digital Editorial Package
  2. Best Blog or Online-Only Column
  3. Best News Coverage of a Single Topic or Event
  4. Best Online-Only Short Feature
  5. Best Online-Only Long Feature
  6. Best Online Video
  7. Best Multimedia Storytelling in a Single Feature
  8. Best Use of Data
  9. Best Podcast Series
  10. Best Visual Storytelling
  11. Best Digital Design
  12. Best Use of Multiple Platforms
  13. Best Digital Initiative
  14. Digital Publication of the Year.

The final deadline for entries is February 16. Nominees will be announced on May 4, 2016 and winners unveiled at the inaugural awards soirée, which will take place on June 9, 2016 in Toronto. Enter today at:

Your Guide to Winter/Spring 2016 Magazine Writing Contests

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.)

Prism International Short Fiction & Poetry Contests
Genres: Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: January 25, 2016
Prize: $1500 (1st); $600 (2nd); $400 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription

Matrix Magazine Robert Kroetsch Innovative Poetry Award
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: January 31, 2016
Prize: $500 advance + publication
Entry Fee: $30

Arc Poetry Magazine Poem of the Year Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline:  February 1, 2016 February 14, 2016
Prize: $5000 (Poem of the Year); $500 (Honourable Mention)
Entry Fee: $35 ($5 for each additional entry); includes subscription

The Malahat Review Novella Prize
Genre: Fiction
Deadline: February 1, 2016
Prize: $1500; publication
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription Details

12th annual Geist Literary Postcard Story Contest
Genre: Very short fiction or non-fiction (500 words max)
Deadline: February 1, 2016
Prize: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $20; includes subscription ($5 each additional entry)

Pulp Literature Magazine Bumblebee Microfiction Contest
Genre: Very short fiction (50 words)
Deadline: February 1, 2016
Prize: Publication + subscription
Entry Fee: None

Publishing online? The Digital Publishing Awards are accepting submissions until Feb 16.
Publishing online? The Digital Publishing Awards are accepting submissions until Feb 16.

Carleton University’s “Passages” Creative Writing Contest
Genres: Fiction, Poetry
Deadline: February 19, 2016
Prizes: $300 (1st); $100 (2nd); publication; prize pack
Entry Fee: None
Note: This contest has two age categories, one for under-18, one for 18+.

Alberta Views Public Spaces Photography Contest
Genre: Photography
Deadline: February 28, 2016
Prizes: $1000; publication
Entry Fee: $30 ($15 for each additional entry)
Note: The contest is open to residents of Alberta and Alberta expats.

The New Quarterly Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: February 28, 2016
Prize: Two prizes of $1000 + publication
Entry Fee: $40 (for first 2 poems; $5 each for additional); includes subscription

CBC Canada Writes Creative Non-Fiction Prize
Genre: Creative Non-fiction (1200-1500 words)
Deadline: February 29, 2016
Prize: $6000 + publication in enRoute + Banff Centre residency (1st); $1000 each to 4 runners up
Entry Fee: $25

Writers Union of Canada Short Prose Competition
Genres: Non-fiction; Fiction
Deadline: March 1, 2016
Prize: $2500 + assistance with publication
Entry Fee: $29

The RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers
Genre: Fiction (max 2500 words)
Deadline: March 7, 2016
Prizes: $5000 (1st); $1000 (to two honourable mentions)
Entry Fee: $0
NotesTo be eligible, candidates must be: a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, under the age of 35 as of March 7, 2016; previously published in an independently edited magazine or anthology; unpublished in book form and without a book contract.

Room Creative Non-fiction Contest
Genre: Creative Non-fiction
Deadline: March 8, 2016
Prizes: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); $50 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35 ($7 for each additional entry); includes subscription

Arc Poetry Magazine Diana Brebner Emerging Poet Prize
Genre: Poetry (max 30 lines)
Deadline: March 15, 2016
Prize: $500
Entry Fee: $25 for up to 2 poems; includes subscription

The New Quarterly Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest
Genre: Creative Non-Fiction
Deadline:  March 28, 2016
Prize: $1000
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Note: All submissions will be considered for publication ($250) in the magazine.

Exile Literary Quarterly Carter V. Cooper Fiction Competition
Genre: Fiction (max 10,000 words)
Deadline:  March 29, 2016
Prizes: $10,000 for best story by an emerging writer; $5000 for best story by a career writer; publication
Entry Fee: $30; includes subscription

Vallum Chapbook Award
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: March 31, 2016
Prize: $125 + publication
Entry Fee: $25

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
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.

Grain Magazine Short Grain Writing Contest
Genres: Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: April 1, 2016
Prize: $1000 (1st); $750 (2nd); $500 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $40 (for two entries in one category); includes subscription

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)
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.

CV2 2-Day Poem Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: April 4, 2016 (registration; competition is held April 9-10, 2016)
Prize: $500 (1st); $300 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $26; includes registration + subscription (registration only is $16)

Event Magazine Non-Fiction Contest
Genre: Creative Non-fiction (5000 words or fewer)
Deadline: April 15, 2016
Prize: $1500 in total cash prizes; publication
Entry Fee: $34.95; includes subscription

Pulp Literature Magazine Magpie Award for Poetry
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: April 15, 2016
Prize: $500 + publication (1st); $50 + publication (each of 2 runners-up)
Entry Fee: $25 (1st entry; all others $10); includes subscription

The Malahat Review Far Horizons Award for Poetry
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: May 1, 2016
Prize: $1000; publication
Entry Fee: $25 (additional entries are $15); includes subscription

Exile Literary Quarterly Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Competition
Genre: Poetry
Deadline:  May 16, 2016
Prizes: $1500 for best suite by a career writer; $1000 for best suite by an emerging writer; $500 for best poem; publication
Entry Fee: $25; includes subscription

The New Quarterly Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award
Genre: Fiction
Deadline: May 28, 2016
Prize: $1000 + publication
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Note: All submissions will be considered for paid publication ($250) in the magazine.

CBC Canada Writes Poetry Prize
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: May 31, 2016
Prize: $6000 + publication in enRoute + Banff Centre residency (1st); $1000 each to 4 runners up
Entry Fee: $25
Note: The submission form can be downloaded as of April 1, 2016

Ricepaper ACWW Emerging Writer Award
Genre: Poetry (book-length manuscript)
Deadline: June 1, 2016
Prize: $250 + publication (1st); prize packs + publication (2nd & 3rd)
Entry Fee: $25; includes subscription

Antigonish Review Sheldon Curray Fiction Prize
Genre: Fiction
Deadline: June 1, 2016
Prize: $600 (1st); $400 (2nd); $200 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)

Other contests may be added to the list as Winter melts into Spring. Stay tuned.

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.

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

Summer Magazine Contest Guide
Fall Magazine Contest Guide
Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines & Journals

Image via WikiCommons

New York, New York Times, New Yorker lead U.S. National Magazine Awards nominees

Now that submissions for the (Canadian) National Magazine Awards are complete–though submissions for the Digital Publishing Awards remain open until February 16–it’s a perfect time to look at the nominees for the American mag awards, announced last Thursday by the American Society of Magazine Editors.

“For the third year in a row,” notes Adweek, “New York magazine led the pack of print and digital publications with an impressive nine nominations, including one for Magazine of the Year.” New York put out one of the most enduring covers of 2015–its “Cosby: The Women” cover, including 35 portraits of the women who’ve come forward to accuse the former TV star.

Also nominated for Magazine of the Year: The New Yorker, National Geographic, The Atlantic, and The Hollywood Reporter.

Affectionately known as the Ellies, for the copper elephant statuette designed by Alexander Calder and given to winners, the U.S. NMAs will present awards in 21 categories including four divisions of the award for General Excellence. This year’s awards gala–the 50th anniversary Ellies–is February 1 in New York City. Tickets start at $850 per person.

Leading the nominees:

  • New York (9)
  • New York Times Magazine (7)
  • GQ (6)
  • The New Yorker (5)
  • Bon Appétit (4)

Among the first-time finalists this year are a number of non-traditional magazines, including VICE, BuzzFeed News, The Huffington Post, The Intercept, the Marshall Project and ProPublica, demonstrating once again the ability of the magazine medium to evolve with technologies, platforms and reader appetites.

Although there is no Ellie for Best Cover, here are a few of our favourite U.S. magazine covers from 2015, from among the nominated titles.

Very Last Call for Entries: National Magazine Awards

“Opportunity is missed by most people,” quipped Thomas Edison, “because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

It couldn’t be easier to enter the National Magazine Awards, and today is your last chance. Complete the online submissions form by midnight (ET) tonight to enter your best work from 2015 for one or more of 39 awards, including:

  • Best New Magazine Photographer & Best New Magazine Writer: Given to the young journalists whose early work in Canadian magazines shows the highest degree of craft and promise. Entry fee just $25.
  • Best Magazine Brand: Awarded to the publication that makes the best use of creativity and innovation in growing its audience.
  • Magazine Covers: Canada’s best magazine cover of the year.
  • Art Direction of an Entire Issue: Given to the art director or team that designs and executes the most compelling magazine issue.
  • Investigative Reporting: Awarded to the journalist or team that produces the top investigative story of the year.
  • Editorial Package: Rewarding collaboration between writers and editors in producing a package of thematic or related content in a single issue.
  • Infographics: Awarded to the editorial team that produces the best presentation of data using text and visuals.
  • Magazine of the Year: Awarded to the magazine judged to be the most consistently engaging and surprising publication of the year, serving the needs and desires of its readers.

And more: 39 awards for writing, photography, illustration, packaging and design in Canadian magazines.

Enter today (and today only) at

Canadian Business Media Awards open Call for Entries

Getting ready to recognize excellence in Canadian business-to-business publishing for the 62nd year, the Canadian Business Media Awards, in memory of Kenneth R. Wilson (formerly the KRW Awards), have announced a call for submissions for awards in 30 categories, including excellence in writing, reporting, photography, illustration, design, branding and more.

The early-bird deadline for submissions is February 8, 2016. Entering by this date means the submissions fee will be discounted in most categories.

With this year’s rebranding, the CBMA awards program is presenting 7 new categories, developed in consultation with industry stakeholders and an industry survey last fall.

  • Best Technical Content
  • Best Use of Data
  • Best Use of Video / Webcast
  • Best Words & Pictures
  • Best In-House Cover
  • Best E-Newsletter
  • Best Media Brand

Winners will be presented at the 62nd annual Canadian Business Media Awards, in memory of Kenneth R. Wilson, on June 7, 2016.

The awards program is also seeking judges. Visit for details or follow @CdnBizMedia on Twitter.

The final deadline for National Magazine Awards entries is this Friday, Jan 15.

Early-Bird Deadline: National Magazine Awards

Today, January 11, is the “Early-Bird” deadline for National Magazine Awards submissions. Save 20% on entry fees if you complete your online submissions application (including payment) by midnight (ET) tonight.

“The early bird catcheth the worm.”
A collection of English proverbs, by John Ray, 1670

To be eligible for the early-bird discount, submitters should:

  • Complete application Step 1, indicating all of the details about each submission (name, email, date, title, magazine, etc) and upload a PDF version of each entry;
  • Complete application Step 2, confirming payment (by credit card or cheque).

Hard copies (for these 6 categories that require them) and cheques do NOT need to be received by today to be eligible for the discount. Courier your cheques and hard copies to the NMAF office by the final deadline of Friday, Jan 15.

National Magazine Awards Foundation
2300 Yonge St, Suite 1600
Toronto, ON
M4P 1E4

For assistance, please email us at

Digital Publishing Awards
Submissions to the 14 categories of the Digital Publishing Awards are due by February 16.

Good luck to all submitters!

Image via WikiCommons

Launching Today: 2016 Digital Publishing Awards

The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is pleased to announce the Call for Entries for the inaugural Digital Publishing Awards, a bilingual national program recognizing excellence in Canadian digital content and creation.

Beginning Thursday, January 7, submissions for work published in 2015 will be accepted until February 16, 2016. The Early-Bird deadline for submissions is February 8.

Visit for details on rules, categories, deadlines and fees.

This new awards program will provide a platform to promote and reward the achievements of those who create digital publishing content in Canada—the writers and editors, designers and developers, video and podcast producers, photographers and illustrators, and others.

Digital publishers with established brands in magazine, newspaper, broadcast and other journalism, as well as publishers that serve their audiences exclusively on digital platforms will be eligible to enter, including those that publish in either English or French.

For the inaugural year, creators and publishers will have the opportunity to have their work recognized at the national level in fourteen awards categories :

  1. Best Digital Editorial Package
  2. Best Blog or Online-Only Column
  3. Best News Coverage of a Single Topic or Event
  4. Best Online-Only Short Feature
  5. Best Online-Only Long Feature
  6. Best Online Video
  7. Best Multimedia Storytelling in a Single Feature
  8. Best Use of Data
  9. Best Podcast Series
  10. Best Visual Storytelling
  11. Best Digital Design
  12. Best Use of Multiple Platforms
  13. Best Digital Initiative
  14. Digital Publication of the Year.

Finalists will be announced on May 4, 2016 and winners unveiled at the inaugural awards soirée, which will take place on June 9, 2016 in Toronto. Enter today!

About the DPAs
The Digital Publishing Awards are produced by the National Magazine Awards Foundation, a not-for-profit, registered charity that has administered Canada’s annual National Magazine Awards since 1977. With a reputation for facilitating a rigorous, fair and transparent awards program in which content creators are recognized and rewarded for outstanding achievement in magazine journalism, the NMAF is proud to present the Digital Publishing Awards in consultation with Canada’s leading producers and creators of digital publishing.

Follow the Digital Publishing Awards on Twitter @DPAwards.


Off the Page, with Dan Rubinstein

Dan Rubinstein (photo by Lisa Gregoire)

This week on Off the Page, our interview series with National Magazine Award winners, we chat with author and NMA-winning journalist Dan Rubinstein, whose 2015 book Born to Walk emerged from a National Magazine Award-nominated story in The Walrus.

NMAF: Congratulations on the recent publication of your book Born to Walk: The Transformative Power of a Pedestrian Act (ECW Press). You’re a self-described obsessive walker, meditating on the many benefits walking offers. How did your obsession with walking begin?

Born to WalkDan Rubinstein: I’ve always been interested in walking, both for fun and as a way to get from A to B. I like how the act allows me to intimately explore places or routes we typically don’t experience on foot. You never know what you’ll see or who you’ll meet, and you gain a deeper sense of how you fit into the natural and human ecosystem in which you live.

But this interest became an obsession in 2012. My “dream job,” as a magazine editor, had become a nightmare, and the long lunch-hour runs I took to escape the stress led to a blown knee. So I started going for walks at lunch, which offered a similar physical and psychological release.

And when I was back at my desk, I kept stumbling over news stories and research studies online that spoke to the many curative properties of walking, from physical and mental health to social cohesion and economic sustainability. I was hooked!

NMAF: Your article “The Walking Cure” — published in The Walrus and winner of two National Magazine Honourable Mentions in 2013 in the categories Society and Health & Medicine — seems to be the starting seed for Born to Walk. Can you talk a bit about the expansion of the article and the development of the book?

Dan Rubinstein: One of the first conversations I had about the myriad benefits of walking was with Stanley Vollant, the medical doctor at the heart of the “The Walking Cure.” He’s an Innu from eastern Quebec — the province’s first aboriginal surgeon — and had started a multi-year walking project, a series of group treks between First Nations communities in which dozens of participants experience the power of this healthy activity and re-establish connections to the land and to one another.

Stanley’s walks are hundreds of kilometres long, often in the winter, and people realize that the only way to reach the end of such a daunting journey is to approach it one step at a time — and they realize if they can do this, they can attempt to overcome any challenges they face. Stanley had the vision that inspired him to begin this project while doing the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain.

He didn’t know why he had to start walking with aboriginal youth and elders in Canada, but as he told me when we first spoke, “When you begin a journey, you don’t know why. The trail will show you the way.”

Writing this article was a natural first step for me, and expanded into the opening chapter of my book, it establishes the main themes and sets the tone. It also introduces Stanley, a recurring voice of wisdom in the book.

Read "The Walking Cure" (The Walrus)
Read “The Walking Cure” (The Walrus)

NMAF: Walking clearly influences the content of your writing, but does it influence how you write? Does the physical endurance built by walking long distances transfer to the long-term focus and dedication one needs to complete a book? Moreover, has walking influenced the form or pace of your writing?

Dan Rubinstein: I find it easier to walk for hours and hours than to sit and write for hours and hours. Walking is invigorating and inspiring — writing, for me, is hard work. But I did keep reminding myself, while working on the book, to take a “one step at a time” approach.

And the book, like many great walks, is a meandering journey, with a lot of side trails, that ultimately leads to a satisfying conclusion. At least I hope it does for readers.

NMAF: Do you have a familiar, favourite walk? Where is the strangest place walking has led you?

Dan Rubinstein: I don’t really have a specific favourite walk. I like walking from the place I am to the place I have to be. I like utilitarian transects that force me to go somewhere unexpected — say, an industrial park, or a subdivision that’s still under construction.

When I lived in Edmonton, I loved walking along the Athabasca River in Jasper National Park, or along the North Saskatchewan River in the city’s river valley. In Ottawa, where I now live, there are some beautiful trails along the Rideau River or in nearby Gatineau Park.

But really, I prefer the more unusual places where I’ve walked, such as the four-day hike I did from my parents’ house in Toronto to their cottage near Algonquin Provincial Park (which became an article for Cottage Life).

You don’t have to travel somewhere exotic to have a profound experience. You can literally walk out the front door and keep going.

NMAF: Since 2003, you’ve won a number of National Magazine Awards for work published in a variety of magazines (The Walrus, Canadian Geographic, Western Living, and Alberta Views). What is the role of magazine work — and magazine award nominations and wins — in the life of a freelancer?

Dan Rubinstein: Magazine assignments help freelancers explore ideas that they’re curious and passionate about. I’ve written about walking, for instance, in a dozen different publications.

This is the fun part of a freelancer’s life. Other gigs, like communications work, help beef up your income, but it’s the magazine assignments that provide the freedom that makes it all worthwhile. And if you write a story that wins an award, that makes it easier to pitch ideas to editors you haven’t worked with before.

Awards and nominations are a good calling card. They can help get you in the door. But at the end of the day, they’re not why most of us do this. It’s the stories that matter.

Dan Rubinstein is a National Magazine Award-winning journalist and author of Born to Walk: The Transformative Power of a Pedestrian Act (ECW Press). Read more about the project at Follow Dan on Twitter @dan_rube

Very special thanks to Leah Edwards for researching and conducting this interview with Dan. 

The 2016 National Magazine Awards are now open for submissions until January 15. Awards will be presented in 39 categories at the 39th annual NMA gala on June 9. Digital publications and magazine content can also enter the Digital Publishing Awards (deadline Feb 16).

More “Off the Page” interviews with award-winning writers
Heather O’Neill, author of Lullabies for Little Criminals
Emily Urquhart
, author of Beyond the Pale
Arno Kopecky, author of The Oilman and the Sea
Joshua Knelman, author of Hot Art