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All contests and awards listed below accept previously unpublished works of Canadian poetry, short fiction and creative non-fiction; listed in chronological order by deadline date.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
Detailshttp://prismmagazine.ca/contests/

Matrix Magazine Robert Kroetsch Innovative Poetry Award
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: January 31, 2016
Prize: $500 advance + publication
Entry Fee: $30
Detailshttp://matrixmagazine.org/rkaward/

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
Detailshttp://arcpoetry.ca/contests-working-dw-draft/

The Malahat Review Novella Prize
Genre: Fiction
Deadline: February 1, 2016
Prize: $1500; publication
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription Detailshttp://www.malahatreview.ca/contests/novella_contest/info.html

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)
Detailshttp://www.geist.com/contests/postcard-contest/

Pulp Literature Magazine Bumblebee Microfiction Contest
Genre: Very short fiction (50 words)
Deadline: February 1, 2016
Prize: Publication + subscription
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://pulpliterature.com/contests/the-bumblebee-microfiction-contest/

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
Detailshttps://carleton.ca/creativewriting/passages/
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)
Detailshttps://albertaviews.ab.ca/contests/
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
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests

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
Details:
http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/literaryprizes/nonfiction/index.html

Writers Union of Canada Short Prose Competition
Genres: Non-fiction; Fiction
Deadline: March 1, 2016
Prize: $2500 + assistance with publication
Entry Fee: $29
Detailshttp://www.writersunion.ca/short-prose-competition

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
Details: http://www.writerstrust.com/Awards/RBC-Bronwen-Wallace-Award-for-Emerging-Writers/Prize-Guidelines.aspx
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
Details: http://roommagazine.com/contests

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
Detailshttp://arcpoetry.ca/contests-working-dw-draft/#brebner

The New Quarterly Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest
Genre: Creative Non-Fiction
Deadline:  March 28, 2016
Prize: $1000
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests
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
Details: http://www.theexilewriters.com/

Vallum Chapbook Award
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: March 31, 2016
Prize: $125 + publication
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.vallummag.com/chapbookrules.html

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
Detailshttp://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.

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
Detailshttp://www.grainmagazine.ca/short-grain-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)
Detailshttp://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.

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)
Detailshttp://www.contemporaryverse2.ca/en/contests/2-day-poem-contest

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
Detailshttp://www.eventmagazine.ca/contest-nf/

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
Detailshttp://pulpliterature.com/contests/the-magpie-award-for-poetry/

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
Detailshttp://www.malahatreview.ca/contests/far_horizons_poetry/info.html

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
Detailshttp://www.theexilewriters.com/

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.

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
Detailshttp://www.cbc.ca/books/literaryprizes/poetry/
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
Detailshttp://ricepapermagazine.ca/contests/

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)
Detailshttp://www.antigonishreview.com/

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

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