Happy Holidays from the National Magazine Awards

Wishing you and your family a warm, happy and safe holiday season from all of us at the National Magazine Awards Foundation. And may your favourite magazine bring you some extra joy this season.

Just a reminder: Submissions to the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards may be submitted at any time during the holidays. The final deadline for all entries is January 20.

See you in 2017!

 

Holiday Magazine Subscription Guide

Looking for that perfect (okay, perfect last-minute) stocking stuffer? Do they love to read, laugh, cook or shop? Do they love great writing, photography and illustration? Then stuff a great, National Magazine Award-winning magazine in that stocking. Here are some of our favourites from 2016. (And for more ideas, check out our holiday book guide, with new books by NMA-winning writers.)

Maisonneuve
A quarterly magazine of arts, literature, ideas and culture, published in English in Montreal. You’ll find a great mix of new and established writers, artists and photojournalists packaged around award-winning design. A perfect magazine for an afternoon on the sofa or a long train ride home. Also, it’s Canada’s Magazine of the Year in 2016 (1 of 5 NMAs it won this year), so you know every issue is a must-read.
2 years (8 issues) for just $30

Ricardo
Absolutely required magazine reading for any foodie and aficionado of food culture. Ricardo won the National Magazine Awards for Best Brand and Best Service Editorial Package, and delivers recipes, dinner party plans and lots of other great ideas.
6 issues for $30, plus a gift, a free iPad edition, and 15% discount at the online store

Eighteen Bridges
Winner of 4 National Magazine Awards in 2016 including Essays and Investigative Reporting, this thought-provoking magazine of longform journalism published in Edmonton is consistent in introducing readers to Canada’s best writers and important stories.
4 issues for $26

CNQ: Canadian Notes & Queries
Winner of the 2016 National Magazine Award for Fiction, CNQ publishes some of this country’s finest literary criticism, poetry, graphic works, and short fiction.
1 year (3 issues) for just $25

Vallum
Winner of the 2016 National Magazine Award for Poetry, Vallum is one of Canada’s very best publications for poetry and literary reviews, and regularly features Canada’s best poets as well as emerging ones.
1 year (2 issues) for $20

Globe Style Advisor
Also a winner of 4 National Magazine Awards in 2016 for its photography and design, Globe Style is one of our favourites for fashion and style journalism. Get it with your Globe & Mail subscription. And you can get award-winning Report on Business magazine, too.

Western Living
An award-winning magazine of design, decor, lifestyle and more, Western Living was a 2016 National Magazine Award winner and consistently delivers quality ideas that are in line with the latest and greatest trends.
1 year (10 issues) digitally for just $18

The Feathertale Review
A literary magazine dedicated to great humour (twice an NMA winner in that category), Feathertale makes a great gift for anyone who loves to laugh and enjoys the lighter side of CanLit.
1 year (4 issues) for $30

Cottage Life
A Canadian tradition in a magazine, Cottage Life is not only the perfect companion to country living in all four seasons, it mixes practical advice with award-winning journalism. Don’t go into the woods without it.
1 year all access print and digital for $30

Check out all the winners from the 2016 National Magazine Awards for more great gift ideas.


Submissions are now being accepted for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards. Read all about it and enter at magazine-awards.com. Deadline January 20

NMAF partners with Indigo Books & Music on Ontario newsstand promotion

For the third year, the National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is partnering with Indigo Books & Music Inc. to launch an Ontario-wide newsstand promotion designed to increase awareness about Canada’s best magazines in 2016 published in both official languages.

With this strategic initiative, the NMAF strives to provide award-winning Canadian nma_medalistdisplay_2016_square_v1publishers the opportunity to cost-effectively maintain or improve newsstand sales, subscriptions and magazine visibility within the highly competitive North American market by jointly marketing their nationally recognized award on newsstands.

For eight weeks starting today, this year’s participating award-winning publications will be displayed in a special NMA newsstand frame in all Ontario Indigo superstores. Magazines taking part in this initiative include 2016 Magazine of the Year winner Maisonneuve, as well as award winners Canadian Notes & Queries, Cottage Life, DTK Men, Maclean’s, Ricardo, Sportsnet, The Walrus, THIS Magazine and Toronto Life.

The NMAF, whose mandate is to recognize and promote award-winning Canadian magazines and content, strives to implement initiatives that help publications thrive in the evolving magazine industry. With this newsstand promotional campaign, the Foundation is providing publishers with a distinctive opportunity to leverage their prestigious award in order to maximize their impact on newsstands.

This promotional initiative was launched for the first time in 2014. Last year, a total of 7,852 magazine copies from 18 different publications from were sold during the six week campaign (Oct-Nov) which generated 173% more revenue than the year before.

The NMAF gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) to make this project possible.

Visit any Ontario Indigo Superstore to see the Best Magazines of 2016.

Holiday Books from the National Magazine Awards

Here at the National Magazine Awards Foundation, nothing brings us greater joy than diving into our next non-fiction read. Non-fiction gnaws at us because prose based on real people and real events tends to capture, move, and inspire us.

So to bid farewell to the year that was, we’ve rounded up some of our top non-fiction reads by National Magazine Award-winning authors — aka fool-proof gift ideas — that will undoubtedly please (and hopefully inspire) anyone you’re looking to spoil this holiday season.

Also, check out our top Fiction reads, too.

“Invisible North” by Alexandra Shimo

Alexandra Shimo’s new book, Invisible North, is a cry for help for our Indigenous peoples: their lives, their land and their dignity.

Shimo is not Indigenous. The lived experience and documentation of our Indigenous peoples, by Indigenous peoples, is of utmost importance to the amendment of Canada’s history and will play a crucial part in shaping our country’s future. Shimo is, however, an investigative reporter, who, while on assignment for CBC’s The Current, discovered the devastating reality of Canada’s Indigenous reserves. When Shimo travelled to the Kashechewan reserve in northern Ontario — known better to some as “ground zero” for the First Nation experience — she witnessed firsthand the deplorable living conditions, major lack of services and the relentless government inaction faced by the Cree living on that land. In Invisible North, she recounts her deep-seated guilt, struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and ultimate inability to cope with the living conditions on the reserve.

Shimo is a former editor of Maclean’s. She is the recipient of three honorable mentions at the National Magazine Awards, including for her Toronto Life piece, “Kandahar Diaries,” five stories from soldiers after their return from Afghanistan. This is her third book.

“A Disappearance in Damascus” by Deborah Campbell

“Did I find her or did she find me?” writes Deborah Campbell in her new book, A Disappearance in Damascus (Knopf Canada), winner of the Writers’ Trust Award. Her is in reference to Ahlam, Campbell’s ‘fixer’— journalist jargon for a foreign correspondent’s interpreter or guide. An Iraqi mother and humanitarian, Ahlam is of invaluable assistance to Campbell throughout her Middle-East reportage, and when she gets taken by secret agents, the journalist, who has reported from countries including Egypt, Qatar and Russia among others, can’t help but take the blame for her disappearance. Campbell spends months in search of her friend in the perilous city.

The story takes place almost a decade ago, rendering the title somewhat misleading. When Ahlam disappeared, Campbell was reporting on the Iraq War, at a time when Iraqis were fleeing to Syria for refuge. Despite this, Campbell’s account provides a contemporary piece of the puzzle that is the current state of war in Syria.

Campbell is the winner of two National Magazine Gold Awards for her articles in The Walrus—The Most Hated Name in News” and “Iran’s Quiet Revolution”— published in 2009 and 2006 respectively. She has written for many publications, including Harper’s, The Guardian and Foreign Policy, and has spent over a decade reporting abroad.

“The Marriott Cell” by Mohamed Fahmy (w/ Carol Shaben)

Just over one year ago, Egyptian-born Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy was awaiting bail from behind bars of an Egyptian maximum security prison. He, along with two other Al-Jazeera journalists, were sentenced to 7-10 years, accused of reporting false news, after police raided their makeshift studio in the Marriott Hotel in Cairo. According to Human Rights Watch, the trial of Fahmy was a “miscarriage of justice based on zero evidence.” Despite this, the three spent over a year in prison before making bail following a presidential pardon.

Now, finally free and back in Canada, Fahmy is an adjunct professor at UBC, and he’s just published The Marriott Cell (Random House), a book on his harrowing experience in Egypt. The book is a collaboration of efforts by Fahmy and Carol Shaben, a former NMA winner.

Shaben is the winner of two National Magazine Awards for her story, “Fly at Your Own Risk” (The Walrus), about the deficiencies of Canada’s smaller aviation aircrafts and companies. She has written one other book, Into the Abyss, and lives in Vancouver.

Read our interview with Carol Shaben.

“Sixty” by Ian Brown

The problem with turning 60? It’s so goddamn melodramatic, says Ian Brown, who wrote about the experience in a bygone Globe and Mail column.

A year later, he’s written a book on the subject of his life since, entitled, Sixty: The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning? A Diary of My Sixty-First Year (Penguin Random House). The title itself sounds characteristically self-deprecating — perhaps not surprising for any seasoned journalist in 2016. Fearing he’s “misplaced” the last 20 years of his life, Brown begins writing a diary in an attempt to embrace the next 20. He isn’t necessarily unhappy with how his life has played out — he is a successful journalist by anyone’s standards — but he grapples with how inconspicuously the last six decades slipped by. Brown provides both an intimate and humorous look at the aging process, in hopes it really is just “the End of the Beginning.”

Ian Brown is a journalist and author of five books. Currently, he hosts Human Edge and The View from Here on TVOntario. He is also a feature writer for The Globe and Mail. Brown has collected many National Magazine Awards over the years, most recently a Gold for “Man Vs. Behemoth,” his short feature published in Explore Magazine.

“Bad Singer” by Tim Falconer

If you’re into books like Daniel Levitan’s This Is Your Brain on Music or David Byrne’s How Music Works, Tim Falconer’s Bad Singer (House of Anansi) should logically be next on your reading list. Sure, it’s another look at music through a scientific lens, however, the latter takes a more personal approach, as Falconer himself suffers from amusia — the technical term for tone deafness, encompassing both pitch processing and musical memory. Weaving through the science behind singing, the limitations of the body and the trait of human persistence, Falconer is able to prevail, capturing the interest of any reader, simply by exploring a topic dear to so many.

Falconer’s book is based on his 2012 Maisonneuve piece “Face the Music,” that won him a Silver at the National Magazine Awards.

Falconer is the author of five books. Currently, he is a professor at Ryerson’s School of Journalism in Toronto, a mentor in the Creative Non-Fiction program at the University of King’s College in Halifax and an editor at the Literary Journalism program at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

“The Promise of Canada” by Charlotte Gray

Just in time for Canada’s 150th birthday, historian Charlotte Gray has released her new book, The Promise of Canada: 150 Years – People and Ideas That Have Shaped our Country (Simon & Schuster). Gray deconstructs nine influential Canadians and their respective roles since Confederation.

Gray includes the obvious, from George-Étienne Cartier to Tommy Douglas to Emily Carr, but strays (somewhat) with a chapter on Elijah Harper, former Indigenous NDP MLA, and noted critic of the Meech Lake Accord. If history textbooks of our past didn’t suffice in the area of Indigenous peoples pasts, perhaps Gray’s account will follow the lead of Harper’s, that is, to bring the stories of our Indigenous people into mainstream conversation.

Gray has received eight honourable mentions at the NMAs, including a Chatelaine profile of global activist Naomi Klein and a Walrus political piece on leader of the NDP, Thomas Mulcair.


Happy holiday reading from the National Magazine Awards.

And remember, submissions for this year’s 40th anniversary awards are being accepted until January 20. Enter at magazine-awards.com

Enter Best New Magazine Writer | 2017 National Magazine Awards

Are you an emerging Canadian magazine journalist? Have you published your first feature story in a Canadian consumer, B2B or university magazine within the last 2 years? Chances are you’re eligible to be named Canada’s Best New Magazine Writer from the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

The National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer goes to the journalist whose early work in Canadian magazines shows the highest degree of craft and promise. The award includes a cash prize of $1000, an awards certificate, and nationwide recognition.

ELIGIBILITY
Eligible work–including profiles, personal essays, reporting, literary journalism and other non-fiction genres–must have been published in a Canadian magazine (print, online or tablet) between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016. Candidates must not have published any feature-length magazine work prior to 2015. The intent is to restrict this award to students and emerging writers with a maximum of 2 years’ experience in professional journalism. One entry per person. See the NMAF’s rules for further information about eligible publications.

HOW TO ENTER
Enter your submissions at magazine-awards.com. Submissions may be made by the writer or their editor or teacher, and must include a PDF of the work as well as a letter of reference (see requirements below). The deadline for applications is January 20. The cost to enter is $95 (freelancers who enter their own work may be eligible for the Freelancer Support Fund and an entry fee of just $50).

REQUIREMENTS

  • Upload a PDF of your story during the online application.
  • Upload a PDF of a letter of reference from a teacher, editor, mentor or colleague, which should introduce the candidate to the jury, attest to their eligibility for this award, and provide context for the work submitted. Both the story and letter are reviewed by the judges.
  • Pay the submission fee by cheque or credit card.

FINALISTS AND WINNERS
A shortlist of up to 5 finalists will be announced in the spring, and all finalists receive a certificate and recognition in NMAF publications and at the gala. The winner will be revealed at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala.

PRIZE
There is a cash prize of $1000 and an awards certificate, and the right to call yourself a National Magazine Award winner. We’ll interview you for our blog and newsletter, and promote you and your work to art directors and magazine readers nationwide.

PREVIOUS WINNERS
Recent winners of the award for Best New Magazine Writer include Desmond Cole, Genna Buck, Sierra Skye Gemma and Catherine McIntyre.

Don’t forget the deadline: January 20, 2017.

Ready to submit? Click here.

ABOUT THE NMAF
The National Magazine Awards Foundation is a bilingual, not-for-profit institution whose mission is to foster, recognize and promote editorial excellence in Canadian publications. The annual program of awards are presented in the spring and are followed by a year-long national publicity campaign and several professional development opportunities.

Enter Best New Magazine Illustrator | 2017 National Magazine Awards

Are you an emerging Canadian magazine illustrator or graphic artist? Have you published your first major piece of visual work in a Canadian consumer or B2B magazine, a university magazine, or an arts journal within the last 3 years? Chances are you’re eligible to be named Canada’s Best New Illustrator from the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

The National Magazine Award for Best New Illustrator  goes to the artist whose early work in Canadian magazines shows the highest degree of craft and promise. The award includes a cash prize of $1000, an awards certificate, and nationwide recognition.

ELIGIBILITY
Eligible work–including illustration, photo illustration, infographics, graphic narratives and digital images–must have been published in a Canadian magazine (print, online or tablet) between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2016. The work can be a single illustration or a series accompanying an article or editorial package. Candidates must not have published any magazine work prior to 2014. The intent is to restrict this award to students and visual artists with a maximum of 3 years’ experience in professional journalism. One entry per person. See the NMAF’s rules for further information about eligible publications.

HOW TO ENTER
Enter your submissions at magazine-awards.com. Submissions may be made by the artist or their art director or teacher, and must include a PDF of the work as well as a letter of reference (see requirements below). The deadline for applications is January 20. The cost to enter is $95 (freelancers who enter their own work may be eligible for the Freelancer Support Fund and an entry fee of just $50).

REQUIREMENTS

  • Upload a PDF of your work during the online application.
  • Upload a PDF of a letter of reference from a teacher, art director, mentor or colleague, which should introduce the candidate to the jury, attest to their eligibility, for this award, and provide context for the work submitted. Both the visual work and letter are reviewed by the judges.
  • Pay the submission fee by cheque or credit card.

FINALISTS AND WINNERS
A shortlist of up to 5 finalists will be announced in the spring, and all finalists receive a certificate and recognition in NMAF publications and at the gala. The winner will be revealed at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala.

PRIZE
There is a cash prize of $1000 and an awards certificate, and the right to call yourself a National Magazine Award winner. We’ll interview you for our blog and newsletter, and promote you and your work to art directors and magazine readers nationwide.

PREVIOUS WINNERS
Recent winners of the award for Best New Magazine Illustrator include Byron Eggenschwiler and Hudson Christie.

Don’t forget the deadline: January 20, 2017.

Ready to submit? Click here.

ABOUT THE NMAF
The National Magazine Awards Foundation is a bilingual, not-for-profit institution whose mission is to foster, recognize and promote editorial excellence in Canadian publications. The annual program of awards are presented in the spring and are followed by a year-long national publicity campaign and several professional development opportunities.

Off the Page, with Richard Kelly Kemick

Off the Page is a regular interview series featuring National Magazine Award winners. Recently we caught up with Richard Kelly Kemick, who was nominated for 2 National Magazine Awards in 2016–winning the Gold Medal in One of a Kind for his story “Playing God” (The Walrus), a reflection on his singular obsession with building Christmas villages. The story also won him a nomination for Canada’s Best New Magazine Writer.

NMAF: “Playing God,” your story that won Gold in the One of a Kind category at last year’s NMAs, was developed at the Banff Centre for Literary Journalism. Can you describe your experience there, and how this somewhat unconventional idea was developed into an award-winning magazine story. 

Richard: During my month at the Banff Centre––as every tagline on their website attests––I worked alongside some of the best editors and writers in the business (Ian Brown, Victor Dwyer, Charlotte Gill, to say nothing of the exceptional participants I was writing alongside). What I wasn’t expecting, however, was how affirming it would be for me as a writer. 

As I’m sure we all do, I wrestle a lot with insecurity and mediocrity. Banff’s LJ program placed me an environment where I had a month to only write, read, and sit in Michael Lista’s room to watch The Bachelor (he forced us to watch, like, every episode with him). It was an environment which told me––day after day for a month––that as long as I’m writing, I am a writer.

Anytime I get an opportunity to work with an editor, it’s an absolute privilege. The “Playing God” piece was edited, edited, kicked around, and edited again. And while I came to develop a profound hate for the Track Changes bubbles on a word document, my editor, Victor, took the piece from the ramblings of a limp-wristed despot into something with form, narrative, and an actual arc. 

NMAF: More recently, your debut collection of poetry, Caribou Run was included in this year’s CBC must-read poetry list. How is recognition — from the NMAF and other organizations — significant to you and your work? 

Richard: The CBC list was bizarre. I had no warning; I received an email from my publisher with the link and a note saying “this better translate into book sales” (just kidding, they’re incredibly supportive). It was a very rewarding surprise, just like the NMA. 

These types of recognition are indeed significant. So much of what we do as writers is sit at a desk and clack away in an isolation the rest of the world would refer to as cruel and unusual punishment. (If you’re lucky, you’ll have a dog to aid you through this.) Any recognition that someone has actually read your work and––god forbid––actually enjoyed it is inexpressibly quenching. 

On the other hand, however, I don’t want to think that recognition objectively signifies quality. There were poetry collections which were far stronger than mine but not included on the CBC list. Same goes for the NMA. A writer once told me that saying you “deserved” to win an award is like saying you “deserved” to win the lottery because you played the numbers well. (That writer was Michael Lista and it was on a commercial break of The Bachelor.)  

Rewards are fantastic; anybody who says otherwise is either lying or Buddha. But it’s boom/bust. I was on the boom for a bit. Now is the bust. And I’m finding it hard not to become petty, jealous, and focused on recognition instead of the writing. But I’m trying to work against that, work through it. Because I think there is a name for writers, and the writing they produce, who are like that: fucked.  

NMAF: Robert Moore, English professor at the University of New Brunswick, recently wrote a piece for The Walrus questioning the future of poetry as an art form. In Adam Kirsch’s review of The Hatred of Poetry by Ben Lerner, he claims poetry is “the site and source of disappointed hope.” He adds acclaimed poet Marianne Moore’s famous line “I, too, dislike it,” in reference to the craft. You’ve just published your first collection. What inspires you to write poetry? 

Richard: As a poet, the perpetual death of poetry is my favourite topic. Yes, poetry now panhandles in the literary ghetto––neighbouring junk mail and the academic essay. Yes, poems gather more dust than acclaim. Yes, when I write “Poet” on credit card applications I all but assure rejection. 

I think, however, that this apocalyptic setting is what enables Canadian poetry to be so exciting right now. We have an environment which produces writing, not writers. The pinnacle of this is when writers have brilliant collections (Michael Prior’s Model Disciple, anyone?) without floating off into the ether of poisonous pomp. Because the stakes are hedged, there is a democratizing force in contemporary Canadian poetry, a force which I’m not sure exists in any other commercial genre, a force in which free-verse upstarts and seasoned sonneteers are working within the same circles. Yes, there are politics within the CanPoetry community––just like anywhere. But at least we have the decency to wage our wars in divisive Facebook threads, rather than at the Giller’s or, for example, in a wildly offensive open letter. 

I started writing poetry (and still do) because I wanted to be a better writer. Poetry––for my money––is the genre that best develops your craft. The attention to language is merciless, and if you can make fourteen lines of ten syllables each tell a story, think of what you can do with some elbow room!

Richard Kelly Kemick accepts the award for One of a Kind at the 2016 National Magazine Awards gala.
Richard Kelly Kemick accepts the award for One of a Kind at the 2016 National Magazine Awards gala.

NMAF: Much of your work centres around animals. How does your love for animals influence your writing, and what inspired the theme of caribou migration in your latest collection? 

Richard: I write about animals because I’m unable to convey actual human emotion. Animals provide a healthy alternative. Like, if you’ve got a character that is unlovable but you want to make him lovable but you don’t know how–give him a dog. Then name that dog Maisy. Then let Maisy fool a woman, preferably a public school teacher because of the job security, into a long-term relationship. Then feel safe and loved and statistically unlikely to now die alone as you work on your poems all day, drinking coffee from small cups as your wife toils in a grade one classroom, with Maisy curled at your feet.

The caribou idea was just that I thought the migration was pretty rad and already had poetic elements within it. Four years later (which is about a third of a male caribou’s life), a book! Aim for the stars, kids. 

NMAF: Your writing ranges from fiction to nonfiction, poetry to prose — do you have a favourite form? And, if you can tell us, what can we expect to see from you next?

Richard: I don’t have a favourite form. I consider forms like my children: they all disappoint me for different reasons. 

I’ve currently got a collection of non-fiction essays (one of which is the piece that won the NMA) under consideration. I’ve also got a collection of short stories that was turned down for publication, but I’ve since been working on it and hope to submit again soon. 

I’m trying to view rejection as an opportunity for me to make the work better. In five, twenty, or a hundred years (I plan to live forever), I know I won’t mind having been delayed in publishing a collection of short stories, but I will mind if those stories are shitty. I’m not saying that every rejection a publisher makes is sound; but in this individual case, the rejection has given me the clarity to realize that I can make the stories stronger and (after I’d cried myself dry and drank myself wet) I’m trying to do that. 


Richard Kelly Kemick is a National Magazine Award-winning writer whose work has been published in The Walrus, The Fiddlehead, Maisonneuve and Tin House. His debut collection of poetry, Caribou Run, (2016, Goose Lane Editions) follows the Porcupine caribou herd through their annual migration, the largest overland migration in the world. Caribou Run was included as a one of CBC’s fifteen must-read poetry collections. Follow him on Twitter @RichardKemick.

Special thanks to Krista Robinson for her reporting on this interview with Richard.

Check out more Off the Page interviews with National Magazine Award-winning writers like Emily Urquhart, J.B. MacKinnon, Heather O’Neill and more.


The 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards are now accepting submissions for the best work in 2016. Deadline for entries: January 20. Submit now.

Frequently Asked Questions: 40th National Magazine Awards

[This post has been updated]

1. This year’s National Magazine Awards program has 25 categories (plus 3 special awards), down from 40 in 2016. Why did you eliminate so many awards?
Yes, this year’s NMAs are very different. Over the last few years, many people have told us that having so many categories diminishes the individual value of a National Magazine Award—and makes the NMA gala a very long show. The first NMAs (in 1977) had just 15 awards, and since then we’ve gradually expanded, mostly adding subject-specific awards. For our 40th anniversary we envisioned a new Strategic Direction for the NMAF with an emphasis on increasing the value and prestige of a National Magazine Award. A tighter awards program focusing on the unique forms (rather than subjects) of magazine creation is the result of a long and deliberative process. Plus, a program of 25 awards is more aligned with other prestigious awards programs like the Ellies and Oscars.

We know it’ll take some getting used to, but we hope you’ll agree that the new NMAs (and expanded DPAs) are a better and brighter reflection of the Canadian magazine and digital publishing landscape.

2. How did you decide to eliminate certain categories?
This year’s exciting new awards program is a reflection of the following processes:

  • Feedback from previous participants, nominees and winners;
  • A comprehensive survey of 2016 NMA judges;
  • An expanded Digital Publishing Awards program;
  • A blue-ribbon Advisory Committee, which studied various proposals and made recommendations to the NMAF. The committee consisted of:
    • Curtis Gillespie, NMA-winning writer, and publisher and editor of Eighteen Bridges.
    • Kim Pittaway, writer, editor, teacher and recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award.
    • Danielle Groen, NMA-winning freelance writer and former editor at Chatelaineand The Grid.
  • A final discussion and approval by the NMAF’s new Board of Directors.

3. I used to enter written categories like Arts & Entertainment, Business, Politics, Society, Travel, etc. Where can I enter these stories now?
The new NMAs emphasize form over subject, so we encourage you to enter your work for Writing Awards based on your story’s form. Is it a Long-Form feature, a Short Feature, a Profile, an Essay, an Investigative piece, a Service piece, etc? Also, bear in mind that if your story was published in a digital format, it may be eligible for a Digital Publishing Award.

4. I used to enter visual categories like Fashion, Homes & Gardens, Still-Life Photography, etc. Where can I enter these stories now?
Many of these magazine stories may be eligible in the new category called Photography: Lifestyle. Also, in a move reflecting trends in Fashion & Beauty publishing, we have created a Digital Publishing Award for Best Fashion & Beauty Story. The DPAs have other categories that may be attractive for visual creators and publishers, too.

5. What else is new this year with NMA categories?
Editorial Package
is now an Integrated Award (it used to be a Writing Award), to better reflect collaboration by the entire editorial team. Former submitters in Best Single Issue may now submit to this category, too.

Single Service Article Package has been re-imagined as Service Editorial Package, again reflecting collaboration by the entire editorial team.

Submitters to Magazine of the Year will need to complete a comprehensive application form, highlighting their achievements over the past year in 4 criteria: Quality, Innovation, Impact, and Brand Awareness. We wanted to make the Magazine of the Year award more objective and evidence-based. And this year’s jury will expand from 3 to 5 judges, including at least 1 international judge. Submitters to the former award for Best Magazine Brand will recognize these criteria and are encouraged to submit for Magazine of the Year.

There’s a new, special award—the Foundation Award for International Impact—recognizing a Canadian who is making a significant contribution to a field of magazine journalism beyond the borders of Canada. The deadline to nominate someone is March 1.

Click to download the Complete Guide to Entering the NMAs

6. Who wins National Magazine Awards? 
NMAs are awarded to content creators. In Written and Visual categories, this means it is the individual writer, photographer, illustrator or stylist who receives recognition (and the prize money). In Integrated categories, the entire team of staff and contributors are rewarded.

7. What is the prize money?
A Gold Medal for a Writing or Visual Award includes a cash prize of $1000.

8. Where does my submission fee go?
The NMAF is a non-profit organization and all entry fees go towards prize money, the administrative costs of sorting submissions and facilitating the judging process.

9. Who is eligible for a National Magazine Award?
To be named as a creator on any submission, you must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident. Your work must be published in a Canadian magazine, print, online or tablet.

10. I’m a freelancer. Can I enter my own work? 
Yes! Not only can you submit your own work, but you may also be eligible for our new Freelancer Support Fund, which allows freelancers to submit their first two (2) entries at the discounted rate of $50 per submission.

11. What is a magazine?
The NMAF’s guiding principle for magazine publishing is that the publication, whether print, tablet or website, must self describe as a magazine; be editorial in nature (that is, it must have and submit a clear editorial mandate); be the product of an editorial process; and be published regularly.

12. In which category is my work eligible?
You decide which of the NMA Categories is best suited to your work. Most written and visual work may be entered in more than one category except where specific restrictions are stated. (There is a separate fee for each individual entry.) The judges—not the NMAF—will determine whether your entry is appropriate to the category’s definition.

13. Who are the judges for the NMAs?
In composing its judging panels the NMAF strives for diversity of geography, language and expertise. Judges are recognized experts in a particular field of magazine publishing, editing, design, content creation and business, and may have an expertise in a subject relevant to a particular category. Read more about the Judging Process.

14. How many judges evaluate my work?
Submissions in written categories are evaluated by separate English- and French-language juries for each category, and each jury receives identical scoring procedures and criteria. Each jury is composed of a diverse panel of 3 experts. Submissions in visual, integrated and special award categories are evaluated by juries of 3-5 members, one or more of whom is bilingual.

15. What are judges looking for?
Judges in written categories look for excellence in writing style, content, overall impact and successful engagement of the intended reader, as well as the entry’s relevance to the category’s definition. Judges in visual categories assess the aesthetic as well as the practical concerns of each entry, evaluating the functionality of the visual material and its appropriateness to the category, to the text it accompanies and to the magazine medium. Judges in integrated and special categories follow the guidelines of each category’s definition. See the NMAF’s Judging Process for full details.

16. Do the juries know who the submitter is on an entry? [UPDATED]
No. Judges do not get to see who submitted an entry (e.g. if it was a magazine editor or a freelancer).

17. What happens if a category does not receive enough submissions?
For categories with 15 or fewer submissions, the NMAF reserves the right to name only 5 finalists and a single overall Gold winner. If not enough submissions are received to provide a legitimate competition, the NMAF reserves the right to cancel that category after submissions are complete. In the event of a category cancellation all submissions fees will be refunded in that category.

18. Are full-book entries eligible in written categories?
In most cases, entries in written categories are open only to individual articles. However, in the case where the entire issue of the magazine constitutes a single article (such as a listings issue), that issue may be eligible as long as it fits the category definition. The NMAF reserves the right for its judges to determine whether a full-book entry is eligible. The integrated category Editorial Package is specifically open to a collection of articles on a related theme in a single issue. Where the entire issue of a magazine consists of a single editorial package, that entire issue may be eligible in this category.

19. We’re a small magazine. Is there a special offer for our entry fees? 
Yes! The NMAF offers a Small Magazine Rebate to print and digital magazines with an annual revenue of under $200,000. Deadline to apply is January 13. Read more here.

20. Are there categories just for digital publications? 
Yes. While written and visual content published online or in tablet editions is eligible in most NMA categories, there are also 22 categories specific to digital content in our Digital Publishing AwardsSubmissions for the Digital Publishing Awards open on January 2. Deadline: January 31.

21. Can I submit work that was commissioned for a print magazine but published online?
Yes, any story published by a Canadian magazine, whether published in print or online, is eligible for a National Magazine Award.

22. What types of digital and web-based magazines are eligible for the NMAs?
An eligible digital publication may be a magazine website, tablet edition or publication, or an online-only magazine. Review the Eligibility and Rules for clarification.

23. What exactly is meant by a Magazine Website?
A Magazine Website may be either the companion website of a print magazine title or an online-only publication that self-identifies as a magazine.

24. What exactly is meant by a Tablet Magazine?
A Tablet Magazine is a publication that produces a complete issue of a magazine but distributes it digitally on a tablet platform.

25. How do I submit an individual entry that appeared in a tablet edition?
A PDF of the entire entry is required for all submissions and you will be prompted to upload your PDF in the online submission form. Please upload an original PDF, not a snapshot taken from the tablet edition and subsequently converted to a PDF.

26. How do I submit a full-book tablet edition for consideration?
This includes tablet magazine entries for Art Direction for an Entire Issue and Editorial Package. The submission form for these categories will require the iTunes URL to your magazine app. We request that the issue be made available for free or that a promotion code be provided. If judges are required to pay for content, the NMAF will invoice the submitter for the additional expenses.

27. Can online content really compete against print in written categories?
Yes. Judges in written categories look for excellence in writing style, content, overall impact and successful engagement of the intended reader, as well as the entry’s relevance to the category’s definition. Whether published in print or online, it is the quality of the work that counts.

28. Is a blog eligible for a National Magazine Award? 
Yes. Blogs may be eligible for a National Magazine Award provided they meet the category definition and the NMAF’s Eligibility and Rules. Also, blogs and blog content may be eligible for a Digital Publishing Award.

Is there something we didn’t answer? Contact us at
staff@magazine-awards.com

Ready to submit? Get started here.

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Call for Entries: 40th Anniversary National Magazine Awards

The National Magazine Awards Foundation is proud to present a bold new lineup of awards for 2017—our 40th anniversary of Celebrating Canadian Creators.

We are now accepting submissions. Deadline January 20.

This year’s National Magazine Awards will feature 25 categories structured to emphasize the unique forms and functions of magazine journalism. Writing and Visual Awards include a cash prize of $1000 to the Gold Medal winners.

“For our 40th anniversary year, the NMAF challenged itself to make our awards programs more valuable and more prestigious to Canadian creators. I’m grateful to our participants, partners and stakeholders for consistently reminding us how important the NMAF brand is as a leader in our industry, and for guiding us towards a stronger and better National Magazine Awards. We look forward to honouring your work this year, and establishing new benchmarks of excellence in journalism.”
– Nino Di Cara, President, NMAF

In most categories, there will be a maximum of 10 finalists determined by the jury, and the top two will win the Gold and Silver medals. All other finalists will receive Honourable Mention.
Read more about these awards and category definitions.

How and why did the NMAF decide to eliminate certain categories this year?
Check out our FAQ for all the answers.

GUIDE TO THE 40th ANNIVERSARY NMAs
Download our Guide to the 40th National Magazine Awards for a handy reference to categories, criteria, submissions guidelines, rules, deadlines and more.

FREELANCER SUPPORT FUND
Last month the NMAF announced a new program for freelancers to save 50% on entries to the National Magazine Awards. Find out more.

SMALL MAGAZINE REBATE
Magazines with under $200,000 in annual revenue may be eligible for the Small Magazine Rebate, equal to 1 FREE ENTRY. Apply by January 13. Find out more.

JUDGING PROCESS
The NMAF has announced changes to its judging process, including more robust criteria and scoring procedures, and an amalgamation of the two-tiered judging system for written categories.
Read about the new NMAF Judging Process.

Find out how to get involved as a judge for the National Magazine Awards and the Digital Publishing Awards.

Read about our new International Judges.

HOW TO SUBMIT
1. Review the Categories, Rules, FAQ, & Instructions
2. Register online at submissions.magazine-awards.com
3. Enter the details of each submission
4. Upload a PDF of each submission
5. Pay the required entry fees ($95 for most entries)
6. Courier hard copies (if required)

DIGITAL PUBLISHING AWARDS
Last month the NMAF announced an expanded program for the 2017 Digital Publishing Awards, featuring 22 categories recognizing excellence by the creators of Canadian Digital Publications, including online and tablet magazines. Submissions for the Digital Publishing Awards will open on January 2.

DEADLINES
January 13: NMA Early Bird Deadline
January 20: NMA Final Deadline
January 27: Magazine of the Year Deadline
January 31: Digital Publishing Awards Deadline

40th ANNIVERSARY GALA
We’ll be announcing the details of the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala later this winter. Stay tuned right here on the NMA blog.

READY TO SUBMIT?
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