Your Guide to Winter/Spring 2017 Canadian Magazine Writing Contests

In her 2016 National Magazine Award-winning story “The Beguiling” (sub-Terrain) Zsuzsi Gartner pens a portrait of an amputee cinephile named Zoltan whose sense of the world is derived from the human stories that pass through his (and others’) camera lens. In one scene, at the hospital, the ailing character is suddenly inspired to think of himself as a “little dog,” the kind that audiences root for to overcome challenges. The narrator explains:

He meant the North American penchant for happy endings. Fairy tales. But in the original fairy tales we all know the most diabolical things happen, eyes are pecked out by birds, there’s cannibalism and decapitation, and the little mermaid doesn’t marry the prince but dissolves into sad foam on the sea.

What inspires your sense of the world? What’s your penchant for endings? Happy ones with strong little dogs, or more of a dissolution into empty water? Whatever your approach to the craft–and whether fiction, poetry, memoir or photography–you’ll find plenty of outlets for your stories in Canadian magazines.

And so the NMAF presents its annual Winter/Spring Guide to Canadian Writing (and Photography) Contests.

All contests and awards listed below accept previously unpublished works of Canadian poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction and photography; listed in chronological order by deadline date. If you know of one that we missed, please let us know or Tweet at us @MagAwards.

And for more inspiration, check out the National Magazine Awards Archive, with hundreds of winning and nominated stories and poems to read.

Room Creative Short Forms Contest
Genre: Fiction, Poetry or Creative Non-fiction (max 500 words)
Deadline: January 29, 2017
Prizes: 2 prizes of $500 + publication (1st); $50 + publication (Honourable Mention)
Entry Fee: $35 ($7 for each additional entry); includes subscription
Detailshttp://roommagazine.com/contests

Prism International Jacob Zilber Prize for Short Fiction*
Genres: Fiction (max 6000 words)
Deadline: January 31, 2017
Prize: $1500 (1st); $600 (2nd); $400 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription
Detailshttp://prismmagazine.ca/contests/
* Judged by National Magazine Award-winning fiction writer Jess Taylor

Arc Poetry Magazine Poem of the Year Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: February 1, 2017
Prize: $5000 (Poem of the Year); $500 (Honourable Mention); paid publication for shortlisted works
Entry Fee: $35 ($5 for each additional entry); includes subscription
Detailshttp://arcpoetry.ca/contests-page/

The Malahat Review Long Poem Prize*
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: February 1, 2017
Prize: $1000 to each of 2 winners; publication
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.malahatreview.ca/contests/long_poem_prize/info.html
* Judged by National Magazine Award winners Louise Bernice Halfe, George Elliott Clarke and Patricia Young

Writers Union of Canada Short Prose Competition
Genres: Non-fiction; Fiction
Deadline: February 1, 2017
Prize: $2500 + assistance with publication
Entry Fee: $29
Detailshttp://www.writersunion.ca/short-prose-competition

Pulp Literature Magazine Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest
Genre: Short Fiction (max 750 words)
Deadline: February 15, 2017
Prize: $300 + publication
Entry Fee: $15 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://pulpliterature.com/contests/

CBC Canada Writes Creative Non-Fiction Prize
Genre: Creative Non-fiction (1200-1800 words)
Deadline: February 28, 2017
Prize: $6000 + publication in enRoute + Banff Centre residency (1st); $1000 each to 4 runners up
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.cbc.ca/books/2016/01/cbc-creative-nonfiction-prize-is-now-open.html

The New Quarterly Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: February 28, 2017 March 17, 2017
Prize: Two prizes of $1000 + publication
Entry Fee: $40 (for first 2 poems; $5 each for additional); includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests

Alberta Views Public Spaces Photography Contest
Genre: Photography
Deadline: February 28, 2017
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.

Matrix Magazine Robert Kroetsch Innovative Poetry Award*
Genre: Poetry (manuscript)
Deadline: March 1, 2017
Prize: Publication contract with Insomniac Press
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.matrix-magazine.org/robert-kroetsch-award
* Judged by National Magazine Award-winning writer Wayde Compton

13th annual Geist Literary Postcard Story Contest
Genre: Very short fiction or non-fiction (500 words max)
Deadline: March 1, 2017
Prize: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $20; includes subscription ($5 each additional entry)
Detailshttp://www.geist.com/contests/postcard-contest/

The RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: March 6, 2017
Prizes: $10,000 (1st); $2500 (to two honourable mentions)
Entry Fee: $0
Details: http://www.writerstrust.com/Awards/RBC-Bronwen-Wallace-Award-for-Emerging-Writers/Prize-Guidelines.aspx

Room Creative Non-fiction Contest
Genre: Creative Non-fiction
Deadline: March 8, 2017
Prizes: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); $50 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35 ($7 for each additional entry); includes subscription
Detailshttp://roommagazine.com/contests

The New Quarterly Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest
Genre: Creative Non-Fiction
Deadline:  March 28, 2017
Prize: $1000
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests
Note: All submissions will be considered for publication ($250) in the magazine.

Vallum Chapbook Award
Genre: Poetry (chapbook 12-20 pages)
Deadline: March 31, 2017
Prize: $125 + publication
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.vallummag.com/chapbookrules.html

Grain Magazine 29th annual Short Grain Writing Contest
Genres: Fiction (max 2500 words); Poetry (max 100 lines)
Deadline: April 1, 2017
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, 2017
Prizes:  $1,500 (adults prize); $500 (youth prize)
Entry Fee: $25 (adults); $10 (youth)
Detailshttp://alicemunrofestival.ca/?page_id=1317

Exile Literary Quarterly Carter V. Cooper Fiction Competition
Genre: Fiction (max 10,000 words)
Deadline: April 3, 2017
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/

Exile Literary Quarterly Gwendolyn McEwan Poetry Competition
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: April 3, 2017
Prizes: $1500 for Best Suite; $1000 for Best Suite by an Emerging Poet; $500 for Best Poem; publication
Entry Fee: $25; includes subscription
Details: http://www.theexilewriters.com/

CV2 2-Day Poem Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: April 3, 2017 (registration; competition is held April 8-9)
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

Pulp Literature Magazine Magpie Award for Poetry
Genre: Poetry (max 100 lines)
Deadline: April 15, 2017
Prize: $500 + publication (1st); $50 for each of 2 runners-up
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription); $10 for each additional entry
Detailshttp://pulpliterature.com/contests/

Event Magazine Non-Fiction Contest
Genre: Creative Non-fiction (5000 words or fewer)
Deadline: April 15, 2017
Prize: $1500 in total cash prizes; publication
Entry Fee: $34.95; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.eventmagazine.ca/contest-nf/

The Malahat Review Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction
Genre: Fiction (max 3500 words)
Deadline: May 1, 2017
Prize: $1000; publication
Entry Fee: $25 (additional entries are $15); includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.malahatreview.ca/contests/far_horizons_fiction/info.html

The New Quarterly Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award
Genre: Fiction
Deadline: May 28, 2017
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, 2017
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, 2017

Ricepaper ACWW Emerging Writer Award
Genre: Poetry (book-length manuscript)
Deadline: June 1, 2017
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 (max 20 pages)
Deadline: June 1, 2017
Prize: $600 (1st); $400 (2nd); $200 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://www.antigonishreview.com/

Pulp Literature Magazine Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest
Genre: Short Fiction (max 1000 words)
Deadline: June 15, 2017
Prize: $300 + publication
Entry Fee: $15 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://pulpliterature.com/contests/

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

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