Off the Page, with art director Anna Minzhulina

Off the Page is a regular interview series featuring National Magazine Award winners. In this interview we chat with award-winning art director Anna Minzhulina, who spent 10 years at the creative helm of Maisonneuve. “Maisy” was named Magazine of the Year at the 2016 National Magazine Awards, and over the years it has been among the most lauded and decorated magazines for design, illustration, and photography (as well as its writing and reporting).

 

NMAF: Let’s start with Maisonneuve. You spent over a decade as the art director of the award-winning Montreal quarterly.

Anna: Maison-who?! I have never heard of it?! Is it any good?!

(Sorryyyyyy, I just could not help myself!) Indeed, my tenure at the magazine was exceeded only by the logo itself–the infamous Maisy dude. I could easily be a special edition Maisy mascot!

I joined Maisonneuve in 2005, shortly after I graduated from the Design Art program at Concordia University. Then in the summer of 2006, I became the Art Director. At the time, the magazine was in its fourth year of publication.

Looking back, we were both wild spirited newbies! Maisonneuve was just getting noticed, but still in the early stages of fully developing its editorial and visual personalities. And, there I was…an idealistic designer taking my first steps into the professional art world I felt so passionate about…excitedly searching for the special place to house my creativity. There was maison and it was neuve.

We complemented each other very well. And in a retrospect, the collaboration blossomed into a fruitful and long-term relationship.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

NMAF: Maisonneuve is one of those magazines that is sometimes difficult to describe, yet always attracts alluring descriptions: quirky, bold, refreshing, imaginative, passionate, delightful, thoughtful, exciting…

Anna: For people who are familiar with Maisy (the affectionate in-house name), you may say…A versatile humanitarian with socially and culturally inclined tendencies and some very personal issues, who welcomes anyone into its Open House, obsessively collects Letters from Montreal…in addition, has strange Fictional fantasies, whole-heartedly laughs at the Comics…at times gender confused, but very intelligent and oh! such a visual feast for the eyes to devour ;)!

Undoubtedly, Canadian readers have a variety of great magazines to choose from. Just as easily, dozens could fit the description you gave. But even so, I feel the major difference between other publications and Maisonneuve is the consistency. It’s Maisonneuve’s extraordinary ability to remain uncompromisingly true to its philosophy of high-quality editorial and visual story telling, from one issue to the next and throughout the years.

 To sum up…Maisonneuve is a voice of organic harmony, which with equal strength speaks to and of both human experience and human expression.

 

NMAF: How would you describe the creative vision you set out to achieve at the magazine?

Anna: I feel successful visions are the ones that are flexible in nature. They adapt to the circumstances and times. With enthusiasm and passion, there is nothing impossible…as long as it’s based on the principles of honesty and integrity.

I always strove to design the best magazine I could possibly create in spite of the numerous limitations. In my mind, there were Plans A, B…Z and, if none of those worked—well…I would do it myself!

Over the course of a decade, those visions and approaches evolved beyond simply design aspect/aesthetics and into an understanding of such important values as creative collaboration and the conceptualization of emotionally deep visual narratives capable of touching and evoking lasting impressions and intelligent conversations.

Furthermore, I like to think of the magazine pages as the walls of an art gallery, where art is displayed for practical reasons, such as the pictorial entourage to an article. The words and pictures co-exist.

But at the same time, the images exist in a realm of their own and are appreciated as a separate entity with their own story. Usually, that story is connected to the written one, but it does not have to be in a literal way. I liked to commission illustration that, if there were just empty pages with no words, the images would still have the visual power to stand on their own.

If you think about it, that’s the natural state of the words before they arrive on the designed page. Why can’t the images create their own sustaining presence? That’s one reason why I think Maisonneuve has been so successful… it has had these multiple strong presences that can stand alone and also interact.

 

NMAF: Is there a magic formula for directing such a unique publication, or do you re-invent the wheel, so to speak, every time you start work on a new issue?

Anna: Hmm… yes and no?! Each issue is a new experience, for the team and for the readers. Be that as it may, you don’t reinvent the philosophy—it’s the anchor. You adapt and modify the approach to the underlying design to provide individual and suitable reflection of each story and its characters, which are unique in their own right.

 

NMAF: It’s fair to say that Maisonneuve has been one of the most celebrated magazines in Canada over the past decade, as judged by its peers in the industry and its readers. As its art director you have collected 6 National Magazine Awards for your work—3 for Best Magazine Cover and 3 more for Art Direction—among more than a dozen nominations. Maisy has also won Magazine of the Year twice in that span.

Anna: The number of people, who defriended me on the Facebook skyrocketed! 😛

Truthfully, I am humbled and very honoured for every nomination and award. Thank you!

 

NMAF: What has been the significance to you of the National Magazine Award recognition from your peers?

Anna: Aside from what it personally means to me as well as everyone else involved in Maisonneuve’s production, the recognition of effort, sacrifice, time, sleepless nights, grey hair, broken promises, cancelled dinner dates…it is the acknowledgement of women’s visibility within creative fields.

I believe in the vital role women play in diversifying the publishing world by exposing it to their sensibly strong perspective. So kudos to National Magazine Awards Foundation! I hope it will inspire young women illustrators, photographers, and art directors in Canada to persevere. So that in the future, there are more female voices such as Marta Iwanek, Gracia Lam, Selena Wong, Suharu Ogawa, Genevieve Simms, Heidi Berton, Ness Lee…and the list goes on and on.

 

NMAF: Let’s take a closer look at some of your most celebrated work, and perhaps you can tell us a quick story of how it came together:

In 2011, you won a Silver Medal in Art Direction for a Magazine Story for “Monuments: The City in Three Parts”—a progression of towering illustrations by Amy Casey accompanying a suite of poems by Roland Pemberton. What was your inspiration here—was it the poetry itself, or something more?

Anna: The challenge with poetry is: it’s an art form naturally open to interpretation. Overly strong visuals can clash with or even crash the delicate aesthetic of poetry itself. But no visuals at all, in a magazine like Maisonneuve, would be a cop out.

In the case of “Monuments” the inspiration came equally from both—the beautiful text and Amy’s wonderful work. I created a collage of collapsing imaginary houses so the text could interact with Amy’s images in a way that allowed both to stand on their own and coexist in peace on the same spread. That’s hard to do! So often with poetry there is a love-hate relationship with surrounding images, but this one worked.

Amy was reluctant at first, but when I showed her what I have done as a mock-up she was very excited and happy for her work be adapted in this creative way.

 

NMAF: In “Gays for God”—Silver Medallist in 2013 for Best Magazine Cover—you created (with photographer Kourosh Keshiri) an irresistible image of a contemplative Jesus draped in a rainbow flag, which accompanied the cover story by Clancy Martin about a new LGBTQ-friendly evangelical movement. This is an image of infinite subtleties—from the blue eye to glowing halo and the soft edges. The mood is very inviting to the story. What were the questions you asked yourself as you worked on this design?

Anna: Perhaps, at one time or another, we all contemplate being draped in the fabric of our own fears and doubts, while waiting for the divine to show the way…it’s the concept that talks to universal experience while personal as well. A close-up portrait was the best way to capture the dichotomy.

As for the questions…I am asking myself the same ones today, as I have done then. One of them is how can I, a gay woman myself, shine the light on the relationship LGBTQ community has with spirituality in a singular iconic image to the broader audience? To create a bold and intelligent visual statement to inspire pride in one side and to engage into conversation the other one.

 

NMAF: How did it come together?

Anna: Well…it’s not that easy to find Jesus wondering the streets, more so to convince him to be gay for the photoshoot! But hey, drop the Maisonneuve name here and there and you might be surprised! 😉

Usually, I have a lot of ideas and sketches for the cover (story). Drew Nelles [the editor-in-chief at the time] and I agreed on this concept as the final one—the stand alone powerful image and the direct reflection of Martin’s story.

With the help from dear friend and brilliant photographer Kourosh Keshiri, I was able to get amazing raw shots to work from. Subsequently, I photo edited and photo illustrated the selected image (the most sincere and devoid of pretence) into the final cover version.

In other words, I deliberately de/emphasized and added specific details (such as halo, blue eyes, serene lighting, deep shadows)—the visual signifiers, to create a stronger impact.

 

NMAF: The “TV We Hate Issue” cover (also a Silver Medal winner for Best Magazine Cover in 2015) looks like it was absolutely fun to create—a friendly poke at the subversive, gonzo style of MTV. Were any TVs actually harmed in the production of this cover?

Anna: Ha! Well, yes, twice. How many of us just get so annoyed with what is on TV we just dream of taking a hammer to it?…or in this case, a butcher knife! I deeply apologize to TV set lovers for butchering a very cool retro television…All in the name of art!

The amazing Ian Patterson and I worked on five covers together, the “TV We Hate” was the second one in that sequence. Ian is the example of someone you just click with. He has mastered an amazing skill—working with natural light.

For a start, there were many, many doodles and sketches for this cover. As I remember correctly, we narrowed it down to two main concepts. What made this one the final one was the minimalism and pointedness. The complexity lay in the precise execution–the limited (minimalistic) number of elements did not leave the room to hide mistakes. It’s something that either works or completely fails. This is why, when one element was off the whole cover had to be reshot. Afterwards, just as with the “Gays for God” cover, there was extensive photo editing to ensure the right details are highlighted while the unnecessary ones either overshadowed or removed completely.

Visual knowledge is important, but it’s not necessary to enjoy something from purely aesthetic point of view. That’s why the most interesting and iconic images successfully and equally merge both, concept and beauty, into one.

Here’s a peak at how the design evolved:

 

NMAF: Do you have another favourite creation from your Maisonneuve career?

Anna: For many artists, myself including, the favourite creation is the one yet to be created. Otherwise, what is there to strive for?

The favourite ones are the most memorable ones, which in one way or another enriched me with certain experience, insight or knowledge. Each image I worked on has a story behind it.

The ones that jump to mind, though, are:

…and so many many more…

Each one, no matter how big or small, was an unforgettable moment in time shared between kindred spirits.

 

NMAF: What do you look for in a creative partnership with an illustrator or photographer? What is your process of communicating an artistic vision for a magazine story that brings out the best in an artist?

Anna: My choice with whom to collaborate on projects is based on a great admiration for artists themselves and their work.

Imagine, you receive a bucket and it’s filled with stories for the next issue, you lift it up above your head and just turn it over…so the words just wash over you, like a waterfall. Most of the water will drain away, yet some will penetrate your skin and leave you with a sensation…a feeling or thought.

Out of the heart and straight to your mind, that will be your guide to conceptualize ideas and find the right voice to breath the life into the story. You can only bring out the best in others if you yourself believe passionately in what you do. Then your enthusiasm will ignite the alike spirits to join you on the crazy joyride called creative collaboration. And they will become your partners in art crime.

I love working with people who see creative process as an adventure. This requires trust, open-mindedness, and mutual respect. You are pursuing a common vision, yet ping-ponging ideas back and forth to create something spectacular. Some people can’t do that. It can be hard to find great collaborators. But when you do, it’s like a drug, the highest high.

 

NMAF: Now that you’ve moved on from Maisonneuve, what’s next for you? What would you like to achieve with the next stage of your career?

Anna: You mean, beside the grandiose production of the Maisy mascot costume?!

Well…it took me a while, but I finally launched my website www.annaminzhulina.com. It’s a collection of the work I have done during my Maisonneuve years. I invite everyone to come say hello! And reminisce of some of the Maisonneuve’s classics.

All in all, I still love publishing and want to pursue it further—magazines, books, other design projects…but I’m also curious about art exhibitions, conceptual design in larger spaces, on real walls, not just paper or virtual ones… it’s all fascinating to me, as long as it’s creative and/or collaborative.

In the meantime, I am working on a drawing series titled See You”portraits of random people sketched in shopping malls and plazas and other interesting, mundane places… my apartment walls are covered with them!

There is life beyond Maisonneuve… 😉 But I’m keeping my subscription! And so should you.

One last thing, before I bow my farewell to Maisonneuve, I would like to thank one very special person, whom I never got to thank at the NMAs:

“My dearest mom, Thank you! for giving me a precious gift— the courage to live my passion and to follow my heart.”


Anna Minzhulina is an award-winning art director, designer, artist and illustrator. For ten years, she was the Art Director of Maisonneuve magazine, where she was recognized for her imaginative concepts in cover design, design, photography and illustration. At Maisonneuve, Minzhulina collaborated with dozens of photographers, illustrators and artists, many of whom won awards for their work under her direction. More at annaminzhulina.com.

Check out more Off the Page interviews, including Maisonneuve publisher Jennifer Varkonyi and contributing artists Marta Iwanek, Gracia Lam, and Selena Wong.


The nominations for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards will be announced on Thursday April 20. Subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter @MagAwards for all the exciting news.

This year’s National Magazine Awards gala is Friday, May 26 in Toronto. Tickets go on sale April 20 at magazine-awards.com.

Photograph of Anna Minzhulina by Florentine.

Interview by Richard A. Johnson for the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

Your Guide to Fall 2016 Magazine Writing (and Photography) Contests

Welcome to autumn, all you writers, poets and shutterbugs. Time to let the soft, low-angle sunlight, the cool, easterly winds, and the pumpkin-spiced everything inspire you towards your next artistic endeavour. But beware the lure of the tired metaphor, for in his 2016 National Magazine Award-winning poem “The High Road,” David McGimpsey warns:

Are you the kind of person who giggles
when you hear somebody say “poetry
is like peeling an onion”? Yes? Really?
I’m afraid I must take the high road now

The National Magazine Awards contest guide lists any writing or photography contest in a Canadian magazine or digital publication, or one that seeks emerging Canadian creators. 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 2016 edition are organized by deadline date, from September 30 to December 31.

The Puritan Thomas Morton Memorial Prize
Genres: Poetry; Fiction (max 7500 words)
Deadline: September 30, 2016 October 10, 2016 (extended)
Prizes: $1000 + publication + $100 book prize pack
Entry Fee: $15
Detailshttp://puritan-magazine.com/writing-contest/

CV2 Young Buck Poetry Prize
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: October 1, 2016
Prizes: $1000 (1st); cash prizes for runners-up; publication
Entry Fee: $26 ($16 for each additional entry)
Detailshttp://www.contemporaryverse2.ca/en/contests/young-buck-poetry-prize
Note: Open to writers under the age of 35

PRISM International Pacific Spirit Poetry Prize
Genre: Poetry (up to 3 poems per entry)
Deadline: October 15, 2016
Prizes: $1500 (1st); $600 (2nd); $400 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35 (includes subscription); $5 each for additional entries
Detailshttp://prismmagazine.ca/contests/
Note: PRISM’s short fiction contest will have a deadline of Jan 15, 2017

Tethered by Letters F(r)iction Fall Literary Competition
Genres: Short stories (1,000-7,500 words), flash fiction (750 words) and poetry
Deadline: November 1, 2016
Prizes: $1,600
Entry Fee: range from $8-15 for each contest
Details: http://tetheredbyletters.com/submissions/contest/

The Malahat Review Open Season Awards
Genres: Poetry; Fiction; Creative Non-fiction (max 2500 words)
Deadline: November 1, 2016 November 6, 2016 (extended)
Prizes: $1500 to the winner in each section + publication
Entry Fee: $35 (includes subscription); $15 each for additional entries
Detailshttp://www.malahatreview.ca/contests/open_season/info.html

CBC Canada Writes Short Story Contest
Genre: Fiction (1200-1500 words)
Deadline: November 1, 2016
Prizes: $6000 + Banff Centre Residency + Publication in enRoute & CBCBooks.ca (1st prize); $1000 for each of 4 runners up
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/literaryprizes/shortstory/

CNQ: Canadian Notes & Queries CanLitCrit Essay Contest
Genre: Non-fiction essay (max 4000 words)
Deadline: November 15, 2016
Prizes: $1000 (1st); $500 (2nd); $250 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $30 (includes subscription); $10 for additional entries
Detailshttp://notesandqueries.ca/contests/

Prairie Fire Creative Writing Contests
Genres: Poetry; Fiction (max 10,000 words); Creative Non-fiction (max 5000 words)
Deadline: November 30, 2016
Prizes: $1250 (1st); $500 (2nd); $250 (3rd); publication; invitation to Thin Air Writers Festival; dinner with Prairie Fire staff
Entry Fee: $32 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://www.prairiefire.ca/contests/

Room Cover Art Contest
Genre: Visual Art
Deadline: November 30, 2016
Prizes: $500 + your art on the cover of Room’s issue 40.2 (1st place); $50 + publication (2nd); web publication (Honourable Mention)
Entry Fee: $35 (includes subscription); $7 for each additional entry
Details: http://roommagazine.com/contests

Up Here Photo Contest
Categories: Grand Prize; Science & Nature; Travel & Adventure; Arts & Culture; People & History
Deadline: November 30, 2016
Prizes: Nikon 7200 HD-SLR + lens (Grand Prize winner); subscriptions for winners in each of 4 categories; publication
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://uphere.ca/photocontest
Note: Contest open to all Canadians; photographs must be of Canada’s North

Saltscapes Photography Contest
Categories: Landscapes & Nature; Uniquely Atlantic Canadian; World Up Close; People/Folks
Deadline: November 30, 2016
Prizes: Nikon AW1 camera + lens (Grand Prize winner); Framed canvas print (winners in each of 4 categories); CAA membership (each of 2 staff picks); gift certificates (honourable mentions)
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://saltscapes.com/contests/amateur-photo-contest/contest-details.html
Note: Contest open to all Canadians; photographs must be of Atlantic Canada

Briarpatch Writing in the Margins Creative Writing Contest
Genres: Poetry; Creative Non-fiction (max 2000 words)
Deadline: December 1, 2016
Prize: $300 + print publication (1st); $75 + online publication (honourable mention)
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://briarpatchmagazine.com/writingcontest

The Fiddlehead 26th annual Literary Contest
Genres: Poetry (up to 3 poems); Fiction (max 6000 words)
Deadline: December 1, 2016
Prizes: $2000 + publication (1st); $250 each to 2 honourable mention
Entry Fee: $30 (includes subscription)
Detailshttps://thefiddlehead.ca/contest

Freefall Prose & Poetry Contests
Genres: Poetry (max 5 poems); Fiction (max 3000 words)
Deadline: December 31, 2016
Prizes: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); $75 (3rd); $25 (HM); publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription); additional entries $5 each
Detailshttp://www.freefallmagazine.ca/contest.html

On the horizon for 2017…

Plentitude’s Cornucopia Literary Prize
Genre: Fiction
Deadline: February 15, 2017
Prize: $500 + publication in Plenitude magazine
Entry Fee: $15
Details: Open to LGBTQ2 writers only: http://plenitudemagazine.ca/announcing-the-inaugural-cornucopia-literary-prize


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 2017, 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

Top 10 Canadian Poets | NMA 2016 Nominees in Poetry

In 1977 the very first National Magazine Award for Poetry was presented to a young poet named Marilyn Bowering, for a poem called “Rose Harbour Whaling, 1910.” The poem was published in a magazine called Branching Out, which was a feminist literary magazine founded in 1973 in Edmonton. Marilyn Bowering has gone on to become one of Canada’s most beloved poets and playwrights, and while Branching Out lasted only 7 years in publication, it remains part of a great tradition of Canadian literary magazines.

This year the National Magazine Awards jury has selected 10 finalists for the Poetry Award, from among entries in dozens of literary magazines from across the country. The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed at the National Magazine Awards gala on June 10 in Toronto. [Tickets & Gala Info].

Vote for Canada’s Best Magazine Cover

Here are the nominated writers and magazines for this year’s National Magazine Award for Poetry…


Leanne Simpson
Caribou Ghosts & Untold Stories; This Accident of Being Lost; To Be a Witness
Arc


Roxanna Bennett
Ghost Dog
Arc


Rachel Rose
Corona for Charlotte; Good Measure; Sunflowers
The Fiddlehead


Gary Barwin
Winter
Hazlitt


Harold Hoefle
A Loving Follow-Through
Prairie Fire


Vincent Pagé
Why Don’t I
PRISM International


Shazia Hafiz Ramji
The Second Person
Sub-Terrain


Michael Prior
Murmuration; Fathom; Hibernal Country
The New Quarterly


Julie Bruck
Supreme Leader; Flipped; Let Evening Come
The Rusty Toque


David McGimpsey
The High Road
Vallum


Who do you think is most worthy of this award? Leave us a comment or tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA16.

Tickets are on sale for the 39th annual National Magazine Awards gala, Friday June 10 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto.

Vote for Canada’s Best Magazine Cover

See the National Magazine Awards nominees for:
Fashion
Best Magazine Brand
Best New Magazine Writer
Best New Magazine Photographer
Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Fiction
Single Service Article Package
Illustration

Art Direction of an Entire Issue
Art Direction of a Single Article
Portrait Photography
Words & Pictures
Best Single Issue
Magazine Covers
Columns

Complete nominations coverage

See also:
A Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines

Off the Page, with poet Michael Prior

At the start of summerfall, and early spring, the National Magazine Awards Foundation publishes a comprehensive list of magazine writing contests and prizes. These contests are great opportunities for emerging writers and poets to establish their presence in CanLit. Michael Prior is one such emerging writer, and in just a few years he’s compiled an impressive record of Canadian magazine publications and contest wins.

Doggedly submitting his work to numerous literary publications, between 2013 and 2015 Michael placed in over a dozen competitions and garnered scores of publications in literary journals and magazines across Canada.

His success as a poet has evolved from literary publications to small-press chapbooks–Swan Dive (Frog Hollow Press, 2014) included poetry first published in The Walrus, Lemon Hound and the Winnipeg Reviewto a debut, book-length collection recently published by Véhicule Press: Model Disciple (Spring 2016).

Recently the NMAF caught up with Michael, currently pursuing an MFA at Cornell University, to chat about magazine contests and building a career as a writer.

NMAF: Your poetry career emerged quite recently and has been moving at breakneck-speed. How and when did you first set foot in the world of Canadian poetry, and why were you drawn to this world?

Michael Prior: I think, like a lot of other writers, I was nudged into this by a series of passionate teachers and professors. I had always liked poetry, but it wasn’t until later in my undergrad that I actually began to read poems deeply. And then, when I did, they became these fascinating and visceral experiences: Dickinson took off the top of my head. Lowell made me feel like my mind was in a vise. Bishop asked me to look more carefully until the act of looking became a way of thinking.

NMAF: “To Hunt” (2013) garnered you your first poetry contest win: 2nd place in Echolocation’s Chase Chapbook Competition. You were in Vancouver at the time; what drew you to submitting to the Toronto-based Echolocation? What did it mean to win, and what happened—personally and professionally—next?

Michael Prior: Well, I’m not sure anything happened immediately, but placing second certainly gave me a little more confidence. I hadn’t been making poems for long at that point, and I remember having received a few rejections around the same time, so it was a nice validation to think that someone liked something I had written.

 

NMAF: You’ve since won poetry contests in acclaimed Canadian magazines, such as Vallum, Grain, The Walrus, and Matrix Magazine. There are often financial incentives to entering magazine writing contests, but what are some of the not-so-obvious perks? (Winning the Matrix Lit POP Award, for instance, includes tickets to POP Montreal and offers poets the opportunity to present on stage.)

Michael PriorPrairie Fire’s Bliss Carman Poetry Prize invites its winner out to the Thin Air Festival, and the Robert Kroetsch Award from Matrix comes with perhaps the ultimate prize: a first book publication deal for its winner.

But in terms of less tangible perks, I would argue that the primary benefit of literary magazine contests is that most are run through a blind submission process; that is, the readers and judges aren’t permitted to see the authors’ names, and therefore have to judge the work on its own merits without the context of a writer’s corpus, their stature in a literary community—in theory, this should level the playing field a bit for less-established writers.

But of course, the factors involved in any contest’s outcome are undeniably complex. There are aspects of contest culture that might favour certain aesthetics, certain experiences, certain types of poems about certain things. Connected to this is the question of who’s actually entering literary magazine contests. Economic means can be an obstacle to submitting (contests usually cost around $30 to enter, which is a lot for someone struggling to make ends meet) and identity can also be a determining factor: writers of colour may be uneasy about sending their work to prizes if the judge is of European descent, while LGBTTQI writers may apprehensive about submitting to a contest judged by a cisgender, straight individual.

 

Regardless of whether one wins, or doesn’t, I think it’s important to remember that placing in a contest is only a small measure of success. What matters is that one keeps writing and reading and writing.

 

I do think, however, that contests present an important opportunity for writers, as long as one takes their inscription of hierarchies, their tendencies, with a grain of salt; the magazines that run contests should be thinking (if they aren’t already) about how to attract more diverse submissions from diverse writers. Mostly, I hope that judges and readers are doing their best to be respectful, empathetic, imaginative, and inclusive when considering contest submissions.

 

NMAF: Which Canadian literary magazines are on your reading list right now?

Michael Prior: There are many great Canadian literary magazines, though due to budget constraints I have to rotate subscriptions. Right now, the stack of periodicals on my bedside table includes issues of Ricepaper, Poetry is Dead, The New Quarterly, Canadian Notes and Queries, The Walrus, Maisonneuve, and The Fiddlehead.

I do my best to keep up with Canada’s burgeoning online publications, and like many of the poet folk I know, I eagerly await each new issue of The Puritan and The Rusty Toque. Also online: the poet Robin Richardson recently founded the Minola Review in order to create a unique publishing space for women, femme-identifying, and non-binary writers; the influential website Lemon Hound, though no longer publishing, remains an important archive; and Plenitude Magazine continues to publish and promote the work of LGBTTQI writers in Canada.

Needless to say, I think it’s apparent that there’s a lot of exciting work happening among Canada’s many literary magazines, of which I’ve only mentioned a small number, and I’m very grateful for all the editors and staff who volunteer countless hours to sift through the submissions and support new work.

 

NMAF: While completing your Master’s at the University of Toronto, you were a Poetry Editor at Echolocation. You’re now an MFA candidate at Cornell, and an Assistant Editor at Cornell’s Epoch Magazine. How does a magazine editor at a small press literary journal go about attracting new writing talent and new readers? As an editor, what do you look for in poetry submissions?

Michael Prior: To answer the first part of your question, I think an engaged editor obviously needs to read widely: books, journals, websites, blogs, and all the other places poems might be proliferating. This is undoubtedly time consuming—we’re all busy, and resources tend to be scarce at small magazines—but I think this sort of effort is essential to fostering a magazine’s ethos, which emerges over time through both the work an editor solicits, and the work an editor accepts from the slush pile. This becomes an even harder thing to foster at a student-run journal, where the staff changes every year.

Editorial work, in my opinion, requires a simultaneously historical and forward-looking perspective (what has happened, what is happening, what will happen next / what might I like to see happening more in the future). Editors are unavoidably gate-keepers. There’s no way around it: a magazine cannot, nor should it try to be, everything at once (though its scope of interest need not be narrow)—what’s important is that the literary landscape is able to support a diverse range of publications, and by extension, a diverse range of editors.

And of course, I believe editors should always be questioning what they like and why. As Jim Johnstone once said to me, it’s much easier to quickly dismiss a piece of writing than it is to spend the time and learn how it’s asking to be read. Some writing opens up in unexpected ways with a little persistence.

"Model Discipline" by Michael Prior is now available from Véhicule Press.
“Model Discipline” by Michael Prior is now available from Véhicule Press.

As for what I personally look for in a submission, well, I’m interested in poems that are compelling experiences, surprising experiences, experiences that are emotionally complex and powerful—poems that have something at stake beyond language as a game of phonemic pick-up sticks. Memorability is often a good marker of this for me: if I am re-experiencing a poem at unexpected times (while riding the bus, or when walking a corgi) moments when the poem is not right in front of me, that’s usually a good sign.

I am also interested in a poem’s formal qualities, especially its engagement with what has preceded it—its conversation with other poems, traditions, and modes. In other words, how aware is the poem of the fact it wasn’t written in a vacuum? This isn’t to say I’m only interested in canonically inherited formal structures (though I am a sucker for a well-written sonnet): I’m as equally enraptured by Alexandra Oliver’s metrical brilliance as I am by Alice Fulton’s fractal poetics or Cathy Park Hong’s renovation of the ballad form through lipogrammatic constraints.

NMAF: As both a writer and editor, what advice do you have for those new poets who have yet to enter a magazine writing contest?

Michael Prior: While it’s nice to win, entering a contest can be a helpful creative impetus: use the contest as a deadline to generate new work; use the contest as a way to support an admired publication; use the contest to hopefully get one’s work before the eyes of a favourite writer.

And regardless of whether one wins, or doesn’t, I think it’s important to remember that placing in a contest is only a small measure of success. What matters is that one keeps writing and reading and writing.


From the National Magazine Awards Foundation:


Michael Prior’s Model Disciple was released on March 29th, 2016. Véhicule Press has declared it “one of the most commanding poetic debuts in years” and the CBC included Model Disciple on their Spring 2016 Books Preview. Model Disciple is available in bookstores and for order now.

Michael holds an MA in English with a Creative Thesis from the University of Toronto, where he was the poetry editor of EcholocationHe’s now a poetry candidate at Cornell University, and an assistant poetry editor at Epoch Magazine. Though living in America, he’s still actively publishing in Canadian magazines, with work recently appearing in recent issues of The Puritan and Canadian Notes and Queries. He also has poems forthcoming in Ricepaper and The Fiddlehead. Discover more at MichaelPrior.ca and on Twitter @MichaelPrior06.

Special thanks to Leah Edwards for researching and conducting this interview on behalf of the NMAF.

The nominees for the 39th annual National Magazine Awards will be announced on Monday,. May 2, 2016. Follow us right here on this blog or on Twitter (@MagAwards) to find out who will be the finalists this year. 

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

NMA laureates Robyn Sarah, Guy Vanderhaeghe win Governor General’s Literary Awards

Robyn Sarah. Photo by Allen McEachern (via Canada Council for the Arts)
Robyn Sarah. Photo by Allen McEachern (via Canada Council for the Arts)

Montreal poet Robyn Sarah and Saskatchewan author Guy Vanderhaeghe, both previously National Magazine Award winners, have been named the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award winners for poetry and fiction, as announced by Canada Council for the Arts this morning.

The work of both writers and all the other finalists for the #GGBooks fiction and poetry prizes first appeared in one or more of Canada’s literary magazines, demonstrating yet again how important our cultural magazines are to fostering a strong and vibrant Canadian literary community.

In the spring of 2012 Robyn Sarah published a poem in The New Quarterly issue #122 called “My Shoes Are Killing Me (a poem in nine movements),” which went on to be nominated for a National Magazine Award. Three years later, now expanded into a collection of poetry under the same title, Robyn Sarah’s work has won one of Canadian poetry’s highest honours.

 

Robyn Sarah won the National Magazine Award for fiction in 1993 (for “Accept my Story” in the Malahat Review), and she has also twice been nominated for her critical essays in TNQ.

Two other #GGBooks poetry finalists are NMA laureates. Patrick Lane has won 3 National Magazine Awards for his poetry, most recently for “Arroyo” published in VallumKayla Czaga was a National Magazine Award poetry finalist in 2014, for “Song” and other poems in Arc Poetry Magazine.

Guy Vanderhaeghe was a finalist for the National Magazine Award in fiction this year for his story “Tick Tock” in Prairie Fire. His latest book of short fiction, Daddy Lenin and Other Stories, was named the #GGBooks winner this year, the third time he’s won the Governor General’s Literary Award.

Fellow #GGBooks fiction nominee Helen Humphreys was a National Magazine Award finalist in 2012 for her essay “Natural History” in Queen’s Quarterly.

Read more about this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award winners at ggbooks.ca.

And check out some of this fall’s great writing contests from Canadian literary magazines.

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
Detailshttp://puritan-magazine.com/submissions/

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
Detailshttp://uphere.ca/photocontest
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
Detailshttp://wcdr.ca/wcdr/contest/

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

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

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)
Details: http://humberliteraryreview.com/submissions

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
Detailshttp://prismmagazine.ca/contests/
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)
Detailshttp://plenitudemagazine.ca/emerging-writer-mentorship-award/

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)
Detailshttp://www.prairiefire.ca/contests/

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)
Detailshttp://briarpatchmagazine.com/writingcontest

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)
Detailshttp://www.thefiddlehead.ca/FHcontest.html

Rhubarb magazine contests
Genres: Fiction; Poetry; Essays
Deadline: December 15, 2015
Prize: $500 + publication
Entry Fee: $30; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.rhubarbmag.com/submit-or-enter/contests/

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
Detailshttp://www.gritlit.ca/submissions/

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
Detailshttp://www.freefallmagazine.ca/contest.html


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

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.

Get to know Nouveau Projet: Canada’s Magazine of the Year

Nouveau Projet Issue no. 5, Spring-Summer 2014. Gold Medal in Art Direction of an Entire Issue, 2014 National Magazine Awards

At this year’s National Magazine Awards held on June 5 the jury awarded the prestigious prize of Magazine of the Year to Nouveau Projet, an independent French-language literary and cultural magazine published by Atelier 10 in Montreal.

Launched in 2012, the magazine’s mandate is to help us better understand the challenges of our time and lead a more balanced, satisfying and meaningful life. A catalyst and rallying point of progressive forces in Quebec in the 2010s, it seeks to encourage and nurture public discussion, while looking upon our time with a curious, sincere and thorough gaze.

In addition to winning Magazine of the Year, Nouveau Projet also won the Gold Medals for Art Direction of an Entire Issue and Words & Pictures, as well as the Silver Medal for Editorial Package and Honourable Mention in Fiction, Personal Journalism and Best Single Issue, marking a breakout performance that has piqued the interest of magazine readers and fellow members of the Canadian media industry.

Nouveau Projet editor Nicolas Langelier accepts the award for Magazine of the Year from NMAF President Joyce Byrne and Joanne Larocque-Poirier, Head of Prizes for Canada Council for the Arts. (Photo: Dave Todon / KlixPix)
Nouveau Projet editor Nicolas Langelier accepts the award for Magazine of the Year from NMAF President Joyce Byrne and Joanne Larocque-Poirier, Head of Prizes for Canada Council for the Arts. (Photo: Dave Todon / KlixPix)

About Nouveau Projet the National Magazine Awards jury said:

Nouveau Projet is a near-perfect symbiosis of subject matter, expert writing and exceptionally original design. It sets itself apart thanks to inspiring themes and bold covers. The magazine offers a fresh take on the genre and dares to cover topics that are virtually absent in other media. The energy of the editorial team is tangible page after page. Nouveau Projet embodies the spirit of print magazines.

Earlier this year we chatted with Nicolas Langelier, founder and editor-in-chief of Nouveau Projet–part of our Off the Page / En Marge interview series with National Magazine Award winners. You can read the original interview in French, or continue below for an excerpt translated into English.

Nicolas Langelier (Photographe : Maxime Leduc); Nouveau Projet numéro 6
Nicolas Langelier (Photographe : Maxime Leduc); Nouveau Projet Issue no. 6, Fall-Winter 2014: Silver Medal, Editorial Package, 2014 National Magazine Awards.

NMAF: What was your reaction to receiving a nomination for Magazine of the Year for Nouveau Projet?

Nicolas: It was both a great surprise and a source of pride. For a small independent magazine that has been published only for a few years, even to be a finalist for Magazine of the Year is an unexpected honour. I am grateful to the National Magazine Awards Foundation for taking into account the diversity of magazines and their resources.

NMAF: To what do you attribute the early success of the magazine?

Nicolas: From the start our obsession has been quality in everything we do, from the choice of our subjects to our presence on social media. Our readers can really sense this constant concern for quality; it’s something they are willing to pay for.

It also seems to me that we have a niche to fill in the Canadian media landscape. With the general trend towards shorter texts, more sensational topics, faster publishing — this environment has created a place for people to counter that trend with quality content.

Our readers tell us that we are doing a great job in delivering this, and I think it is because we offer something that many publications think their readers don’t need.

"La pointe des utopies" by Remy Bordillon and Pierre-Yves Cezard. Gold Medal in Words & Pictures
“La pointe des utopies” by Remy Bordillon and Pierre-Yves Cezard (Nouveau Projet). Gold Medal in Words & Pictures, 2014 National Magazine Awards.

NMAF: The excellence of Nouveau Projet has been recognized with several National Magazine Awards, including Art Direction of an Entire Issue, Words & Pictures and Magazine of the Year. What impact do these awards have for you and the magazine?

Nicolas: It’s certainly something that has had a positive impact for us, perhaps more by raising our profile among others in the Canadian magazine industry than among the public, which may not know them well yet (in Quebec at least). This recognition from our peers, advertisers, and current and future contributors means a lot to us.

NMAF: You frequently participate in the National Magazine Awards as a member of our volunteer jury. While you were president of the Association des journalistes indépendants, you created the Grands Prix du journalisme indépendant. How would you describe the critical role that awards programs play in the industry, for magazines and creators?

Nicolas: They are essential. To have these kinds of institutions that value excellence and support the entire industry; it seems absolutely necessary. This is true for breeders of cows, for architects, and for those who create magazines: we need these incentives to compare ourselves with the talent and rigour present elsewhere in our industry, and to demand the best from ourselves.

"Faux-self mon amour," by Fanny Britt (Nouveau Projet) ; Gold Medal, Personal Journalism, 2012 National Magazine Awards
“Faux-self mon amour,” by Fanny Britt (Nouveau Projet) ; Gold Medal, Personal Journalism, 2012 National Magazine Awards

NMAF: What does the future hold for Nouveau Projet and your publishing house, Atelier 10?

Nicolas: I want us to become a reference for culture and ideas in Quebec–and the rest of the Francophonie, eventually. To publish the best authors and visual artists, and discover and engage new readers. To produce various types of publications, always with great rigour and quality.

I still believe much in paper as a medium to convey ideas, information, and values. Those who predict the death of print–I want to prove them wrong. This does not mean that we should neglect digital opportunities; everything we do is also available in digital versions. But paper has a special place in my heart, and I think this is also the case for the majority of the public. We enjoy both!

Ultimately, I hope that our work has a positive impact at the cultural, social and intellectual levels. If we do all this, in the face of obstacles and difficult conditions, it is because we believe that changes are needed in our society, and we also believe that the media continue to have a key role to play in advancing discussion and debate. Yes, the past fifteen years have been tough on our industry, but it’s up to us to find ways to continue to fulfill our role. It would be extremely unfortunate for humanity if a simple change in the economic environment deprived us of the essential service that is quality media.

This interview has been edited and adapted from its original French, published in January 2015. Discover more about Nouveau Projet at nouveauprojet.com and on Twitter @nouveau_projet.

Nouveau Projet in the National Magazine Awards Archive:
2014: Magazine of the Year
2014: Gold Medal, Words & Pictures (“La pointe des utopies”)
2014: Gold Medal, Art Direction of an Entire Issue (“Automne/Hiver 2014”)
2014: Silver Medal, Editorial Package (“Régénérescences”)
2012: Gold Medal, Personal Journalism (“Faux-self, mon amour“)

Honourable Mention:
2014: Best Single Issue, Fiction, Personal Journalism
2013: Personal Journalism, Essays, Art Direction of an Entire Issue, Magazine of the Year
2012: How-To

Geist as App: A new way to read Geist magazine

Great Canadian literary magazine content is now more accessible than ever, and Geist magazine is leading the way.

The new Geist Reader App is now available for iPads and iPhones, and contains the same great Geist stories, essays, photography and reviews published in the print edition, available in a beautifully designed digital edition readable on mobile devices.

Download the app and get a free digital issue of Geist no. 95.

The app will soon be available for Android devices, and the magazine is planning to make access to back issues available via the app in the future.

Check out the new issue of Prism International

The Winter 2015 issue of Prism International (Vol. 53, No. 2) is hot. Yes, we’re especially fond of the National Magazine Awards winners seal that adorns the cover, acknowledging writer Pasha Malla‘s silver medal for fiction (“The Actual” from Prism 51:3) at last year’s NMA gala.

The new issue features creative non-fiction by National Magazine Award winners Ayelet Tsabari–recent winner of the Sami Rohr prize–and Liz Windhorst Harmer, among others. And an impressive menu of short fiction and poetry, including a piece by NMA winner Alice Major.

You can find the new issue in select bookstores and literary newsstands, or online from the Prism store.

Your Guide to Winter/Spring 2015 Magazine Writing Contests

[Click here for our Summer and Winter/Spring contest guides]

It’s minus-fifteen degrees. The pastel glow of an early dusk drapes over the bare walnut tree outside your window. You sit at a writing table with the seventh draft, poring over your final notes. You’re satisfied at last. But where to submit this poem, short story, memoir?

Answer: a Canadian magazine writing contest.

This guide, presented by the National Magazine Awards Foundation, is our largest yet, which hopefully indicates not only the vigour of the Canadian literary magazine scene, but also the unceasing desire to engage with new readers and writers that these wonderful magazines possess.

If you haven’t participated before, now is a great time to sit down with that story or poem of yours, polish it and put it out in the world. Along the way you may discover a great new magazine.

What this guide provides is a list of contests via Canadian magazines (or magazine-related organizations) open to unpublished works of Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction and Photography.

Please note: This list is organized chronologically by deadline dates from January 1 to June 15. If you know of a contest we missed, please email us or grab us on Twitter @MagAwards and we’ll update our guide.

Good luck!

Prism International Short Fiction & Poetry Contests
Genres: Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: January 23, 2015 January 30, 2015
Prize: $2000 (1st); $300 (2nd); $200 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription
Detailshttp://prismmagazine.ca/contests/

Matrix Magazine Robert Kroetsch Innovative Poetry Award
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: January 31, 2015
Prize: $500 + publication
Entry Fee: $30
Detailshttp://matrixmagazine.org/rkaward/

Arc Poetry Magazine Poem of the Year Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: February 1, 2015 February 15, 2015
Prize: $5000
Entry Fee: $32; includes subscription
Detailshttp://arcpoetry.ca/?page_id=5586

The Malahat Review Long Poem Prize
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: February 1, 2015
Prize: Two awards of $1000; publication
Entry Fee: $35 ($15 each for additional entries)
Detailshttp://www.malahatreview.ca/contests/long_poem_prize/info.html

11th annual Geist Literary Postcard Contest
Genre: Very short fiction or non-fiction (500 words)
Deadline: February 1, 2015
Prize: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $20; includes subscription ($5 each additional entry)
Detailshttp://www.geist.com/articles/postcard-contest/

Atlantic Writing Competition
Genres: Creative Non-fiction; Poetry; Short Fiction; Novel; Children’s Literature; Young Adult
Deadline: February 2, 2015
Prize: $200-$300 to winner in each category
Entry Fee: $20 – $35, depending on category
Detailshttp://writers.ns.ca/awards-competitions.html

Alberta Views Public Spaces Photography Contest
Genre: Photography
Deadline: February, 2015
Prizes: $1000; publication
Entry Fee: $30 ($15 for each additional entry)
Detailshttps://albertaviews.ab.ca/contests/

Carleton University In/Words “Passages” Writing Contest
Genres: Fiction, Poetry
Deadline: February 15, 2015
Prizes: $300 (1st); $100 (2nd); publication; prize pack
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://carleton.ca/english/annual-events/high-school-writing-competition/creative-writing-concentration-competition/
Note: Each contest has two age categories, one for under-18, one for 18+.

The New Quarterly Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: February 28, 2015
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: Non-fiction (1200-1500 words)
Deadline: March 1, 2015
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

Ottawa Magazine Short Fiction Contest
Genre: Fiction (max 3000 words)
Deadline: March 1, 2015
Prizes: $700 (1st); $300 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://www.ottawamagazine.com/culture/2014/12/05/contest-ottawa-magazine-short-fiction-contest/
Note: Open to Ottawa residents only

Writers Union of Canada Short Prose Competition
Genres: Non-fiction; Fiction
Deadline: March 1, 2015
Prize: $2500 + assistance with publication
Entry Fee: $29
Detailshttp://www.writersunion.ca/short-prose-competition

Room Creative Non-fiction Contest
Genre: Creative Non-fiction
Deadline: March 8, 2015
Prizes: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: $35 (includes subscription)
Details: http://www.roommagazine.com/rooms-annual-contests-2015

Arc Poetry Magazine Diana Brebner Emerging Poet Prize
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: March 15, 2015
Prize: $500
Entry Fee: $23 for up to 2 poems (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://arcpoetry.ca/?p=8662
Note: Open only to residents of Ottawa and the national capital region

Reader’s Digest Summer Camp Stories Competition
Genre: Short memoir (of summer camp)
Deadline: March 23, 2015
Prizes: Publication
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://www.readersdigest.ca/summer-camp-stories

The New Quarterly Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest
Genre: Creative Non-Fiction
Deadline: March 28, 2015 April 13, 2015
Prize: $1000 + publication
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests

Exile Literary Quarterly Carter V. Cooper Fiction Competition
Genre: Fiction (max 30 pages)
Deadline: March 30, 2015 April 13, 2015
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/

Narrative Magazine Winter 2015 Story Contest
Genres: Non-fiction; Fiction; Graphic Narratives; Photo Essays
Deadline: March 31, 2015
Prize: $2,500 (1st); $1000 (2nd); $500 (3rd); $100 (finalist)
Entry Fee: $22
Detailshttp://www.narrativemagazine.com/node/238622
Notes: Entries may be fiction or literary nonfiction, including essays, memoirs, or any other form of unpublished manuscript, with a word limit of 15,000. This year photo essays and graphic narratives are also accepted. All are judged in the same pool.

Writers’ Trust Student Non-Fiction Contest
Genre: Non-fiction (open to high school students only)
Deadline: March 31, 2015
Prize: $2500 + trip to Toronto + publication in Maclean’s (1st); $500 (2nd); $250 (3rd)
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://writerstrust.com/students

Grain magazine Short Grain Writing Contest
Genres: Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: April 1, 2015
Prize: $1000 (1st); $750 (2nd); $500 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.grainmagazine.ca/short-grain-contest/

The Rusty Toque Poetry Chapbook Contest
Genre
: Poetry (20 pages max)
Deadline: April 1, 2015
Prizes: $800 + publication + prize pack (1st); $100 + except publication + prize packs (2 other finalists)
Entry Fee: $15
Detailshttp://www.therustytoque.com/chapbook-contest.html

The Impressment Gang Poetry Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: April 1, 2015
Prize: $100 + publication
Entry Fee: $7.50; other options for subscribers
Detailshttp://www.theimpressmentgang.com/contest/

CV2 2-Day Poem Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: April 6, 2015 (registration; competition is held April 11-12)
Prize: $500 (1st); $300 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $26; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.contemporaryverse2.ca/en/contests/2-day-poem-contest

Event magazine Creative Non-Fiction Contest
Genre: Non-fiction (5000 words or fewer)
Deadline: April 15, 2015
Prize: $1500 in total cash prizes; publication
Entry Fee: $34.95; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.eventmagazine.ca/contest-nf/

The Malahat Review Far Horizons Short Fiction Contest
Genre: Fiction
Deadline: May 1, 2015
Prize: $1000; publication
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.malahatreview.ca/contests/far_horizons_fiction/info.html

Dalhousie Review Short Story Contest
Genre: Fiction
Deadline: May 1, 2015
Prizes: $750 (1st); $250 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: $30 ($15 for each additional entry)
Detailshttp://dalhousiereview.dal.ca/contest.html

Sub-Terrain Lush Triumphant Literary Awards
Genres: Creative Non-fiction; Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: May 15, 2015
Prize: $1000 to winner of each category; publication
Entry Fee: $27.50; includes subscription
Detailshttp://subterrain.ca/about/103/lush-2013-awards-open+for+entries

The New Quarterly Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award
Genre: Fiction
Deadline: May 28, 2015
Prize: $1000 + publication
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests

CBC Canada Writes Poetry Prize
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: June 1, 2015
Prize: $6000 + publication in enRoute + Banff Centre residency (1st); $1000 each to 4 runners up
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/literaryprizes/poetry/index.html

Alice Munro Festival Short Story Contest
Genre: Short Fiction (one category for adults, one for teens)
Deadline: TBA
Prizes: $500 (1st); $300 (2nd); $200 (3rd); $75 (4th); $50 (5th)
Entry Fee: $10 – $25
Detailshttp://alicemunrofestival.ca/?page_id=306

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.

Related Posts:
A Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines
Your Guide to Summer Magazine Writing Contests
Your Guide to Fall Magazine Writing Contests

Feathertale Review trailer previews two beginnings, no end, to new issue

Video trailers for magazine issues are becoming increasingly popular, and this one from National Magazine Award-winning humour & literary magazine The Feathertale Review caught our eye today.

Check out the new issue. For more about Feathertale, check out our recent interview with founder and editor Brett Popplewell.

The Feathertale Review, issue no. 6, winner of Best Magazine Cover, 2010 National Magazine Awards
The Feathertale Review, issue no. 6, winner of Best Magazine Cover, 2010 National Magazine Awards

The submissions deadline for the National Magazine Awards is January 19. Don’t miss it!

Farewell, Descant

Descant, the arts and literary quarterly published independently in Toronto since 1970, has announced that its forthcoming 167th issue, Vol. 45, No. 4, Winter 2014, will be its last.

Editor-in-chief Karen Mulhallen posted a farewell note on the magazine’s website, noting that after painstaking efforts to find alternative funding and deliberations among staff and funders, “we have jointly decided that Descant magazine in its present form is no longer sustainable.”

Grants have been in decline for more than five years, although other revenues such as sales and subscriptions have held steady or increased. We have cut costs everywhere we could, but many expenses over which we have no control have continued to spiral up.

Descant has won 6 National Magazine Awards since 1980 for its fiction, poetry and essays, most recently Adam Lindsay Honsinger‘s short story “Silence” in 2009.

What began as a mimeograph forty-four years ago evolved into a robust and stimulating literary magazine that has published works by Anne Michaels, Timothy Findley, Evelyn Lau, Margaret Atwood, Isabel Allende, Tom McGuane, Jane Urquhart, Dennis Lee, Michael Ondaatje and R. Murray Schafer, among many others. Lately its production office has been the historic George Brown building at the corner of Baldwin and Beverly Streets.

Browse through the back issues of Descant for a more complete perspective on what the magazine has published.

From the National Magazine Awards online archive:
Up the Amazon–1959; Mexico–1960” by P.K. Page (Descant), Honourable Mention, Poetry, 2005
Fudge” by Alex Pugsley (Descant), Honourable Mention, Fiction, 2010

The National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer

Are you an emerging Canadian magazine journalist or creative non-fiction writer? Did you publish one of your first major stories in 2014 in a Canadian consumer magazine, university magazine or literary journal? 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 writer whose early work in Canadian magazines (print, online or tablet) shows the highest degree of craft and promise.

Last year’s winner, Catherine McIntrye, published an investigative story in THIS Magazine about cancer rates in New Brunswick and correlations to heavy industry. Read our interview with Catherine about her story and ambition to become a magazine journalist.

The 2012 winner, Sierra Skye Gemma, published a personal essay about grief in the literary journal The New Quarterly. Read our interview with Sierra about her approach to creative writing and how she came to enter her story for a National Magazine Award.

Previous finalists and winners have been published in Ryerson Review of Journalism, The Walrus, Maisonneuve, Prairie Fire, Chatelaine, Alberta Views, NOW Magazine, Toronto Life, Maclean’s and more.

ELIGIBILITY
Eligible work must have been published in a Canadian magazine (print, online or tablet) between January 1 and December 31, 2014, and must be at least 1000 words in length. Open to non-fiction work only. Articles published in university/college magazines are eligible. Candidates must not have published any magazine work longer than 1000 words prior to 2013. The intent is to restrict this award to students and magazine writers with a maximum of 2 years’ experience in professional journalism. One entry per person. See the NMAF’s general rules for further information about eligible publications.

HOW TO ENTER
Submit now at magazine-awards.com. Submissions may be made by the writer or by their publisher, editor or teacher. Entrants must complete the online application and submit required hard copies (see below). The deadline for applications including all required hard copies is January 19. The cost to enter is only $25 +HST.

REQUIREMENTS

  • Upload a PDF of your story during the online application.
  • Submit in hard copy four (4) sets of original tear sheets and four (4) copies of a letter of reference from a teacher, editor, mentor or colleague which attests to the candidate’s eligibility and provides context for the work submitted. Both the article and letter are reviewed by the judges.
  • Pay the submission fee ($25 + HST) by cheque or credit card.

FINALISTS AND WINNERS
A shortlist of 3 finalists will be announced on May 4, and each finalist will receive recognition in the NMAF’s publications and a certificate. The winner will be revealed at the 38th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 5.

PRIZE
$500 cash; plus the right to call yourself a National Magazine Award-winning writer. We’ll interview you on our blog and promote you and your writing across Canada.

More information and to submit:
magazine-awards.com/bnmw 

Don’t forget the deadline: January 19, 2015.

Off the Page, with Charles Yao & Little Brother Magazine

Charles Yao (Photo by Paul Terefenko)
Charles Yao (Photo by Paul Terefenko)

Off the Page is a regular interview series produced by the National Magazine Awards Foundation. Today we catch up with Charles Yao, publisher and art director of Little Brother, a literary magazine which won its first NMA this past spring. The 2014 National Magazine Awards are now open for submissions.

NMAF: Little Brother only recently burst onto the Canadian lit-mag scene, with your first issue released in 2012 (and already sold out, I see). What is your perspective on the value of literary magazines to Canadian readers and culture, and how did this influence what was no doubt a bold decision to launch LB?

Charles: Literary magazines are valuable, for sure. They’re like this living system—new writing, lovingly packaged, parceled out every few months—that keeps the culture moving, keeps it evolving. That’s the best-case scenario anyway.

When we started Little Brother, we wanted to be a part of that, but also do our own thing. If it’s not new, why bother? So we junked what we didn’t like, and made a magazine that we personally would want to read. LB has always been very DIY. No grants, no open submissions, no army of slush readers, no affiliations with universities. Just two people pushing out their literary and aesthetic sensibilities onto the world! We’ve run 10,000-word essays on hot dogs, professional wrestling, illness and laughter, women in print media, the influence of America on Canadian writers. We’ve commissioned photo essays on pop bottles and “boring” apartment buildings. It speaks to the breadth of Canadian literary culture that there’s room—even a relatively sizeable audience—for what we’re doing.

As far as the “bold” decision to launch our own mag. Back then, [founding publisher] Emily M. Keeler was thinking a lot about Canadian literature: whether there was anything new under the sun—that kind of thing. Little Brother is like this candy-coloured mag that, twice a year, says, “Yes. Yes there are new things coming out of Canada that will more than repay your commitment.”

NMAF: Emily has said that she decided to pursue LB as a print publication (as opposed to digital) in part because the magazine wanted to create space for long pieces and experiments, for “prose that isn’t forced to hurriedly unfurl itself.” And she spoke of the rhythm of reading a printed magazine over digital. Is this sense of writer-reader engagement on a kind of special sensory plane a motivating force for you as a publisher, and why is this important in a media landscape with so much content?

Charles: A beautifully designed, thoughtfully paced magazine is simply the best medium for reading a certain kind of literary writing. If you want to read work that requires and rewards sustained attention, then a quality print mag, like McSweeney’s, like The Paris Review, like Little Brother, is still where it’s at.

And part of that, for sure, has to do with the sensory appeal—with, as you say, the rhythm of turning pages. You get that “space” that Emily mentions. You get the literal white space of the margins surrounding nice typography, which is its own kind of minor luxury these days. But you also get the mental space of uninterrupted reading. And you just don’t get that, at least not right now, with the junky impermanence of most web sites. (Just to be clear, though, the web is great for 95% of all reading. Most of my reading—most of everyone’s, I imagine—takes place on the web.)

I’ve also mentioned this elsewhere that an important aspect of publishing is excitement. Does the reader get excited when something is released? I think people still do get genuinely excited when a new issue of a print magazine comes out. They’re probably less excited when a web site gets refreshed. And, let’s be honest, they’re hovering in the bottom rungs of excitement when an eBook is released.

Finally, as producers, making a print, as opposed to a digital, magazine is a necessary motivator. We could have made a Tumblr. That would have been easy, but a little struggle is good. The fact that a print magazine costs money to produce, takes time to design and distribute, requires a wide skill set, forces you to learn new things—these are all pluses. Having stakes is important.

Jess Taylor at the 2014 NMA Gala
Jess Taylor accepting the award for Fiction at the 2014 NMA Gala

NMAF: A wonderful emerging writer named Jess Taylor won last year’s National Magazine Award for Fiction, for a short story called “Paul” in LB No. 3. Describe your experience of the nomination and the award, and what were you thinking when Jess walked up on stage?

Charles: Well, funny story. We first heard Jess read an early version of “Paul” at a live reading series, and we immediately wanted it for the mag. Wanted it quite badly. The problem was that she had already submitted it to this other journal, which, incredibly, couldn’t decide if they wanted to run it! I still remember the day that Jess sent us an email to say that we could have the story and start the editing process. That was a good day.

Still, I didn’t think Jess would win. It’s not because “Paul” isn’t great. And it’s not because Jess isn’t amazingly talented. It’s because, you know, she’s a relative newcomer. At that point, she hadn’t published very many stories and Little Brother wasn’t even finished its second year! So: you have a 24-year-old writer with an offbeat but beautiful story about three guys named “Paul,” and it’s published in a small-run magazine that’s only on its third issue—and it’s up against Michael Winter and Pasha Malla [and 3 other nominated writers]. Yet, somehow, she won! Actually, that’s some false modesty, I know: Jess’s story is a stone-cold classic!

When they announced Jess as the Gold winner, we pretty much lost our shit! She ran up on stage, and gave this really endearing speech. Her speech, and the one from an editor at Torontoist, were the best of the night. They were both deeply appreciative and a little shocked and very happy. I remember talking to Emily about whether we should even go to the ceremony; the price of the tickets was not inconsequential—that’s money we could put to good use elsewhere. But it turned out all right in the end. Also: there were two chocolate fountains at the post-awards gala, so I really can’t complain.

NMAF: What are your publishing goals for Little Brother, and where do you see recognition, such as that of the National Magazine Awards helping, to fulfill those goals?

Charles: Our goal is to keep growing, to get in front of as many potential readers as possible. Little Brother No. 5, the meta issue, is the first where we have proper national distribution. It’s important that LB be in stores across the country, in a lot of cities. It’s cool to see a spreadsheet of all the places selling it. My hope is that someone who’s never heard of LB stumbles on it, finds it intriguing enough to pick up, and brings it home. That kind of serendipity was how I found a lot of magazines—like early McSweeneys and Speak—that were important to me.

We’ve also launched a speaker series, called What We Talk About, which was originally started by the late Alicia Louise Merchant and Peter Merriman. Both of them, coincidentally, wrote essays for LB2. One reason we started LB was to build this community of like-minded writers, artists, and readers. So the lecture series is an extension of Little Brother! The first–about Witchy Women!–was held on November 19 at the Drake Hotel.

With Emily now the Books Editor at The National Post, we’ve grown the administrative side to compensate: Lydia Ogwang from Worn Fashion Journal is now our publishing associate, and Evangeline Holtz, who talked us into letting her be our publishing assistant (really!), will be helping us as she finishes her PhD. Jess Taylor, speak of the devil, will become our first fiction editor, which is very exciting. She’s as dedicated as anyone we know to nurturing, finding, and publishing new fiction writers, and she has a sensibility all her own—though it fits well within the context of LB. Emily will still work on the big essays, and I’m still the art director, but now also the publisher.

As for the National Magazine Award, I think it’s given us a certain legitimacy in the eyes of people who might have otherwise written us off as this upstart publication that just does what it likes. That’s true, but getting a Gold NMA is proof that there are other people who like what we’re doing, too.

Find out more about Little Brother at littlebrothermagazine.com and on Twitter @yourLB. Read Jess Taylor’s National Magazine Award-winning story “Paul” at the NMA archive

Read more Off the Page interviews with NMA winners.

The 2014 National Magazine Awards are now open for submissions. Small and literary magazines, find out about our Small Magazine Rebate for 1 free entry to the NMAs.

Small Magazine Rebate: Is Your Magazine Eligible for a Free Submission to the National Magazine Awards?

The National Magazine Awards Foundation strives to ensure that the awards recognize the best work from Canadian magazines. To help ensure a broad base of participation, this year we are offering one (1) FREE ENTRY to the National Magazine Awards to all magazines whose annual revenue is $200,000 or less. [Version française].

Applications are being accepted now; submissions for the 2014 National Magazine Awards will open on December 1.

YES: I want to apply for the Small Magazine Rebate

Why should you take advantage of the Small Magazine Rebate?

  • New Readers: Award-winning magazines attract new readers who are hungry for great stories.
  • Bragging Rights: Tell your readers and supporters that you are delivering the best and most credible content, recognized by your peers in the magazine industry.
  • Get Noticed: With a National Magazine Award, writers and artists find new audiences for their creative work.
  • Celebrate Your Creators: Editors, publishers and art directors have the opportunity to reward creative talent.
  • We Promote You: The NMAF works year-round to promote award-winning magazines and creators through mass media publicity, social media channels, newsstand promotions and more.

Because small magazines do so much with so little already.

In-depth journalism is expensive, and so most outlets are shying away from it [and] it needs to be supported by genuine investigative journalism that offers trustworthy and thorough research along with genuine writing talent (to keep us reading!). The NMAs mean a great deal to people in the magazine industry and to writers in general; they indicate what is working at a high level and signal to the country what might be worth paying attention to.
Curtis Gillespie, editor of Eighteen Bridges

Because literary magazines are a critical component of Canadian culture and their work deserves recognition.

I think the greatest challenge to being an editor of a literary magazine (or a writer for that matter) is money. It takes a lot of careful, cautious, and sometimes tedious work to keep a literary magazine alive. That said, it is so emotionally rewarding. [And] winning the NMA gave me confidence in my writing, which I never really had before.
Sierra Skye Gemma, executive editor of Prism International and winner of the award for Best New Magazine Writer

Because winning a National Magazine Award helps take your magazine to the next level.

After our first NMA a lot of illustrators and writers who hadn’t really been looking at us started submitting work our way. It definitely helped us grow and added some more established voices to our ever-expanding list of contributors. I guess you could say that award helped us beef up subsequent issues, including Feathertale 9, which won Gold for Best Single Issue last year.
Brett Popplewell, editor of The Feathertale Review

Because without the participation of small magazines, the NMAF would not be able to represent the wonderful work of Canada’s best literary and visual artists.

The NMA is a big award and I’m extremely grateful to have won it. I’m sure it has done quite a bit to promote my work and lift my profile as a documentary photographer. Above all else, I’m happy that this award brought the story to more viewers.
Ian Willms, NMA-winning photojournalist for This Magazine

As a young writer every gesture of support is very meaningful because writing is ultimately utterly solitary.
Alex Leslie, NMA-winning writer for Prairie Fire

 

Please note: The NMAF’s Small Magazine Rebate replaces the Co-Financing program from previous years.

Apply for the Small Magazine Rebate today. Deadline for applications is January 5. Find out more at magazine-awards.com/small-mag-rebate.

The Call for Entries for the 2014 National Magazine Awards will launch on December 1.

Image via Adweek

See you at Word on the Street

This weekend a great Canadian literary tradition continues as Word on the Street comes to five cities for a day of magazine and CanLit love.

Come on out Sunday in Toronto, Saskatoon, Halifax and Lethbridge, or Saturday in Kitchener, to discover new magazines, find great deals on subscriptions and books, listen to your favourite writers talk about their craft, and enjoy a fun afternoon.

WOTS Toronto
Sunday, September 21, 11am – 6pm, Queen’s Park Circle

WOTS Kitchener
Saturday, September 20, 11am – 5pm, Downtown Kitchener City Hall

WOTS Saskatoon
Sunday, September 21, 11am – 5pm, Civic Square

WOTS Lethbridge
Sunday, September 21, 11am – 5pm, Main Library, 5th Ave S. & 8 St. S.

WOTS Halifax
Sunday, September 21, 11am – 5pm, Halifax Waterfront

Participating National Magazine Award-winning magazines include:

Alternatives Journal, Brick, Broken Pencil, Canadian Art, Canadian Dimension, Descant, The Feathertale Review, Geist, Hazlitt, Little Brother Magazine, Shameless, Spacing, Taddle Creek, The New Quarterly, The Walrus, This Magazine, Toronto Life, Vallum, Worn Fashion Journal, Zoomer and more.

See you this weekend.

Hat tip: Canadian Magazines

This post was updated to correct a misspelling of Saskatoon. We regret the error.

Your Guide to Fall 2014 Magazine Writing Contests

New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast published this instant classic not too long ago, which serves as an apt reminder of the value to readers of canny, captivating and creative writing.

So once again, as summer lingers here and there and autumn peeks behind, it’s time to get out those fountain pens or laptops or typewriters (maybe?) and submit your poetry and prose, as the National Magazine Awards Foundation presents the fall guide to Canadian magazine writing contests.

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.

And, for those whose lens is mightier than their pens (yeah, we went there), we’ve also included a section for Magazine Photography Contests at the bottom.

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

Continue reading

Your Guide to Summer 2014 Magazine Writing Contests

If this year’s National Magazine Awards taught us anything, it’s that devoting yourself passionately to literary excellence has its rewards. Kim Jernigan, longtime editor of The New Quarterly, said as much when she accepted her Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement. “When it comes to matters literary, it is better to follow your own instincts than to give the reader what you presume she wants… Perseverance counts.”

Also, this nugget of wisdom: “Caring deeply about literature is not at odds with a sense of fun.”

Apropos of which, we present our annual Summer Guide to Canadian magazine writing contests.

As always, the list below may be incomplete. Leave a comment here or pull us aside on Twitter @MagAwards #WritingContest if you know of any we missed.

 

One Throne Joust 24-Hour Writing Contest
Sections: Short (750-word) fiction
Deadline: June 25, 2014 (competition is held on June 28)
Prize: Half the pot to the winner; publication for the top 3
Entry Fee: $20
Detailshttp://www.onethrone.com/#!joust/c19mu

The Walrus Poetry Prize
Sections: Poetry, juried prize and people’s choice prize
Deadline: June 30, 2014
Prize: $4000 and publication (juried winner); $1000 and publication (people’s choice winner)
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://thewalrus.ca/projects/poetry-prize/

Alberta Views Short Story Contest
Section: Fiction
Deadline: June 30, 2014
Prize: $$1000 + publication (winner)
Entry Fee: $30 (includes subscription)
Detailshttps://www.albertaviews.ab.ca/contests/

Antigonish Review Great Blue Heron Poetry Prize
Sections: Poetry
Deadline: June 30, 2014
Prize: $600 (1st); $400 (2nd); $200 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://www.antigonishreview.com/

Matrix Magazine LitPop Awards
Sections: Poetry; Fiction; Creative Nonfiction
Deadline: July 1, 2014
Prize: For winners in each section, round-trip ticket and accommodation to POP Montreal Festival in September; publication in Matrix
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.matrixmagazine.org/litpop/

Vallum Award for Poetry 2014
Section: Poetry
Deadline: July 15, 2014
Prize: $750 (1st); $250 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: $25; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.vallummag.com/contestrules.html

Tethered by Letters Writing Contests
Section
: Poetry; Short Fiction; “Flash Fiction”
Deadline: July 15, 2014
Prize: $250 (Short Fiction winner); $50 (Flash Fiction winner); $100 (Poetry winner); publication
Entry Fee: $4-12, depending on category and entries
Detailshttp://tetheredbyletters.com/submissions/contest-submission
Note: Tethered by Letters is a US literary journal but its writing contests are open to Canadian writers; hence we have included it here.

Malahat Review Constance Rooke Nonfiction Prize
Sections: Creative nonfiction
Deadline: August 1, 2014
Prize: $1000; publication in Malahat Review; interview with winning author
Entry Fee: $35 (includes subscription); $15 for additional entries
Detailshttp://web.uvic.ca/malahat/contests/creative_non-fiction_prize/info.html

Passion Poetry Contributor’s Contest
Section: Poetry
Deadline: August 1, 2014
Prize: $100 (1st); $50 (2nd); $25 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $5; includes issue of magazine
Detailshttp://www.passionpoetrymag.com/#/contest/4583551123

Northern Public Affairs Emerging Northern Writers Fund
Sections: Essays, Fiction, Poetry, Visual Arts
Deadline: August 1, 2014
Prize: 3 awards of up to $200 each
Entry Fee: None
Details: northernpublicaffairs.ca

Up Here Sally Manning Award
Section: Aboriginal Creative Nonfiction
Deadline: September 30, 2014
Prize: $1000 + publication (1st); $500 (2nd); $250 (3rd)
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://uphere.ca/post/88968179608

Did we miss something? Email staff[at]magazine-awards[dot]com or hail us on Twitter @MagAwards.

See also:
Your Guide to Winter/Spring 2014 Magazine Writing Contests
Your Guide to Fall 2013 Magazine Writing Contests
Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines

Check out the Contests section of this blog for frequent updates on opportunities from Canadian magazines.

Photo: Kim Jernigan accepting the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement at the 37th annual National Magazine Awards, June 6, 2014. Photography by KlixPix for the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

Meet the Nominees for Best New Magazine Writer: Liz Windhorst Harmer

The 37th annual National Magazine Awards are coming up on Friday June 6. One of the most special awards to be presented at the gala will be the honour of Canada’s Best New Magazine Writer, an award sponsored by the Readers’s Digest Foundation. This year there are 3 finalists, and recently we chatted with each of them to get to know the person behind the pen.

Our second nominee is Liz Windhorst Harmer, author of “Pain: A Brief History of My Intensity” (The New Quarterly).

NMAF: What is something about yourself that others would be surprised to know?

Liz: I’m always surprised by what surprises people about me. Sometimes people are surprised when they find out that I’ve been married for more than ten years. Another thing that seems to surprise people is that I like the pain of giving birth, which is something I explored in my nominated piece. I can also be very credulous—I believed in mermaids for too long, for example.

NMAF: When it came to writing your piece, did you have any sources of inspiration?

Liz: My piece explores different kinds of pain I have found myself seeking or choosing: CrossFit, childbirth, and fasting. I am inspired by the possibility for the transcendent in the everyday. The phrase “pain is weakness leaving the body” was the explicit catalyst for my essay.

NMAF: What are your career goals?

Liz: I’d like to write as much as possible, in as many ways as possible, as well as I can. I hope to be a published novelist and to continue to publish nonfiction.

NMAF: How did you feel about being an NMA nominee?

Liz: Overwhelmed with excitement. Also proud.

NMAF: What advice do you have to up-and-coming magazine writers?

Liz: Grace Paley’s advice to write what you don’t know about what you know is a good rule for writing nonfiction. Also: no idea is too small. Work hard on your craft—be greedy for good advice and good editing.

This interview was edited for content. Special thanks to Nadya Domingo for conducting the interview.

You can read the full text of Liz Windhorst Harmer’s nominated story along with all of the National Magazine Awards nominees at magazine-award.com. Follow her on Twitter @LizHarmer.

Here’s what this year’s NMA jury said about “Pain”:

In Pain, Liz Windhorst Harmer explores pushing her body to extremes of suffering—from intense exercise and natural childbirth to the passion of religious belief. In a starkly original voice, and with uncommon ferocity and grace, she opens herself up completely and compels the readers to return the favour. Covering a difficult and serious subject, she has crafted an essay unique in conception, construction and articulation.

We’ll find out who wins the award for Best New Magazine Writer at the 37th annual National Magazine Awards, Friday June 6. Tickets.

See also: 
Q&A with the creators of the finalists for best Magazine Cover
More info on the award for Best New Magazine Writer

Kim Jernigan wins Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement

Kim Jernigan (Photo: John Haney)
Kim Jernigan (Photo: John Haney)

It’s a perfectly square magazine making its way in a rectangular world. So quipped the writer Alexander MacLeod of the award-winning literary magazine The New Quarterly. Fittingly, such a simple truism about the magazine—alluding with apt understatement to qualities of creativity, humility and perseverance—also begins to describe the character of its longtime editor, Kim Jernigan, whom the National Magazine Awards Foundation is proud to announce is the winner of this year’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement.

[Version française]

As a Master’s student in Canadian literature at the University of Waterloo in 1981, Kim volunteered at the offices of the fledgling publication which had been founded earlier that year by novelist Harold Horwood.

An early image of her dedication to TNQ saw Kim eight months pregnant, sitting on the floor of the office collating the magazine’s pages for its second issue. Three decades later, that soon-to-be newborn—now the poet Amanda Jernigan—was published in the magazine.

In 1984 Kim succeeded Harold as editor of TNQ—also a volunteer position—and energetically guided the publication toward its place as one of Canada’s best and most admired literary magazines.

In its pages eager enthusiasts of Canadian prose and poetry have discovered masterful talents including Di Brandt, Michael Crummey, Russell Smith, Steven Heighton, Caroline Adderson, Michael Winter, Elisabeth De Mariaffi, Kathleen Winter, Annabel Lyon and countless others.

During her years as editor, TNQ was nominated for 44 National Magazine Awards, winning eight Gold and six Silver medals. Writers have praised her skillful editorial dexterity and tireless commitment to providing notes and feedback much as they have her cheerful promotion of their work. Miranda Hill of Quill & Quire described this mutual devotion between editor and writer as “The Jernigan Effect.”

That Kim Jernigan selflessly devoted three decades as an unpaid volunteer in the service of Canadian literary arts is worthy of celebration in its own right, yet so is her commitment to ensuring the sustainable future of the magazine in an unsteady publishing world. In 2003 TNQ incorporated as a not-for-profit and received its charitable status in 2011. The magazine strengthened its community with the creation of the Wild Writers Literary Festival in 2000 and the launch of a popular series of writing contests in 2010.

Kim began to nurture literary non-fiction writers alongside poets and fiction writers, and expanded TNQ’s literary household to include interviews, travel essays and the popular series “Magazines as Muse.” She fostered close relationships with Canada’s lit-mag community, publishing joint issues with Alternatives Journal, Arc Poetry Magazine and Canadian Notes & Queries. The 2008 redesign—the square mag in the rectangular world—was justifiably lauded.

Steadfastly Kim helped build a strong base of volunteers, subscribers, sponsors and a diverse board of directors, leveraging support from St. Jerome’s University and, leading up to her retirement, a Trillium grant and editorial stipend to support the future of the magazine and its staff.

In her final year as editor, TNQ garnered eight National Magazine Awards nominations—the most ever by a literary magazine—and saw a young writer, Sierra Skye Gemma, win for Best New Magazine Writer for a story that had earlier won TNQ’s Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest.

It is to her enduring credit that Kim has stewarded a small literary magazine towards not only financial stability and critical success, but also to a position as incubator of emerging talent and champion of literary arts in Canada.

Commended by her peers for her generosity, integrity, leadership and contagious passion for Canadian literature, Kim Jernigan continues to serve as a mentor for TNQ and an inspiration to many young writers and editors. The Board of Directors of the NMAF is honoured to name Kim Jernigan as the recipient of the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement, where she takes her much-deserved place alongside the greatest contributors to the Canadian magazine industry.

Kim Jernigan will be presented with her award at the 37th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 6 in Toronto. All other nominees for this year’s NMAs will be announced tomorrow, May 1. For ticket information for the National Magazine Awards, visit magazine-awards.com.

WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT KIM JERNIGAN:

Would you work for three decades without pay? Kim Jernigan has done this, on an increasingly full-time basis, for 31 years. Her devotion gives new meaning to the phrase “labour of love.” Simply put, TNQ is a great literary magazine: it is lively, challenging, wide ranging in its content—and never boring or inscrutable.

Many of our industry’s best editors, writers, managers and marketers began their magazine careers at small publications like The New Quarterly. These early experiences often set people up for careers in publishing, simply because they are positive experiences. Our industry needs its small magazines; so much of what is good in our publishing world gets its start in a little magazine. Like honeybees, small magazines do the quiet, pollinating work that can bloom years later on the pages of larger publications.

Derek Webster, founding editor of Maisonneuve

 

Short stories and poetry and what it takes to be a writer have been the focus, the love of Kim Jernigan’s working life for more than 30 years. Anyone who has seen her take the stage at the National Magazine Awards to accept on behalf of one of her far-flung writers or poets can see this. It is matched only by her joy at seeing one of them able to go up and accept an award on their own behalf. And they all know that they are there because of the recognition and nurturing of their talent by Kim.

Tears would sometimes well up in her eyes as she talked about a particular writer or story. She spoke often to me about the gratification of watching writers mature and feeling like she’d been part of it. There was nothing contrived about her commitment and nothing artificial about her passion.

D.B. Scott, president, Impresa Communications Ltd.

 

In working with her in my capacity as fiction editor I saw her leadership skills close up. Her generosity and integrity were evident in the manner in which she considered the opinions of fellow editors. An astute reader, with a commitment to literary excellence, Kim championed the stories she’d read from the submissions, at the same time allowing others on the editorial board to speak for the stories they felt ought to be published.

As an editor she had a canny eye for a well-written story, an admitted weak spot for coming-of-age stories while always open to edgier or more experimental work. The system for choosing material where several editors read the work and each is given equal voice at the meetings reflects her collaborative style. TNQ has become well known for giving feedback even when the work doesn’t make the final cut, a legacy attributed to Kim who recognized the importance of writers knowing their work was getting a close reading.

Pamela Mulloy, editor of The New Quarterly

 

Kim Jernigan is a perfect choice for this award. For her length of service with a single title; for the scope of her contribution to The New Quarterly and the ways in which she has elevated the magazine in the Canadian literary landscape; for the fact that she has never drawn a salary for her eventual full-time work, while continuing to be involved and ensuring the viability of TNQ even after stepping down; for the fact that TNQ is an example of the best of our literary magazines. She is kind and generous with her time and ideas, and that she stewarded the magazine through the most volatile decade in publishing—and grew it—is a real credit to her.

Joyce Byrne, vice president, National Magazine Awards Foundation

 

Tell us your thoughts. Leave a comment below about Kim Jernigan.

ABOUT THE FOUNDATION AWARD

The NMAF’s most prestigious individual prize since its inception in 1990 is The Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement, an award that recognizes an individual’s innovation and creativity through contributions to the magazine industry. The award is open to circulation experts, editors, marketing, sales and promotion professionals, publishers, creators, designers, production managers – in short, to everyone in the industry. It cannot be given posthumously. The Board of Directors of the National Magazine Awards Foundation selects the winner. More information: magazine-awards.com.

Your Guide to Winter/Spring 2014 Magazine Writing Contests

Click here for our 2015 Winter/Spring Guide.

It’s that time of year again. The calendar has rolled over, winter closes in around you, and all you want to do is write, write, write. The National Magazine Awards Foundation’s annual winter/spring contest guide is back, and in fact bigger than ever, as more Canadian magazines and writers organizations are offering prizes, publication and recognition for great new talent in poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction.

As always, the list below may be incomplete. Leave a comment here, or pull us aside on Twitter (@MagAwards) if you know of any we missed.

Prism International Short Fiction & Poetry Contests
Section: Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: January 23, 2014
Prize: $2000 (1st); $300 (2nd); $200 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription
Detailshttp://prismmagazine.ca/contests/

Matrix Magazine Robert Kroetsch Poetry Award
Section: Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: January 31, 2014
Prize: $500 + publication
Entry Fee: $30
Detailshttp://matrixmagazine.org/rkaward/

Dalhousie Review Short Fiction Contest
Section: Fiction
Deadline: February 1, 2014
Prize: $750 (1st); $250 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: $30
Detailshttp://dalhousiereview.dal.ca/contest.html

CBC Canada Writes Creative Non-Fiction Prize
Section: Non-fiction (1200-1500 words)
Deadline: February 1, 2014
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

Arc Poetry Magazine Poem of the Year Contest
Section: Poetry
Deadline: February 1, 2014
Prize: $5000
Entry Fee: $32; includes subscription
Detailshttp://arcpoetry.ca/?p=7349

The Malahat Review Novella Prize
Section: Fiction
Deadline: February 1, 2014
Prize: $1500 (1st)
Entry Fee: $35
Detailshttp://web.uvic.ca/malahat/contests/novella_contest/info.html

10th annual Geist Literary Postcard Contest
Section: Very short fiction or non-fiction (500 words)
Deadline: February 1, 2014
Prize: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $20; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.geist.com/articles/postcard-contest/

Atlantic Writing Competition
Sections: Creative Non-fiction; Poetry; Short Fiction; Drama
Deadline: February 3, 2014
Prize: Various
Entry Fee: $20 – $35
Detailshttp://writers.ns.ca/awards-competitions.html

The New Quarterly Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest
Section: Poetry
Deadline: February 28, 2014
Prize: $1000 + publication (1st); other prizes for runners up
Entry Fee: $40 (for first 2 poems; $5 each for additional); includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests

The Capilano Review Poetry Contest
Section: Poetry
Deadline: February 28, 2014
Prize: Three prizes of $250
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.thecapilanoreview.ca/contests/

Writers Union of Canada Short Prose Competition
Section: Non-fiction
Deadline: March 1, 2014
Prize: $2500 + assistance with publication
Entry Fee: $29
Detailshttp://www.writersunion.ca/short-prose-competition

Writers’ Trust RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers
Section: Fiction
Deadline: March 7, 2014
Prize: $5000 (1st); $1000 (each of 2 Honourable Mentions)
Entry Fee: None
Details: Writers’ Trust website

Writers’ Trust Student Non-Fiction Contest
Section: Non-fiction (open to high school students only)
Deadline: March 14, 2014
Prize: $2500 + trip to Toronto (1st); $500 (2nd); $250 (3rd)
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://writerstrust.com/students

The New Quarterly Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest
Section: Non-fiction
Deadline: March 28, 2014
Prize: $1000 + publication
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests

Narrative Magazine Winter 2014 Short Story Contest
Sections: Non-fiction and Fiction
Deadline: March 31, 2014
Prize: $2,500 (1st); $1000 (2nd); $500 (3rd); $100 (finalist)
Entry Fee: $22
Detailshttp://www.narrativemagazine.com/node/238622
Notes: Entries may be short fiction or literary nonfiction, including essays, memoirs, or any other form of unpublished manuscript, with a word limit of 15,000. All are judged in the same pool.

Grain magazine Short Grain Writing Contest
Sections: Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: April 1, 2014
Prize: $1000 (1st); $750 (2nd); $500 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.grainmagazine.ca/contest.html

CV2 2-Day Poem Contest
Sections: Poetry
Deadline: April 4, 2014 (registration; competition is held April 12-13)
Prize: $500 (1st); $300 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $26; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.contemporaryverse2.ca/en/contests/2-day-poem-contest

Event magazine Creative Non-Fiction Contest
Section: Non-fiction
Deadline: April 15, 2014
Prize: $1500 in total cash prizes; publication
Entry Fee: $34.95; includes subscription
Detailshttp://eventmags.com/contest-2014/

CBC Canada Writes Poetry Prize
Section: Poetry
Deadline: May 1, 2014
Prize: $6000 + publication in enRoute + Banff Centre residency (1st); $1000 each to 4 runners up
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/literaryprizes/poetry/index.html

The Malahat Review Far Horizons Poetry Prize
Section: Poetry
Deadline: May 1, 2014
Prize: $1000
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://web.uvic.ca/malahat/contests/far_horizons_poetry/info.html

Sub-Terrain Lush Triumphant Literary Awards
Sections: Creative Non-fiction; Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: May 15, 2014
Prize: $3000 in total prizes; publication
Entry Fee: $27.50; includes subscription
Detailshttp://subterrain.ca/about/103/lush-2013-awards-open+for+entries

The New Quarterly Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award
Section: Fiction
Deadline: May 28, 2014
Prize: $1000 + publication
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests

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. Others to be announced this spring include the Quebec Writing Competition and Room Magazine contests.

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

Related Posts:
A Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines
Your Guide to Fall Magazine Writing Contests
Your Guide to Summer Magazine Writing Contests

Off the Page, with The Feathertale Review editor Brett Popplewell

 

Off the Page is an interview series that appears regularly on the Magazine Awards blog. Today we catch up with Brett Popplewell, editor of The Feathertale Review, winner of the 2012 National Magazine Award for Best Single Issue.

NMAF: The Feathertale Review has been dubbed the “illegitimate love child of Mad Magazine and The New Yorker.” We just saw your latest issue, no. 11, double in size to 128 pages. Is this a signal to readers that the child is growing up? And if so, where is it headed?

Brett Popplewell: It’s definitely a sign that the child is growing up. Where it’s heading, I have no idea.

Truth is our entire team has grown up since our launch in 2006. We were just kids back then who felt there was an absence of high- and low-brow humour magazines in the Canadian market and thought we could be the cork to plug that hole. Lee Wilson, Feathertale’s co-founder and art director, and I wanted to create something that would feel fresh and cutting edge but that would hark back to an age when magazines leaned entirely on illustration to bring their words to life. We’re the ones who started calling our creation the “illegitimate love child of Mad Magazine and The New Yorker” because it felt like the best way to describe it.  Continue reading

Off the Page, with Sierra Skye Gemma

 

Sierra Skye Gemma (Photo: Nadya Kwandibens)

Off the Page appears regularly on the Magazine Awards blog. Today we catch up with Sierra Skye Gemma, winner of the 2012 National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer.

NMAF: Earlier this year you won the National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer for a story called “The Wrong Way” (The New Quarterly), a personal essay and critical meditation on the stages of grief. Tell us a bit about how you developed this story and why you decided to submit it in the annual non-fiction writing competition from TNQ?

Sierra: The Wrong Way came out of an assignment in a Creative Non-fiction course with Andreas Schroeder. I had never written a personal essay before and when I started I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to say. Not exactly, anyway. I looked up Kübler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief because I thought it would explain my experiences. I thought I could structure my essay according to the stages, but I realized that Kübler-Ross’s theory didn’t apply to my life at all. My essay then developed as a sort of antagonistic call-and-response with conventional grief theories.

I sat and wrote it in two sittings, straight through from beginning to end. I didn’t move things around after that and I barely edited it. That said, I had bits and pieces of it already written. Little vignettes that I hadn’t known what to do with before, like the story of buying my son the fish and aquatic frog. I had also taken extensive notes when my sister died and I wrote down lots of dialogue. Maybe that sounds weird; maybe not, if you’re a writer. But what do you do with a short “scene” between siblings that, when read on its own, seems to make light of the death of another sibling? Well, I guess you build an elaborate home in which it can live. The Wrong Way was that home for many of my disjointed experiences with grief.

I submitted the essay to The New Quarterly’s Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest because Andreas Schroeder told me to submit it to a contest (and not through the slush pile of regular submissions); he thought the essay was good enough to win. The New Quarterly’s personal essay contest seemed like the obvious choice. The lesson here? Always listen to Andreas Schroeder.  Continue reading