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

Your Guide to Summer 2016 Magazine Writing Contests

Like the heirloom tomatoes soaking up the sun and the rain and the urban-air particles on this blogger’s Toronto balcony, summer writing season is ripening on the vine, still green with youth but tantalizingly close to fruition.

In his National Magazine Award-winning poem from this year’s NMAs, David McGimpsey writes of the self-defeating anxiety of creating something significant:

There is your life with the coffee-stained pants,
paint-stained pants and oxy-contin-stained pants.
O, your unfinished novel’s hero yearns—
he’s been sleeping on an army cot
in a Wendy’s basement in Los Robles.

Read the entire award-winning poem “The High Road” (Vallum) by David McGimpsey.

Summer is no time to put off writing. Be inspired to create your next work of poetry, fiction or personal essay. Take the opportunity to finish your latest literary creation and submit it to a Canadian magazine writing contest.

Our annual Summer Contest Guide provides a list of contests via Canadian magazines (or magazine-related organizations) open to unpublished works of Fiction, Poetry, Creative non-fiction and Photography. And check out our Canadian Literary Magazine Guide for other ideas for where to submit your work.

Please note: This list is organized chronologically by deadline dates from June 22 to September 22. If you know of a contest we missed, please email us or grab us on Twitter @MagAwards and we’ll update our guide.

Antigonish Review Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: June 30, 2015
Prize: $600 (1st); $400 (2nd); $200 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://www.antigonishreview.com/

Matrix Lit Pop Writing Contest
Genres: Fiction (4000 words max); Poetry
Deadline: July 1, 2016
Prize: Publication + tickets and passes to POP Montreal
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.matrixmagazine.org/#!litpopawards/c1yuk

Alberta Views Short Story Contest
Genre: Fiction (max 3000 words)
Deadline: July 4, 2016
Prize: $1000 + publication (winner)
Entry Fee: $30 (includes subscription)
Detailshttps://albertaviews.ab.ca/contests/
Note: Open to current or former residents of Alberta

Room Fiction & Poetry Contests
Genres: Poetry, Fiction
Deadline: July 15, 2016
Prize: $1000 (1st); $250 (2nd); $50 (HM); publication
Entry Fee: $35 (includes subscription); $7 for each additional entry
Detailshttp://roommagazine.com/contests

Vallum Award for Poetry 2016
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: July 15, 2016
Prize: $750 (1st); $250 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: $25; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.vallummag.com/contestrules.html

PRISM International Creative Non-Fiction Contest
Genre: Non-fiction (max 6000 words)
Deadline: July 15, 2016
Prize: $1500 (1st); $600 (2nd); $400 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35 ($5 for each additional entry)
Details: http://prismmagazine.ca/contests/

Glass Buffalo Short Fiction Contest
Genre: Fiction (max 750 words)
Deadline: July 20, 2016
Prize: $500 + publication (winner)
Entry Fee: $30 (includes subscription)
Details: http://www.glassbuffalo.com/contest/

Malahat Review Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize
Genre: Creative non-fiction (max 3000 words)
Deadline: August 1, 2016
Prize: $1000; publication in Malahat Review; prize pack of books, 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

Geist “Can’t Lit Without It” Short Story Contest
Genre: Short fiction (500 words) based on CanLit Generator
Deadline: August 15, 2016
Prize: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $20 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://www.geist.com/contests/canlit-story-contest/canlit-story-contest/

Musicworks Sonic Geography Writing Contest
Genre: Poetry, Fiction or Creative non-fiction about “the sounds of your world”
Deadline: August 28, 2016
Prize: $500 + print publication (1st); $200 (2nd); $100 (3rd); web publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription); $5 each additional entry
Detailshttps://www.musicworks.ca/contest

Cosmonauts Avenue 2016 Fiction Prize
Genre: Fiction (max 4000 words)
Deadline: August 15, 2016
Prize: $500 + publication
Entry Fee: $10
Details: http://www.cosmonautsavenue.com/contest/

Dalhousie Review Short Story Contest
Genre: Fiction (max 3000 words)
Deadline: September 5, 2016
Prize: $750 (1st); $250 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription); $15 for each additional entry
Details: http://dalhousiereview.dal.ca/contest.html

Cottage Life Photo Contest
Categories: Life at the Cottage; Wildlife; Landscape; Best of the West; Canada Captured
Deadline: September 12, 2016
Prizes: Various gift prizes from Coleman outdoor gear
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://cottagelife.com/photo-contest-2016

The Capilano Review Robin Blazer Poetry Award
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: September 15, 2016
Prize: $750 + publication (1st); $250 (2nd)
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.thecapilanoreview.ca/contests/

Did we miss something? Email us or hail us on Twitter @MagAwards.

See also:
Your Guide to Winter/Spring 2016 Magazine Writing Contests
Your Guide to Fall 2015 Magazine Writing Contests
A Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines

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

February Events & Awards Deadlines in Canadian Magazines

Happy Groundhog Day! Punxsutawny Phil did not see his shadow down in Pennsylvania this morning, but good luck convincing the residents of Iqaluit that spring is on its way.

Here’s what’s going on in February (and early March) in Canadian magazines:

AWARDS

Digital Publishing Awards
February 8: Early-bird deadline (& Small Publishers Rebate)
February 16: Final deadline

Canadian Business Media Awards
(formerly the Kenneth R. Wilson Awards)
February 8: Early-bird deadline
February 16: Final deadline

CSME Editors Choice Awards
February 2: Call for Entries

Arc Poem of the Year Award
February 14: Final deadline

Canadian Cover Awards
February 23: Final deadline

Alberta Magazine Awards
February (TBA): Finalists announced

Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement
March 1: Deadline for nominations

EVENTS & CONTESTS

Canadian Society of Magazine Editors
February 3: The Best Free Online Tools For Editors, Toronto

Freedom to Read Week
February 21-27

AlbertaViews Photography Contest
February 28: Final deadline

TNQ Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest
February 28: Final deadline

Alberta Magazines Conference
March 3-4, Calgary

More awards and events info will be added. Follow us on Twitter @MagAwards for updates and to share your news with us.

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.