Category Archives: Awards and contests

Submissions now open for 2016 Walrus Poetry Prize

photo-1457298483369-0a95d2b17fcdThe Restless Writers have just learned that submissions are now open for the 2016 Walrus Poetry Prize.

The Walrus Foundation announced today that the fifth annual Walrus Poetry Prize will be judged by The Walrus poetry editor Damian Rogers and celebrated poet Hoa Nguyen. The Hal Jackman Foundation generously supports this $5,000 prize.

Submissions will be received between August 5 and September 12, and Rogers will narrow them down to a short list of five poems. Nguyen will be tasked with selecting the $,4000 winner. (No pressure!)

The five finalists will be revealed online on October 3, where readers can vote on their favourite poem until October 26. The Readers’ Choice winner will receive $1,000.

Both poems will appear in the January/February 2017 issue of The Walrus, at, and in the Poetry in Voice anthology.

Information at a glance:

Submissions open: August 5 – September 12
Shortlist announced: October 3
Vote for the Readers’ Choice Award: October 3 – October 26
Winners announced: December 6
Entry fee: $25

For more information—including eligibility requirements, rights and how to submit, visit

Even if you don’t submit a poem, please be sure to vote for the Readers’ Choice winner.

Good luck to all!


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Keeping it short: A contest and some resources for on-the-go inspiration

Isolated pencil with bite marks on“Short fiction seems more targeted—hand grenades of ideas, if you will. When they work, they hit, they explode, and you never forget them.”

Paolo Bacigalupi, American science fiction and fantasy writer

Here’s a contest for those who like to write in short form—the Little Bird Writing Contest. Created by award-winning Canadian author Sarah Selecky, Little Bird showcases the work of emerging short fiction writers. Submissions will be accepted until March 31, 2013.

The first step is to sign up for Sarah’s daily writing prompts—your story must feature one of the prompts.

Next, take advantage of the free resources on Sarah’s website. Her Deep Revision e-mail series, designed to help you refine your story, is already underway. Her e-book, “The Incomparable Short Story,” has some essential tips for writers. You can also listen to a recording of the March 1 Little Bird Salon, a teleconference where she and contest judge Alix Ohlin answered questions from callers-in around the world. If you’re looking for a targeted online writing course, read more about Story Is a State of Mind.

And finally, submit your best work! Check out the Little Bird web page for submission guidelines and resources.

Looking for short inspiration on the go?

  • Every Day Fiction: Every Day Fiction is a magazine that specializes in presenting fine fiction in bite-sized doses. Every day, they publish a new short story of 1,000 words or fewer. You can sign up to receive a flash fiction story in your inbox every day.
  • The NUB: The Nub is the first independent arts and culture smart phone/tablet application in Canada. The Nub provides users a new piece of writing each day from five of Canada’s top independent arts and culture magazines: Broken Pencil, Geist Magazine, Subterrain Magazine, Matrix Magazine, and Taddle Creek Magazine. Get the app for iPhone/iPad or Android devices today:


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Contest Alert! Three opportunities from The New Quarterly

The New Quarterly, Issue 120The Restless Writers were recently clued in to some contests being offered by The New Quarterly (TNQ), a magazine of Canadian fiction, poetry, and conversation. Their mandate is to nurture emerging writers by publishing and promoting their work alongside that of well-established writers, and to provide an editorial context in which both can be read. They’re published some outstanding Canadian voices—take a peek inside a back issue at their website. (I’m definitely ordering the special double issue 119, “The QuArc Issue,” published in collaboration with Arc Poetry Magazine.)

Here are the contest details:

The Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest. Sponsored by TNQ editor Kim Jernigan and family in celebration of the man who sparked their love of poetry, this contest is for poems written in response to an occasion, personal or public—poems of gratitude or grief, poems that celebrate or berate, poems that make of something an occasion or simply mark one.

  • Winning Poem: $1,000 for one glorious poem. Another $1,000 in prize money will be distributed as the judges fancy.
  • Deadline: Postmarked February 28, 2012
  • Entry fee: $40 for up to 2 unpublished poems, $5 each for additional poems

The Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest. They are interested in unpublished essays of any length, on any topic, in which the writer’s personal engagement with the topic provides the frame or through-line.

  • Winning Essay: $1,000
  • Deadline: Postmarked March 28, 2012
  • Entry fee: $40 per submission

The Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award, sponsored by the St. Jerome’s University English Dept. For a work of short fiction by a Canadian writer in the early stages. TNQ defines a writer in the early stages as someone who has not yet published a first story collection or novel. There is no word limit; all submissions are judged blind. Though there is only one prize, all submissions will be considered for publication.

  • Winning Story: $1,000
  • Deadline: May 28, 2012
  • Entry Fee: $40 per submission

Please note: Entrants for all three contests must be Canadian or currently residing in Canada. Entry fee for each includes a one-year subscription to The New Quarterly. For full details, see

If you want to be kept apprised of other contest opportunities from TNQ, catch up with them on Twitter.



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House of the rising prose

A story lives here

What differs slightly from the short story, a folk song, flash fiction, and say, microfiction? Short prose.

I am doing this post to remind restless Maria to enter her work(s), because she happens to be a prosalicious genius. The kind of genius that pulls you into another world, teases your every sense, then punches you in the stomach (in a good way, of course). This contest is for Maria, and writers like Maria. So, listen up!

The Writers’ Union of Canada is accepting submissions until November 3, 2011 for the 19th Annual Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers. The winning entry will be the best Canadian work of up to 2,500 words in the English language, fiction or non-fiction, written by an unpublished author.

The prize is $2,500 for the winning entry, and the entries of the winner and finalists will be submitted to three Canadian magazines.

Writers Kevin Chong, Anne Emery, and Sylvia Fraser will serve as the jury. This competition is open to all Canadians who have not had a book published in any genre and who do not currently have a contract with a book publisher. Original and unpublished (English language) fiction or non-fiction is eligible.


Time to let go of that manuscript. Good luck, Maria (you in?) and to all!



Filed under Awards and contests, Getting published, Motivation, News, Writing Contests

How To Almost Win An Agent

A few weeks ago I was waiting for my kids to get ready for school and decided to check out Twitter. As luck – as in, horseshoe up the butt luck – would have it, @knightagency had just tweeted about their latest and greatest contest, She’s Just That Into You, which would be starting in moments.

In a nutshell, Deidre Knight would be looking for a new client via the agency website. The first 175 people to leave a comment on the Knight Agency blog could send in a query letter. From those, Deidre would pick her top 30 entrants, who would then send the first 10 pages of their manuscripts. It would then be whittled down to 10 entrants and 3 chapters, then 3 entrants and full manuscripts.

All of you querying writers know that this is a fairy-agent-god-mother situation, so I immediately bribed my kids to give me 10 minutes of peace so I could enter. My typing lessons from high school (yes, I’m a fossil) didn’t fail me and I managed to get into the first round. Since this step was based on luck rather than writing, I didn’t get my hopes up.

But when I saw that I’d made it to the second round, fantasies of book tours and Oprah appearances filled my head. Daydreaming turned to obsession. I even considered holding off on my queries until the contest was over, lest I disappoint the legion of agents out there looking at my contest-winning-worthy query.

Needless to say, I did not win. Nor did I make it to the next round. I did, however, learn an important lesson – one that I’m always telling my kids but have never truly put into practice myself: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. In other words, I didn’t win (this time), but that’s okay. At least I tried.



Filed under Awards and contests, Starting up, Success stories

You haven’t missed the deadline for the CBC Literary Awards…yet

For those of you joining us at Surrey International Writers’ Conference later this week, maybe you can find some time between workshops, Blue Pencil Sessions and Night Owl events to polish a piece to submit to the CBC Literary Awards. The deadline is November 1, 2010. Canadian citizens, whether living in Canada or abroad, and permanent residents of Canada are eligible to enter.

Check out the awards website for more information and to submit your entry online. You can also read winning texts from previous years, access writing tips from the pros, and read interviews with former winners and jurors.

The CBC Literary Awards is Canada’s only literary competition celebrating original, unpublished works in both official languages. There is a first prize of $6,000 and a second prize of $4,000 in all three categories (original and unpublished short story, poetry, and creative non-fiction), courtesy of the Canada Council for the Arts. In addition, the winning texts are published in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine and on the CBC Literary Awards website, and the authors and their winning entries will get exposure on the CBC.

If you don’t find what you need on the website, try contacting the Awards Team at or 1-877-888-6788.

Good luck!


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The Fiddlehead celebrates two anniversaries with one great contest

I subscribe to a number of Canadian literary journals and reviews, such as Descant, the Malahat Review and—my geek favourite—On Spec.

But the journal that makes my brain dance a jig when I see it in my mailbox is the Fiddlehead.

This year is the Fiddlehead’s 65th anniversary, and also the 20th anniversary of their Poetry & Short Fiction Contest, and they’re celebrating with a splash.

  • $2,010 Ralph Gustafson Prize for Best Poem
  • $2,010 for Best Story
  • Plus $500 each for Two Honourable Mentions in each category

The winning entries will be published in the Spring 2011 issue of the Fiddlehead (No. 247) and on the website, The winning authors will also be paid for publication.

Sounds like a great opportunity, eh? So get on it! The deadline is December 1, 2010. Read the guidelines here:

While you’re at it, why not subscribe to the Fiddlehead and one or two other literary journals? Check out the literature category at for easy ordering.


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We’d Like to Thank the Academy…

As they say in Beckie’s (YA) neck of the woods: OMG!

We’ve received an award for our blog! The lovely @KoreenClemens is an aspiring YA writer from Colorado and she likes random pop culture, writing and eating BBQ, so naturally we love her!

And right near our first anniversary, too! This is much better than the traditional paper present, let me tell you…

Thanks  so much,

Lori (& Beckie & Maria)

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The Best of the Worst: The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

a dark and stormy nightHere’s one contest I’m not sure you want to win: the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, sponsored by the English Department at San Jose State University. The contest is named for Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, whose novel, Paul Clifford, started “It was a dark and stormy night.”

This contest calls for entrants to submit entries for the worst story openings ever—as many as you like—of no more than 50 to 60 words. Entries will be judged in categories, and there will be winners in each categories as well as overall winners.

Quill & Quire reports that Canadians have mastered the bad romance category—dubious praise indeed. Reading about it on Canada Day is a little depressing.

My personal favourite is the Vile Puns category. (What’s better/worse than Stray Injures Indy Knight, Hicks Changing Lances or ‘Serpico’ with Alpo chinos.)

Read the best of the worst at the Bulwer-Lytton website:

For contests that you really do want to win, check out Brian Henry’s Quick Brown Fox blog, or pick up the current The Canadian Writers’ Contest Calendar, published by White Mountain Publications.


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“Dear Lucky Agent” Contest: Middle Grade & Young Adult Fiction

Today marks the kick-off to the fourth “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the Guide to Literary Agents blog. This is a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. The agent judge for this round is Regina Brooks, founder of Serendipity Literary in Brooklyn. She is the author of Writing Great Books for Young Adults.

I’m submitting my novel, BILLIE BOOTS, YOUR ROOTS ARE SHOWING to the contest. If you happen to be writing a book-length kids novel, this contest is for you too—check it out!



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