Tag Archives: writing contests

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  • Entry fee: $40 for up to 2 unpublished poems, $5 each for additional poems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 They are interested in unpublished essays of any length, on any topic, in which the writer’s personal engagement with the topic provides the frame or through-line.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 www.tnq.ca/contests.

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

New online community for Canadian writers: Canada Writes

Portrait of a woman using her laptopThe Restless Writers have been tipped off to a brand-spanking-new online community for writers. Canada Writes, which was launched by the CBC at the end of August, promises to be a useful kick in the pants for those of us who could use a little motivation.

Some features of Canada Writes include:

Literary Prizes: Formerly the CBC Literary Awards, the CBC Literary Prizes, in partnership with Canada Council for the Arts and enRoute magazine, are now made up of three separate competitions that take place throughout the year. The CBC Literary Prizes are now three separate competitions with three different deadlines:

  • Now open! Short Story (open September 1 – November 1)
  • Poetry (open December 1 – February 1)
  • Creative Nonfiction (open March 1 – May 1)

The First Prize winner in each category will win $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and publication in AirCanada’s enRoute magazine, as well as on the Canada Writes website. Four runner-ups will also be chosen and receive $1,000 each.

Challenges: I just missed the Autobiography Challenge (thereby missing the chance to win an iPad 2—boo). This challenge asked writers to come up with the title and back blurb of their autobiography. I loved the entry by Alexander McKinnon, DAMNED BAD BASTARD.

Features: Some of Canada’s top literary names will pen tips, essays and insights for Canada Writes’ readers. I loved Andrew Pyper’s article on why there is no such thing as writer’s block—great advice!

I’m looking forward to exploring more features to come, which I understand will include more challenges with prizes, online writing workshops, and interviews with writers from all genres. I hope you’ll check it out too.



Filed under Motivation, News, Writing Contests, Writing resources

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 Literary_Awards@cbc.ca 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, www.thefiddlehead.ca. 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: http://www.thefiddlehead.ca/FHcontest.html

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


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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: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/

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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Write short to build publication credits

Participants at yesterday’s “How to Get Published” seminar in Hamilton, led by Brian Henry, heard some advice about how to move from writer to author. Brian said that many agents and publishers are more likely to read your submission if you’ve got proven writing skills—and that means publishing credits. Up your odds of acceptance by writing and publishing articles and short stories.

There are more and more markets for short story writers popping up every day. And you needn’t look any further than your local newspaper.

I’ve been enjoying the winning stories from the Toronto Star’s Short Story Contest for the past three weeks (it sounds like it took a long time, but the Star published one per Sunday). Today’s Sunday Star featured the first place entry, “Take One Down” by Zach Leger. Congratulations to Zach. GTA-area short-story writers should consider entering this contest next year. Your short piece could net you the $5,000 first prize plus the tens of thousands of readers who pick up the Star.

For more contests and markets for your short pieces (and news about future seminars), visit Brian’s blog, Quick Brown Fox.


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