CAJ Awards Deadline extended till February 8

The deadline for the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) awards program for 2011 has been extended until February 8, 2012.

There are 14 awards this year, including two new ones: the Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) / CAJ Award for Human Rights Reporting; and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Canada / CAJ Award for Labour Reporting.

Most awards carry a cash prize of $500. You can download all entry forms in the CAJ website.

The CAJ awards will be presented during the CAJ’s annual conference in Toronto, April 27-29, 2012.

Off the Page, with Alex Leslie

Off the Page is an exclusive new series produced by the NMAF that reaches out to former National Magazine Award winners to find out what their awards have meant to them and what they’re up to now. Off the Page will appear regularly on the NMA blog during the winter and spring of 2012. This week we catch up with National Magazine Award-winning writer Alex Leslie.

NMAF: You won a 2008 National Magazine Award in Personal Journalism for “Pre-History,” a moving memoir of childhood published in Prairie Fire and a piece that had previously won that magazine’s creative non-fiction contest. How did that piece evolve from your desk to the Prairie Fire contest and ultimately to a National Magazine Award?

Alex: The piece was written for a workshop led by Andreas Schroeder, and I wrote it over the course of about two months. I submitted it to the Prairie Fire contest because Mark Anthony Jarman was the non-fiction judge that year and I admire his work. Prairie Fire nominated the piece for the NMA and let me know that it was in the running.

NMAF: How did it feel to win a National Magazine Awards, and what has it meant for you as a young writer to win?

Alex: I think every award and publication helps in terms of visibility and other opportunities coming up. I was surprised to win the National Magazine Award as it was the first time I was nominated (the next year my short story “Catalogue of the Coast” got an Honourable Mention in the fiction category). As a young writer every gesture of support is very meaningful because writing is ultimately utterly solitary.

NMAF: Since then you’ve also won a CBC Literary Award and you’ve been focusing on fiction. Where are you in your writing career now and what are you working on?

Alex: My first book of short stories, People Who Disappear, will be published by Freehand Books in April. I’m looking forward to reading from the book in several cities — Vancouver, Calgary, Regina and Toronto. Freehand has been amazing to work with. I’m also guest editing the Queer issue of Poetry Is Dead, a Vancouver poetry journal; I’ll be looking for submissions of Queer poetry and experimental prose by Canadian writers. I’m working on a second collection of short stories right now and I just did my first reading outside of Canada, at an offsite reading for the Seattle MLA conference.

Alex Leslie is a Vancouver-based writer and the author of the blog Stories That Happen Elsewhere. Her forthcoming collection of short stories, People Who Disappear, will be out in April from Freehand Books. You can read more about Alex and her work at her Award-Winning Creators Profile page.

Grantham Prize and other Journalism Award deadlines are fast approaching

The 2011 National Magazine Awards deadline has passed, but there are a number of other contests out there for magazine journalists with deadlines coming up soon:

1) The 2012 Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment is one of Canada’s most prestigious and lucrative journalism awards, open to non-fiction work focused principally on the environment and natural resources.

The purpose of the [Grantham] Prize is to encourage outstanding coverage of the environment, to recognize reporting that has the potential to bring about constructive change, and to broadly disseminate the Prize-winning story to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental and natural resource issues. Among the criteria jurors will consider are the significance of the subject matter, quality and originality of the journalism, the potential to effect constructive change, and the effort involved in telling the story

The deadline for the 2012 Grantham Prize is January 30, 2012 (entries must be postmarked by this date to be eligible).

2) The Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Emerging Science Journalism Award is aimed at journalism students and bestows one or two $2500 prizes to the best story pitch on the subject of scientific research at a Canadian institution (one that is funded by CFI).

If you’re a student in a journalism or science communications program in Canada, this is your chance to get creative and get funded to produce a compelling piece of science journalism.

The deadline for entries to the Emerging Science Journalism Award is February 7, 2012.

3) The Northern Lights Awards for Excellence in Travel Journalism are presented by the Canadian Tourism Commission, sponsored by Travel Alberta, judged by the Missouri School of Journalism, and awarded by the Canada Media Marketplace in San Francisco. There are awards in 5 categories for travel journalism about Canada.

The race is on for Canada’s Northern Lights Awards presented by the Canadian Tourism Commission and Sponsored by Travel Alberta. Through compelling headlines, stunning imagery and riveting descriptions, thousands of writers, photographers, producers and other media tell Canada’s story around the world. This is our chance to recognize your work as being one of the most influential and important motivators for all travellers.

The deadline for entries to the Northern Lights Awards is February 3, 2012.

NMA winner Andrew Cohen to speak at SAW City Debates in Ottawa

Author and professor Andrew Cohen — who won three National Magazine Awards in 1990 for the same article — will be one of the featured speakers at the SAW City Debates tomorrow night (January 25) at the Galerie SAW Gallery in Ottawa, following the screening of a new documentary, Urbanized, by filmmaker Gary Hustwit.

Cohen is currently a professor of journalism and international affairs at Carleton University and spent much of his thirty-year journalism career at the Ottawa Citizen, The Globe and Mail and the Financial Post.

In 1990 his feature article “That Bastard Trudeau” in Saturday Night won the National Magazine Awards for Investigative Journalism, Public Issues, and the President’s Medal as the best overall article of the year.

According to its website the SAW City Debates is an ongoing series meant to spark dialogue around the many important cultural issues affecting the national capital region. Presented in response to recent articles in the media criticizing Ottawa’s urban design, denouncing everything from the National Capital Commission’s apparent inertia to the reliance on developers in shaping our city, the first debate in this series will take a look at urban design successes and failures in this city, but more importantly will help generate ideas and visions for the future.

Tickets are available at the door. 7pm, Wednesday January 25 at Galerie SAW Gallery.

Award-winning illustrator Gary Taxali shows off coin collection

Renowned Canadian illustrator Gary Taxali — a twelve-time finalist and twice a winner of National Magazine Awards — has been commissioned by the Royal Canadian Mint to design a series of “Celebration Coins” for 2012.

There will be a viewing and cocktail reception at the Spoke Club in Toronto on Wednesday, January 25 at 6pm, open to club members and invited guests. Gary has also created a commemorative illustration for the occasion in his signature style, prints of which will be on sale at the reception.