A Guide to Writing Contests

The National Media Awards Foundation has compiled a comprehensive list of national and international writing contests that are open to Canadian writers, poets and creators. There are competitions for everyone – from seasoned, published writers to up-and-coming writers who are just getting started in the industry. Contests cover genres such as poetry, non-fiction, fiction and line art. For more information on each contest, please click on the contest you’re interested in below.

Would you like your publication’s writing contest included in our guide? Send us an email today indicating the name of your contest, the deadline, entry fee and prizes, and who’s eligible to compete. Publications from around the world can be included in our guide, as long as Canadian creators are eligible to submit to your publication’s contest.

The Vallum Award for Poetry
Deadline: July 15, 2022
Entry Fee: $25 (includes a 1-year subscription to Vallum Magazine)
First Place Prize: $750 and publication in Vallum
Finalists: $250 and publication in Vallum

PRISM International Creative Non-Fiction Contest
Deadline: July 16, 2022
Grand Prize: $1,500
Second Prize: $600 runner-up
Second runner-up: $400
Entry fee: $35 for Canadian entries (includes a one-year subscription or extension)
Additional entry: $5 per piece
Max. word count: 6,000

The Malahat Review Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize
Prize: $1250 and publication in The Malahat Review
Entries due: August 1, 2022
Entry Fee: $35 for entries from Canada, rates vary elsewhere; $15CAN for all additional entries
Judge: D. A. Lockhart
The Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize is awarded to the best work submitted to the magazine’s annual contest for a genre that embraces, but is not limited to, the personal essay, memoir, narrative nonfiction, social commentary, travel writing, historical accounts, and biography, all enhanced by such elements as description, dramatic scenes, dialogue, and characterization.
Max. word count: 4,000

League of Canadian Poets 1st Annual Lesley Strutt Poetry Contest
Deadline: August 7, 2022
Eligibility: Canadian poets, poets living and working in Canada, as well as Indigenous, Inuit and Métis poets who may not identify as Canadian but live in the region known colonially as Canada
Entry fee: $5
Prize: $500

Room Magazine Poetry Contest
Deadline: June 15, 2021
First Prize: $1,000 + publication in Room
Second Prize: $250 + publication in Room
Honourable Mention: $100 + publication on Room’s website
Entry fee: $35CAN within Canada, rates vary elsewhere; $7CAN per additional entry
Max. word count: 3,500

Canadian Stories
The CANADIAN STORIES literary folk magazine is pleased to offer the 13th Contest for Short Stories, Poetry, and Black & White Line Art:
True Stories: $200
Fiction: $200
Poetry – Rhyming: $200
Poetry – Non-rhyming: $200
Lest We Forget: $200
Black & White Line Art: $200
First Honourable Mention: $150
Second Honourable Mention: $100
Third Honourable Mention: $50
Deadline: not announced yet for 2022
Entry fee: $20

The Fiddlehead Fiction Contest
Deadline: not announced yet for 2022
Prize: $2000 and publication in The Fiddlehead
Judge: Yasuko Thanh
Submission Guidelines

Arc Poetry Magazine Diana Brebner Prize
Deadline: September 4, 2022
Eligibility: Residents of the National Capital Region
Entry fee: $25 for one or two poems, includes one-year subscription to Arc
Prize: $500

Surrey International Writers’ Conference writing contest
Deadline: September 15, 2022
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $15
First Prize: $1000 and publication
Honourable mention: $150 and publication

Dreamers Creative Writing
Deadline: Sept. 30
Entry Fee: $12.50 USD (Approx. $15 CAD) – includes an e-copy of the next issue of Dreamers Magazine
Prize: $150 to the first place winner

Portal Magazine‘s Portent Contest
Deadline: November 2022
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and residents
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $500 and publication in the April 2023 issue
Max. word count: 2,000 words

Pulp Literature
The Raven Short Story Contest
Contest opens: 1 September 2021
Deadline: 15 October 2021
Winner notified: 15 November 2021
Winner published in: Issue 34, Spring 2022
Prize: $300
Judge: To Be Announced
Entry fee: $20
Early bird fee (before 15 September): $15
Entry fees include a 1-year digital subscription to Pulp Literature
Editorial critique: $25
This contest is for previously unpublished short fiction between 250 and 2500 words in length. Multiple entries are welcome. Total entries limited to 200.

Prairie Fire
McNally Robinson Booksellers Poetry Award, Short Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction Contests

Entry fee: $32. This entitles you to a one-year (4 issues) subscription to Prairie Fire magazine.
1st prize: $750
2nd prize: $350
3rd prize: $150
One fiction entry consists of one story, maximum 5,000 words.
One poetry entry consists of 1, 2, or 3 poems, maximum 150 lines.
One creative non-fiction entry consists of one article, maximum 5,000 words.
Deadline for all contest entries: November 30, 2022 (postmarked by)

The Writers Union of Canada
Each year, a $10,000 prize is awarded to a Canadian writer for the best first collection of published short fiction in the English language. Two finalists are also awarded $1000 each.
The next deadline for submissions is January 31, 2022.

Contest Entries: December 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023
Over $1700.00 in Prizes
1st Prize (Poetry and Fiction) $500
2nd Prize (Poetry and Fiction) $250.
3rd Prize (Poetry and Fiction) $125.00
Honourable Mention (Poetry and Fiction) $75.00
Entry fee: $25.00 (includes one-year subscription for your first entry only)*
Additional entries $5.00 (at time of original entry only)

Writing Battle
Next Battle: August 5th, 2022 (Flash Fiction)
Future Battles: November 1, 2022 (Short Story)
Writing Battle is a creative writing competition for writers, by writers. Receive prompts, write a short story, then judge each other’s stories.
Cash Prize is dependent on how many people join but can range from $5000-$8000
Entry fee: $20

Did we miss one? Send us a note or grab us on Twitter @MagAwards. We’ll update this post as more contests are announced.