Why should young writers and artists enter the NMAs?

Few moments at the annual National Magazine Awards (NMA) gala are as satisfying as discovering which talented up-and-comers are named Canada’s Best Emerging Writer. This category (previously named “Best New Magazine Writer”) recognizes an individual’s early work in Canadian magazines that shows the highest degree of craft and promise. It’s open to students and writers with a maximum three years’ experience in professional journalism, and who have never been nominated for a National Magazine Award, Digital Publishing Award, or National Magazine Award: B2B (see the full requirements here).

Individuals may enter their own work, but editors, colleagues, or mentors are encouraged to nominate the talented young writers they’ve worked with, or even discovered.

Here are just a few reasons we think emerging creators might want to enter this category, and other NMA categories.


Right now, and until January 21, 2021, the early-bird rate is in effect! You’ll save $25 on entry fees and, because the National Media Awards Foundation (NMAF) is a registered charity, fees paid for submissions may be tax-deductible.

If you submit after January 21, you can still take advantage of the Freelancer Support Fund! This fund is available to anyone who is not a staff member of a publication whose work they are submitting, and whose byline appears on the work they are submitting. Check out the full details here, and make sure to submit by the final deadline of January 28, 2021 at midnight (ET).


Students are encouraged to submit, and the awards are open to work published in college and university magazines as well as any other eligible Canadian magazine.


While there is only one entry allowed per person for the Best Emerging Writer category, there is no limit to the number of submissions from a single publication. Freelancers, and emerging writers, are also encourages to submit to categories like Fiction, Poetry, Essays, Personal Journalism, and so many more.


The winner of each category will be announced at the 44th annual National Magazine Awards celebration. In 2020, our gala pivoted from an in-person event (with more than 300 of Canada’s top magazine publishers, editors, writers, and art directors) to a virtual livestream that saw over 9000 viewers. Freelancers and emerging creators will reap the benefits of this huge leap in virtual reach!

Winning work (and nominees) will also be promoted in NMAF publications, press releases, promotional campaigns — anything and everything we can do to celebrate emerging creative talent in our industry.


Got a Gold award in a creator-focused category? That medal also comes with a $1000 cash prize, and the right to call yourself a National Magazine Award winner in every bio for the rest of your life!


The winner of Best Emerging Writer joins a group of award laureates that includes Kate Black, Max Binks-Collier, Jessica Rose, Amorina Kingdon, Desmond Cole, Genna Buck, Catherine McIntyre, Sierra Skye Gemma, Liam Casey, and Matthieu Aikins. Check out the full list of incredible creators here.


Nominations and wins translate to financial support, career growth, and recognition from industry professionals—all of the ingredients freelancers and young creators need to build a robust career in Canadian media and publishing.

Check out what these creators have to say about the impact of winning an NMA:


The greatness of Canadian magazines is sustained by the talented, innovative and dynamic young people who love what they do and work hard to do it. At the NMAs we, like the rest of the Canadian magazine industry, want to recognize and celebrate this. We can’t do it without you.

So, round up your best work from 2020, and enter #NMA21!

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