#NMA19 Sneak Peek

2019 NMA Gala Program Cover. Art direction by Marcey Andrews; Illustration by Wenting Li.

The 42nd annual National Magazine Awards gala will take place May 31st at the Arcadian Court in Toronto. This year, we are honoured that Marcey Andrews and Wenting Li partnered to create the visuals that will help define our celebration of Canadian magazines.

We recently spoke with Marcey and Wenting about the stunning cover they created for the gala program, and how this year’s art direction compares to that of previous years.

NMAF: As the winner of several National Magazine Awards, including more recently for Cover Grand Prix, and a member of the 2018 Jury, how does it feel to be taking over art direction for this year’s NMAs?

Marcey Andrews: Intimidating, to say the least! But also a great honour. Between my experience with the 2018 Jury and the art direction of this year’s NMAs, I’ve really come to appreciate the enormity of this event and just how much dedication it takes to make it happen. Émilie, Barbara and all the volunteers and sponsors that make this possible, they are all a source of inspiration.

NMAF: Could you tell us about the direction you’re taking? How does it stand apart from—or perhaps complement—that of other years?

Marcey Andrews: When Wenting and I partnered up, our goal was simply to carry the torch high and create a look that honoured the significance of these achievements! Stories, and those in magazines in particular, have always been a source of cinematic wonder for me — a byproduct of my active imagination — and so we wanted to give the artwork that same larger-than-life feeling. We know how much effort and passion goes into every piece and so we wanted the nominees to be able to take a moment and appreciate the grandeur of their accomplishments.

Marcey Andrews is the art director of New Trail, the University of Alberta’s alumni magazine. She is also the Senior Graphic Designer in Marketing and Communications in University Relations. She has won five National Magazine Awards.

NMAF: Your illustration for this year’s NMA program is beautiful. Does it have a title?

Wenting Li: Thanks so much! It’s called Awards Night.

NMAF: What was your inspiration for creating this piece?

Wenting Li: I was hoping to show the glitter and solemnity of a celebration, but also make it a bit unusual. So, boats taking creators toward a party inside a giant magazine!

NMAF: Your work has appeared in such Canadian publications as The Walrus, Canadian Living, Quill & Quire, Reader’s Digest Canada and The Globe and Mail. What do you enjoy about creating illustrations for stories and magazines?

Wenting Li: Whenever I’m paging through a publication I can’t help but look first at all the images. Getting to think of drawings that might make others flipping through stop on a particular page is kind of thrilling. I also love being transported by a story, and then getting to share this feeling visually.

Photo by Andrew Moreno

Wenting Li is a Toronto-based illustrator. Her work is preoccupied with colour and shape, and the subtleties of complementing story with picture. Learn more about Wenting and her work by visiting her website.

Tickets to the 42nd Annual NMA Gala will go on sale on May 1, 2019, when the nominations are announced. Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter & Facebook!

2019 Canadian Magazine Writing Contests: The Ultimate Guide

Just in time for Spring, our annual Writing Contest Listing is back!

What inspires your sense of the world? What’s your penchant for endings? Whatever your approach to the craft–and whether fiction, poetry, memoir –you’ll find plenty of outlets for your stories in Canadian magazines. Be inspired to create your next work of poetry, fiction or personal essay. Take the opportunity to finish your latest literary creation and submit it to a Canadian magazine writing contest.

All contests and awards listed below accept previously unpublished works of Canadian poetry, short fiction and creative non-fiction. If you know of one that we missed, please let us know or Tweet at us @MagAwards. And check out our Canadian Literary Magazine Guide for other ideas for where to submit your work.

And for more inspiration, check out the National Magazine Awards Archive, with hundreds of winning and nominated stories and poems to read.

Grain Magazine
Short Grain Contest
Deadline: April 5, 2019
Prize: $1000 (1st); $750 (2nd); $500 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $40 for up to two entries; includes registration + subscription

Contemporary Verse 2
CV2 2-Day Poem Contest
Deadline: April 12, 2019
Prize: $500 (1st); $300 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $26; includes registration + subscription (registration only is $16)

The Vallum Chapbook Award 2019
Deadline: April 30, 2019
1st Prize: Publication + $300
Entry fees: $25 CDN for Canadian entrants

Pulp Literature Magazine Contests:

The Magpie Award for Poetry
Deadline: 15 April 2019
Winner notified: 15 May 2019
Winners published in: Issue 24, Autumn 2019
First Prize: $500 and a 1-year subscription to Duotrope ($50 value).

The Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize
Open: 1 May-June 15, 2019
Winner notified:  15 July 2019
Winner published in:  Issue 25, Winter 2020
Prize:  $300
Entry fee: $15
This contest is for previously unpublished works of fiction up to 1000 words in length.

The Malahat Review
The Malahat Review Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction
Genre: Fiction (max 3500 words)
Deadline: May 1, 2019
Prize: $1,000; publication
Entry Fee: $25 (additional entries are $15); includes subscription

Dreamers Creative Writing
Haiku Contest 2019
Deadline: May 13, 2019
Entry Fee: $10 (includes an electronic copy of Dreamers Magazine Issue 1)
Prize: $120 to the first place winner
The winner will receive $120 CAD ($100 prize + $20 honorarium), 2 copies of our magazine (1 print, 1 electronic), and 2 special Dreamers keychains on which the winning poem will be printed.
Submit up to 3 Haiku per entry; enter as many times as you want.

17th Annual Lush Triumphant Literary Awards
Deadline: May 15, 2019
Fiction: Maximum 3,000 words
Poetry: A suite of 5 related poems (maximum 15 pages)
Creative Non-Fiction: (Based on fact, adorned w/fiction) maximum 4,000 words
Prize: $1000
Entry Fee: $30

The Canadian Stories
11th Contest for Short Stories, Poetry, and Black & White Line Art.
Deadline: May 15, 2019
True Stories  $350
Creative Non-Fiction    $350
Fiction   $350
Poetry    $200
Lest We Forget $350
Black & White Line Art $350
First Honourable Mention    $100
Second Honourable Mention $50
Notification approximately August 1, 2019.
Entry Fee: $20

Room Magazine Contests:

Creative Non-Fiction | Open April 1 – June 
First Prize: $500 + publication in Room
Second Prize: $250 + publication in Room
Honourable Mention: $50 publication on Room‘s website
Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 42.3 (September 2019).

Poetry| Open June 15 – August 15
First Prize: $1,000 + publication in Room
Second Prize: $250 + publication in Room
Honourable Mention: $50 publication on Room’swebsite
Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 42.4 (December 2019).

Short Forms | September 1 – November 1
First Prize: $500 + publication (2 prizes)
Honourable Mention: $50 publication on Room’swebsite

Cover Art| November 15 – January 15
First Prize: $500 + publication on the cover of Room 42.2
Second Prize: $50 + publication in Room 42.2
Honourable Mention: publication on Room’swebsite

Prism International Contests:

The Grouse Grind Lit Prize for V. Short Forms
Deadline: May 15, 2019
$500 Grand Prize, $150 runner-up, $50 2nd runner-up
Entry fee: $15 for all entries. Option to pay an additional fee to include a subscription (or an extension of an existing subscription) with your contest entry.
Max. word count: 300 words.

Creative Non-Fiction Contest
Open: May 2019 – July 31, 2019
Grand Prize: $1,500
Second Prize: $600 runner-up
2nd runner-up: $400
Entry fee: $35 Canadian entries (includes a one-year subscription or extension)
Additional entry: $5 per piece
Max. word count: 6,000

Annual Earle Birney Prize for Poetry
An annual prize of $500 awarded by the outgoing Poetry Editor to an outstanding poetry contributor published in PRISM international.
Enter by regular submission only: no fee required.

The New Quarterly
The Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award
Deadline: May 28, 2019
One top prize including $1000 and a one-year Duotrope Gift Certificate (a USD $50 value) will be awarded for one work of short fiction (no word limit).
Entry fee: $40 per piece (includes a 1-year Canadian subscription or renewal to The New Quarterly).

CBC Canada Writes Poetry Prize
Contest Opens: April 1, 2019
Deadline: May 31, 2019
Prize: The winner will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and will have the opportunity to attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Their winning submission will be published on CBC Books. Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their poetry published on CBC Books.
Entry Fee: $25

Eden Mills Writers Festival Read at the Fringe
Deadline: May 31, 2019
Contest Categories:
Prose: 2500 words maximum, double-spaced
Poetry: Up to five poems, five pages maximum, single-spaced
Prizes: Winners selected in each category will be invited to read at the EMWF on Festival Sunday (September 8, 2019), and will be treated to all the perks of attending the festival as an author, including access to the author hospitality suite, and an invitation to the festival’s gala dinner for authors.
Entry Fee: $15

Eden Mills Writers Festival Literary Contest
Deadline: May 31, 2019
Contest Categories:
Short Story: 2500 words maximum
Poetry: A poem or collection, no more than five poems
Creative Non-Fiction: 2500 words maximum
Prizes: The best entry in each category will win a $250 prize. Winning entries will be published on the EMWF website and the names of the winners will be included in the festival weekend program.
Entry Free: $15 

The Fiddlehead
Creative Nonfiction Contest
Deadline: June 3, 2019
Prize: $2000
Entry Fee: The fee for first entry is $30. Additional entries after that first contest entry (to either contest category) are $10.

Prairie Fire
Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award, Short Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction Contests
Deadline: November 30, 2019
1st prize $1,250
2nd prize $500
3rd prize $250
Entry Fee: $32

The Surrey International Writer’s Conference
The Surrey International Writer’s Conference (SIWC) Writing Contest
Deadline: September 21, 2019
First prize: $1000 plus publication
Honourable Mention: $150 plus publication
Cost: $15/entry

Disabled writers in Canada (including but not limited those who are physically/invisibly disabled, d/Deaf, blind, neurodivergent, chronically ill or suffering from mental health issues)
Monthly Literary Prize dedicated to underrepresented writers in Canada.
Genres: Poetry/Prose/Fiction/Creative Non-Fiction
There are no themes. There is no minimum or maximum word count. There is no submission fee. Only non-published work (print or online).
One submission per month, & you are eligible to win the top prize once every twelve months. You are eligible for a maximum of two prizes every twelve months.
$1000 for the top prize.
$300 for the second prize.
$150 for the third prize.
All winning pieces will be published online at http://shootforthemoon.art

QT2S / BIPOC (Queer / Trans, 2 Spirit and/or Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) Monthly Literary Prize dedicated to underrepresented writers in Canada.
Genres: Poetry/Prose/Fiction/Creative Non-Fiction
There are no themes. There is no minimum or maximum word count. There is no submission fee. Only non-published work (print or online).
One submission per month, & you are eligible to win the top prize once every twelve months. You are eligible for a maximum of two prizes every twelve months.
$1000 for the top prize.
$300 for the second prize.
$150 for the third prize.
All winning pieces will be published online at http://shootforthemoon.art

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

Enter: 2019 NMAF Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement

With excitement and anticipation, the NMAF is calling for nominations for the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement. This is our most prestigious award, presented annually to an individual whose work in, and contributions to, the Canadian magazine industry exemplify innovation and creativity. Creators, editors, publishers, art directors, circulation experts, and others are eligible, and previous winners have included Joyce Byrne, Penny Caldwell, Kim Pittaway, Kim Jernigan, Michael Fox, Stephen Trumper, Heather Robertson, Stephen Osborne, Jean Paré, and Sally Armstrong.

Anyone working in Canadian magazine may submit a nomination, which should include:

  • A letter of nomination, including a brief bio of the nominee and a summary of their career achievements;
  • At least two (2) supporting letters from other individuals in the Canadian magazine industry or colleagues of the nominee.

Materials can be emailed to staff@magazine-awards.com. Note that March 1, 2019 is the nomination deadline, and that there is no cost to submit a nomination.

At the 42nd annual National Magazine Awards gala, we will proudly present the OA winner with their award. More information can be found at magazine-awards.com/oa.

OA recipient Joyce Byrne at the 2018 National Magazine Awards gala.
Photo credit: Steven Goetz Storytelling.

Publisher Grand Prix

With this award, the NMAF strives to recognize the publisher whose brand best delivers on their editorial mandate through numerous platforms. Eligible platforms are various, and may include websites, special issues or other publications, mobile apps, social media platforms, television shows, podcasts, events, merchandising, or any other initiatives or forms of audience engagement. Entries are due by March 1, 2019. The inaugural recipient of this special award will also be announced at the spring gala. Click here for further details.

Final Call for Entries

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Missed the early bird deadline? Fear not: you can still enter submissions for the 42nd National Magazine Awards until midnight (ET) on January 18th, 2019. There are 29 categories, honouring everything from investigative reporting to portrait and lifestyle photography. Browse through the full list of categories here.

Submitting is easy, and, if you hit a snag, you can always email us at staff@magazine-awards.com for a speedy response.

Still on the fence? Here are three great reasons to enter your work in this year’s awards:

  1. Your work will be read by the best of the best, as all entries are judged by top-notch, Canadian and international, experts.
  2. There’s a $1000 cash prize for Gold winners of written and visual categories.
  3. Celebrate Your Creators: Editors, publishers and art directors have the opportunity to reward creative talent.

Ready to start the submission process? Click here!

If your work is digital-focused or serves the B2B industry, check out our sister programs, the Digital Publishing Awards and the National Magazine Awards: B2B. The DPAs are accepting entries until January 31st, and the NMA: B2Bs are open for entries until February 1st.

Early-Bird Deadline for the National Magazine Awards


Thinking of submitting an entry to the 2019 National Magazine Awards? Act quick! Though the call for entries will remain open until January 18th, the early-bird rate comes to an end on Monday, January 14th.

Submitting an entry is easy; download our quick reference guide (this has all the info on categories, eligibility, and more) and follow these six steps:

  1. Review the Categories, Rules, FAQ
  2. Register online at submissions.magazine-awards.com
  3. Enter the details of each submission
  4. Upload a PDF of each submission
  5. Pay the required entry fees 
  6. Courier hard copies (if required)

Freelancers, don’t forget that the support fund offers a discounted entry rate of $50.00 per submission. After the early bird deadline, this rate jumps to $62.50.

Small magazines, take note that our rebate is offered on a first come, first served basis. Get your entries in now to secure a free second entry (offered to magazines whose annual revenue is $200,000 or less).

Got questions? Shoot us an email at staff@magazine-awards.com, and we’ll get you answers. You can call us, too, at 416-939-6200. 

If you’re looking for digital categories, head on over to digitalpublishingawards.ca. The DPAs are accepting entries until January 31, 2019. B2B mags, you’ll be happy to hear that we’ve launched a new program, the National Magazine Awards: B2B. The deadline for submitting entries to that program is February 1, 2019.