Your Guide to Winter/Spring 2017 Canadian Magazine Writing Contests


In her 2016 National Magazine Award-winning story “The Beguiling” (sub-Terrain) Zsuzsi Gartner pens a portrait of an amputee cinephile named Zoltan whose sense of the world is derived from the human stories that pass through his (and others’) camera lens. In one scene, at the hospital, the ailing character is suddenly inspired to think of himself as a “little dog,” the kind that audiences root for to overcome challenges. The narrator explains:

He meant the North American penchant for happy endings. Fairy tales. But in the original fairy tales we all know the most diabolical things happen, eyes are pecked out by birds, there’s cannibalism and decapitation, and the little mermaid doesn’t marry the prince but dissolves into sad foam on the sea.

What inspires your sense of the world? What’s your penchant for endings? Happy ones with strong little dogs, or more of a dissolution into empty water? Whatever your approach to the craft–and whether fiction, poetry, memoir or photography–you’ll find plenty of outlets for your stories in Canadian magazines.
And so the NMAF presents its annual Winter/Spring Guide to Canadian Writing (and Photography) Contests.
All contests and awards listed below accept previously unpublished works of Canadian poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction and photography; listed in chronological order by deadline date. If you know of one that we missed, please let us know or Tweet at us @MagAwards.
And for more inspiration, check out the National Magazine Awards Archive, with hundreds of winning and nominated stories and poems to read.
Room Creative Short Forms Contest
Genre: Fiction, Poetry or Creative Non-fiction (max 500 words)
Deadline: January 29, 2017
Prizes: 2 prizes of $500 + publication (1st); $50 + publication (Honourable Mention)
Entry Fee: $35 ($7 for each additional entry); includes subscription
Detailshttp://roommagazine.com/contests
Prism International Jacob Zilber Prize for Short Fiction*
Genres: Fiction (max 6000 words)
Deadline: January 31, 2017
Prize: $1500 (1st); $600 (2nd); $400 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription
Detailshttp://prismmagazine.ca/contests/
* Judged by National Magazine Award-winning fiction writer Jess Taylor
Arc Poetry Magazine Poem of the Year Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: February 1, 2017
Prize: $5000 (Poem of the Year); $500 (Honourable Mention); paid publication for shortlisted works
Entry Fee: $35 ($5 for each additional entry); includes subscription
Detailshttp://arcpoetry.ca/contests-page/
The Malahat Review Long Poem Prize*
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: February 1, 2017
Prize: $1000 to each of 2 winners; publication
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.malahatreview.ca/contests/long_poem_prize/info.html
* Judged by National Magazine Award winners Louise Bernice Halfe, George Elliott Clarke and Patricia Young
Writers Union of Canada Short Prose Competition
Genres: Non-fiction; Fiction
Deadline: February 1, 2017
Prize: $2500 + assistance with publication
Entry Fee: $29
Detailshttp://www.writersunion.ca/short-prose-competition
Pulp Literature Magazine Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest
Genre: Short Fiction (max 750 words)
Deadline: February 15, 2017
Prize: $300 + publication
Entry Fee: $15 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://pulpliterature.com/contests/
CBC Canada Writes Creative Non-Fiction Prize
Genre: Creative Non-fiction (1200-1800 words)
Deadline: February 28, 2017
Prize: $6000 + publication in enRoute + Banff Centre residency (1st); $1000 each to 4 runners up
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.cbc.ca/books/2016/01/cbc-creative-nonfiction-prize-is-now-open.html
The New Quarterly Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: February 28, 2017 March 17, 2017
Prize: Two prizes of $1000 + publication
Entry Fee: $40 (for first 2 poems; $5 each for additional); includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests
Alberta Views Public Spaces Photography Contest
Genre: Photography
Deadline: February 28, 2017
Prizes: $1000; publication
Entry Fee: $30 ($15 for each additional entry)
Detailshttps://albertaviews.ab.ca/contests/
Note: The contest is open to residents of Alberta and Alberta expats.
Matrix Magazine Robert Kroetsch Innovative Poetry Award*
Genre: Poetry (manuscript)
Deadline: March 1, 2017
Prize: Publication contract with Insomniac Press
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.matrix-magazine.org/robert-kroetsch-award
* Judged by National Magazine Award-winning writer Wayde Compton
13th annual Geist Literary Postcard Story Contest
Genre: Very short fiction or non-fiction (500 words max)
Deadline: March 1, 2017
Prize: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $20; includes subscription ($5 each additional entry)
Detailshttp://www.geist.com/contests/postcard-contest/
The RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: March 6, 2017
Prizes: $10,000 (1st); $2500 (to two honourable mentions)
Entry Fee: $0
Details: http://www.writerstrust.com/Awards/RBC-Bronwen-Wallace-Award-for-Emerging-Writers/Prize-Guidelines.aspx
Room Creative Non-fiction Contest
Genre: Creative Non-fiction
Deadline: March 8, 2017
Prizes: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); $50 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35 ($7 for each additional entry); includes subscription
Detailshttp://roommagazine.com/contests
The New Quarterly Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest
Genre: Creative Non-Fiction
Deadline:  March 28, 2017
Prize: $1000
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests
Note: All submissions will be considered for publication ($250) in the magazine.
Vallum Chapbook Award
Genre: Poetry (chapbook 12-20 pages)
Deadline: March 31, 2017
Prize: $125 + publication
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.vallummag.com/chapbookrules.html
Grain Magazine 29th annual Short Grain Writing Contest
Genres: Fiction (max 2500 words); Poetry (max 100 lines)
Deadline: April 1, 2017
Prize: $1000 (1st); $750 (2nd); $500 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $40 (for two entries in one category); includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.grainmagazine.ca/short-grain-contest/
Alice Munro Festival Short Story Contest
Genre: Short Fiction (max 2500 words; separate categories for adults and youths)
Deadline: April 1, 2017
Prizes:  $1,500 (adults prize); $500 (youth prize)
Entry Fee: $25 (adults); $10 (youth)
Detailshttp://alicemunrofestival.ca/?page_id=1317
Exile Literary Quarterly Carter V. Cooper Fiction Competition
Genre: Fiction (max 10,000 words)
Deadline: April 3, 2017
Prizes: $10,000 for best story by an emerging writer; $5000 for best story by a career writer; publication
Entry Fee: $30; includes subscription
Details: http://www.theexilewriters.com/
Exile Literary Quarterly Gwendolyn McEwan Poetry Competition
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: April 3, 2017
Prizes: $1500 for Best Suite; $1000 for Best Suite by an Emerging Poet; $500 for Best Poem; publication
Entry Fee: $25; includes subscription
Details: http://www.theexilewriters.com/
CV2 2-Day Poem Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: April 3, 2017 (registration; competition is held April 8-9)
Prize: $500 (1st); $300 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $26; includes registration + subscription (registration only is $16)
Detailshttp://www.contemporaryverse2.ca/en/contests/2-day-poem-contest
Pulp Literature Magazine Magpie Award for Poetry
Genre: Poetry (max 100 lines)
Deadline: April 15, 2017
Prize: $500 + publication (1st); $50 for each of 2 runners-up
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription); $10 for each additional entry
Detailshttp://pulpliterature.com/contests/
Event Magazine Non-Fiction Contest
Genre: Creative Non-fiction (5000 words or fewer)
Deadline: April 15, 2017
Prize: $1500 in total cash prizes; publication
Entry Fee: $34.95; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.eventmagazine.ca/contest-nf/
The Malahat Review Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction
Genre: Fiction (max 3500 words)
Deadline: May 1, 2017
Prize: $1000; publication
Entry Fee: $25 (additional entries are $15); includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.malahatreview.ca/contests/far_horizons_fiction/info.html
The New Quarterly Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award
Genre: Fiction
Deadline: May 28, 2017
Prize: $1000 + publication
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Details: http://www.tnq.ca/contests
Note: All submissions will be considered for paid publication ($250) in the magazine.
CBC Canada Writes Poetry Prize
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: May 31, 2017
Prize: $6000 + publication in enRoute + Banff Centre residency (1st); $1000 each to 4 runners up
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.cbc.ca/books/literaryprizes/poetry/
Note: The submission form can be downloaded as of April 1, 2017
Ricepaper ACWW Emerging Writer Award
Genre: Poetry (book-length manuscript)
Deadline: June 1, 2017
Prize: $250 + publication (1st); prize packs + publication (2nd & 3rd)
Entry Fee: $25; includes subscription
Detailshttp://ricepapermagazine.ca/contests/
Antigonish Review Sheldon Curray Fiction Prize
Genre: Fiction (max 20 pages)
Deadline: June 1, 2017
Prize: $600 (1st); $400 (2nd); $200 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://www.antigonishreview.com/
Pulp Literature Magazine Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest
Genre: Short Fiction (max 1000 words)
Deadline: June 15, 2017
Prize: $300 + publication
Entry Fee: $15 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://pulpliterature.com/contests/
Other contests may be added to the list as Winter melts into Spring. Stay tuned.
Did we miss one? Send us a note or grab us on Twitter @MagAwards. We’ll update this post throughout the winter and spring as more contests are announced.
Find more awards, prizes and contests for magazine journalism on the Awards and Contests pages of this blog.
Summer Magazine Contest Guide
Fall Magazine Contest Guide
Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines & Journals

Your Guide to Winter/Spring 2015 Magazine Writing Contests


[Click here for our Summer and Winter/Spring contest guides]
It’s minus-fifteen degrees. The pastel glow of an early dusk drapes over the bare walnut tree outside your window. You sit at a writing table with the seventh draft, poring over your final notes. You’re satisfied at last. But where to submit this poem, short story, memoir?
Answer: a Canadian magazine writing contest.
This guide, presented by the National Magazine Awards Foundation, is our largest yet, which hopefully indicates not only the vigour of the Canadian literary magazine scene, but also the unceasing desire to engage with new readers and writers that these wonderful magazines possess.
If you haven’t participated before, now is a great time to sit down with that story or poem of yours, polish it and put it out in the world. Along the way you may discover a great new magazine.
What this guide provides is a list of contests via Canadian magazines (or magazine-related organizations) open to unpublished works of Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-fiction and Photography.
Please note: This list is organized chronologically by deadline dates from January 1 to June 15. If you know of a contest we missed, please email us or grab us on Twitter @MagAwards and we’ll update our guide.
Good luck!
Prism International Short Fiction & Poetry Contests
Genres: Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: January 23, 2015 January 30, 2015
Prize: $2000 (1st); $300 (2nd); $200 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription
Detailshttp://prismmagazine.ca/contests/
Matrix Magazine Robert Kroetsch Innovative Poetry Award
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: January 31, 2015
Prize: $500 + publication
Entry Fee: $30
Detailshttp://matrixmagazine.org/rkaward/
Arc Poetry Magazine Poem of the Year Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: February 1, 2015 February 15, 2015
Prize: $5000
Entry Fee: $32; includes subscription
Detailshttp://arcpoetry.ca/?page_id=5586
The Malahat Review Long Poem Prize
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: February 1, 2015
Prize: Two awards of $1000; publication
Entry Fee: $35 ($15 each for additional entries)
Detailshttp://www.malahatreview.ca/contests/long_poem_prize/info.html
11th annual Geist Literary Postcard Contest
Genre: Very short fiction or non-fiction (500 words)
Deadline: February 1, 2015
Prize: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $20; includes subscription ($5 each additional entry)
Detailshttp://www.geist.com/articles/postcard-contest/
Atlantic Writing Competition
Genres: Creative Non-fiction; Poetry; Short Fiction; Novel; Children’s Literature; Young Adult
Deadline: February 2, 2015
Prize: $200-$300 to winner in each category
Entry Fee: $20 – $35, depending on category
Detailshttp://writers.ns.ca/awards-competitions.html
Alberta Views Public Spaces Photography Contest
Genre: Photography
Deadline: February, 2015
Prizes: $1000; publication
Entry Fee: $30 ($15 for each additional entry)
Detailshttps://albertaviews.ab.ca/contests/
Carleton University In/Words “Passages” Writing Contest
Genres: Fiction, Poetry
Deadline: February 15, 2015
Prizes: $300 (1st); $100 (2nd); publication; prize pack
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://carleton.ca/english/annual-events/high-school-writing-competition/creative-writing-concentration-competition/
Note: Each contest has two age categories, one for under-18, one for 18+.
The New Quarterly Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: February 28, 2015
Prize: Two prizes of $1000 + publication
Entry Fee: $40 (for first 2 poems; $5 each for additional); includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests
CBC Canada Writes Creative Non-Fiction Prize
Genre: Non-fiction (1200-1500 words)
Deadline: March 1, 2015
Prize: $6000 + publication in enRoute + Banff Centre residency (1st); $1000 each to 4 runners up
Entry Fee: $25
Details:
http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/literaryprizes/nonfiction/index.html
Ottawa Magazine Short Fiction Contest
Genre: Fiction (max 3000 words)
Deadline: March 1, 2015
Prizes: $700 (1st); $300 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://www.ottawamagazine.com/culture/2014/12/05/contest-ottawa-magazine-short-fiction-contest/
Note: Open to Ottawa residents only
Writers Union of Canada Short Prose Competition
Genres: Non-fiction; Fiction
Deadline: March 1, 2015
Prize: $2500 + assistance with publication
Entry Fee: $29
Detailshttp://www.writersunion.ca/short-prose-competition
Room Creative Non-fiction Contest
Genre: Creative Non-fiction
Deadline: March 8, 2015
Prizes: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: $35 (includes subscription)
Details: http://www.roommagazine.com/rooms-annual-contests-2015
Arc Poetry Magazine Diana Brebner Emerging Poet Prize
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: March 15, 2015
Prize: $500
Entry Fee: $23 for up to 2 poems (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://arcpoetry.ca/?p=8662
Note: Open only to residents of Ottawa and the national capital region
Reader’s Digest Summer Camp Stories Competition
Genre: Short memoir (of summer camp)
Deadline: March 23, 2015
Prizes: Publication
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://www.readersdigest.ca/summer-camp-stories
The New Quarterly Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest
Genre: Creative Non-Fiction
Deadline: March 28, 2015 April 13, 2015
Prize: $1000 + publication
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests
Exile Literary Quarterly Carter V. Cooper Fiction Competition
Genre: Fiction (max 30 pages)
Deadline: March 30, 2015 April 13, 2015
Prizes: $10,000 for best story by an emerging writer; $5000 for best story by a career writer; publication
Entry Fee: $30 (includes subscription)
Details: http://www.theexilewriters.com/
Narrative Magazine Winter 2015 Story Contest
Genres: Non-fiction; Fiction; Graphic Narratives; Photo Essays
Deadline: March 31, 2015
Prize: $2,500 (1st); $1000 (2nd); $500 (3rd); $100 (finalist)
Entry Fee: $22
Detailshttp://www.narrativemagazine.com/node/238622
Notes: Entries may be fiction or literary nonfiction, including essays, memoirs, or any other form of unpublished manuscript, with a word limit of 15,000. This year photo essays and graphic narratives are also accepted. All are judged in the same pool.
Writers’ Trust Student Non-Fiction Contest
Genre: Non-fiction (open to high school students only)
Deadline: March 31, 2015
Prize: $2500 + trip to Toronto + publication in Maclean’s (1st); $500 (2nd); $250 (3rd)
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://writerstrust.com/students
Grain magazine Short Grain Writing Contest
Genres: Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: April 1, 2015
Prize: $1000 (1st); $750 (2nd); $500 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.grainmagazine.ca/short-grain-contest/
The Rusty Toque Poetry Chapbook Contest
Genre
: Poetry (20 pages max)
Deadline: April 1, 2015
Prizes: $800 + publication + prize pack (1st); $100 + except publication + prize packs (2 other finalists)
Entry Fee: $15
Detailshttp://www.therustytoque.com/chapbook-contest.html
The Impressment Gang Poetry Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: April 1, 2015
Prize: $100 + publication
Entry Fee: $7.50; other options for subscribers
Detailshttp://www.theimpressmentgang.com/contest/
CV2 2-Day Poem Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: April 6, 2015 (registration; competition is held April 11-12)
Prize: $500 (1st); $300 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $26; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.contemporaryverse2.ca/en/contests/2-day-poem-contest
Event magazine Creative Non-Fiction Contest
Genre: Non-fiction (5000 words or fewer)
Deadline: April 15, 2015
Prize: $1500 in total cash prizes; publication
Entry Fee: $34.95; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.eventmagazine.ca/contest-nf/
The Malahat Review Far Horizons Short Fiction Contest
Genre: Fiction
Deadline: May 1, 2015
Prize: $1000; publication
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.malahatreview.ca/contests/far_horizons_fiction/info.html
Dalhousie Review Short Story Contest
Genre: Fiction
Deadline: May 1, 2015
Prizes: $750 (1st); $250 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: $30 ($15 for each additional entry)
Detailshttp://dalhousiereview.dal.ca/contest.html
Sub-Terrain Lush Triumphant Literary Awards
Genres: Creative Non-fiction; Fiction; Poetry
Deadline: May 15, 2015
Prize: $1000 to winner of each category; publication
Entry Fee: $27.50; includes subscription
Detailshttp://subterrain.ca/about/103/lush-2013-awards-open+for+entries
The New Quarterly Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award
Genre: Fiction
Deadline: May 28, 2015
Prize: $1000 + publication
Entry Fee: $40; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.tnq.ca/contests
CBC Canada Writes Poetry Prize
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: June 1, 2015
Prize: $6000 + publication in enRoute + Banff Centre residency (1st); $1000 each to 4 runners up
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/literaryprizes/poetry/index.html
Alice Munro Festival Short Story Contest
Genre: Short Fiction (one category for adults, one for teens)
Deadline: TBA
Prizes: $500 (1st); $300 (2nd); $200 (3rd); $75 (4th); $50 (5th)
Entry Fee: $10 – $25
Detailshttp://alicemunrofestival.ca/?page_id=306
Did we miss one? Send us a note or grab us on Twitter @MagAwards. We’ll update this post throughout the winter and spring as more contests are announced.
Find more awards, prizes and contests for magazine journalism on the Awards and Contests pages of this blog.
Related Posts:
A Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines
Your Guide to Summer Magazine Writing Contests
Your Guide to Fall Magazine Writing Contests