Call for Entries: 44th Annual National Magazine Awards

Submissions for the 44th annual NMAs are now open! Canadian content creators and magazines are eligible to submit entries across 29 categories (plus the Magazine Grand Prix and the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement) with Gold winners in Writing & Visual categories receiving a $1000 cash prize.

For 2021, there are also seven additional categories that are part of a new, cross-programming initiative with the Digital Publishing Awards and the National Magazine Awards: B2B. We invite NMA participants to enter their best work in these categories:

For 2021, there are also seven additional categories that are part of a new, cross-programming initiative with the Digital Publishing Awards and the National Magazine Awards: B2B. We invite NMA participants to enter their best work in these categories:

  • Best Editorial Newsletter
  • Best Podcast: News and Politics
  • Best Podcast: Arts and Culture
  • Best Online Video: Short
  • Best Online Video: Feature
  • Best Online Video: Mini-Doc
  • Best Virtual Event

For this initiative, all entries will be evaluated by a single panel of judges, and winners will be announced across all three programs. Full details on the categories and submission requirements are here.

To save on fees, get your entries in by the early bird deadline of January 21, 2021. The final submissions deadline is January 28, 2021.

Freelancer Support Fund

Our Freelancer Support Fund allows independent writers and creators to buy one entry and get one free. Please note that the Fund applies to two entries for Writing & Visual categories only.

Small Magazine Rebate

Our Small Magazine Rebate allows magazines whose annual revenue is $200,000 or buy two entries for the price of one. The rebate operates on a first come, first served basis, so please apply early to ensure your magazine gets its free entry!

How to Submit

  1. Review the Categories, Rules and Submission Requirements
  2. Register online at
  3. Enter the details of each submission
  4. Pay the required entry fees

Please note that, in response to the challenges of this COVID-19 era, no hard copies are required this year. All entry materials can be uploaded to our online portal.

Download our Guide to the 44th National Magazine Awards for a handy reference to categories, criteria, submissions guidelines, rules, deadlines and more.


  • NMA Early Bird Deadline: January 21, 2021
  • NMA Final Deadline: January 28, 2021

Please note that the deadline to nominate a colleague for the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement is March 2, 2021. Applications can be uploaded to our submission portal up until January 28, 2021. After that, please direct all applications to

Digital Publishing Awards

Canadian digital publishers and creators are invited to enter the 6th annual Digital Publishing Awards! The 2021 DPA lineup offers 25 exciting categories, including the Emerging Excellence Award and the Digital Publishing Leadership Award.

National Magazine Awards: B2B

Do you have some excellent business-to-business content from 2020? Enter it in the 3rd annual National Magazine Awards: B2B! There is a $500 cash prize for winners in creator-focused categories, and 18 categories to choose from this year, including the B2B Leadership Award.

Ready to Submit?

Click here to get started.

To keep up with what’s going on, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Categories Announced for the 44th National Magazine Awards

The National Media Awards Foundation is pleased to announce the lineup of categories for the 2021 National Magazine Awards. Our program for 2021 features 29 categories, plus two special awards and seven additional categories that are part of a new, cross-programming initiative.

Writing & Visual Awards:

  1. Long-Form Feature Writing: 6000+
  2. Long-Form Feature Writing
  3. Feature Writing
  4. Short Feature Writing
  5. Columns
  6. Essays
  7. Investigative Reporting
  8. Fiction
  9. Personal Journalism
  10. Poetry
  11. Profiles
  12. Service Journalism
  13. Best Emerging Writer
  14. Illustration (incl. Spot & Photo Illustration)
  15. Portrait Photography
  16. Lifestyle Photography
  17. Photo Essay & Journalism
  18. One of a Kind Storytelling

Editorial Awards:

  1. Art Direction of a Single Article
  2. Best Editorial Package
  3. Art Direction Grand Prix
  4. Editor Grand Prix
  5. Cover Grand Prix
  6. Issue Grand Prix
  7. Publisher Grand Prix

Grand Prix: Best Magazine Awards

  1. Best Magazine: News, Business, General Interest
  2. Best Magazine: Service & Lifestyle
  3. Best Magazine: Art, Literary, Culture
  4. Best Magazine: Special Interest

Special Awards:

  • Magazine Grand Prix
  • Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement

Additional Categories

New for 2021, we encourage NMA participants to submit their work to the following categories, which will compete among those submitted to the Digital Publishing Awards and National Magazine Awards: B2B programs. For this cross-programming initiative, all entries will be evaluated by a single panel of judges, and winners will be announced across all three programs. For more information, please see our rules.

  • Best Editorial Newsletter
  • Best Podcast: News and Politics
  • Best Podcast: Arts and Culture
  • Best Online Video: Short
  • Best Online Video: Feature
  • Best Online Video: Mini-Doc
  • Best Virtual Event

The NMAF will present the winners of the 44th National Magazine Awards in spring 2021. If you’re interested in submitting to the 2021 NMAs, please note that the call for entries opens on December 21, 2020 and closes on January 28, 2021. To save on fees, get your entries in by the early bird deadline of January 21, 2021.

We have also made a change to our submission requirements in response to the challenges surrounding COVID-19.

Our Freelancer Support Fund and Small Magazine Rebate will be available once again this year, ensuring that the National Magazine Awards recognize the best work from a broad range of Canadian creators and magazines.

Call for Judges: 44th Annual National Magazine Awards

The National Media Awards Foundation is now welcoming applications for judges for the National Magazine Awards, Digital Publishing Awards, and the National Magazine Awards: B2B.

Ideal candidates should meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Internationally renowned journalist, editor, designer or other expert with an interest in supporting the NMAF fulfill its mission;
  • Editor, art director, publisher, web editor or other staff member (past or present) of a Canadian magazine, whether or not your publication participates in the National Magazine Awards, Digital Publishing Awards, or National Magazine Awards: B2B;
  • Freelance or staff writer, illustrator, photographer or digital creator, where a significant portion of your work is in Canadian publications (especially if you have been nominated for or won a National Magazine Award, Digital Publishing Award, or National Magazine Award: B2B yourself);
  • Journalist (print, broadcast, digital) with expertise in a particular field represented by one or more NMA, DPA, or NMA: B2B categories (such as photojournalism, service, arts & culture, fiction, poetry, etc);
  • Academic or industry leader with expertise in a particular field;
  • Professionals and leaders from related cultural sectors, including the visual arts (film and television), the literary arts (book writing & publishing) and the performing arts (theatre, music);
  • Bilingual: Not all of our judges need be bilingual, but all awards juries will have at least one bilingual member.

We welcome applications from individuals who bring different industry perspectives – from recognized leaders to celebrated emerging talents. We also aim for the judging panels to reflect our country’s diverse Indigenous, cultural, and regional communities.

Judging will take place during February and March 2021. For more information, or to nominate a peer to the jury, contact us at

Applicants, please include in your email: a short biography of yourself, a headshot, your preferred category (if any), what languages you are comfortable judging in (English, French or both), your contact information, and whether or not you are currently on the masthead of a publication.

We’re proud to have had some of the finest Canadian journalists and experts serve on our past juries.

The National Magazine Awards have been a major component in the growth of my writing career, and I am inestimably grateful not just for their financial support, but for the recognition from my peers and idols which they represent. Adjudicating the Best Personal Journalism category in 2020 was a deep dive into the breadth and depth of Canada’s masters of the form at the absolute state of the art of contemporary writing, for which I am immensely grateful. It made me a sharper reader, and a sharper writer.  — Anthony Oliveirawriter and culture critic for Hazlitt, and PhD with the University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

It was such an enriching experience to be a judge for the NMAs. Being able to appreciate the work of my peers, and discuss their work with the other judges, made me feel like even more a part of the literary community that has supported and nourished me. — Alicia Elliottaward-winning Tuscarora writer from Six Nations of the Grand River, Brantford, ON.

Getting your hands on a B2B magazine can be tricky if you don’t belong to a particular profession. As an NMA: B2B judge, I had the pleasure of reading new publications and discovering the rich journalistic and artistic talent behind them. — Luc Rinaldisenior editor, Pivot magazine, Toronto, ON.

I enjoy the process because it gives me the opportunity to contribute both individually and collectively. Entering my own scores for each entry validates the time I spend reviewing and assessing each submission; discussing my assessments with the other judges during our conference call provides the opportunity to weigh the value of those assessments against the opinions of other industry experts and (on occasion) to argue in favour of work which I feel may have been undervalued.
Dawn Chafe, executive editor, Atlantic Business Magazine, St. John’s, NL.

It’s a great honour to judge the NMAs and see some of the best magazine work happening in Canada. I love editorial design and it’s wonderful when some of the winning entries are small, independent publications that understand great design is integral to their success. — Fidel Peñacreative director and co-founder of Underline Studio, Toronto, ON.

Judging the NMAs allows you to keep tabs on industry leaders, validate someone’s hard work, and boost a worthy talent’s own career. It’s also an easy way to give back to a community that has given all of us so much.
Arjun Basu, senior vice president, Product at Bookmark Content and Communications, Montreal, QC.

The NMAs focus on creators, the people who are create the work that makes everything else possible. Given all of the challenges that creators face in earning a living, participating in a process that recognizes and rewards their efforts is, I think, important and valuable work.
Kim Pittaway, former editor, Chatelaine, and journalism teacher, Dartmouth, NS.

Serving as a judge for the National Magazine Awards, which I have done for at least ten years, is always a highlight of my reading year. It’s like receiving an engaging anthology of great writing by exciting emerging writers, masterful old pros, and hidden treasures. And you get the honour of choosing the best of a wonderful bunch! What could possibly be better?
Stephen Trumper, writer, editor, teacher, volunteer, Toronto, ON.

 I think the NMAs themselves are a valuable measure of the accomplishments of Canadian magazine writers and editors. As to the process, we were given sufficient time and a workable structure both leading up to and in the conversation itself. My fellow judges offered interesting insights into the work considered and the process was both engaged and congenial.
Kim Jernigan, former editor, The New Quarterly, Waterloo, ON.

 Volunteering as a judge with the National Media Awards was a great experience, it really gave me a chance to see the depth and variety of voices being published in Canadian magazines right now, this flourishing of diverse perspectives and thoughts make right now a very exciting time for Canadian media. — Ossie Michelinaward-winning Inuk journalist and activist from the community of North West River, Labrador.

 Having been involved since the 1980s, as a board member, president (1991) a member of a special review committee (Strategic Speculation) and a frequent judge, I have a real investment in the event. What I like most of all is the emphasis the awards have nurtured of rewarding the effort of individual creators (rather than the publications, which get to bask in the reflected glory anyway.) Some no longer seem to value, or understand, this. But it is one of the things which makes the MagAwards special.
D.B. Scott, publisher, Canadian Magazines blog, Cambridge, ON.

Get to Know the Creator Behind the 2020 National Magazine Awards Artwork


Take an inside peak at the creative development behind the 43rd annual National Magazine Awards. An essential element of celebrating the National Magazine Awards is the striking artwork, which serves to create a unique and special ambiance for each awards year.

For 2020, we are honoured that NMA-winner John Montgomery partnered with us to create incredible visuals to enhance our celebration of Canadian magazines. We recently caught up with John to get his thoughts on the key factors in developing this year’s creative.

NMAF: You’ve won a Silver National Magazine Award, been nominated several times, and have been a judge in the past. How does it feel to be taking over art direction this year?

John Montgomery: It was a great honour to be asked to work on the NMAs, especially given who the past art directors and design studios have been.

2020 NMA creative concept, designed by John Montgomery

NMAF: What is the inspiration behind this year’s art direction?

JM: I felt like 2020 was a pretty obvious choice, with the lovely symmetry of the numbers. The number of lines/spaces making up each number was chosen for the number of awards handed out this year.

NMAF: What do you enjoy about magazines, as a platform to create art and tell stories?

JM: I love that every issue is a fresh start and a new challenge. I get to try to figure out how to best interpret the story for the reader, making it a compelling and interesting read, while still staying true to the brand and it’s vision.

The NMAF graciously thanks John Montgomery for his talents in developing the creative for the 2020 National Magazine Awards. You can learn more about his work at

2020 National Magazine Award Nominees Announced


We are delighted to unveil the finalists for the 43rd National Magazine Awards, including the publications short listed for the Best Magazine awards. 


For this year’s competition, 174 Canadian magazines from coast to coast to coast—English and French, print and digital—submitted the work of more than 2,000 writers, editors, photographers, illustrators, art directors, and other creators. The NMAF’s 124 volunteer judges have selected a total of 179 submissions from 64 different Canadian publications for awards in 28 written, visual, editorial, and best magazine categories.


Three publications have been shortlisted in each of the four Best Magazine divisions. The outstanding nominees are:

Best Magazine: News, Business, General Interest

Best Magazine: Service & Lifestyle

Best Magazine: Art, Literary & Culture

Best Magazine: Special Interest


There are five grand prix categories. Each of these awards is given to the magazine, editor, publisher, issue or art director whose writing and art warrants the highest honour and recognition. 

Magazine Grand Prix

The Magazine Grand Prix award—the highest honour bestowed to a publication—will be presented to one publication among the four winners of the Best Magazine awards, revealed at the upcoming winners’ celebration in June.

Editor Grand Prix

Jocelyn Bell, Broadview

“The complete re-visioning of Broadview magazine in 2019 was a huge undertaking that required strong editorial leadership, and Jocelyn Bell delivered. The magazine’s look and feel, the quality of its content, and its digital presence are greater than ever. The degree of difficulty in transforming Canada’s longest-publishing magazine was high, and it’s clear that her entire team and the magazine’s readers have roundly supported her vision for success. ” NMA Jury

Dawn Calleja, Report on Business

“Due in large part to Dawn Calleja’s professional excellence, Report on Business is in a league of its own in the Canadian magazine industry. Her leadership in guiding stories through production, supporting writers and maintaining a bold vision for the magazine is evident, and over the past year she’s taken on an even larger role, steering the publication through big changes.” NMA Jury

Nicolas Langelier, Nouveau Projet

“Under Nicolas Langelier’s leadership, Nouveau Projet continues to innovate as both a business and a magazine. In the past year they’ve made great strides to extend their brand, develop new writers and bold stories, and become more pan-Canadian. To be as successful as they’ve been and still look for ways to improve is daring. There’s simply no other magazine like it in Canada.” NMA Jury 

Issue Grand Prix

The Issue Grand Prix award honours quality and originality of the content of an entire issue as well as its relevance to the intended readers. The magazine finalists are: Dînette Magazine (017-Duo), Le Trente (Novembre 2019), LSTW (LSTW #4), Maisonneuve (The Climate Issue), Nouveau Projet (No.16), Toronto Life (A Critical Look at Sidewalk Labs), and University of Toronto Magazine (The Migration Issue). 

Art Direction Grand Prix

This coveted award honours excellence in art direction for a complete issue. This year’s nominated art directors include: last year’s winner, Eliane Cadieux (BESIDE: NUMÉRO 07) and Carolyne de Bellefeuille (LSTW: LSTW #4). 

Cover Grand Prix

This notable award celebrates the outstanding creation of a magazine cover in collaboration by editors, circulators and art directors to enhance reader experience. This year’s nominees are Mathieu Lachapelle, Hélène Mallette (Dînette Magazine, 016 – Renouveau), Studio Feed (Esse arts + opinions, no. 97 – Appropriation), Amélie Chamberland, Charles Grandmont (L’actualité, La révolution végane), Edith Pelletier, Christian Blais, Charles Grandmont (L’actualité, Le prochain premier ministre ?) and Brett Gundlock, Studio Wyse, Stacey Gibson (University of Toronto Magazine, The Migration Issue).

Best Emerging Writer

Award sponsored by the Reader’s Digest Foundation
Prix commandité par la Fondation Reader’s Digest

The jury selected three nominees for Best Emerging Writer. This award is given to the individual whose early work in magazines shows the highest degree of craft and promise. This year’s emerging writers are:


  • Toronto Life leads with 15 nominations (they also had the most nominations in 2019)
  • Maclean’s is in second place with 14 nominations this year
  • The Walrus and L’actualité tied for third with 12 nominations each
  • Alec Castonguay of L’actualité received the most individual nominations with three, followed by several two-time nominated creators:
    • Zander Sherman (Report on Business)
    • Troy Sebastian/nupqu ʔak·ǂam̓ (The Walrus)
    • Shannon Gormley (Maclean’s)
    • Sabrina Myre (ELLE Québec)
    • Rowan McCandless (The Fiddlehead, The Malahat Review)
    • Nicholas Hune-Brown (Sharp)
    • Emily Urquhart (Room Magazine)
    • Chris Nuttall-Smith (Toronto Life)


Toronto Life15
The Walrus12
Report on Business5
Nouveau Projet5
Dînette Magazine5

Air Canada EnRoute has 4 nominations.

Publications with 3 nominations each include Alberta Views, Cottage Life, LSTW, Québec Science and The Malahat Review.

Publications with 2 nominations each include BESIDE, Canada’s History, Canadian Art, Canadian Geographic, Clin d’oeil, ELLE Québec, Esse arts + opinions, EXILE Quarterly, Geist, Grain Magazine, Inuit Art Quarterly, Le Trente, Prairie Fire, Room Magazine, Sharp, Today’s Parent, University of Toronto Magazine and Xtra.


On April 21, the NMAF was delighted to announce that the recipient of the 2020 Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement is Don Gillmor. For Gillmor’s incredible contributions to the Canadian magazine industry, we are proud to present him with this prestigious award. Read more.

don gillmor outstanding achievement award
Don Gillmor is the recipient of the 2020 Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement

Congratulations to all the nominees of the 43rd National Magazine Awards!


We request that all nominees email us with their contact information by May 1, 2020 so we may share important details of the winners’ celebration. Deadline for credit changes (by email only) is also May 1, 2020.   


For the first time since its debut in 1977, the National Magazine Awards will be held as a virtual event. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our team will be bringing the 43rd annual NMA winners’ celebration live to your homes so the entire magazine community can join the celebration.

Producing this live virtual event requires a full team of technicians and professionals. To help bring this year’s celebration to the industry across the country, the Foundation is requesting a pay-what-you-can donation (we suggest $25) in lieu of ticket costs. As a small charitable organization, these donations are vital to the Foundation’s ability to honour this year’s winners and nominees through this virtual gala. Learn more here.


The NMAF gratefully acknowledges the support of the Government of Canada, the Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Creates and Reader’s Digest Foundation. We are also thankful for the support of our partners, Candescent, CCR Solutions, Cision, Magazines Canada and Very Good Studios.

A special thanks to art director John Montgomery for creating this year’s visual elements.