Check out the new issue of Prism International


The Winter 2015 issue of Prism International (Vol. 53, No. 2) is hot. Yes, we’re especially fond of the National Magazine Awards winners seal that adorns the cover, acknowledging writer Pasha Malla‘s silver medal for fiction (“The Actual” from Prism 51:3) at last year’s NMA gala.
The new issue features creative non-fiction by National Magazine Award winners Ayelet Tsabari–recent winner of the Sami Rohr prize–and Liz Windhorst Harmer, among others. And an impressive menu of short fiction and poetry, including a piece by NMA winner Alice Major.
You can find the new issue in select bookstores and literary newsstands, or online from the Prism store.

Off the Page, with Emily Urquhart


Off the Page is a regular interview series produced by the National Magazine Awards Foundation. In today’s conversation we chat with Emily Urquhart, folklorist, mother and winner at last year’s National Magazine Awards gala. Her incredible memoir on raising a daughter with albinism, “The Meaning of White,” published in The Walruswon Silver in the Personal Journalism category.
Two years after being published in The Walrus, her story is being revisited with her upcoming, debut book Beyond The Pale: Folklore, Family and the Mystery of our Hidden Genes (HarperCollins), which will be in bookstores on March 31.
NMAF: Your background in folklore brought an interesting perspective to understanding human differences in your story “The Meaning of White.” How would you describe the creative process of writing this piece, in which you combined your study of folklore, experience as a mother and passion as a writer into a single story?
Emily: I knew right away that I wanted to document the early stages of my daughter’s life as we went through the process of discovering that she has a rare genetic condition. She was three months old when she was diagnosed with albinism—which is a lack of pigment in the hair, skin and eyes, and causes low vision. I started taking notes shortly after she was born. Back then, it was a way to process and understand what was happening.
I recorded the details of events and encounters, as well as my feelings and observations, on lined recipe cards that I stashed in my purse and around my house. I had a newborn, so sometimes I could only manage a few words, or a list, but as I found more quiet moments, the words became sentences and eventually paragraphs.
At that time I was in the final stages of my PhD in folklore at Memorial University in St. John’s, NL. I’d been studying folk tales, legends, beliefs, rumours, ballads and tall tales — the stories people tell to explain and illustrate their world. I realized that human differences were at the heart of many of these genres. I looked specifically at albinism and discovered worldwide beliefs and stories about this condition. Some were beautiful and I wanted to relate these tales to my own. Some were terrible and I wanted to turn away. Ultimately, exploring both good and evil helped me to come to terms with my own feelings about disability and difference, and what it means to be a parent. I wanted to write about how I came to this conclusion, both through my research and the story of our life.
After a year passed I pitched the idea to John Macfarlane at The Walrus. We worked on the idea together through a series of emails. He accepted the story and gave me far more space than I’d originally asked for. I’ll never forget receiving that message. I was so excited I couldn’t tell my husband, Andrew. I just handed him my phone so he could read it himself.

"The Meaning of White" by Emily Urquhart (The Walrus, April 2013). Illustration by Byron Eggenscwhiler.
“The Meaning of White” by Emily Urquhart (The Walrus, April 2013). Illustration by Byron Eggenschwhiler.

NMAF: Due to be released at the end of March is your debut non-fiction book, Beyond The Pale: Folklore, Family and the Mystery of our Hidden Genes. Your name appears on countless lists for books to look forward to in 2015 (alongside your mother and celebrated novelist, Jane Urquhart). Did you always intend to write a book, or was this something that came after publishing your story in The Walrus? What was the process in turning a 5,600-word memoir into a full-length book?
Emily: By the time I turned in my first draft of “The Meaning of White” I’d cut it by one third and it was still over my allotted 5,000 words. That was in June 2012. The next month we travelled to St. Louis to attend a National Organization of Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH) conference. I’d never seen another person with albinism besides my daughter. Suddenly I was surrounded by hundreds of white-haired people of all ages and everyone had a story to tell. I also learned a lot more about the discrimination and violence against people with albinism in East Africa, particularly Tanzania.
We arrived home and I sat down with my husband and told him two things: I’m going to Tanzania, and I’m going to write a book. Either statement didn’t surprise him. He said, “OK, I’m coming with you.”
The book follows the first three years of my daughter’s life, so the narrative expands on the article published in The Walrus and also picks up where it left off.
NMAF: Your memoir certainly received international attention. It was featured in Reader’s DigestLongform, Byliner and The Dish, and was even translated for an Italian magazine. How has recognition, such as your award from the NMAF, helped to propel your writing career and bring this story to a larger audience?
Emily: The National Magazine Award was a huge thrill. I’d finished writing the book based on the magazine memoir by the time I attended the award ceremony. Getting that kind of recognition at that point in the creative process was extremely validating. Winning a National Magazine award is up there with defending my PhD as one of my major career highlights, and I can only see it helping my career going forward.
When “The Meaning of White” went online I started receiving several emails a day. Some of the messages came from people with albinism, but a lot were from parents who related to the story and shared stories of their own with me. I’ve heard from people across North America, as well as Europe, Africa and Asia. Messages continue to trickle in now, almost two years after the memoir first appeared in The Walrus. My community expanded after publishing this story. I’ve met a lot of great people and received a lot of support. It’s been amazing. I see all of this as having a positive impact on my daughter’s future.
NMAF: You’ve written for many other award-winning Canadian magazines, such as Azure, Flare and The New Quarterly. Did you always have aspirations of being a magazine writer, perhaps during your days as an undergraduate student at the Ryerson School of Journalism? Or was this a career path that came as a result of your passion for writing? 
Emily: Magazines are definitely my first love. When I was a teenager I read an article in Sassy magazine where the journalist wrote about touring with a heavy metal band. I wasn’t into heavy metal, but the writer crafted such an engaging tale that it didn’t matter. The story was fascinating, but so was the journalist’s career choice. She was paid to go on tour with these guys and write about her experience. I wrote a story about this experience in 2009 for The New Quarterly.
My mom is a writer so I understood that you could be a novelist, but I hadn’t seen non-fiction as a career choice until reading that piece.
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing and it was during my two years in the graduate program at the Ryerson School of Journalism that I saw a professional outlet for this passion. I also loved—still love—the act of reporting. It gives me a rush to approach a stranger and then ask them to tell me their story. I’m still nervous before every interview and I still feel a sense of elation afterwards.
NMAF: Undoubtedly, 2015 will be a milestone in your career with the release of your debut book. As a Canadian writer, what else is on your list of things you hope to accomplish? What might readers expect to see from you in the future? Do you want to write more novels, continue with magazine writing or pursue any other creative endeavours?
Emily: I wrote a memoir ten years ago, but shelved it because the material was too difficult for me to revisit at that time. It concerns a period in my mid-twenties following the death of my oldest brother. I went to great lengths to escape my life—a reporting internship amidst the chaos of post 9/11 New York City, a soggy winter in Vancouver, and nine months at an English language newspaper in Kyiv, Ukraine during the lead-up to the Orange Revolution. Some of the material is dark, but revisiting it from a safe distance I can see that there’s also a lot of potential for humour. Transforming the original memoir into a more cohesive narrative is my next project. At the same time I hope to keep writing for magazines. There are a few ideas that have been waiting in the wings while I finished my book and it’s time to set those stories free.
Emily Urquhart is a National Magazine Award-winning writer and author of the forthcoming non-fiction book Beyond the Pale: Folklore, Family and the Mystery of our Hidden Genes. Find out more at emilyurquhart.ca and on Twitter @emilyjurquhart.
This interview was produced by Leah Jensen for the National Magazine Awards Foundation.
To read the full text of “The Meaning of White” and hundreds of other National Magazine Award-winning stories, visit our online archive at magazine-awards.com/archive.
To read other Off the Page interviews–with writers including Sierra Skye Gemma, Heather O’Neill, Arno Kopecky and Byron Eggenscwhiler, who illustrated Emily’s Walrus story–visit blog.magazine-awards.com/off-the-page.

Reader's Digest wants your Summer Camp Stories


Are the unbearable forces of winter causing you to look ahead–or back–to the warm, endless promise of summer?
Readers’ Digest magazine is looking for your summer camp stories in a new contest open to the public.

Do you have a funny, quirky or heartfelt story of transformation to share with us? We would love to hear from campers and ex-campers about how your time at camp changed you. In our July issue, Reader’s Digest will publish a selection of memoirs about defining camp moments.

Entries should be short memoirs, not more than 450 words, of your noteworthy summer camp experiences. Photos are encouraged. The deadline for submissions is March 23. Winning stories will be published in the July edition of the magazine.
More info here: readersdigest.ca/summer-camp-stories

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

The National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer


Are you an emerging Canadian magazine journalist or creative non-fiction writer? Did you publish one of your first major stories in 2014 in a Canadian consumer magazine, university magazine or literary journal? Chances are you’re eligible to be named Canada’s Best New Magazine Writer from the National Magazine Awards Foundation.
The National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer goes to the writer whose early work in Canadian magazines (print, online or tablet) shows the highest degree of craft and promise.
Last year’s winner, Catherine McIntrye, published an investigative story in THIS Magazine about cancer rates in New Brunswick and correlations to heavy industry. Read our interview with Catherine about her story and ambition to become a magazine journalist.
The 2012 winner, Sierra Skye Gemma, published a personal essay about grief in the literary journal The New Quarterly. Read our interview with Sierra about her approach to creative writing and how she came to enter her story for a National Magazine Award.
Previous finalists and winners have been published in Ryerson Review of Journalism, The Walrus, Maisonneuve, Prairie Fire, Chatelaine, Alberta Views, NOW Magazine, Toronto Life, Maclean’s and more.
ELIGIBILITY
Eligible work must have been published in a Canadian magazine (print, online or tablet) between January 1 and December 31, 2014, and must be at least 1000 words in length. Open to non-fiction work only. Articles published in university/college magazines are eligible. Candidates must not have published any magazine work longer than 1000 words prior to 2013. The intent is to restrict this award to students and magazine writers with a maximum of 2 years’ experience in professional journalism. One entry per person. See the NMAF’s general rules for further information about eligible publications.

HOW TO ENTER
Submit now at magazine-awards.com. Submissions may be made by the writer or by their publisher, editor or teacher. Entrants must complete the online application and submit required hard copies (see below). The deadline for applications including all required hard copies is January 19. The cost to enter is only $25 +HST.
REQUIREMENTS

  • Upload a PDF of your story during the online application.
  • Submit in hard copy four (4) sets of original tear sheets and four (4) copies of a letter of reference from a teacher, editor, mentor or colleague which attests to the candidate’s eligibility and provides context for the work submitted. Both the article and letter are reviewed by the judges.
  • Pay the submission fee ($25 + HST) by cheque or credit card.

FINALISTS AND WINNERS
A shortlist of 3 finalists will be announced on May 4, and each finalist will receive recognition in the NMAF’s publications and a certificate. The winner will be revealed at the 38th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 5.
PRIZE
$500 cash; plus the right to call yourself a National Magazine Award-winning writer. We’ll interview you on our blog and promote you and your writing across Canada.
More information and to submit:
magazine-awards.com/bnmw 
Don’t forget the deadline: January 19, 2015.