Writing Contests and Publications

Getting Your Word Out

Here are some starting points for anyone who wants to consider either entering a piece of writing into something like a short story contest, or trying to get some of their work published.

Please note: This list is not necessarily exhaustive.  If anyone is aware of anything that should be added to this page, please contact someone in the Library with the details and we will add it.


Short Story Contests… The Three Biggies

FIRST: The Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Short Story Contest is looking for stories by people of all ages. All Commonwealth citizens will be eligible to participate in the Competition. Authors may be either amateurs or professionals. The stories themselves may have any theme or subject, but should be 4 minutes 30 seconds when read aloud (approximately 600 words). The stories shall be original and should not have been previously published anywhere. All entries must be in English. Maximum of three entries per writer. The complete details are available on the website. The deadline for entries is usually May 1st.

SECOND: CBC Canada Writes Literary Prizes… From the website: “The CBC Literary Prizes are the flagship competitions of Canada Writes. Formerly the CBC Literary Awards, the CBC Literary Prizes, in partnership with Canada Council for the Arts and enRoute magazine, are now made up of three separate competitions that take place throughout the year… The CBC Literary Prizes recognize the best in original, unpublished writing by Canadians. Canada Council for the Arts awards the first-place winner of each Prize $ 6,000 and each of the four finalists $1,000. First place winners will be published in enRoute magazine and online here on Canada Writes as well as broadcast on CBC Radio.”

The three separate competitions are: CBC Short Story Prize (Sept 1 – Nov 1), CBC Creative Non-Fiction Prize (Dec1 – Feb 1) and the CBC Poetry Prize (Mar 1 – May 1).

THIRD: The Toronto Star Short Story Contest is looking for stories written by either Canadian citizens or those resident in Canada 16 years of age and older. Stories must be original and unpublished up to the time the winners are declared. Stories must be written on a computer or typewriter, be double-spaced and no longer than 2,500 words. Entries are limited to one per person. The deadline in 2011 was Feb 27th, with the winner announced in April.


Other Major Awards

Alliance for Young Artists and Writers.  From their website…
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have an impressive legacy dating back to 1923 and a noteworthy roster of past winners including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford and Joyce Carol Oates.
The Awards are an important opportunity for students to be recognized for their creative talents. Each year, the Alliance partners with more than 100 visual and literary-arts focused organizations across the country to bring The Awards to local communities. Teens in grades 7 through 12 can apply in 28 categories of art and writing for the chance to earn scholarships and have their works exhibited or published.
Submissions are juried by luminaries in the visual and literary arts, some of whom are past award recipients. Panelists look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.
To date, the Awards have encouraged over 13 million students, recognized more than 9 million young artists and writers, and made available more than $25 million in awards and scholarships. They continue to be the longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in the U.S., and the largest source of scholarships for young artists and writers.

Canadian Children’s Book Week, Book Week Writing Contest…  From their website:
This year Book Week celebrates the importance of sharing stories with the theme Read a Book, Share a Story. The Book Week 2012 Writing Contest for Kids & Teens invites young writers to let their imaginations soar and share their stories or poems of adventure, humour, mystery and fantasy!
One winner from each grade will receive a $250 gift certificate to the bookstore of his or her choice.
Winning entries will be posted here on the Book Week website on May 9, 2012 during Book Week 2012.

The Malahat Review  The Malahat Review’s writing contests provide opportunities for writers to have their best work read around the world in one of North America’s finest literary journals.  Many Malahat contest winners have gone on to be recognized by the National Magazine Awards, the Western Magazine Awards, the McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, and the Best Canadian Poetry in English. With a contest for every taste and stage of career, it’s easy to find one that matches your ambition and abilities.

Awards in Poetry, Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction.

 The Ayn Rand Institute of CanadaI’ll go on record as saying, definitively, that Ayn Rand is not exactly my cup of tea…  BUT, the Ayn Rand Institute runs a very lucrative student essay writing contest.  The first prize in each division is awarded a $10 000 cash prize.  The student contest is organised by Grade Level.  Details about the contests may be found here.

 Write Across Ontario…  Sponsored by the folks at Harbourfront and the International Festival of Authors, Write Across Ontario has become a regular writing contest for students.  The contest deadline is generally around November of each school year.  Check back in the early fall for details each year.


Other Interesting Resources, Links and Useful Information

Canadian Student Writing Resources includes descriptions, organised by contest closing dates throughout the calendar year, of writing contests designed specifically for Canadian students.

Canadian Geographic sponsors a variety of contests for kids of all ages. Periodically thee are writing contests included.

Canadian Writer’s Contest Calendar…  is no longer free of charge!!  But…  it provides a list of all writing contests across the country… a lot to work through… no links or dates or details… but worth the effort to learn more if you’re serious about trying to take your writing somewhere. Try copying the name of any given contest into Google to learn more about the contest.

The Canadian Writer’s Journal  sponsors a semi-annual short fiction contest.  Entries must be postmarked by either September 30th or March 31st.

Places for Writers is another clearinghouse with contest closing dates throughout the calendar year.

WinningWriters.com provides resources and writing contests for students.

SFF.net… Resources for Teen Writers Interested in Science Fiction and Fantasy.

FirstWriter.com… Clearinghouse for English language writing competitions. Click on the link FREE TO ENTER (in the first paragraph).

The Canadian Wildlife Federation sponsors the annual Robert Bateman wildlife writing contest. The Bateman contest accepts artwork, writing, photography and video.

The Crime Writer’s of Canada sponsors the annual Arthur Ellis which now includes an award for best unpublished first crime novel.

The CBC Montreal sponsors an annual writing contest. For any of you budding young writers who find themselves living in Quebec, maybe after you graduate from ESA?

REVERSE: A zine for young poets is open to submissions and sponsors poetry contests.  An ESA grad was the English Editor a few years ago!

Figment: Write Yourself In “is a community where you can share your writing, connect with other readers, and discover new stories and authors. Whatever you’re into, from sonnets to mysteries, from sci-fi stories to cell phone novels…”

 Teen Ink: Magazine, website and books written by teens.


Please feel free to use the reply form below to advise regarding any other resources you think should be added to this list.  Please also advise if any of the links breakdown (as is frequently the case with the internet!)