Frequently Asked Questions
When does each competition open? Show answer
Short Story Prize: Submission period: September 1 to November 1
Creative Nonfiction Prize: Submission period: December 1 to February 1
Poetry Prize: Submission period: March 1 to May 1
Please ensure you submit your entry during the appropriate submission period. For example, we will not accept entries for Poetry during the Short Story Prize submission period.
The deadline is at 11:59 p.m. ET on the day of the competition deadline. Please ensure that if you are mailing in your submission that the envelope is postmarked before or on deadline.
Why is the time deadline set for 11:59 p.m. EST? Show answer
We needed to choose an exact cut-off time for the competition. As we receive the majority of our submissions on-line, it is almost impossible for us to keep track of which time zone a submission was sent in from.
How many entries do you receive each year? Show answer
We receive an average of 5,000 entries every year. Among them, nearly 4,000 are submitted to the English competition: 40% in the Short Story category, 35% in the Poetry category, and 25% in the Creative Nonfiction category.
Is there a minimum age requirement? Show answer
There are no age restrictions. However, if you're considered a minor, you will need a parent or guardian's signature on your entry form. Please see this link to check the age of majority in your province.
Where can I read previous winning works?Show answer
You can read the winning texts here. The texts are also all published in Air Canada's enRoute magazine between and on their website at http://enroute.aircanada.com/. The texts are also available on the Canada Writes site.
The CBC Literary Prizes have also published two anthologies, one in English and one in French, celebrating the first place winners of the joint competition between 2001 and 2006. They are both available online at cbcshop.ca. They are:
The Mind's Eye, CBC Literary Awards Winners, 2001-2006, published by ECW Press, available online at: http://www.cbcshop.ca
Un ton, une voix, un texte... Prix littéraires Radio-Canada (2001-2006), published by XYZ Éditeur, available online at: http://www.cbcshop.ca/
A selection of English stories from the competition's earlier years is also available from Goose Lane Editions: Emergent Voices: CBC Canadian Literary Awards, Stories, 1979-1999 Selected by Robert Weaver http://www.gooselane.com/books.php?ean=9780864922670
When will the winners be announced? Show answer
The exact dates change from year to year, but traditionally the winners are announced about four months after the deadline. Check our website for updates.
What constitutes something being "previously published"? Show answer
Any work that has been published online or in print, or recorded for broadcast, is considered published and ineligible. Please contact us directly if you would like to verify whether or not your text is eligible.
Do you retain the rights to my submission? Show answer
You retain the right to your work, however, by participating in the competition you grant CBC Radio the right to broadcast or publish an excerpt of your work.
If you are named one of the runner-ups for the Prize, CBC Radio receives the exclusive right to broadcast or publish your work for one year. If you win the competition, CBC Radio and our partner enRoute receives the exclusive right to publish (in print or online) or broadcast your work for one year.
Once a year has passed, publishing rights revert back to you and you are free to publish it where ever you like.
Submitting to the Prizes
May I submit more than one entry? Show answer
Yes. You can submit as many times as you like, and to as many categories. But please note that the Literary Prizes are now three separate competitions with three separate submission periods. Please ensure you send the right entry at the right time. Please also note that each submission requires a completed entry form and a $25 entry fee.
How should I count the words? Show answer
Our word limits are strict. Texts below the minimum or over the maximum word count will be disqualified. Be sure to get an exact count of the number of words in your submission and not just an estimate. We use Microsoft Word to verify word counts. If you are using Microsoft Word, go to Tools, then Word Count. Please don't confuse word count and character count.
Since Word only relies on spaces to delimit words, any term containing a hyphen (e.g., twenty-five) or an apostrophe (e.g., can't) counts as a single word. Word also counts every article (e.g., the, a, etc.) as a separate word. Microsoft Word also automatically counts singles or groups of characters, symbols, and diacritical marks (e.g., xxx, ***, or ~ ~ ~) as words. Keep this in mind if you have inserted any of these marks in your text, they will give you a false word count.
Note that we do not include the title (or titles, in the case of a group of poems) in the word count. Only the original content of the submission is counted, which excludes quotations and dedications.
Do you disqualify texts after a certain number of spelling mistakes? Show answer
No, submissions are judged on literary merit, on the basis of the author's use of language, originality of subject, and writing style. However, out of respect for our readers and jurors, you should try to eliminate as many mistakes and typos as possible, to make sure your entry is legible.
Are there any limits on what we can write about? Show answer
No, there are no restrictions on subject matter. The readers and jurors are not asked to censor the material in any way. Submissions are judged on literary merit, on the basis of the author's use of language, originality of subject, and writing style.
I attached the wrong text. Can I send another or make changes? Show answer
We are sorry, but due to the high amount of submissions we receive, we do not allow any changes or substitutions once a text has been submitted. You shouldn't worry too much about corrections. Our readers and jurors focus on the overall literary merit of submissions. Please note that entry fees will not be refunded or transferred.
I put my name on my entry. What should I do? Show answer
Please, do not worry. We will remove your name, address, etc. You will not be disqualified for this. Please DO NOT resubmit.
I was a finalist last year. Am I permitted to submit the same text this year? Show answer
As long as the text still remains unpublished, you may submit an updated and/or edited version of it. Also, our word counts have changed, so make sure you are eligible. As the judging process is "blind", and as we have different readers and jurors from year to year, the same people will not be reading or evaluating your work.
What is Creative Nonfiction? Show answer
The Creative Nonfiction Prize includes memoir, biography, humour writing, essay (including personal essay), travel writing, and feature articles. While the events must be real and the facts true, creative nonfiction conveys your message through the use of literary techniques such as characterization, plot, setting, dialogue, narrative, and personal reflection. In works of creative nonfiction, the writer's voice and opinion are evident. The work should be accessible to a general reading audience (i.e., not written for a specialized or academic audience). Read more about defining creative nonfiction
Can we illustrate our submissions? Show answer
No, please do not send any photographs or illustrations along with your submission. Works submitted to the Prizes are judged by readers and jurors based on literary merit only. Any additional visual elements will not be considered.
Can we submit our texts elsewhere (simultaneous submissions)? Show answer
We discourage simultaneous submissions because of the work it incurs on our staff and the jurors. If you do decide to submit the same text to another contest or magazine, and are invited to have your work published elsewhere, please notify us immediately and we will pull your submission. Please note that your entry fee will not be reimbursed.
How should I pay my entry fee? Show answer
If you are submitting by mail, you must send your cheque or money order (made payable to CBC Literary Prizes, c/o CBC Radio) along with the official entry form (see enclosed) and your text to the following address. If you are mailing in your text, be sure to include the correct version.
CBC Literary Prizes
P. O. Box 6000
Montreal, QC H3C 3A8
If you are submitting via our website, you must fill in the online entry form (go to http://www.cbc.ca/canadawrites and click on the Enter Now link on the right-hand side of the page), then upload your text.
Even if you submitted via the website, you may choose to pay your entry fee by regular mail. In that case, simply send your cheque or money order to the above mentioned address, but be sure to write your Submission ID number on it to help us track your submission. To be eligible, payment must have been sent before deadline day at 11:59 p.m. EST.
Why do you charge a $25 entry fee? Show answer
To enter the CBC Literary Prizes, a fee of $25 (taxes included) is required. The competition is 100% not-for-profit with all fees covering part of the administrative costs, including salaries for readers and jury members for both the French and English entries. Without the fee, the Prizes would simply not exist.
Do I have to pay the $25 entry fee for each entry submitted? Show answer
You must pay the $25 entry fee for each entry submitted. In the case of the Poetry Prize, the prize is for one long poem or a collection of poems. You only need to fill out one entry form and make one $25 payment, but the submission will be judged as a whole and must fall within the 400 to 600 word count (without titles).