Canada Writes

A guide to writing prizes for Canadians

Writing prizes and awards for unpublished fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

CBC Books has rounded up a list of literary prizes Canadians are eligible to enter.

Unless noted, prizes and entry fees are in Canadian dollars. Where prizes are listed, the amount cited is for the grand prize — other prizes may be available. Information is subject to change — please see the contest's official site for more details.

If you have a prize you'd like added to this list, email us at canadawrites@cbc.ca.

Fiction | Nonfiction | Poetry

Fiction

Alberta Views Short Story Contest
Entry period: Spring/Summer
Eligibility: Current or former (long-term) residents of Alberta
Entry fee: $30
Prize: $1,000

Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story Literary Competition for Emerging Writers
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and residents
Entry fee: $25 adults / $10 youth
Prize: $1,500 adults/ $500 youth

Amazon Youth Short Story Competition
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Canadian youth authors between the ages of 13 and 17
Entry fee: None
Prize: $5,000 and a mentorship lunch with editors of The Walrus.

Brenda Strathern Writing Prize
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Residents of Calgary and area, unpublished, age 40+
Entry fee: None
Prize: $5,000

Carter V. Cooper Short Fiction Competition (Exile)
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Entry fee: $30
Prize: $10,000

CBC Short Story Prize
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $6000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and a two-week writing residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Four finalists will each receive $1000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and publication on the CBC Books website.
Notable winner: Michael Ondaatje

Eden Mills Writers' Festival Contests
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Residents of Canada
Entry fee: $0-$15
Prize: $50-$250

The Fiddlehead Literary Competition
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $30 for Canadian entries
Prize: $2,000

FreeFall Annual Prose Contest
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $500

Geist writing contests
Entry period: Rotating
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $20
Prize: $500

Glass Buffalo Prizes
Entry period: Summer
Eligibility: Residents of Canada
Entry fee: $30
Prize: $500

Jacob Zilber Prize for Short Fiction
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $35 for Canadian entries
Prize: $1,500 grand prize

Literary Taxidermy Short Story Competition
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $10 US suggested but voluntary
Prize: $1,500 US and publication in The Anthology of Literary Taxidermy

Malahat Far Horizons Award
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $25 for Canadian entries
Prize: $1,000
Notable winner: Kerry Lee Powell

Malahat Novella Prize
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $35 for Canadian entries
Prize: $1,500

Malahat Open Season Award
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $35 for Canadian entries
Prize: $1,500

PEN International New Voices Award (Canada)
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Writers aged 18-29
Entry fee: None
Prize: $1,000 and entry to PEN International contest
Notable winners: Claire Battershill, Laura Legge

The Peter Hinchcliffe Short Fiction Award
Entry period: September
Eligibility: Canadian citizen or resident
Entry fee: $40, includes one-year print and digital subscription to The New Quarterly
Prize: $1,000* 
Notable winners: Lisa Alward

* There is an additional $1,000 which is distributed at the judges' discretion.

Prairie Fire Short Fiction Contest
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $32
Prize: $1,250

RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents under the age of 35
Entry fee: None
Prize: $10,000
Notable winners: Alissa York, Michael Crummey

*Note: This award alternates annually between poetry and short fiction.

Room Magazine contests
Entry period: Winter & Spring/Summer
Eligibility: International, female-identified writers
Entry fee: $35
Prize: $1,000

Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize for Faith and Writing
Entry period: Summer
Eligibility: Canadian citizens or residents
Entry fee: $10
Prize: $10,000

Sheldon Currie Fiction Prize
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $600
Notable winner: David Huebert

Surrey International Writers' Conference writing contest
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $15
Prize: $1,000

Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in Literary Excellence
Entry period: Spring/Summer
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $15
Prize: $1,000
Notable winner: Daniel Scott Tysdal

Toronto Star Short Story Contest
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Ontario residents
Entry fee: None
Prize: $5,000 and tuition at the Humber School for Writers
Notable winner: Brendan Bowles

Unhanged Arthur Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $500

Vallum Chapbook Award
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $125

Vancouver Writers Fest Short Story Award
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $15
Prize: $300 and tuition at a UBC Creative Writing online course

Writers' Union of Canada Short Prose Competition for Emerging Writers
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents, unpublished or only one book published.
Entry fee: $29
Prize: $2,500
Notable winners: Amy Stuart, Jill Sexsmith

Nonfiction

Canadian Notes & Queries CanLitCrit Essay Contest
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Entry fee: $30
Prize: $1,000

CBC Nonfiction Prize
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $6000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and a two-week writing residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Four finalists will each receive $1000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and publication on the CBC Books website.

Eden Mills Writers Festival Contests
Entry period: Summer
Eligibility: Residents of Canada
Entry fee: $0-$15
Prize: $50-$250

The Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest
Entry period: September
Eligibility: Canadian citizen or resident
Entry fee: $40, includes one-year print and digital subscription to The New Quarterly
Prize: $1,000
Notable winners: Emily McKibbon, Sierra Skye Gemma

Geist writing contests
Entry period: Rotating
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $20
Prize: $500

Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: Students enrolled at Canadian colleges and universities or post-secondary studies
Entry fee: Free
Prizes: $500 to $1,500

Malahat Constance Rooke Prize
Entry period: Summer
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $35 for Canadian entries
Prize: $1,000
Notable winners: Eve Joseph, Joel Yanofsky

Malahat Open Season Award
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $35 for Canadian entries
Prize: $1,500

PEN International New Voices Award
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Writers aged 18-29
Entry fee: None
Prize: $1,000 and entry to PEN International contest

Prairie Fire Creative Non-Fiction Contest
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $32
Prize: $1,250

Prism Creative Non-Fiction Prize
Entry period: Summer
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $35 for Canadian entries
Prize: $1,500

Room Magazine contests
Entry period: Winter & Spring/Summer
Eligibility: International, female-identified writers
Entry fee: $35
Prize: $500

WIBA Manuscript Competition
Entry period:Winter
Eligibility: Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada
Entry fee: $100
Prize: Complete editorial services including professional editing, cover design, interior design and layout, proofreading, Publishing support for the self-publication of the winning manuscript, 100 printed copies of the completed book, Book launch at the 2017 Whistler Writers Festival, Pre - and post-book launch marketing support , Reviews for promotional and marketing purposes from the judges, The opportunity to sell their book through Armchair Books in Whistler until January 15, 2018

Writers' Union of Canada Short Prose Competition for Emerging Writers
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents, unpublished or only one book published.
Entry fee: $29
Prize: $2,500
Notable winners: Amy Stuart, Jill Sexsmith

Poetry

ACWW Emerging Writing Award
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Pacific Rim Asian heritage
Entry fee: $25
Prize: Unspecified

Antigonish Review Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $25 for Canadian entries
Prize: $600

ARC Poem of the Year
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $35
Prize: $5,000
Notable winner: Jacob McArthur Mooney

Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $32
Prize: $1,250
Notable winners: Owain Nicholson,Jennifer Still, Sue Goyette

The Banister Poetry Contest
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Residents of Ontario
Entry fee: $15 for up to 3 poems and $4 for each additional poem
Prize: $100-$300 

CBC Poetry Prize
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $6000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and a two-week writing residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Four finalists will each receive $1000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and publication on the CBC Books website.
Notable winner: Lorna Crozier

Diana Brebner Prize
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: Residents of the National Capital Region
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $500

Eden Mills Writers Festival Contests
Entry period: Summer
Eligibility: Residents of Canada
Entry fee: $0-$15
Prize: $50-$250

The Fiddlehead Literary Competition
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $30 for Canadian entries
Prize: $2,000

FreeFall Annual Poetry Contest
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $500

Geist writing contests
Entry period: Rotating
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $20
Prize: $500

Glass Buffalo Prizes
Entry period: Summer
Eligibility: Residents of Canada
Entry fee: $30
Prize: $400

Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Competition (Exile)
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $1,500

Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize for Canadian Youth
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents in grades 7-12
Entry fee: None
Prize: $400

Magnum Opus
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: Writers from all over the world
Entry fee: None
Prize: Publication in an International Poetry Anthology in English from Authorspress

Malahat Long Poem Prize
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $35 for Canadian entries
Prize: $1,000

Malahat Open Season Award
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $35 for Canadian entries
Prize: $1,500

Montreal International Poetry Prize
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $20-$25
Prize: $20,000
Notable winner: Eva H.D.

*Note: This prize is awarded once every two years.

The Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest
Entry period: September
Eligibility: Canadian citizen or resident
Entry fee: $40, includes one-year print and digital subscription to The New Quarterly
Prize: $1,000
Notable winners: Kerry Lee Powell, Michael Prior

PEN International New Voices Award
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Writers aged 18-29
Entry fee: None
Prize: $1,000 and entry to PEN International contest

Prism Pacific Spirit Poetry Prize
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $35 for Canadian entries
Prize: $1,500

RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents under the age of 35
Entry fee: None
Prize: $10,000
*Note: This award alternates annually between poetry and short fiction.

Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry (Matrix)
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility:  North American emerging writers (two or fewer published books)
Entry fee: $25
Prize: Trade paperback contract with Insomniac Press, with advance on royalties.

Room Magazine contests
Entry period: Winter & Spring/Summer
Eligibility: International, female-identified writers
Entry fee: $35
Prize: $1,000

Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize for Faith and Writing
Entry period: Summer
Eligibility: Canadian citizens or residents
Entry fee: $10
Prize: $10,000

Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in Literary Excellence
Entry period: Spring/Summer
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $15
Prize: $1,000
Notable winner: Laurie D. Graham

Vallum Award for Poetry
Entry period: Summer
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $750
Notable winner: Michael Prior

Vallum Chapbook Award
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: International
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $125

The Walrus Poetry Prize
Entry period: Summer/Fall
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $4,000
Notable winner: Michael Prior

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