Books

Can you write a novel in 3 days? The 3-Day Novel Contest is a chance to find out

The annual 3-Day Novel Contest challenges authors to write a novel in 72 hours.
2020 marks the 43rd anniversary of the 3-Day Novel Contest. (Unsplash)

The 3-Day Novel Contest is back for 2020.

Writers are challenged to produce a novel in 72 hours, over Labour Day Weekend. The writing window is Sept. 5-7, from 12:01 a.m. Saturday to 11:59 p.m. Monday. 

Vancouver publisher Anvil Press has taken over management of the annual 3-Day Novel Contest for 2020. The winning author will receive a cash prize and have their novel published by Anvil Press.

"There is no other writing competition quite like it. It's a prompt to smash any writer's block or procrastination that you might have. It's trial-by-deadline," said Anvil Press senior editor Jessica Key.

The 3-Day Novel Contest started in Vancouver in 1977 and was inspired by a rumour that French philosopher Voltaire wrote Candide, ou l'Optimisme in just three days. 

A panel of judges reviews the submissions and a winner is announced in spring of the following year. 

Over the years the contest has featured over 500 entries from all over the world.

"Those that enter and persevere will get that first draft — or at the very least a fleshed out outline or treatment for an eventual longer work," said Key. "There are always a handful of fully-realized and executed short novels."

Ottawa writer John Kupferschmidt won the 3-Day Novel contest in 2008 for his book In the Garden of Men.

Other past winning novels include Momentum by Marc Diamond, which was shortlisted for the Books in Canada First Novel Award and Small Apartments by Chris Millis, which was turned into a feature film in 2013.

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