CBC Literary Prizes

7 ways winning a CBC Literary Prize will change your life

Do you dream of making it big as a writer? Here's seven ways winning a CBC Literary Prize will help you do just that.

The 2023 CBC Nonfiction Prize is open for submissions until Feb. 28, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET

Do you dream of making it big as a writer? If so, you should take the plunge and enter the CBC Literary Prizes! Here are seven great reasons why.

The CBC Nonfiction Prize recognizes original, unpublished works of nonfiction up to 2,000 words. Memoir, biography, humour writing, essay, personal essay, travel writing or a feature article are all accepted.

The winner will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have the opportunity to attend a two-week writing residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point and have their work published on CBC Books.

The 2023 prize is open for submissions until Feb. 28, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET. 

Here are seven great ways winning will change your life.

1. You get front page exposure

A newspaper featuring an interview with 2013 Nonfiction Prize winner, Mohan Srivastava. (CBC)

Imagine waking up one morning to see your photo on the front page of the Arts section of your city's daily newspaper. Some of our former laureates had never been interviewed before winning, and then suddenly they have a publicist booking them back-to-back interviews.

2. You hear yourself on CBC Radio

A CBC Radio booth for interviews. (CBC)

Past winners have been featured on CBC Radio shows like As It Happens. Maybe you'll be interviewed between literary heavyweights like George Elliott Clarke and Margaret Atwood. Or maybe you'll get to read your story on air for a national audience.

3. Many (many) people will read your work

CBC Books publishes the shortlist and winning work online. (Dragana Gordic/Shutterstock)

CBC Books publishes the five shortlisted entries right here for everyone to read, along with a profile of all the longlisted writers. Get ready for online attention!

4. The publishing industry comes knocking

In Peninsula Sinking, David Huebert brings readers an assortment of Maritimers caught between the places they love and the siren call of elsewhere. (Mike Kalimin/Biblioasis)

Publishers and agents are always looking to discover the next big thing. David Huebert won the 2016 CBC Short Story Prize for Enigma, and went on to publish the short story collection Peninsula Sinking. Other recent CBC Literary Prize winners who have published books include Sadiqa de Meijer, Claire Battershill, Sarah de Leeuw and David Martin.

5. You get asked out a lot more

The Imagination Festival is held annually at the Morrin Centre. (Morrin Centre)

After winning, our former winners report receiving requests to attend festivals, read at public events and sit on competition juries. Some have also been approached to include their work in anthologies.

6. You're finally able to finish that project

Artscape Gibraltar Point is a cultural hub on Toronto Island (Artscape Toronto)

One of the great things about winning $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts is the freedom it gives you to work on the projects you feel you should be working on. And with the writing residency, you will have even more creative time at your disposal. Our 2012 winner, Daniel Sarah Karasik, reported that during their residency they were able to make the final edits to their debut poetry collection and they completed a new draft of a play.

7. You'll call yourself a "writer"

The 2021 CBC Short Story Prize is open until Oct. 31, 2020. (Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash)

One of the things we heard most when asking our former winners what winning did for their writing careers was that they finally felt comfortable calling themselves writers. "The most exciting part was the internal shift," wrote Alison Pick, who won the CBC Poetry Prize in 2005, "the permission to actually call myself a writer, and to devote myself to it completely. I never looked back."


Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Account Holder

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?