Literary Prizes

CBC Literary Prizes rules & regulations

Before you enter the CBC Literary Prizes, please read this.


Texts submitted to CBC Literary Awards must be written in English (texts written in several languages and translations are not eligible). Texts written in French must be submitted to the Prix de la création Radio-Canada.

Canadian citizens, whether living in Canada or abroad, and permanent residents of Canada are eligible to enter.

For any participant who has not reached the age of majority in his/her province or country of residence (a "minor"), parental or guardian consent is necessary to enter the competition.

People who work for CBC/Radio-Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Banff Centre, as well as the members of the jury and the selection committee (readers), as well as their immediate family (father-mother, brother-sister, son-daughter) and people living under the same roof during the registration period of the prize are not eligible for this prize. For example, if one of the people listed above (immediate family or person living under the same roof as one of these people) works at one of the companies listed above during the registration period for the Short Story category but is no longer in the employ of this company during the registration period for the Poetry and Nonfiction Prizes, they could participate in the Poetry and Nonfiction Prizes but not in Short Story.

Previously published participants may submit texts provided that the submissions are original works that have not yet been published or broadcast publicly. For the purposes of these CBC Literary Prizes, a work has been (i) published if it has been acquired (gratuitously or for remuneration) for physical or digital/online publication by an editor or publisher that is independent of the author ; and (ii) broadcast if it has been performed publicly on any platform or media (e.g. radio, television, podcast, etc.). For greater clarity, sharing a text through a personal outlet, such as a personal blog, newsletter, or social media post, will not constitute a work being published or broadcast for the purposes of these CBC Literary Prizes.

Without limiting the foregoing, texts originating, in whole or in part, from artificial intelligence platforms (such as ChatGPT) are not eligible for the competition.

There must be only one author per entry.


Participants warrant that the work they are submitting is an original and unpublished work written by them and that they own all rights to it. Participants will indemnify and hold CBC/Radio-Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, the Banff Centre, and their affiliates, harmless from and against any and all loss, damage, costs and other expense arising out of claims, whatever their nature, resulting directly or indirectly from breach of this warranty.

Participants submitting to the prize

In submitting their work, each participant grants CBC/Radio-Canada (both for French and English services) the following licenses free of charge and irrevocably:

  • The right to translate an excerpt from the work submitted (no more than 15% of its total length)
  • The non-exclusive right to reproduce and publish an excerpt from the work submitted (no more than 15% of its total length) on the websites and platforms controlled or authorized by CBC/Radio-Canada, both in the original language and in translation

Finalists and winners

In accepting a prize, the winners and finalists grant to CBC/Radio-Canada, for the entire term of all rights, the following licenses:

  • The right to translate the work
  • The right to reproduce and publish the work in all formats, including on the websites and platforms controlled or authorized by CBC/Radio-Canada and on any future merchandise, both in the original language and in translation; net income from any sale or exploitation of merchandise shall be split 50/50 between CBC/Radio-Canada and the participant or participants
  • The right to make an audio/video recording by means of any existing or not-yet-invented technology, to distribute and broadcast readings of works or excerpts therefrom in the original language or in translation, on CBC/Radio-Canada networks and websites/platforms controlled or authorized by CBC/Radio-Canada
  • The right to edit, abridge or excerpt the work for the purposes of publication or broadcast. (The participant will be consulted if significant edits are necessary.)

For a purpose of clarity, the Licenses granted to CBC/Radio-Canada by the finalists and winners are for all territories throughout the world (unless another agreement is reached with CBC/Radio-Canada) and are exclusive for a year from the date of acceptance of the prize and non-exclusive thereafter. Moreover, the finalist and winners, as well as the people accompanying them, or their parents or guardians if the winners are minors, shall agree, if necessary, to have their name and/or picture, including their photograph and/or their voice used for advertising purposes related to this competition, free of charge.

These licenses include the rights for CBC/Radio-Canada to grant sub-licences to exercise the rights granted by this licence.


The work submitted must fall within the category in which it submitted and be within the specified word count for that category*. Works may be submitted for the following 3 categories:

  • Short Story (up to 2,500 words; fiction)*
  • Nonfiction (up to 2,000 words)*

The 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. The work should be accessible to a general reading audience (i.e., not written for a specialized or academic audience).

  • Poetry (up to 600 words; in verse or prose)*

*Word count includes all words contained in the work including but not limited to titles, footnotes, introductions, etc. Submissions over the specified word count will be disqualified.

Our word limits are strict in each category. To calculate word counts, we put your entire submission (including the title) into Microsoft Word and use Word's word counter. Since Word only relies on spaces to delimit words, any term containing a hyphen ("twenty-five") or an apostrophe ("can't", "don't") counts as a single word. Word also counts every article ("the", "a", etc.) as a separate word. Microsoft Word also automatically counts groups of characters (e.g. "xxx") as well as symbols (e.g. "***" or "~~~") as a word.

Participants may submit as many texts as they wish in one or all categories. A writer can win only one prize per category. Each text may be submitted to only one category.

For each manuscript entered, participants must complete the official entry form in Submittable and pay the entry fee. In the Poetry category only, several poems can be combined in a single submission up to a maximum of 600 words per submission.


All submissions must:

  • Be submitted online by creating an account through Submittable. Submittable is an external site designated by CBC/Radio-Canada to manage the submissions to the competition. They adhere to CBC/Radio-Canada's privacy policy.
  • Have parental or guardian consent, for submissions by minors
  • Be submitted anonymously: the name of the entrant must not appear anywhere on the text to ensure the objectivity of the jury
  • Be submitted directly in the Submittable text box for the CBC Short Story Prize and CBC Nonfiction Prize; and in Word or Wordpad (.doc, .rtf or .docx) format, in letter format (8½'' by 11'') for the CBC Poetry Prize  
  • Be in a legible font and font size
  • Be submitted to the correct category during the entry period for that category

If you are unable to submit your content online, please contact the CBC Literary Prizes team by email at


  • All submissions are final: no changes or substitutions are allowed
  • No handwritten manuscripts, fax texts, mailed in envelopes or emailed texts will be accepted
  • Texts will not be returned and feedback or editorial comments will not be given on the works

Any communication with members of the jury and the selection committee (readers) regarding these CBC Literary Prizes will disqualify the participant as it will compromise the blind judging process.


A fee of $25.00 (taxes included) for administration purposes is required for each entry. The competition is 100% not-for-profit, with all fees going towards covering administrative costs, which include payment of readers and jurors of the competition. Participants are not eligible until payment of the registration fee has been received and cashed. The entry fee will not be refunded if your submission is ineligible. All submissions are final: entry fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Submission Deadlines:

Short Story
Competition opens: September 1, 2023 at 3:00 AM Eastern Time – 0:00 AM Pacific Time
Deadline: November 1, 2023 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time – 2:00 PM Pacific Time

Competition opens: January 1, 2024 at 3:00 AM Eastern Time – 0:00 AM Pacific Time
Deadline:  March 1, 2024 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time – 2:00 PM Pacific Time

Competition opens: April 1, 2024 at 3:00 AM Eastern Time – 0:00 AM Pacific Time
Deadline:  June 1, 2024 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time – 2:00 PM Pacific Time

Participants must verify the exact deadlines on the website. Please note that CBC/Radio-Canada is permitted to modify these deadlines at any time. 

Online submission: all works must be submitted, and payments must be made on or before 5:00 PM Eastern Time (2:00 PM Pacific Time) on the day of the deadline.

Winners will be announced approximately six months after the deadline for each competition.


Works are judged anonymously on the basis of the participant's use of language, originality of subject and writing style.

Only the work submitted will be considered by the judges, other documents, images, diagrams etc. are not eligible for consideration by the judges. 

Submissions are processed by a two-tiered system in both languages (English, French) by readers and jurors.

The initial texts are screened by readers chosen for each category from a group of qualified editors and writers across the country. Each text is read by two readers.

The English readers come up with a preliminary list of approximately 100 texts that are then forwarded to a second group of readers who will decide upon the approximately 30 entries that comprise the longlist and be forwarded to the jury.

The French readers come up with a longlist of approximately 20 texts that are forwarded to the jury.

The English and French juries will read all stories on the longlist and decide on a shortlist of five in each language, which will include a first-place winner and four runners-up. The members of the jury (three per category) are composed of eminent writers and editors from the Canadian literary community.

Every effort is made to achieve a balance of gender and diversity in the readers and judges and to reflect regional differences and trends. The readers and jurors change every year and are based in different areas of the country.

Jurors and readers in each category will be chosen by CBC/Radio-Canada, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

All decisions by the readers and the jury are final (subject to meeting any conditions and eligibility criteria as determined by CBC/Radio-Canada). 


Canada Council for the Arts will offer five cash prizes in each category and in each language:

  • Grand Prize: $6,000
  • Four finalists will receive $1,000 each 

Moreover, the Grand Prize winner will receive a two-week residency at the Banff Centre approximately valued at $4,000 which includes:

  • Accommodation and meals at the Banff Centre for two weeks;
  • 24-hour access to a studio (Leighton Artists Studios or equivalent, depending on availability);
  • Opportunities to access Banff Centre events and performances for free; and
  • Access to Banff Centre services including the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives and the Sally Borden Recreational Facilities.

Winners must use their prize within one year of the prize award, at a time mutually agreeable to the Banff Centre and the prize winner. This prize does not include travel costs to and from the residency at Banff.

Moreover, CBC/Radio-Canada will provide visibility to winners and their work on one or more of its platforms.

Participants may win only one prize per category. Participants maintain ownership of their works, although rights to reproduce and distribute them to the public are limited by the licenses granted according to these rules.

The prize is not transferable and includes only what is specifically mentioned in these rules.  If for any reason whatsoever, the winner is unable to use the prize in whole or in part or is unwilling to accept or take advantage of the prize as described, or a portion thereof, the prize or portion thereof will be forfeited without compensation and CBC/Radio-Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Banff Centre and their affiliated companies or agents, as well as their respective directors, officers and employees, will be released from all obligations toward the winner with regards to the prize or portion thereof.

If a prize cannot be awarded as described in these rules, CBC/Radio-Canada, the Banff Centre and the Canada Council for the Arts reserve the right to substitute one or more prizes or prize components with another of approximately equivalent value.

To be proclaimed winners or finalists, participants must meet all the conditions and eligibility criteria set out in these rules. The winners and finalists, or in the of case minors, their parents or guardians, shall provide information requested by CBC/Radio-Canada in this regard, and shall sign a declaration of eligibility for the competition, as set out in these rules, and release CBC/Radio-Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Banff Centre and their affiliated companies or agents, as well as their respective directors, officers and employees, from any liability for damage or loss whatsoever, whether arising from the participants' involvement in this competition or from the awarding, acceptance or use of the prize.

A winner's refusal to accept a prize releases CBC/Radio-Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Banff Centre and their affiliated companies or agents, as well as their respective directors, officers and employees, from all obligations toward the winner.


Should participants make any false statement or do not meet all the conditions described in these rules, they shall be automatically disqualified from the competition. If plagiarism or non-compliance with the conditions described in these rules is alleged, the jury shall conduct a reasonable inquiry in the circumstances, and if it determines that plagiarism or non-compliance with the conditions described in these rules has occurred, the participant concerned shall be disqualified and shall return the prize money. Such a decision by the jury shall be final and cannot be appealed.

CBC/Radio-Canada, the Banff Centre , the Canada Council for the Arts and their affiliates, as well as their respective directors, officers and employees, assume no liability for any loss, damage or injury, including without limitation:  (i) lost, stolen delayed, damaged, misdirected, late, destroyed, incorrect, illegible or incomplete entries; (ii) loss, theft or damage to software or computer or telephone data, including any breach of privacy; (iii) inability of any person to participate in the competition for any reason including mistaken addresses on mail or e-mail; technical, computer or telephone malfunctions or other problems with computer on-line systems, servers, access providers, computer equipment, or software; congestion on the Internet or at any website, or any combination of the foregoing; (iv) damage to any person's computer, including as a result of playing or downloading any material relating to the competition; (v) any delay or inability to act resulting from an event or situation beyond their control, including a strike, lockout or other labour dispute at their location or the locations of the organizations and businesses whose services are used to administer this competition or (vi) prizes that are lost, damaged or misdirected during shipping.

Names, address, telephone number and email are collected by CBC/Radio-Canada and will be used by CBC/Radio-Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Banff Centre only for the purpose of administering this competition. This information will not be used for any other purpose without the express consent of the participants. By providing this information, participants consent to its use for the purposes indicated.

Please consult the privacy policy at

Applicants may be required to provide CBC/Radio-Canada, at its sole discretion, with proof of their name, identity, age. Failure to provide adequate proof will automatically disqualify the participant from the competition.

CBC/Radio-Canada reserves the right to modify the rules or end the competition at any time without any responsibility towards a participant. Any modification to the rules will be posted on the website

Participation in the competition implies acceptance of these rules which CBC/Radio-Canada will take care of applying. All of its decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

This competition is subject to all Canadian federal, provincial and municipal legislation applicable.

In case of appeals, all English participant claims will be addressed in the Toronto courts.