CBC Literary Prizes

Louise Bernice Halfe, Canisia Lubrin and Steven Heighton to judge 2021 CBC Poetry Prize

The prize is accepting submissions until May 31, 2021. You could win $6,000 from the Canada Council, a writing residency at the Banff Centre and have your work published on CBC Books.

The prize is accepting submissions until May 31, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Louise Bernice Halfe (left), Canisia Lubrin (centre) and Steven Heighton (right) are judging the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize. (Sherry Farrell Racette, Anna Keenan, Mark Raynes Roberts)

Louise Bernice Halfe, Canisia Lubrin and Steven Heighton will judge the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize.

The CBC Poetry Prize recognizes original, unpublished Canadian poetry, up to 600 words in length.

The deadline to submit is May 31, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

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

Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their work published on CBC Books.

Louise Bernice Halfe, whose Cree name is Sky Dancer, is Canada's ninth parliamentarian poet laureate and served as the first Indigenous poet laureate of Saskatchewan. She was born in Two Hills, Alta., was raised on the Saddle Lake First Nation and attended Blue Quills Residential School. Her poetry collections include Bear Bones & FeathersBlue MarrowThe Crooked Good and Burning in this Midnight DreamHer latest poetry collection is awâsis – kinky and disheveled

Canisia Lubrin is a writer, critic, editor and teacher who was born in St. Lucia and now lives in Ontario. Her first poetry collection, Voodoo Hypothesis, was longlisted for the Gerald Lambert Award and the Pat Lowther Award and was a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award. Her second poetry book, The Dyzgraphxstwon the 2021 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature in the poetry category and is currently a finalist for the 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize. She was a recipient of the 2021 Windham-Campbell Prize for poetry

Steven Heighton is a novelist, short story writer and poet from Kingston, Ont. His books include the poetry collection The Waking Comes Latewhich won the 2016 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry, the novel The Nightingale Won't Let You Sleep, the memoir Reaching Mithymna, which was a finalist for the 2020 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction and his latest book is a collection of poetry, Selected Poems 1983-2020. In 2021 Heighton released his first album, The Devil's Share.

Submissions are read by a panel of established writers and editors from across the country. The jury will select the shortlist and winner. 

Need a little motivation to get you going? Subscribe to the CBC Poetry Prize newsletter here. We will send you writing tips, tricks and prompts every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday while the CBC Poetry Prize is open.

Last year's winner was Matthew Hollett for his poem Tickling the Scar

If you live in Montreal, you have most likely walked along the Lachine Canal at some point. Throughout the pandemic, it's been a spot where many people have gone to exercise, get fresh air and meet up with friends. A Montreal poet has just won the the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize for his poem about the Lachine Canal. It's call Tickling the Scar. We speak with the author of the poem, Matthew Hollett. 8:59

The CBC Literary Prizes have been recognizing Canadian writers since 1979.

Past winners include Michael Ondaatje, Carol Shields, Michael Winter and Frances Itani.​

The 2022 CBC Short Story Prize will open in September and the 2022 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January.


  • An earlier version of this story said Steven Heighton lives in Toronto. He lives in Kingston, Ont.
    Apr 20, 2021 11:49 AM ET

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