Writing Contests in 2020: Canada + International

Here’s to another year of writing! 

Submitting to a contest is a great way to stay consistent with your writing. After all, nobody is nagging you to finish that short story — it’s a personal project and you need to motivate yourself. Writing contests give you deadlines, pushing you to write and polish the draft so that it is reader ready. 

Additionally, entering writing contests is a fantastic way to support the literary community, and who knows, you might even win some money for your stories. 

So let’s get right to it! Make a goal to submit to one of these literary contests in 2020.

Now for the writing contest (contest details are subject to change):  

The Jacob Zilber Prize for Short Fiction – PRISM

Prize: $1,500 grand prize

Deadline: January 15, 2020

Entry Fee:

  • Canadian: $35 CDN
  • USA: $40 USD
  • International: $45

Max Length: 4000 words

More details at PRISM international

2020 Calibre Essay Prize – Australian Book Review

Grand Prize: $5,000 

Deadline: January 15, 2020

Entry Fee:

  • Online entry (current ABR subscriber) – $15
  • Online entry (full-time student) – $15
  • Online entry (standard/non subscriber) – $25*

Max Length: 5,000 words

Judges: J.M. Coetzee, Lisa Gorton, and Peter Rose

More details at the Australian Book Review

Room Creative Fiction Contest

Prizes:

  • First: $1,000 + publication in Room
  • Second: $250 + publication in Room
  • Honourable mention: $50 publication on Room’s website

Open: January 8, 2020

Entry Fee:

  • Canadian: $35 CAD
  • USA: $42 USD

Length: TBD

Note: Open to women, trans, two-spirited, and genderqueer people.

More details at Room Magazine

Novella Prize Contest – Malahat Review

Prize: $CAN 1,500

Deadline: February 1, 2020

Entry Fee:

  • Canadian: $35 CDN
  • USA: $40 USD
  • International: $45

Max Length: 20,000 words

More details at Malahat Review

The Breakwater Fiction Contest

Prize: $1000 and publication in our Winter issue

Deadline: February 1, 2020

Entry Fee: $10.00 USD

Length: 5,000 words

More details at Breakwater

Journey Prize

Prize: $10,000 

Deadline: February 12, 2020

Entry Fee: No Fees

Submission: Stories previously published in print, electronic, and online in 2019. PRINT refers to stories published in a hard copy form. ELECTRONIC refers to stories published ONLINE ONLY, regardless of whether a publication is primarily a print or online publication.

More details at The Journey Prize

CBC Literary Prizes – Nonfiction

Prize: $6,000

Deadline: February 29, 2020

Entry Fee: $25.00 (taxes included)

Length: 2,000 words

More details at CBC

The Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest – The New Quarterly

Prize: $1000

Deadline: March 28, 2020

Entry Fee: $40

Length: No word limit

More details at The New Quarterly

Room Creative Non-fiction Contest

Prize:

  • FIRST PRIZE: $500 + publication in Room
  • SECOND PRIZE: $250 + publication in Room
  • HONOURABLE MENTION: $50 publication on Room’s website

Open: April 2020

Entry Fee:

  • Canadian: $35 CAD
  • USA: $42 USD

Length: TBD

Note: Open to women, trans, two-spirited, and genderqueer people.

More details at Room Magazine

The Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award – The New Quarterly

Prize: $1000 and a one-year Duotrope Gift Certificate ($50 USD value)

Deadline: May 28, 2020

Entry Fee: $40 

Length: no word limit

More details at The New Quarterly

Prism CREATIVE NON-FICTION CONTEST

Prize:

  • Grand prize: $1,500
  • Runner-up: $600
  • Second Runner-up: $400

Deadline: July 15, 2020

Entry Fee:

  • Canadian: $35 CAD
  • USA: $40 USD
  • International: $45 USD

Length: 6,000 words

More details at PRISM international

Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize

Prize: $1,000

Deadline: Aug 1, 2020

Entry Fee:

  • Canadian: $35 CAD
  • USA: $40 USD
  • International: $45 USD

Length: 2,000 and 3,000 words

More details at Malahat Review

Know of any other Canadian writing contest? Please share it in the comments.

For more writing and editing resources, please consider signing up for my mailing list. You won’t receive emails from me often, but when you do, it’ll include only work that I’m most proud of.

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