Days Left to Enter
The first place winner in each of the 4 categories will receive the following:
- A $350 cash prize (includes publication compensation)
- An interview in WordWorks magazine (print and online)
- Reading and Interview at 2024 Gala
- Publication in our second Contest Anthology
- 3 copies of the anthology
The short-listed writers in each of the 4 categories will receive the following:
- A $35 cash prize (includes publication compensation)
- Recognition on social media
- Publication in our Contest Anthology
- 1 copy of the anthology
500 words max
3500 words max
1500 words max
30 lines max
Finnian Burnett writes contemporary literary fiction, speculative, and queer lit. Their work has appeared in Pulp Literature, Reflex Press, Ekphrastic Review, Daily Science Fiction, Blank Spaces Magazine, and more. Finn teaches undergrad creative writing and English Lit, and their doctoral degree is in English Pedagogy, specifically using story to shift power balances and create equity in multicultural classrooms. When not writing or teaching, Finn watches a lot of Star Trek and spoils their twenty-pound cat, Lord Gordo. Finn can be found online at www.finnburnett.com
Dr Norma Dunning is a Padlei Inuk writer, professor and grandmother. She writes fiction and non-fiction, prose and poetry. Her first work of nonfiction, Kinauvit? What’s your name explains the Eskimo Identification Canada system (2022) and was a finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing with Writer’s Trust. Tainna (the unseen ones) received the Governor General's Award (2021). Annie Muktuk and Other Stories received the Danuta Gleed award (2018) and many other awards. Eskimo Pie: a poetics of Inuit Identity and Akia: the other side are her poetic works. She lives in Edmonton.
Kerry Gilbert lives in the Okanagan, where she teaches Creative Writing at Okanagan College. Her first book, (kerplnk): a verse novel of development (2005) was published with Kalamalka Press. Her second and third books of poetry, Tight Wire (2016) and Little Red (2019) were released with Mother Tongue Publishing. Her next poetry book, Lady Bird, will be released in fall of 2023 with Exile Editions.
Gilbert has won the Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Award for Best Suite by an Emerging Writer and has been shortlisted for ReLit, for the Ralph Gustafson Prize for the Best Poem, for the Pacific Spirit Poetry Contest and for the Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry for Best Suite by an Established Writer.
JJ Lee is a mentor of nonfiction at The Writer's Studio at Simon Fraser University and teaches writing at The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. He wrote The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit. It was a finalist for the Governor General's, Hilary Weston Writers' Trust, Charles Taylor, and Hubert Evans BC Book Prizes awards for nonfiction. He is currently editing an anthology of nonfiction Christmas/Solstice stories titled Better Next Year and writing a horror novel. He lives in New Westminster.
Last year, we received an unprecedented volume of submissions. To ensure we can be genuine and accountable, we will post a timeline for announcements on this page in mid-September so that entrants can know when to expect results. Announcements will be made in our newsletter and social media.
Announcements will be:
- Announcement Schedule
- Long List
- Short List
- Winners and Second Place
Contest Rules and Submission Information
- All submissions must be made online through our portal.
- The name of entrant must not appear anywhere on the entry document. Entrants that do not meet this crucial criteria will not be submitted to readers for evaluation. (Please double check file names and headers/footers)
- While the contest is called the Literary contests, we welcome and encourage submissions across all genres.
- Work must be original and not previously published.
- Entrants are asked to be cognizant of cultural appropriation. An article outlining best practices can be found here
- We do not guarantee that formatting can be precisely reproduced in the anthology. Please take that into consideration with any entries and consider if meaning is lost in such instances.
- Submissions only accepted in DOC, DOCX, PDF, or RTF format.
- Please use a simple, readable font such as Times New Roman or Arial at 12pt.
- Staff and Board members of the FBCW and their immediate families are not eligible to enter.
- Word counts will be verified using Microsoft Word.
- Entries must be submitted in English.
- There is no theme.
- Titles are not included in the word or line count.
- One piece per entry. You can submit as many entries as you wish.
- Given the complexities of publishing rights with the anthology, simultaneous submissions with other contests for the same piece is prohibited.
- Entrants must be Canadian residents.
- Anthology entries will receive a minimal copyedit. Significant edits are not permitted after submission and through the publication process.
Does my title count in the word count?
No, your title does not count in the word count.
Do line spaces between verses count as lines in poetry pieces?
No, spaces between verses do not count toward your final line count. However, pay close attention to line count. Many entrants are disqualified each year because they do not adhere to the line count requirements."
A piece I want to enter was distributed in a newsletter, does it count as published?
Unfortunately, yes. Any piece that is distributed publicly is considered published. It is therefore ineligible.
I want to submit a chapter from my work-in-progress. Is that allowed?
Technically, yes, but we discourage it as your future publisher may take issue with the piece being published if it were to make the short list or win. (Our entire short list is published in an anthology.)
What happens if I submit the wrong file or I realise I broke contest rules before the deadline and need to replace the file?
We encourage everyone to read the contest rules very carefully before entry, but mistakes happen. You can contact us to get instructions on file replacement. Send us an e-mail to email@example.com for instructions
What is the most common rule that is broken?
The most common errors are going over the word/verse count and accidentally including your name.
For word count, we recommend giving yourself a little breathing room. Give yourself 10 words or a line to spare and then you don’t have to fret.
On the name front, we work hard to make sure everyone has a fair shot at an anonymous submission, so we screen for names before the files are sent to our readers. We cannot ethically alter documents, even word files to make a piece eligible, so please check the file, and check your headers and footers.
If you're writing creative non-fiction, please also be sure that your piece doesn't include your name or the names of relatives that may identify you to our contest readers. If you need to include your name as part of the piece, please replace it with an initial and dashes (e.g., B——) to ensure that your submission remains anonymous.
What are the metrics used for evaluation?
All readers and judges will have their own preferences, but below are some of the ways we ask our readers to consider works submitted to the contest: Idea Development, Voice, Originality, Overall Quality, Impact, Relevance and Cultural Consciousness, and Something Special. We worked hard to develop a set of criteria that allows pieces across genres and approaches to have different ways to shine and stand out.
Where does the money go from entries?
Funds raised from the contest go back into the contest. In addition to the prizes, we pay all of our readers, judges, and staff for their work to make the contest happen. We also publish an anthology to add value for people entering the contest. This creates costs related to design, editing, and some admin work. Any additional revenues are used towards public programming offered by the Federation of BC Writers.
How long does it take to get results back?
In short, it takes a while. We get many submissions and all submissions go through two preliminary phases before the longlist goes to our Judges. The first phase is validation of rules. The second phase is that all pieces are read and evaluated by our readers to determine our longlist. This is the most lengthy portion of the process. We will make an announcement with time frames in September based on the volume of submissions. Our goal is to provide our readers and judges enough time to contemplate all the pieces fairly and to not rush their decisions.
The title says Literary Contests. Are genre pieces welcome and do they have a fair shot? Yes to both questions. We love genre writers at the Federation of BC Writers. What matters in this competition is quality and writing something that stands out from the pack.
What other advise can you give?
Pieces that use outdated and harmful tropes or terminology will not be longlisted. The Federation of BC Writers has a core value that we promote excellence in literature. As such, we view it as the responsibility of writers to be cautious with our words and to be intentional with our language. If you have doubts, google is your friend. If you think something might be problematic, it probably is. We also ask all entrants to be cognizant of cultural appropriation. An article outlining best practices can be found here:https://proofed.com/writing-tips/5-tips-for-avoiding-cultural-appropriation-in-fiction/
The deadline for submissions is 11:59 pm PST on September 15, 2023.