SUBMISSIONS FOR THE ATLANTIC WRITING COMPETITION ARE NOW CLOSED. Good luck to those who entered!

About

The Atlantic Writing Competition (AWC) was established in 1975 under the auspices of the Nova Scotia Branch of the Canadian Authors' Association and has been administered by the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia since 1976.

Emerging writers throughout Atlantic Canada may submit literary work in seven categories: creative non-fiction, novel, drama, poetry, short story, writing for children, and young adult novel. Established writers are also eligible but may only enter a prize category that is new to them.

All entrants receive written comments on their manuscripts when the competition is concluded in September. Manuscripts are evaluated for their originality, creativity, and quality of writing, and comments may appraise a wide range of literary techniques as well as matters such as structure and plot.

Complete submissions must be submitted to the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia no later than the February 3, 2014 submission deadline, either online (strongly encouraged) or postmarked via mail.

Eligibility Criteria & Rules

2.1  The Atlantic Writing Competition is open to full-time residents of Atlantic Canada (Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia or New Brunswick) who have lived in one or a combination of these provinces since September 1 immediately prior to the submission deadline date.

2.2  Entries must be the original, unpublished work of the writer, and must not have been accepted for publication or submitted elsewhere at the time of entry nor during the course of the competition.

2.3  Writers may not submit an entry to a prize category in which they have published a single author, standalone book or more than three shorter works in anthologies or periodicals.

2.4  Writers may not submit more than one entry per prize category, but may submit to more than one category. NOTE: Each entry requires its own entry form and registration fee.

2.5  Judges may enter but not in the category they are judging.

2.6  Winners of a previous AWC may enter, but not in the category they won.

2.7  To help ensure the impartiality of readers and judges during the assessment process, entrants must choose a pseudonym to accompany their manuscripts. At no point in the adjudication process are readers and judges aware of the identity of entrants.

2.8  Copyright of manuscript submissions remains with the entrants. WFNS will keep a copy of each complete and eligible submission for one year following the AWC deadline date before deleting or shredding them.

2.9  The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia reserves the right not to present prize category winners should entries not meet standards of quality in the opinion of the judges.

2.10  Decisions of the judges are final.

2.11  The following are not eligible as entrants for the Atlantic Writing Competition:

1.  entrants who do not meet Atlantic Canada residency requirements;

2.  staff of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia; and 

3.  children (pre-high school).

2.12  The following are not eligible as submissions for the Atlantic Writing Competition:

1. self-published manuscripts; and

2. submissions that do not meet prize category requirements as defined for the appropriate category in section 2.14

2.13  Entrants and submissions that do not meet all rules and regulations set out in these guidelines are not eligible for the program and adjudication process.

2.14  For the purposes of the Atlantic Writing Competition program, eligible creative writing submissions are defined in the following prize categories. Please note that readers and judges have the same prerogative as any reader at a publishing house, which is to stop reading any manuscript whose first few pages are rife with spelling and grammatical errors.

Creative Non-Fiction Prize
Prizes: $200 for the winning entry and the invitation to read at Word on the Street, Halifax.
Submissions: Must be creative non-fiction essays of no more than 3,000 words. Creative non-fiction is a form of non-fiction that uses inventive or literary techniques to produce work that is factually true and artistically elegant. Eligible works of creative non-fiction are the following written in a personal, identifiable voice: history, narrative journalism, memoir, personal essays, and travel writing.

H.R. (Bill) Percy Novel Prize
Prizes: $300 for the winning entry and the invitation to read at Word on the Street, Halifax.
Submissions: Must be long works of fiction of no more than 100,000 words. Novel submissions may be in any genre including, but not limited to, historical fiction, literary fiction, mystery, romance, and speculative fiction. Note: a novel manuscript submitted in a previous year of AWC will not be accepted.

Unproduced Play Prize
Prizes: $200 for the winning entry and the invitation to read at Word on the Street, Halifax.
Submissions: Must be one- or two-act plays that have not been produced by a professional company, community theatre or as part of a festival.

Poetry Prize
Prizes: $200 for the winning entry and the invitation to read at Word on the Street, Halifax.
Submissions: No more than six poems (with a maximum of 1500 words/poem) in any style. For judging purposes, each Poetry Prize entry must be given a collection title.

Budge Wilson Short Story Prize
Prizes: $200 for the winning entry and the invitation to read at Word on the Street, Halifax.
Submissions: Must be short works of fiction of no more than 3,000 words and may be in any genre including, but not limited to, historical fiction, literary fiction, mystery, romance, and speculative fiction.

Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize
Prizes: $200 for the winning entry, Blue Pencil Mentorship provided by the Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP), and the invitation to read at Word on the Street, Halifax.
Submissions: Must be fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry or stage plays of no more than 20,000 words and must be aimed at children up to age 12. Submissions may be the text of a picture book, a single poem or a collection of poems, early chapter books or junior fiction. Please do not include illustrations.

Young Adult Novel Prize
Prizes: $300 for the winning entry, Blue Pencil Mentorship provided bythe Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers(CANSCAIP), and the invitation to read at Word on the Street, Halifax.
Submissions: Must be long works of fiction of no more than 75,000 wordsand aimed for readers aged 8 to 12 (juvenile) or 12+ (young adults).  Young Adult Novel submissions may be in any genre including, but notlimited to, historical fiction, literary fiction, mystery, and speculative fiction.

Submission Procedures

3.1 Complete and eligible submissions to prize categories must be entered in one of the following two ways. (Entrants should keep a copy of the complete online submission for their records.)

1. Online submissions (strongly encouraged) must include:

a. A completed online entry form 

b. The required registration fee. (See entry fee amounts in section 3.5.)

c. The unpublished manuscript, which must be formatted as follows:

    • Word or PDF document format; 
    • in 12 pt. font, double-spaced (except poetry), with at least a one inch margin on all sides;
    • each page must be numbered in sequence in the upper right hand corner; and
    • each page must include the entrant's pseudonym in the header.

d. A letter that:

    • attests to the entrant’s status as an Atlantic Canadian resident; 
    • provides the entrant's permanent address (not summer home or cottage), phone number, and e-mail;
    • provides a one-paragraph description / biographical note of the entrant, including mention of any previous writing credits, if applicable; and
    • states that the entrant and submission meet all eligibility criteria.

2. Mail or in-person submissions must include:  

a. A completed and printed hard copy entry form

b. The required registration fee. (See entry fee amounts in section 3.5.)

c. THREE COPIES of the unpublished manuscript, which must be formatted as follows:

    • Word or PDF document format;
    • in 12 pt. font, on plain white (8½ x 11 inch) paper, double-spaced (except poetry), with at least a one inch margin on all sides; 
    • each page must be numbered in sequence in the upper right hand corner; and 
    • each page must include the entrant's pseudonym in the header.

NOTE: Please do NOT bind your manuscript, do NOT send your only copy, and do NOT send your first draft.

d. A letter that:

    • attests to the entrant’s status as an Atlantic Canadian resident; 
    • provides the entrant's permanent address (not summer home or cottage), phone number, and e-mail;
    • provides a one-paragraph description / biographical note of the entrant, including mention of any previous writing credits, if applicable; and
    • states that the entrant and submission meet all eligibility criteria.

f. Mail submissions to: 

Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia
1113 Marginal Road
Halifax, NS
B3H 4P7.

3.2 WFNS will not return manuscripts or any other materials submitted to the AWC.

3.3 Ineligible and/or incomplete submissions will not be returned.

3.4 Submissions deemed eligible by WFNS and submitted to readers and judges is final.

3.5 Entry Fees are as follows:

H.R. (Bill) Percy Novel Prize and Young Adult Novel Prize Adult Novel:
$35 per entry.
$30 per entry for WFNS members, students or seniors.

All other prize categories:
$25 per entry.
$20 per entry for WFNS members, students or seniors.

For online submissions, fee payment should be made via PayPal.

For mailed submissions, please submit payment as a cheque or money order made payable to the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia. (Please do not send cash.)

3.6 Complete submissions must be submitted to the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia no later than February 3, 2014 submission deadline, either online (section 3.2.1 for details) or postmarked via mail (section 3.2.2 for details).

3.7 The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia does not accept incomplete or late submissions.

3.8 For assistance, please call 902.423.8116 or e-mail programs@writers.ns.ca  

Adjudication Process & Timeline

 4.1 Assessment of all eligible submissions to the Atlantic Writing Competition will be conducted by readers and judges recruited by WFNS for their professional expertise as writers, editors, booksellers, librarians, and teachers. They are carefully selected to provide a balance of literary skills and experience appropriate for each prize category.  
 
4.2  The adjudication and notification process for eligible submissions to the Atlantic Writing Competition is as follows:

1.  Assessment by reading teams recruited for each prize category to produce a shortlist of entries by the end of June.

2.  Announcement on the WFNS website of shortlists in each prize category in July.

3.  Assessment of each prize category shortlist by a judge to determine the winner for each prize category and, if appropriate, honourable mentions by mid-August.

4.  Written notification and readers’ comments will be sent to all entrants by the end of August. Please DO NOT call or e-mail the WFNS office about AWC results.

5.  Announcement of winners on the WFNS website and via news release at the beginning of September.

6.  Presentation of prizes in each category, along with a reading by the winner in each category, at the Word on the Street in Halifax in late September. 

4.3  All entrants receive written comments on their manuscripts when the competition is concluded. Manuscripts are evaluated for their originality,creativity, and quality of writing, and comments may appraise a wide range of literary techniques as well as matters such as structure and plot.

Atlantic Writing Competition Guidelines / Updated December 2013