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 work in six categories: creative non-fiction, novel, poetry, short story, writing for children, and young adult novel. Established writers are also eligible but may only enter a category of writing that is new to them.

All entrants receive written comments on their manuscripts. 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 2, 2015 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2.2 Entries must be the original, unpublished work of the writer, and must not have been accepted for publication or submitted elsewhere at the time of entry nor during the course of the competition.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 standalone book or more than three shorter works in recognized 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 Readers and judges may enter but not in the category they are evaluating.

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

2.7 Writers may resubmit a piece that was submitted in a previous year of the AWC, providing the piece did not win.

2.8 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 assessment process are readers and judges aware of the identity of entrants.

2.9 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.

2.10 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, or if there are not enough entries to ensure a competitive process.

2.11 Decisions of the judges are final.

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

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

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

c.  children (pre-high school).

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

a. self-published manuscripts;

b. submissions that do not meet prize category requirements as defined for the appropriate category in section 2.15; and

c. submissions that exceed the word limit outlined under each category description.

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: A complete fiction manuscript of no more than 100,000 words. The manuscript will be evaluated based on the first 80 pages or 20,000 words. First round readers may read more than the first 80 pages, but they will not be required to.  A one page pitch letter must also accompany the excerpt. The pitch must include a synopsis of the entire arc of the novel, identify audience, and include the word count of the final piece. Note that judging in this category will place greater emphasis on the quality of the writing than on the pitch. Submissions may be in any genre including, but not limited to, historical fiction, literary fiction, mystery, romance, and speculative fiction. Resources for crafting a pitch letter will be made available  on the WFNS website prior to December 2014.


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. It is not a requirement that the poems have a thread that binds them, but many of our readers and judges will be looking for that thread as a basis of evaluation.

 

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. Please state the age range your piece is intended for. Readers and judges will be evaluating the pieces based on suitability and conventions of each particular age range. 

Young Adult Novel Prize
PRIZES:  $300 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 long works of fiction of no more than 75,000 words and aimed for readers aged 12+ (young adults).  The manuscript will be evaluated based on the first 80 pages or 20,000 words. First round readers may read more than the first 80 pages, but they will not be required to.  A one page pitch letter must accompany the excerpt. The pitch must include a synopsis of the entire arc of the novel, identify audience, and include the word count of the final piece. Note that judging in this category will place greater emphasis on the quality of the writing than on the pitch. Young Adult Novel submissions may be in any genre including, but not limited to, historical fiction, literary fiction, mystery, and speculative fiction. Resources for crafting a pitch letter will be made available  on the WFNS website prior to December 2014.

Submission Procedures

3.1 Complete and eligible submissions to prize categories must include the following. (Entrants should keep a copy of the complete online submission for their records.)

aOnline submissions (strongly encouraged) must include:

i. A completed online entry form 

ii. The non-refundable entry fee. (See entry fee amounts in section 3.5.)

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

    • Word or PDF document format; 
    • 12 pt. font, double-spaced,  (except poetry), Times New Roman or Arial, with at least a one inch margin on all sides;
    • each page must be numbered in sequence in the upper right hand corner;
    • each page must include the entrant's pseudonym in the header; and
    • the file named Pseudonym_Title_Category.doc.  (Do not submit files that are labelled ‘my manuscript’ or other generic titles.)

iv. A letter that:

    • 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

iv. A digital declaration that:

    • states that the entrant and submission meet all elegibility criteria;
    • attests to the entrant's status as an Atlantic Canadian resident

                 **Note that the declaration is made by marking checkboxes on the entry form.

b. Paper submissions. If you are unable to submit your manuscript digitally, please contact the WFNS office for paper submission guidelines.

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.

Our preferred method of payment is PayPal.

If you are unable or unwilling to submit via PayPal, please submit payment as a cheque or money order made payable to the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia. You may also call the office to make a credit card payment over the phone, or you may pay via cash in person. Please do not mail cash. If you are paying for your entry fee by a method other than PayPal, please email your completed application to programs@writers.ns.ca with the subject line: AWC – Category – Pseudonym.

3.6 Complete submissions must be submitted to the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia no later than February 2, 2015 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 applications that are incomplete, formatted improperly, exceed the word limit, or submitted past the deadline. Entry fees will not be refunded, so please check your application carefully. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the WFNS office prior to submitting your application.

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:

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

b.   Written notification of shortlist status and readers’ comments will be sent to all entrants by the early July. Please DO NOT call or e-mail the WFNS office about AWC results. 

c.       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. 

d.      WFNS will notify all shortlisted writers as to whether or not they are category winners in late August. (Note: the list of winners is embargoed information until September 19, 2015.) 

e.      Public announcement of category shortlists on the WFNS website at the beginning of September. 

f.        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. This will be the first public announcement of the category winners. 

g.       Announcement of AWC winners on WFNS website following The Word on the Street.
 

  

Click here to submit your application

Atlantic Writing Competition Guidelines / Updated November 2014