Submission Guidelines

To be considered for any of the Emerging Writers Prizes, writers must meet the following criteria.

  • You must be a permanent resident of Nova Scotia, meaning that you have lived in Nova Scotia full-time for at least the past twelve (12) months and that you file your personal income taxes in Nova Scotia. (Out-of-province post-secondary students and seasonal residents are ineligible.)
  • You must be an emerging or early-career writer who has published no more than one (1) book-length literary project in any form or genre, including traditionally published, partner- or hybrid-published, and self-published projects.
  • You must be 19 years of age or older by the current submission deadline.

In addition to the above criteria, you must meet one or more of the following prize-specific criteria.

  • Saunders Prize: You must submit a speculative fiction work-in-progress or a nonfiction work-in-progress.
  • Venart Prize: You must be a woman and/or another marginalized gender (including but not limited to Two-Spirit, trans, nonbinary, and fluid genders).
  • Oliver Prize: You must be Black, African Nova Scotian, and/or African Canadian.

Submission packages must contain all components listed below and must be submitted by the prize deadline. Each submission package must be submitted as a single digital document (in .doc or .pdf format) with a file name as follows: Firstname Lastname – Emerging Writers Prizes (where “Firstname” is your given name or chosen primary name and “Lastname” is your family name or chosen surname). Incomplete, late, non-digital, or misnamed submission packages are ineligible.

A. Personal responses (each roughly one paragraph in length) to the following questions. In these questions, “prize period” refers to the 5-month span running from January through May following the submission deadline, during which time the literary activities associated with each prize will take place.

  1. How long have you been writing?
  2. Summarize your writing activity for the past twelve months.
  3. Describe the work you intend to focus on during the prize period (e.g., completing a chapbook of poems, revising a collection of short stories, or submitting a novel manuscript).
  4. Outline your work plan/schedule during the prize period.
  5. What goals have you set yourself to achieve during the prize period? Be specific.
  6. How will you prioritize writing during the prize period, and how will the prize period fit into your schedule?

B. A 10-page, doubled-spaced writing sample of the work-in-progress in 12-pt Times New Roman or Arial font. (Poetry samples should be single-spaced and may use other fonts only if typeface is integral to the project.)

All submitters will be notified of the prize results by late November. Due to the volume of submissions, we ask that you not query the office about the status of your submission prior to that time.

After submission packages have been processed to ensure they are complete and eligible, they will be shared with a peer assessment jury of three professional writers contracted by the WFNS to adjudicate all three Emerging Writers Prizes. The jury will assess submission packages based on

  • the merit of the writing sample,
  • the merit of the proposed writing activities, and
  • the submitter’s commitment to the proposed writing activities.

The jury’s selection of the prize recipient will be final.

The cash award will be disbursed at the beginning of the prize period.

Whether submitting to one, two, or all three Emerging Writers Prizes, pay a single submission fee and submit a single submission form.

Submissions are accepted only through the form at the bottom of this page. Please note that completing the submission form is the final step in our recommended submission checklist:

Ensure your eligibility.

Ensure your submission package is complete and correct. In the event of an error, please contact our office to explain the issue before submitting a revised submission package. No submission package or revised submission package can be accepted after the prize deadline, so we encourage you to submit early.

Pay the $53 submission fee. This fee covers only a portion of the administrative and assessment costs for each submission. As such, even in cases of incomplete or ineligible submissions, it cannot be refunded. The submission fee is $38 for WFNS members. If you are a member in good standing, please ensure you log in to your member account before checkout to apply your member discount. WFNS General Membership is open to anyone who writes, regardless of writing experience or place of residence.

To pay fee by phone, call us between 9am and 4pm on weekdays at 902 423 8116 with your credit card details.

To pay fee by mail, send a cheque (payable to “Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia”) post-dated for no later than the submission deadline.

Complete and submit the online submission form, visible at the bottom of this page when submissions are being accepted. After clicking the “Submit” button, please wait until the green confirmation message appears (confirming that your form has been successfully submitted) before exiting this page.

If the submission fee presents a barrier, please contact communications@writers.ns.ca before applying. Funds are available to help underwaged writers with submission fees.

2024 Submissions Closed on October 26, 2023

Submission form

This form allows emerging and early-career writers to apply to one, two, or all three of WFNS's Emerging Writers Prizes: the Charles R. Saunders Prize, the Elizabeth Venart Prize, and the Senator Don Oliver Black Voices Prize. Prizes differ in eligibility and in prize package, so please briefly familiarize yourself with all prizes before submitting.

If eligible for more than one prize, submit a single submission package, submission form, and submission fee.
If it is discovered that any of these declarations is false, your submission will be ineligible.
Select all that apply.
If the name you commonly use or publish under differs from your legal name, please include your legal name in parentheses—i.e., "Common Name (Legal Name)." If you are awarded a prize, your legal name will be required for prize payment.
If your current mailing address differs from your permanent address, include your mailing address in parentheses.
Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
• Your submission package must be a single digital file (.doc or .pdf format) that contains all components identified in the above section "2. Submission Package."
• Your submission package must use a file name as follows: [Your Name] - Emerging Writers Prizes.
• Incomplete, misnamed, or file-unreadable application packages may be deemed ineligible.
Indicate the method by which you paid the Emerging Writers Prizes submission fee, details of which are given in the above section "4. Submission Checklist & Fee." Fee payment must be sent before you submit this form.

For questions or further information, please contact us. Due to the volume of submissions anticipated, we ask that you contact us at least two weeks before the prize deadline.

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Recommended Experience Levels

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) recommends that participants in any given workshop have similar levels of creative writing and / or publication experience. This ensures that each participant gets value from the workshop⁠ and is presented with information, strategies, and skills that suit their career stage. The “Recommended experience level” section of each workshop description refers to the following definitions used by WFNS.

  • New writers: those with less than two years’ creative writing experience and/or no short-form publications (e.g., short stories, personal essays, or poems in literary magazines, journals, anthologies, or chapbooks).
  • Emerging writers: those with more than two years’ creative writing experience and/or numerous short-form publications.
  • Early-career authors: those with 1 or 2 book-length publications or the equivalent in book-length and short-form publications.
  • Established authors: those with 3 or 4 book-length publications.
  • Professional authors: those with 5 or more book-length publications.

Please keep in mind that each form of creative writing (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and writing for children and young adults) provides you with a unique set of experiences and skills, so you might consider yourself an ‘established author’ in one form but a ‘new writer’ in another.

For “intensive” and “masterclass” creative writing workshops, which provide more opportunities for peer-to-peer feedback, the recommended experience level should be followed closely.

For all other workshops, the recommended experience level is just that—a recommendation—and we encourage potential participants to follow their own judgment when registering.

If you’re uncertain of your experience level with regard to any particular workshop, please feel free to contact us at communications@writers.ns.ca