Past Competition Results


  • Budge Wilson Short Fiction Prize: Briony Merritt, “Blackfriars Bridge” | Shortlist: Amy Donovan, Lindsey Harrington, Scott L. Neilson, Andrea Reynolds
    • Citation from judge Ian Colford: “‘Blackfriars Bridge’ carries the reader along on a gripping wave of dramatic urgency. The story—concise, action-packed—is set in London during an unspecified past era, probably during the reign of Queen Victoria. The author works with a light touch, skillfully and unobtrusively weaving period details into this brief tale, which involves a teenage girl being sent to fetch a doctor to attend to a pregnant woman in distress. The girl, a lover of poetry, remains unnamed throughout. She is smart, observant and determined. We experience events through her eyes. We feel the throb of her anxiety and share her deep concern for the stricken woman. The narrative voice is absolutely convincing, the writing evocative and memorable and filled with descriptive nuggets, such as ‘gossip burning on their lips’ and ‘the horse snorted dragon’s breath.’ ‘Blackfriars Bridge’ is a polished and sophisticated piece of writing.”
  • H.R. (Bill) Percy Short Creative Non-Fiction Prize: Monika Dutt, “Foundations” | Shortlist: Elizabeth Collis, Lois Ann Dort, Jessica Marsh, Tiffany Mosher
    • Citation from judge Joanne Gallant: “‘Foundations’ is about the beauty and heaviness of single motherhood. Compelling and filled with grit, Dutt had me at times in tears, and then whooping with delight as she proved to herself—and to all mothers—that we are much stronger than we think. She captured the experience of life as a single mother caring for her son, relying on her determination to keep them both safe, as she tries to make the long drive home. Her car becomes a metaphor for the obstacles of raising a child, and Dutt provides the reader with snapshots of both the joy and the arduous experience of childrearing as a single parent. I was in the hands of a masterful storyteller while reading ‘Foundations.’ Dutt delivers right up until the very end. An exceptionally well-written piece that was heartfelt and satisfying to read.”
  • Joyce Barkhouse Young Adult Fiction Prize: Libby Broadbent, Seventh Son | Shortlist: Claire MacDonell, Andrea Reynolds
    • Citation from judge Melanie Mosher: “In this short excerpt, Broadbent has managed to create a believable world with intriguing characters, Runa and Button, twins separated at birth yet connected by magic and spells. Artful writing draws the reader into this world: Broadbent’s word choice and phrasing are spot on for the genre, and the work is captivating, full of wonderful descriptions that conjure vivid images. Good vs evil, greed, power, and love are all at play. A mother’s sacrifice, long lost spells, secret identities, and lurking mysteries entice. […] Already, in this short section, the reader is rooting for Runa and Button. Wanting Runa to overcome her mean Aunt Elinor. Wanting Button to stand up to his father and leave his basement room. Wanting the twins to be reunited and for good to reign. Well done!”
  • Rita Joe Poetry Prize: Jan Fancy Hull, “Moss Meditations” | Shortlist: Cynthia Germain Bazinet, Sophia Godsoe, Teresa Killbride, Louise Piper
    • Citation from judge Margo Wheaton: “‘Moss Meditations’ is a clear, beautifully-crafted seven-part poem and earthy hymn to moss, that ‘daughter of seaweed.’ Part praise poem and part confession, each section in this stirring meditation depicts an acutely personal interaction with the physical world. Asserting that ‘we must kneel to see it,’ the poem’s speaker adopts a stance of reverence in order to study ‘the moss-lined cradle of the forest floor’ and the stream ‘singing its ancient song.’ Clear-eyed and open-hearted, the politics of this poem are insistent, reminding us that we are stewards of a world we ourselves destroy. Elegant and hushed, this poem offers an alternative way to be with the living world and calls us to remember that we walk daily through ‘a kingdom of wonder.'”


  • Budge Wilson Short Fiction Prize: Bob Mann, “Shepherd’s Pie Friday” | Shortlist: Barbara Darby, Verna Feehan, Joyce McGeehan, Marie Thompson | Judge: Jacqueline Dumas
  • H.R. (Bill) Percy Short Creative Non-Fiction Prize: Kate Burnham, “Poster Child” | Shortlist: Catherine Banks, Emma Dubois, Halina St. James | Judge: Jeff Miller
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Heidi Tattrie Rushton, “Pet Tales” | Shortlist: Jodi Reid | Judge: Daphne Greer
  • Rita Joe Poetry Prize: Lindsey Harrington, “Dispatches from Red Bridge” | Shortlist: Emily Dodge, Margaret Schwartz | Judge: Margo Wheaton


  • Budge Wilson Short Fiction Prize: Brad Donaldson, “Sinking” | Shortlist: Nataliya Bukhanova, Robert de la Chevotiere, Francene Gillis, Jenny MacDougall, Sydney Robichaud, James Whidden
    • Citation from judge Elaine McCluskey: “The author has written, within the confines of a short story, a poignant account of love, tragedy, and human frailty. The details ring true and the writing is both controlled and touching. While the setting, a Nova Scotia fishing community is specific, the story speaks to universal themes such as loss and the power of place upon people.”
  • H.R. (Bill) Percy Short Creative Non-Fiction Prize: Beth Ann Knowles, “The Hwagae Bath House” | Shortlist: Mary Dodd, Nanci Lee, Leonard Brent MacDonald, Dvora Trachtenberg
    • Citation from judge Evelyn White: “A warm, well-paced, and beautifully crafted reflection on cultural risk and reward. The piece takes readers on a memorable journey with a perfect ending.”
  • Joyce Barkhouse Young Adult Fiction Prize: Emily Dodge, “Daughters of Morrigan” | Shortlist: JC Farquahar, Jaime Horbul
    • Citation from judge Jenni Blackmore: “‘Daughters of Morrigan’ is well paced, with truly believable characters who instantly draw the reader into their world, which is fraught with sibling rivalry. Subtle yet intriguing hints speak of darker happenings about to transpire and I suspect that this will be a read that’s hard to put down. Masterfully written, with what promises to be a tantalizing plat. Love it!”
  • Rita Joe Poetry Prize: Cathy Jacob, “Evening Prayer” | Shortlist: donalee Moulton, Margaret Schwartz, Pat Thomas
    • Citation from judge Genevieve Lehr: “[These] poems are sincere, well-crafted, and reflect a depth of engagement with language. I was particularly moved by the poem ‘How wonderful,’ with its intimate and moving portrait of the loss of a loved one. The images are stunning, and I felt the poem speaking to me on a personal level, drawing me in with its quiet, dignified poignancy. Nothing gimmicky here. The image of the person ‘leaning skeletal on a stiff walker/in stained pants and the drooping white flag/of an untucked shirt’ is simply gorgeous.”


  • Budge Wilson Short Fiction Prize: Susan Drain, “In the Dugout” | Shortlist: KR Byggdin, Brad Donaldson, Brendan Dunbar, Breton Hannam, Nigel Herritt, Sarah Pittoello
    • Citation from judge Sirje Ruus: “This masterfully crafted story depicts the resilience of a small group of Canadian soldiers on a First World War battleground where all that is left to combat the horror are humble acts of human kindness and large doses of irony. Very little actually happens in the dugout, yet so much is revealed.”
  • H.R. (Bill) Percy Short Creative Non-Fiction Prize: Ariel Watson, “Beasts of Myth” | Honourable mention: Julie Strong’s “I had to steal them” | Shortlist: Barbara Cullen, Mary Dodd, Joanne Light, Cynthia Manley, Joe Muething
    • Citation from judge Marjorie Simmins: “The author has written a resonant and complex story, with themes of multi-generational family ties and interactions, looming death, the reshapings of personal histories, the romantic pulls of times gone by, and the essence and changing composition of memory, as connected to a time, and its people.”
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Karen Kelloway, Keeper of the Pact | Shortlist: Jill Martin, Anne Odell
    • Citation from judge Janet Barkhouse: “A trio of human children discover danger—and more—on a fishing boat moored in Brigus Harbour. Suspenseful, believable, original, this excerpt grips and delights.”
  • Rita Joe Poetry Prize: Rosalie Osmond, Variations in Time | Shortlist: Rachel Edmonds, Mary Verna Feehan, Cheri Wilson
    • Citation from judge Dr. Afua Cooper: “[Rosalie Osmond] uses her spiritual, emotional, and physical sense to convey a poetry that is textured, focused, and startling. Her banner is honesty and courage, and so the poems are a ‘take no prisoner’ dialogue between the heart and self. The result is that the heart is flung wide open. Her poems are rich in sensory words, with a tight inner rhythm that can only be produced by one in charge of her craft.”


  • Budge Wilson Short Story Prize: Mary Verna Feehan, “Two Crow Joy” | Shortlist: Cate Carlyle, Susan LeBlanc
  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Susan Walsh, Where the Lampreys Meet | Shortlist: Dorothy Redfurn, Nancy Waldman
  • Long Form Creative Non-Fiction Prize: Muriel Zimmer, I Need You to be Strong | Shortlist: Laura Churchill Duke, Mark Haynes, Greg Murphy
  • Poetry Prize: J Lorraine Campbell, All Consuming | Shortlist: John Saklofske, Courtney Siebring
  • Short Creative Non-Fiction Prize: Margaret MacQuarrie, “How Was the Party?” | Shortlist: Barbara Cullen, Jennifer Faulkner, Julie Strong


  • Budge Wilson Short Story Prize: Amanda Peters, “Crows” | Honourable mention: Adam Fiske’s “City of Goodbyes” | Shortlist: Francene Gillis, Cheri Wilson
  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Brenda MacLennan-Dunphy, Never Speak of this Again | Shortlist: Carol Moreira, Angela Ripley
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Laureen Van Lierop, Beach Meadow Friends | Shortlist: John Graham-Poole, John Ure
  • Poetry Prize: Jana Traff, In the White of Grief | Shortlist: Joyce Caines, Ryan Eavis, Bethany Lake, Cheri Wilson
  • Short Creative Non-Fiction Prize: Melissa Friedman, “Gastown to Grey” | Shortlist: Thomas Harris, Jen Schwetje

The predecessor to the Nova Writes Competition was the Atlantic Writing Competition (AWC), established in 1975 by the Nova Scotia Branch of the Canadian Authors’ Association and administered by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia from 1976 to 2016.

In 2016, the 39th and final year of the AWC, over 70 submissions were received (from emerging writers throughout Atlantic Canada) in six categories: creative non-fiction, novel, poetry, short story, writing for children, and young adult novel. Two other categories accepted over the last dozen years of the AWC were magazine article/essay (awarded up to 2007) and unproduced play (awarded from 2011 – 2013).


  • Budge Wilson Short Story Prize: Sue Murtagh, “Resort Life” | Shortlist: Ethel Belliveau, Amanda Peters, Claire Shiplett, Susie Taylor
  • Creative Non-Fiction Prize: Linda McLean, Dreaming Margaret Atwood | Shortlist: Benjamin Dugdale, Dvora Trachtenberg
  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Anne Bishop, Blessed are the Poor | Shortlist: Andrea Doukas, Liz Graham
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Mary Pike, The Secret Spirits of Edgar Snow | Shortlist: Deb MacNeil, Shawna Morrissey
  • Poetry Prize: Abena Amoako-Tuffour, The Art of Living | Shortlist: Emily Crompton, Carol Moreira, Shane Mountain, Lucas Wentzell
  • Young Adult Novel Prize: Jenni Blackmore, Island of Dead Souls


  • Budge Wilson Short Story Prize: Dominic Wilcott, “Child of Somalia” | Honourable mention: Jan Moffett’s “Anxiety and Austin” | Shortlist: Ethel Belliveau, Luke MacNeill, Colin van Vulpen
  • Creative Non-Fiction Prize: Jeremy Smith, In The Kitchen | Honourable mention: Jo Shawyer’s Points of View | Shortlist: Zoe D’Amato, Esther Kennedy
  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Maureen St. Clair, Judith and Sola | Honourable mention: Bridget Canning’s Impulse | Shortlist: Lorraine Buck, Warren Redman, Tim Reeves-Horton
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Sara Jewell, Moon Tide | Shortlist: Heather Jenkins, Judy MacLean
  • Poetry Prize: Wade Ells, Tricks in the Tide | Shortlist: Sheila Graham-Smith, Emily Leeson, Tela Purcell, Cheri Wilson
  • Young Adult Novel Prize: Nicole Fraser, Through the Door | Shortlist: Mary Dodd, Charlotte Mendel


  • Budge Wilson Short Story Prize: Brittany Kraus, “Murmurs” | Shortlist: Dave Johnson, Mark Palermo, Marlene Stanton
  • Creative Non-Fiction Prize: Glenna Jenkins, Digging for Bones | Shortlist: Anna Taylor, Aaron Williams, Anya Zub
  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Mary Pike, Foreign Soul | Shortlist: Ryan Blades, Dorothy Redfurn
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Jim Sutherland, The House the Captain Built | Shortlist: Betty
    Campbell, Eric Hansen, Clare O’Connor
  • Poetry Prize: Mary Ellen Sullivan, Visits | Shortlist: Isabel Blackmore, Whitney Moran, Shelley Thompson, Shannon Webb-Campbell
  • Young Adult Novel Prize: Nayani Jensen, Minstrel’s Song | Shortlist: Noah Hollis, Marilyn Lohnes, Melissa McAdam


  • Budge Wilson Short Story Prize: Steven Naylor, “Joey Moulton” | Naylor also received “an editor’s eye and insights” provided by The Fiddlehead
  • Creative Non-Fiction Prize: Gillian Osmond, Mine Said Wednesday | Osmond also received “an editor’s eye and insights” provided by The Fiddlehead
  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Marina Harris, Enough
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Georgia S. Atkin, Secrets: A Strange Tale | Atkin also received a Blue Pencil Mentorship provided by CANSCAIP
  • Poetry Prize: Ryan Marshall, I Wait in the Next Room | Marshall also received “an editor’s eye and insights” provided by The Fiddlehead
  • Unproduced Play Prize: Griffin McInnes, Science Inaction: a love story
  • Young Adult Novel Prize: Lori McKay, The General Store | McKay also received a Blue Pencil Mentorship provided by the CANSCAIP


  • Budge Wilson Short Story Prize: Ruth Morris Schneider, “Concha’s Smile” | 2nd: Heidi Harding | 3rd: Sara Malton
  • Creative Non-Fiction Prize: Crystal Vaughan, Pieces | 2nd: Deirdre Dwyer | 3rd: Margaret Ommanney
  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Sasha Dence, Falling Ice | 2nd: Sheila Graham-Smith | 3rd: Sarah Gignac
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Patsy Clothier, Callista, the Amazing Honey Bee, Tells All | 2nd: Jo-Anne Hemming | 3rd: Jo Shawyer
  • Poetry Prize: Roger Field, Orientations, Syria | 2nd: Maryann Martin | 3rd: Sheila Graham-Smith
  • Unproduced Play Prize: Rhys Bevan-John’s Pump Trolly | 2nd: Janet Godsell | 3rd: Nick Jupp | This prize was co-presented by Theatre Nova Scotia (TheatreNS) and Playwrights Atlantic Resource Center (PARC) at the Robert Merritt Awards, and the winner also received a free membership to TheatreNS and professional dramaturgy services from PARC
  • Young Adult/Juvenile Novel Prize: Richard Levangie, Secrets of the Hotel Maisoneuve | 2nd: Katrina Nicholson | 3rd: Judy Dudar


  • Budge Wilson Short Story Prize: Gillian M. Osmond’s “I Heard a Small Boy Singing: A Memoir”
  • Creative Non-Fiction Prize: Brian Braganza’s The Cross Road
  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Charlotte Mendel’s Turn Us Again
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Lisa-Marie Brunnen’s Hiding in the Fireplace
  • Poetry Prize: Janet Kennedy’s November Poems
  • Unproduced Play Prize: David Christoffel’s Hard Rock | This prize was co-presented by Theatre Nova Scotia (TheatreNS) and Playwrights Atlantic Resource Center (PARC) at the Robert Merritt Awards, and the winner also received a free membership to TheatreNS and professional dramaturgy services from PARC
  • Young Adult/Juvenile Novel Prize: Kat Kruger’s The Night Has Teeth


  • Budge Wilson Short Story Prize: Julie Strong’s “Alice’s Bonfire”
  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Wanda Campbell’s Hat Girl
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Stephanie Reidy’s Callum’s Bed
  • Poetry Prize: Rita Wilson’s Lost and Found
  • Young Adult/Juvenile Novel Prize: Susan White’s The Year Mrs. Montague Cried


  • Budge Wilson Short Story Prize: Paul Healey’s “Vanishing”
  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Scott Fotheringham’s The Rest is Silence
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Joanna Butler’s Calvin’s Moose Hunt
  • Poetry Prize: James MacSwain’s Ancestors
  • Young Adult/Juvenile Novel Prize: Dorothy Redfurn’s In Interesting Times


  • Budge Wilson Short Story Prize: Victoria Lynn Hirtle’s “The Leather Other”
  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Chris Benjamin’s Living in the Dirt
  • Poetry Prize: Veryan Haysom’s Subterranean Paths
  • Young Adult/Juvenile Novel Prize & Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Brenda Tate’s Nightingales Don’t Cry


  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Scott Bartlett’s Royal Flush
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Carolee Nichols’s Bud, The Homeless Cat
  • Magazine Article/Essay Prize: Veronica Butler’s “My Lemon Tree”
  • Poetry Prize: Nanci Lee’s Lessons
  • Short Story Prize: Kathy Chisholm’s “Seen But Not Heard”
  • Young Adult/Juvenile Novel Prize: Philip Roy’s Alfred, The Submarine Outlaw


  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Syr Ruus’s Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Cyncy D’Entremont’s Granny’s Houseplant
  • Magazine Article/Essay Prize: Daniel Schulman’s “An Ode to the Flying Squirrel”
  • Poetry Prize: Jenny MacDougall’s Lesser Light
  • Short Story Prize: Roanne Rondina’s “Luzviminda”
  • Young Adult/Juvenile Novel Prize: Jo Ann Yhard’s Chasing the Raven


  • Frog Hollow Books Poetry Prize: Laura Crawford’s Alphabetology: Bold Character Put Up Strange Fonts
  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Dave Cameron’s The Bottle Collector
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Jamie Leck’s Guinness the Gobber and the Pickle Farm Fiasco
  • Magazine Article/Essay Prize: Penny Carver’s “Move Hands Like Clouds”
  • Short Story Prize: Vivien Shotwell’s “Methods of Rest”


  • Frog Hollow Books Poetry Prize: Walter Lee’s Is Hard When Fired
  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Terry Pratt’s Academic Questions
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Sue Coueslan’s Under Emmett’s Bed
  • Magazine Article/Essay Prize: Munju Ravindra’s “Going Solo”
  • Short Story Prize: Erna Buffie’s “Pearl”


  • Frog Hollow Books Poetry Prize: Jennifer Clouter’s After Viewing
  • HR (Bill) Percy Novel Prize: Steve Zipp’s Yellowknife
  • Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize: Joyce Grant Smith’s The Latch
  • Magazine Article/Essay Prize: Susan Cameron’s “Joyce and Me”
  • Short Story Prize: Sheilagh Guy Murphy’s “Lost”
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