Room's Contests

Contest Calendar

Short Forms | *DEADLINE EXTENDED* September 1 - November 22
Cover Art | November 15 - January 15
Fiction | January 8 - March 8
Creative Non-Fiction | April 1 - June 1
Poetry | June 15 - August 15

General Guidelines
Past Winners  

Questions or problems with your submission? Need an alternate entry method due to a disability? Contact contests [at] roommagazine [dot] com.


Short Forms Contest

The 2019 Short Forms Contest is now open until November 1 November 22, 2019! *DEADLINE EXTENDED*

FIRST PRIZES: $500 + publication (2 winners)
HONOURABLE MENTION: $50 publication on Room's website

Each entry can consist of one or two prose poems, flash fictions, or flash creative non-fiction works of up to 500 words. Authors are not required to clarify which genre(s) they are writing in, as long as each work is 500 words or less. All submissions, regardless of genre, will be judged in a single category, and two prizes of $500 will be awarded. Winners will be published in our June 2020 issue.

2019 Judge: Gwen Benaway

Gwen Benaway is a trans girl of Anishinaabe and Métis descent. She has published three collections of poetry, Ceremonies for the Dead, Passage, and Holy Wild, and was the editor for an anthology of fantasy short stories, Maiden Mother and Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes. Her writing has been critically acclaimed and widely published in Canada. She was a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ writers from the Writer’s Trust of Canada, the Lambda Literary Award for Trans Poetry, and the National Magazine Awards and Digital Publishing Awards for her personal essay, A Body Like A Home. Her fourth collection of poetry, Aperture, is forthcoming from Book*hug in Spring 2020. She is also currently editing a book of creative non-fiction, trans girl in love, forthcoming from Strange Light in 2020. She lives in Toronto, Ontario and is a Ph.D student at the University of Toronto in the Women and Gender Studies Institute.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 43.1 (March 2020).


Cover Art Contest

Our 2019 Cover Art contest will open on November 15, 2019.

FIRST PRIZE: $500 + publication on the cover of Room 43.2
SECOND PRIZE: $50 + publication in 
Room 43.2
HONOURABLE MENTION: publication on Room's website

One cover art contest entry includes up to three images and corresponding artist statement(s). All winners will be published with an artist statement and have the option to submit additional artwork for the issue, which, if selected for publication, will be compensated for at our usual rates. Guidelines for the art contest can be found at the bottom of the page.

2019 Judge: Lindsay Nixon

Lindsay Nixon is a Cree-Métis-Saulteaux curator, editor, writer, SSHRC doctoral scholarship recipient and McGill Art History PhD student. Nixon won the prestigious 2019 Dayne Ogilive Prize and has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, an Indigenous Voices Literary Award and several National Magazine Awards. They currently hold the position of Editor-at-Large for Canadian Art. Their writing has appeared in Malahat Review, Room, GUTS, Mice, esse, The Inuit Art Quarterly, Teen Vogue and other publications. Nixon’s first book nîtisânak is out now through Metonymy Press.

Photo credit: Stacy Lee

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 43.2 (July 2020).


Fiction Contest

Our 2019 fiction contest is now closed. Winners have been selected by our judge, Catherine Hernandez. The annual fiction contest will open again on January 8, 2020.

FIRST PRIZE: $1,000 + publication in Room
SECOND PRIZE: $250 + publication in Room
HONOURABLE MENTION: $50 publication on Room's website

2019 Judge: Catherine Hernandez

Catherine Hernandez is the Artistic Director of b current performing arts and the award-winning author of Scarborough (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017). Scarborough won the 2015 Jim Wong-Chu Award, was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award, the Evergreen Forest of Reading Award, Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, the Trillium Book Award and longlisted for Canada Reads 2018. It made the "Best of 2017" list for the Globe and Mail, National Post, Quill and Quire, and CBC Books. It is now being adapted into a full-length film by Compy Films, Telefilm and Reel Asian Film Festival.

You can read our interview with the judge here.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 42.2 (June 2019).


Creative Non-Fiction Contest

Our 2019 creative non-fiction contest is now closed. Winners have been selected by judge, Terese Marie Mailhot. The annual CNF contest will open again in April, 2020.

2019 judge: Terese Marie Mailhot

Terese Marie Mailhot is from Seabird Island Band. She graduated with an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She served as Saturday Editor at The Rumpus and was a columnist at Indian Country Today. Her writing appears in West Branch, Guernica, Pacific Standard, Elle, and elsewhere. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Heart Berries: A Memoir. She serves as faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts and she's a Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University.

You can read our interview with the author here.

FIRST PRIZE: $500 + publication in Room
SECOND PRIZE: $250 + publication in Room
HONOURABLE MENTION: $50 publication on Room's website

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 42.3 (September 2019).


Poetry Contest

Our 2019 poetry contest is now closed. The shortlist and winners will be announced in October and November. The annual poetry contest will open again in June, 2020.

2019 Judge: Pamela Mordecai

Jamaican-Canadian author Pamela Mordecai writes stories and poems for adults and children. In 2014, Tony Mitton named her "Caribbean Counting Poem" in The Guardian (UK) as one of the "top ten poems to remember and recite." (She is in such excellent company it does not bother her that he seemed to think she was dead.) She has published six books of poetry, most recently Subversive Sonnets (TSAR) and de book of Mary: a performance poem (Mawenzi House). In 2015 her debut novel, Red Jacket, was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. She lives in Kitchener, Ontario.

You can read our interview with the judge here.

FIRST PRIZE: $1,000 + publication in Room
SECOND PRIZE: $250 + publication in Room
HONOURABLE MENTION: $50 publication on Room's website

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 42.4 (December 2019).


General Guidelines

  • Room's contests are open to women, trans, two-spirited, and genderqueer people.
  • Each entry must be original, unpublished, not submitted or accepted elsewhere for publication or previously to Room, and not entered simultaneously in any other contest.
  • For entrants residing in Canada, each first entry cost $35 CAD to enter, and $7 CAD for each additional entry. For international entrants (anyone with an address outside of Canada): $42 USD, and $7 USD. All first submissions include a one-year subscription to Room. Additional entries do not include an additional free subscription. (Current subscribers will be given an extension on their subscription.)
  • We only use Submittable, a secure online submissions management tool, to manage our submissions. For more information about using Submittable, please check our Submissions page.
  • Submissions will be anonymous to the judges. Please ensure that your name or any personal details are not included in your submission document; this includes the file name. (You will have a chance to include your contact information on the Submittable form).
  • Cover letters are not necessary and will not be forwarded to the judge.
  • Previously commissioned Room writers (writers who have been featured on the cover of an issue) and contest judges are barred from participating in subsequent contests at Room.

Writing Contest Rules

  • For fiction and creative non-fiction, one submission includes one short story or essay of up to 3,500 words.
  • Please double space your prose.
  • One poetry submission includes up to three poems or a maximum of 150 lines of poetry altogether. (The titles and spaces between lines do not count, only the lines with words on them.)
  • When submitting multiple poems, please begin your second and third poems on a new page, in the same document.
  • For the Short Forms Contest, submissions may be up to 500 words. Each entry may include up to two submissions, including additional $7 entries.
  • Additional details for each contest can be found on the Submittable page (click link below).

Cover Art Contest Rules

  • One cover art contest entry includes up to three images and corresponding artist statement(s). Please copy-and-paste the artist statement(s) in the section marked "Artist Statement" on the entry form in Submittable.
  • Artist statements must not exceed 150 words regardless of the number of artwork submitted.
  • Submissions will be anonymous to the judges. Please ensure that your name and bio are not included in your submission document  (including the file names) or on your artist statement. You will have a chance to send us your bio once your work has been selected for publication.
  • Please upload your artwork in JPG or PDF form. Maximum file size 1 MB. Winners will be contacted for high resolution work.
  • There are no official guidelines for artwork dimensions, but please note that we will have to crop any artwork so that it fits the cover space (approximately 6 inches x 9 inches with a bleed). You can check out past covers of Room here.
  • Works that have been published on your own website or on the interior pages of a book or magazine, and/or have been featured in a public exhibition are eligible. Submissions must not have appeared on the cover of another publication or entered simultaneously in any other contest or competition.

Enter Our Contest


Currently on Newsstands

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