Room's Contests

Contest Calendar

Short Forms | September 1 - November 1 *NOW OPEN*
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 2020 Short Forms Contest is now open! Lisa Bird-Wilson is standing on a stage behind a podium at Roxy Theature, speaking into a microphone.

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

Deadline: November 1, 2020

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.

2020 Judge: Lisa Bird-Wilson

Lisa Bird-Wilson is a Saskatchewan Métis and nêhiyaw writer whose work appears in literary magazines and anthologies across Canada. Her fiction book, Just Pretending (Coteau Books 2013), was a finalist for the national Danuta Gleed Literary Award; won four Saskatchewan Book Awards, including 2014 Book of the Year; and was the 2019 One Book, One Province selection. Bird-Wilson’s debut poetry collection, The Red Files (Nightwood Editions 2016), is inspired by family and archival sources and reflects on the legacy of the residential school system and the fragmentation of families and histories. Her new novel, Probably Ruby, will be published by Doubleday Canada in August 2021. Lisa lives in Saskatoon, SK.

Photo credit: Ânskohk 2019

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 44.1 (March 2021).

Enter Our Contest

Cover Art Contest

Our 2019 Cover Art contest is now closed. The shortlist and winners have been announced. The 2020 contest will open on November 15, 2020.Lindsay Nixon

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.

You can read our interview with the judge here.

Photo credit: Stacy Lee

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

Fiction Contest

The 2019 fiction contest is now closed. The fiction contest will open again in January, 2021.Rebecca Fisseha

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

2020 Judge: Rebecca Fisseha

Rebecca Fisseha is the author of Daughters of Silence (Goose Lane Editions), listed among the most anticipated fiction titles of Fall 2019 by CBC Books and 49th Shelf, and one of Quill & Quire’s breakout debut novels of 2019. Her short stories, personal essays, and articles have appeared in various literary journals, including Room Magazine, Joyland, Lithub, and Zora. Forthcoming is a short story in the collection Addis Ababa Noir (Akashic Books, 2020). Born in Addis Ababa, she currently lives in Toronto.

You can read our interview with the fiction judge here.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 43.3 (September 2020).

Creative Non-Fiction Contest

Our 2020 creative non-fiction contest is now closed. It will open again in June, 2021.

2020 judge: Amanda Leduc Amanda Leduc is standing nice to a tree and smiling directly at the camera, wearing a green blouse

Amanda Leduc is a disabled writer and author of the non-fiction book Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space, out now with Coach House Books. She is also the author of the novel The Miracles of Ordinary Men, published in 2013 by ECW Press. Her new novel, The Centaur's Wife, is forthcoming with Random House Canada in the spring of 2021.

Her essays and stories have appeared in LitHub, The Rumpus, Little Fiction | Big Truths, The National Post, Open Book Ontario, and other publications across Canada, the US, the UK, and Australia. She has previously been longlisted for both the CBC Nonfiction Prize (2019 and 2014) and the CBC Fiction Prize (2014), the StoryQuarterly Fiction Prize (2015), the Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in Fiction (2015), the Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest (2014), and the 2007 PRISM International Short Fiction Contest.

Born in British Columbia, she has lived in Ontario, England, BC, and Scotland. She has cerebral palsy and presently, she makes her home in Hamilton, Ontario, where she lives with a very lovable, very destructive dog and serves as the Communications and Development Coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD), Canada’s first festival for diverse authors and stories.

Photo credit: Trevor Cole

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 43.3 (September 2020).

Poetry Contest

Black and white photo of Canisia Lubrin looking forward at the camera.Our 2020 Poetry Contest is now closed. The 2021 contest will open on June 15, 2021.

2020 Judge: Canisia Lubrin

Canisia Lubrin is a writer, editor, critic and teacher born in St. Lucia. Published and anthologized internationally, her work has been translated into Spanish, Italian and is forthcoming in French and German. Lubrin’s writing has been recognized by, among others, the Toronto Book Award, bp Nichol Award, Raymond Souster award, Journey Prize, Gerald Lampert award, Pat Lowther award, York University’s President’s Prize for Poetry and the Writers Trust of Canada Rising Star prize. Lubrin’s poetry debut, Voodoo Hypothesis (Buckrider Books, 2017) was named a CBC Best Book, and a top 10 must read book by the League of Canadian Poets and the CBC named Lubrin a writer to watch in 2018. Her second poetry book is The Dyzgraphxst (McClelland & Stewart, 2020). NOW Magazine featured Lubrin in their 2020 Black Futures issue. She was 2019 Writer-In-Residence at Queen’s University and poetry faculty for the Banff Centre’s Emerging Writers Intensive. Lubrin completed an MFA at the University of Guelph.

Read out 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 43.4 (December 2020).

General Guidelines

  • Room's contests are open to women (transgender and cisgender), trans men, Two-Spirit, and nonbinary 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 entrants residing in the US: $45 CAD, and $7 CAD. For everywhere else: $55 CAD, and $7 CAD. 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.
  • Submit your work in Times New Roman 12-point font.
  • 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

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