Room's Contests

Contest Calendar

Please note that effective September 2018 (after the 2018 Fiction and Poetry contests close), Room's contest deadlines will be changing. The new contest calendar is underneath the upcoming deadlines.

Upcoming Contests (Old Calendar)

Creative Non-Fiction | Open December 15 - March 22, 11:59 PM (DEADLINE EXTENDED!)
Fiction & Poetry | Open April 15 - July 15

New Calendar (Effective September 1, 2018)

Short Forms | Open September 1 - November 1
Cover Art | Open November 15 - January 15
Fiction | Open January 8 - March 8
Creative Non-Fiction | Open April 1 - June 1
Poetry | Open 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.

Creative Non-fiction Contest

Our 2018 Creative Non-fiction Writing contest is now open! 

Deadline: March 22, 2018, 11:59 PM.

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

Each entry includes one piece of creative non-fiction of up to 3,500 words. Winners will be published in our December 2018 issue.

2018 Judge: Stacey May Fowles

Stacey May Fowles is an award-winning novelist, journalist, and essayist. Author of three novels, her bylines include The National PostThe Globe and Mail, MaisonneuveElle Canada,Toronto LifeThe WalrusCanadaland, Vice Sports, The New InquiryDeadspinJezebel, HazlittQuill and Quire, and many others. She has been a frequent guest on CBC’s Metro Morning, is a former member of q’s sports panel, and her writing has been anthologized in venues ranging from Baseball Prospectus to Our Bodies, Ourselves. Fowles’ third novel, Infidelity (ECW Press, 2013) was shortlisted for the ReLit Award, was selected as an Amazon Best Book of 2013, and won an Independent Publisher Book Award. Her most recent book, Baseball Life Advice, was published by McClelland & Stewart in spring 2017, was a national bestseller, and was selected by the National PostGlobe and Mail and Maisonneuve as a best book of the year. Editor of the recently released Best Canadian Sports Writing (ECW Press, 2017,) Fowles writes about books for The Globe and Mail, baseball for Jays Nation and The Athletic, and is author of the popular weekly Baseball Life Advice e-newsletterShe lives in Toronto, where she is working on a memoir to be published by McClelland & Stewart. Her next book, an anthology on sexual assault and survival, co-edited with author Jen Sookfong Lee, is due out with Greystone Books in spring 2019. 

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 41:1 (March 2018).

Enter Our Contest

Fiction & Poetry Contests

Our 2017 fiction and poetry contests, judged by Sigal Samuel and Jónína Kirton, are now closed. Congratulations to the shortlisted writers and the winners. The 2018 competition will open in April 2018.

2018 Judges: Zoe Whittall (fiction) and Vivek Shraya (poetry)

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

Zoe Whittall's third novel, The Best Kind of People, published this September by Ballantine US (and previously by House of Anansi Canada and Hodder UK) is currently being adapted for feature film by Director Sarah Polley, and was shortlisted for The Scotiabank Giller Prize, named Indigo's #1 Book of 2016, and a best book of the year by Walrus Magazine, The Globe & Mail, Toronto Life, & The National Post. Whittall has worked as a TV writer on “The Baroness Von Sketch Show”, which Vogue Magazine called "the best thing out of Canada since Ryan Gosling", and also on  “Crawford”, a new comedy by the creators of the “Trailer Park Boys”, coming to Comedy Central in 2018. She has also written three volumes of poetry, most recently a new edition of The Emily Valentine Poems, which poet Eileen Myles blurbed with "This reminds me that I would like to know everything about this person.” Her next novel, The Spectacular, is forthcoming in 2019 with Ballantine in the U.S. and HarperCollins in Canada. 

Vivek Shraya is a Toronto-based artist whose body of work includes several albumsfilms, and books. Her first book of poetry, even this page is white, won a 2017 Publisher Triangle Award and was longlisted for CBC’s Canada Reads. Her debut novel, She of the Mountains, was named one of The Globe and Mail’s Best Books, and her first children’s picture book, The Boy & the Bindi, was featured on the National Post Bestseller List. Vivek has read and performed inter­nationally at shows, festivals and post-secondary institutions, including sharing the stage with Tegan & Sara. She is one half of the music duo Too Attached and the founder of the publishing imprint VS. Books. A four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek was a 2016 Pride Toronto Grand Marshal, and has received honours from Toronto Arts Foundation and The Writers’ Trust of Canada.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 41.3 (September 2018). 

Short Forms Contest

Our 2018 Short Forms Writing contest, judged by Jane Eaton Hamilton, is now closed. The winners will be announced in spring 2018.

Due to the changes to our contest calendar (noted at the top of the page), we will hold two Short Forms contests in 2018. Our Short Forms contest will re-open on September 1 and will close on November 1, 2018.

FIRST PRIZE: $500 + publication (2 prizes)
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 2019 issue.

2018 Judge: Hiromi Goto

Hiromi Goto is an emigrant from Japan who gratefully resides on the Unceded Musqueam, Skwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil Waututh Territories. Her first novel, Chorus of Mushrooms, was the 1995 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book, Canada and Caribbean Region, and co-winner of the Canada-Japan Book Award. Her second adult novel, The Kappa Child, was awarded the 2001 James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award. Her YA novel, Half World, was the recipient of the Sunburst Award and the Carl Brandon Parallax Award. She’s published two more novels for children and youth, a book of poetry, and a collection of short stories (adult). Hiromi is a mentor in The Writer’s Studio Program at Simon Fraser University, a board member of Plenitude magazine, and has a graphic novel pending with First Second Books. She is currently at work trying to decolonize her relationship to the land and to be a responsible guest on Turtle Island.

Photo credit: Sylvia McFadden

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 41.4 (December 2018). 

Cover Art Contest

Our 2017 cover art contest deadline is now closed. Winners will be announced in the winter of 2018.

Judge: Zainub Verjee

FIRST PRIZE: $500 + publication on the cover of issue 41.2 of Room
SECOND PRIZE: $50 + publication in issue 41.2 of Room
HONOURABLE MENTION: publication on Room's website

All winners will be published with an artist statement and profiled on Room magazine’s blog. Winners will have the option to submit additional artwork for the issue, which, if selected for publication, will be compensated for at our usual rates.

Zainub Verjee is an artist, critic and a senior administrator in the arts and culture sectors. Her four decades of work has shaped culture policy at all levels of government as well as growth of cultural institutions and organizations. As the inaugural Director, Office of Arts and Culture at Mississauga, Verjee set up the city’s first Culture Division and developed the first comprehensive Culture Master Plan. As Senior Policy Advisor, Arts Policy Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage and Program Officer at the Canada Council for the Arts, she served on cross-sectoral portfolios and developed initiatives in Digital Culture and Artist as Researcher. Prior to her work with the Federal government, she was the Executive Director at the Western Front, Vancouver, and co-founder and Co-Director of In Visible Colours. She was engaged by Gordon Campbell, Canadian diplomat and the 35th Mayor of Vancouver on his landmark Vancouver Arts Initiative, and among many appointments to Boards, she is proud of her work at the B.C. Arts Board that led to the formation of the B.C. Arts Council. She is published widely and is invited to speak nationally and internationally on culture policy, contemporary art and cultural diplomacy. Her art work has been shown nationally and internationally including at the Venice Biennale on its 100th anniversary, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York and Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Washington, and resides in private and public collections such as Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada.

Currently, she is the executive director of the Ontario Association of Arts Galleries in Toronto.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 41.1 (March 2018)

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.
  • Judging will be blind. 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 150 lines of poetry.
  • 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.
  • Judging will be blind. 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.
  • Each entry must be original, and must not have appeared on the cover of another publication (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), and not entered simultaneously in any other contest or competition.

Enter Our Contest

Currently on Newsstands

  • Room 41.1, Family Secrets
    Edited by Rachel Thompson

    In this issue:

    Jennifer Amos, Fenn Archdekin-Leung, Jenn Ashton, Jamelie Bachaalani, Colleen Baran, Jenny Bartoy, Alexandra Chang, Kristina Corre, Maggie de Vries, Shirley Harshenin, Jia Hwang, Sharon Jinkerson-Brass, Elizabeth Johnston, Tamara Jong, Manal Kamran, Carrianne Leung, Lily Leung, Mary MacDonald, Alissa McArthur, Cosi Nayovitz, Margaret Nowaczyk, Deanna Partridge-David, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Rebekah Rempel