Contests

Thank you for considering Room for the publication of your original short stories, poems, creative non-fiction, or art. 

Get a sense of our tastes by reviewing material we’ve published in recent issues. Visit our shop to order single copies of specific issues, including our sold-out digital exclusives for just $10.  Questions or problems with your submission? Contact us at contests[at]roommagazine.com

Contest Calendar

Fiction | January 10 – March 10
Creative Non-Fiction | April 1 – June 1
Poetry| June 15 – August 15
Short FormsSeptember 1 – November 1

We have ten free entries to offer to low-income writers for each of our contests in order to encourage barrier-free access to contest submission. We encourage those who may benefit from a free entry, for any reason at all, to contact us at contests [at] roommagazine [dot] com.

Read our Contest General Guidelines
See our Past Winners  

Fiction Contest

FIRST PRIZE: $1,000 + possibility of publication in Room     
SECOND PRIZE: $250 + possibility of publication in Room
HONOURABLE MENTION: $100 + publication on Room’s website

DEADLINE: March 10th

2024 Judge: Sarah Bernstein

Sarah Bernstein is from Montreal, Canada, and lives in Scotland. Her writing has appeared in Granta among other publications. Her first novel, The Coming Bad Days, was published in 2021. In 2023 she was named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.

Photo by Alice Meikle.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 47.3 (September 2024).

Creative Non-Fiction Contest

Our 2023 Creative Non-Fiction Contest is now closed. The CNF Contest will open again in Spring, 2024.

FIRST PRIZE: $1000 + possibility of publication in Room
SECOND PRIZE: $250 + possibility of publication in Room
THIRD PRIZE: $100 + publication on Room‘s website

DEADLINE: July 1st, 2023

2023 Judge: Tajja IsenA brown skinned woman with curly hair and glasses smiles at the camera. She is wearing a brown blazer and dark lipstick.

Tajja Isen is the author of Some of My Best Friends: Essays on Lip Service, named a Best Book of the Year by Electric Literature, The Globe and Mail, CBC Books, and Daily Hive. She has edited for Catapult, The Walrus, and Electric Literature, and is co-editor of the anthology The World as We Knew It: Dispatches from a Changing Climate. Born in Toronto, she lives in Brooklyn.

Photo credit: Karen Isen

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 46.3 (September 2023).

Poetry Contest

Our 2023 Poetry Contest is now open!

FIRST PRIZE: $1,000 +  publication in Room
SECOND PRIZE: $250 + publication in Room
HONOURABLE MENTION: $100 + publication on Room’s website

EXTENDED DEADLINE: September 30th, 2023

2023 Judge: John Elizabeth Stintzi

John Elizabeth Stinzi looks at the camera,  crouched on a rocking chair, with their right arm leaning on the back of the chair.

John Elizabeth Stintzi is a writer, cartoonist, and editor who grew up on a cattle farm in northwestern Ontario. Their work has been awarded the 2019 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, The Malahat Review’s 2019 Long Poem Prize, the Sator New Works Award, and has been shortlisted for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award and the Raymond Souster Award. JES is the author of the novels My Volcano (longlisted for the Brooklyn Public Library’s Book Prize for fiction, and named a book of the year by Kirkus Reviews and the New York Public Library) and Vanishing Monuments, as well as the poetry collection Junebat. They are currently at work illustrating their first graphic novel: Automaton Deactivation Bureau.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 46.4.

Short Forms Contest

Our 2023 Short Forms Contest is now open!

FIRST PRIZE: $500 + publication in Room
SECOND PRIZE: $350 + publication in Room 
HONOURABLE MENTION: $150 + publication on Room’s website

EXTENDED DEADLINE: December 31, 2023

Please note: 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.

2023 Judge: Tsering Yangzom Lama

Photo credit: Paige Critcher

Tsering Yangzom Lama’s debut novel, WE MEASURE THE EARTH WITH OUR BODIES, was a finalist for The Giller Prize, The Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writers Prize, The Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and The Jim Deva Prize for Writing that Provokes. Winner of the GLCA New Writers Award, the novel has also been longlisted for The Carol Shields Prize, The VCU Cabell First Novel Prize, The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and The Toronto Book Awards.

Tsering holds an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and a BA in Creative Writing and International Relations from the University of British Columbia. A lifelong activist, Tsering is a Storytelling Advisor at Greenpeace International, where she guides and trains people around the world in storytelling. Born and raised in Nepal, she currently splits her time between Vancouver, Canada and Sweden. WE MEASURE is being published in eight languages and ten countries.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with Issue 47.1 (March 2024).


General Guidelines

  • Room‘s contests are open women (cisgender and transgender),  transgender menTwo-Spirit and nonbinary people.
  • Each entry must be original and unpublished.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions, but if your submission is accepted elsewhere, please notify us and withdraw your submission immediately.
  • All first submissions include a one-year subscription to Room. We’ve priced our entry fee to cover shipping costs and they are:
    Canada: $39
    US: $49
    Everywhere else: $59
    Additional entries are $7 each and do not include an additional subscription.*Current subscribers will be given an extension on their subscription.
  • We use Submittable, a secure online submissions management tool, to manage our submissions. For more information about using Submittable, please check our Submissions page.
  • Submissions must be anonymous—please do not include your name or personal details anywhere in your document, including 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.

 

Contest-specific guidelines

  • 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 all work in 12-point font, Times New Roman preferred.
  • One poetry submission can include up to three poems or a maximum of 150 lines of poetry altogether. (The titles and spaces between lines do not count)
  • When submitting multiple poems, please begin your second and third poems on a new page in the same document.
  • For the Short Forms Contest. a submissions may be up to 500 words in any genre. Authors are not required to clarify the genre(s) they are writing in; all pieces submitted will be considered on their individual merit as standalone pieces.
    Each entry may include up to two submissions.
  • Additional details for each contest can be found on Submittable.

Past Contest Winners

Making Moccasins

Making Moccasins

“Making Moccasins” is the Third Place Winner for Room’s 2023 Creative Non-Fiction Contest. Of this piece, judge Tajja Isen writes: This is a blazing, deeply felt essay about pregnancy, miscarriage, and family-making. As well as being a moving act of remembrance, the...

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2023: The Winners

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2023: The Winners

Drumroll, please! Here are the three winners of our 2023 Creative Non-Fiction Contest, as chosen by judge Tajja Isen. A big congratulations to these three writers! --- FIRST PLACE: our brothers started dying, by Natalie Appleton Natalie Appleton is a graduate of the...

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2023: The Shortlist

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2023: The Shortlist

The Creative Non-Fiction Shortlist has arrived! A big congratulations to the five writers whose submissions have been shortlisted by our esteemed judge, Tajja Isen! — Room Magazine 2023 Creative Non-Fiction Contest: The Shortlist The Train, by Murgatroyd Monaghan Holy...

Fiction Contest 2023: The Winners

Fiction Contest 2023: The Winners

We are so excited to bring you the results of this year's Fiction Contest, judged by Heather O'Neill. The wait is finally over: here are this year's winners! ----- FIRST PLACE: Eggshells, by Rebekah Skochinski Rebekah Skochinski is a writer based in Northwestern...

The Chipmunk

The Chipmunk

The Chipmunk is the Third Place Winner of Room’s 2022 Short Forms Contest, as judged by Alix Ohlin. You can find the full list of winners, and what judge Alix Ohlin had to say about each winning piece, here. ___ The Chipmunk At the campsite, my sister and I knot...

Short Forms Contest 2022: The Winners

Short Forms Contest 2022: The Winners

We are so very pleased to announce the winners of our 2022 Short Forms Contest. A huge congratulations to the following three writers whose works were handpicked by our amazing judge, Alix Ohlin. We won’t keep you waiting any longer: here they are! ____ First Place:...

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2022: The Winners

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2022: The Winners

Drumroll, please! Here are the three winners of our 2022 Creative Non-Fiction Contest, as chosen by judge Luna Ferguson. A big congratulations to these three writers! Here is what Luna had to say about their works: First Place: Clink Canoe, by Sydney Roberts Sydney...

Fiction Contest 2022: The Winners

Fiction Contest 2022: The Winners

The results are finally here! Here are the three winning fiction pieces as selected by our esteemed judge, Shashi Bhat. A major congrats to these three writers! ---   Room Magazine’s 2022 Fiction Contest Winners First Place: Mermaid’s Tears, by Hannah Brown...

Transcendent Expectation

Transcendent Expectation

“Transcendent Expectation” is the Third Place winner for Room’s 2022 Fiction Contest. Of this piece, judge Shashi Bhat writes: "Transcendent Expectation is a story about a modest prayer on a family road trip, felt deeply by its young protagonist. This piece is...

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Questions or problems with your submission? Contact us at contests[at]roommagazine.com.

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