Contest Calendar

Poetry | June 15 – August 15
Short Forms | September 1 – November 1
Cover Art | November 15 – January 15
Fiction | January 15 – March 15
Creative Non-Fiction
| April 1 – June 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  

Poetry Contest

Our 2022 Poetry Contest is now open!

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

DEADLINE: August 15th, 2022

2022 Judge: Lillian Allen

Lillian Allen speaks into a mic. She is standing in front of a brick wall.

A leading Canadian poet and an international exponent of dub poetry, Lillian Allen was acclaimed a foremother of Canadian poetry by the League of Canadian Poets. She is a two-time Canadian Juno award winner for her albums of dub poetry, Revolutionary Tea Party and Conditions Critical. She is an arts activist and a cultural strategist who initiated and developed several key equity impacting arts programs. A mentor to the mentors and Godmother of Everything’, Lillian is the recipient of many awards and citations including The Toronto Cultural Champions Award, The Margo Bindhardt Award for significantly impacting the arts in Toronto through both creative work and activism, the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations, and an Honourary Doctorate from Wilfred Laurier University for her contribution and impact on Canadian Letters.

A long-time Professor of Creative Writing at OCAD University, Ms. Allen spearheaded the establishment of an interdisciplinary, multimedia Creative Writing BFA program. Lillian Allen’s newest publication Make the World New – The Poetry of Lillian Allen -selected by Ronald Cummings and published by WLU Press in 2021, has received enthusiastic critical acclaim. Her other publications include; Women Do this Every Day and Psychic Unrest, plus several books and recordings for children and young people. Allen continues to perform to large audiences worldwide.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 45.4.

Short Forms Contest

Our 2021 Short Forms Contest is now closed. The 2022 Short Forms Contest will open again in September, 2022.

FIRST PRIZE: $500 + possibility of publication in Room
SECOND PRIZE: $500 + possibility of publication in Room 
HONOURABLE MENTION: $50 + publication on Room’s website

DEADLINE: November 1st, 2021

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, and two prizes of $500 will be awarded. Winning entries (1st place, 2nd place) have the possibility of being published in upcoming issues of Room.

2021 Judge: Michelle Good

Michelle Good is a Cree writer and a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. After working for Indigenous organizations for twenty-five years, she obtained a law degree and advocated for residential school survivors for over fourteen years. Good earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia while still practising law and managing her own law firm. Her poems, short stories, and essays have been published in magazines and anthologies across Canada, and her poetry was included on two lists of the best Canadian poetry in 2016 and 2017. Her first novel, Five Little Indians won the HarperCollins/UBC Best New Fiction Prize, the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, and the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award for English-language fiction. Michelle Good now lives and writes in the southern interior of British Columbia.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 45.1 (March 2022).

Cover Art Contest

Our 2021 Cover Art Contest is now closed. The 2022 Cover Art Contest will open again in November, 2022.

FIRST PRIZE: $500 + publication on the cover of Room 45.2
SECOND PRIZE: $50 + possibility of publication in Room 45.2
HONOURABLE MENTION: publication on Room’s website

Deadline EXTENDED: January 30th, 2022

Please note: 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.

2021 Judge: Chief Lady Bird

Chief Lady Bird is a Chippewa and Potawatomi artist from Rama First Nation and Moosedeer Point First Nation, who is currently based in Rama. She graduated from OCAD University in 2015 with a BFA in Drawing and Painting and a minor in Indigenous Visual Culture. Chief Lady Bird’s art practice is continuously shapeshifting, and is always heavily influenced by her passion for empowering and uplifting Indigenous folks through the subversion of colonial narratives. She utilizes her social media platform(s) along with digital illustration, acrylic painting, mixed media portraits, and murals to centre contemporary truths and envision Indigenous Futurisms by portraying intersectional Indigenous experiences and asserting our presence on stolen land.

Specifically, much of her work is based on the stories we tell through the reclamation of our bodies and sexuality, which often intersects with land sovereignty and language reclamation, and activates peripheral dialogues about cultural appropriation, reconnection to land based knowledge and various forms of love (self love, lateral love, ancestral love). She hopes that her images can be a catalyst for reimagining our relationship with the land, each other, and ourselves. Chief Lady Bird has illustrated for notable organizations such as Flare Magazine, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Scholastic, Audible and Vice News to name a few.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 45.2 (July 2022). 

Fiction Contest

The 2022 Fiction Contest is now closed. The 2023 Fiction Contest will open again in January, 2023.

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 15th, 2022

A South Asian woman smiles at the camera. She has long black hair, and is wearing a black full sleeved shirt.2022 Judge: Shashi Bhat

Shashi Bhat is the author of The Most Precious Substance on Earth (McClelland & Stewart, Canada, Fall 2021; Grand Central Publishing, US, Spring 2022) and a short story collection forthcoming from McClelland & Stewart. Her debut novel, The Family Took Shape (Cormorant, 2013), was a finalist for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. She was a winner of the Journey Prize and has been shortlisted for a National Magazine Award and the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Shashi’s fiction has appeared in publications including Best Canadian Stories 2018, 2019, & 2021, Journey Prize Stories 24 & 30The New Quarterly, The Malahat Review, The Fiddlehead, and others. Shashi is editor of EVENT and teaches creative writing at Douglas College.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 45.3 (September 2022).

Creative Non-Fiction Contest

Our 2022 Creative Non-Fiction Contest is now closed. The 2023 CNF Contest will open again in April, 2023.

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: June 1st, 2022

2022 Judge: Luna FergusonA headshot of Luna Ferguson. They have shoulder length blonde hair and are wearing a black blazer.

Luna Ferguson (Ph.D.) is an actor, producer and writer. Ferguson’s filmmaking includes the award-winning Whispers of Life (2013); Limina (2016), which was shown at festivals around the world and praised for its trans inclusivity and the queer love story Henry’s Heart (2019), CIRCLE (2020), and the dark comedy 0UTL4W (2021). Luna grew up acting in local theatre in Ontario and toured theatre shows in high-school. As a producer, Ferguson believes in supporting new creative and compelling stories that both reflect and revitalize our reality: seeking underrepresented, marginalized and oppressed voices that still make up a minority in television and cinema. Ferguson has two projects in development: a dramatic feature and an episodic sci-fi series.

Their writing and advocacy efforts have been featured in international publications including HuffPost, VICE, BuzzFeed, Teen Vogue, OUT Magazine, NBC News, The Guardian, and the Toronto Star.

Their first book, Me, Myself, They, a memoir published by House of Anansi Press, was released in May 2019.

Ferguson lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with their partner Florian. You can find them on Twitter & Facebook: @lunamferguson, and on Instagram: @lunaferguson.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 45.3 (September 2022).

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.
  • Winning entries (1st place, 2nd place) have the possibility of being published in upcoming issues of Room. The final say is given to the editorial team of each specific issue.
  • 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.

Past Contest Winners

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...

Fiction Contest 2022: The Shortlist

Fiction Contest 2022: The Shortlist

It's finally here! Congrats to the following six writers who were shortlisted by our judge, Shashi Bhat, for our 2022 Fiction Contest! ------ Room Magazine's 2022 Fiction Contest Shortlist Fuzzy Peaches, by Kelly Pedro Mermaid’s Tears, by Hannah Brown  The Mother...

Cover Art Contest 2021: The Winners

Cover Art Contest 2021: The Winners

The results are in. Major congrats to the three winners of our 2021 Cover Art Contest! FIRST PLACE: Nimisenh mizhishawabi, by Sarah McPherson Raised in Thunder Bay, Sarah McPherson is a 2S Anishinaabe youth from Couchiching First Nation, currently completing an MA at...

Music Box

Music Box

Music Box is the honourable mention for Room’s 2021 Short Forms Contest, as judged by Michelle Good. You can find the full list of winners, and what judge Michelle Good had to say about each winning piece, here. ------- Music Box I’ll begin this song with the click of...

Short Forms Contest 2021: The Winners

Short Forms Contest 2021: The Winners

The results are in. Many thanks to all those who've submitted, and to our incredible judge, Michelle Good, for her careful consideration and kind words about each of these pieces. Our warmest congratulations to these three winners of our 2021 Short Forms Contest!...

Poetry Contest 2021: The Winners

Poetry Contest 2021: The Winners

We are absolutely thrilled to announce the winners of our 2021 Poetry Contest. A huge congratulations to the following three poets, whose works have been carefully selected by our esteemed judge, Kama La Mackerel, after hours of deliberation. We won't keep you waiting...

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2021: The Winners!

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2021: The Winners!

The results are finally here! Here are the winning entries to our Creative Non-Fiction Contest as selected by our esteemed judge, Dr. Njoki Wane. A major congrats to these three writers! Here are what our judge has to say about the winning submissions: First Place:...

I Can Feel Him Breathing

I Can Feel Him Breathing

I Can Feel Him Breathing is the honourable mention for the 2021 Creative Non-Fiction Contest, as selected by Judge Dr. Njoki Wane. _____________   In the morning I stand in front of the bedroom closet, half-dressed, wrestling with the sliding door. The door won’t...

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2021: The Winners!

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2021: The Longlist

It's finally here: our 2021 Creative Non-Fiction Contest longlist! Congratulations to these thirteen writers, and a heartfelt thank you to all those who submitted work to this year's contest. Light and Shadow: One Painting, Two Lives, Emily McKibbon Zebrafish, Neive...

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

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