Contest Calendar

Short Forms | September 1 – November 15
Cover Art | November 15 – January 15
Fiction | January 15 – March 15
Creative Non-Fiction | April 1 – June 15
Poetry | June 15 – August 31

We have a 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  

Short Forms Contest

The 2021 Short Forms Contest is now open!

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 15, 2021

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 2020 Cover Art contest is now closed. The 2021 contest will open in November 2021.

FIRST PRIZE: $500 + publication on the cover of Room 44.2
SECOND PRIZE: $50 + possibility of publication in Room 44.2
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.

2020 Judge: Shelley Niro

Shelley Niro

Shelley Niro is a member of the Six Nations Reserve, Bay of Quinte Mohawk, Turtle Clan. Shelley Niro is a multi-media artist, and work involves photography, painting, beadwork and film.  Niro is conscious of the impact post-colonial mediums have had on Indigenous people.  Like many artists from different Native communities, she works relentlessly presenting people in realistic and explorative portrayals. Recently she finished her film THE INCREDIBLE 25th YEAR OF MITZI BEARCLAW.

Shelley graduated from the Ontario College of Art, Honours and received her Master of Fine Art from the University of Western Ontario. Niro was the inaugural recipient of the Aboriginal Arts Award presented through the Ontario Arts Council in 2012. In 2017 Niro received the Governor General’s Award For The Arts from the Canada Council, The Scotiabank Photography Award and also received the Hnatyshyn Foundation REVEAL Award. Niro recently received an honorary doctorate from the Ontario College of Arts and Design University. She also was the 2019 Laureate of the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award for Photography.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 44.2 (July 2021).

Cover Art Contest

Our 2020 Cover Art contest is now closed. The 2021 contest will open in November 2021.

FIRST PRIZE: $500 + publication on the cover of Room 44.2
SECOND PRIZE: $50 + possibility of publication in Room 44.2
HONOURABLE MENTION: publication on Room’s website

Shelley NiroOne 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.

2020 Judge: Shelley Niro

Shelley Niro is a member of the Six Nations Reserve, Bay of Quinte Mohawk, Turtle Clan. Shelley Niro is a multi-media artist, and work involves photography, painting, beadwork and film.  Niro is conscious of the impact post-colonial mediums have had on Indigenous people.  Like many artists from different Native communities, she works relentlessly presenting people in realistic and explorative portrayals. Recently she finished her film THE INCREDIBLE 25th YEAR OF MITZI BEARCLAW.

Shelley graduated from the Ontario College of Art, Honours and received her Master of Fine Art from the University of Western Ontario. Niro was the inaugural recipient of the Aboriginal Arts Award presented through the Ontario Arts Council in 2012. In 2017 Niro received the Governor General’s Award For The Arts from the Canada Council, The Scotiabank Photography Award and also received the Hnatyshyn Foundation REVEAL Award. Niro recently received an honorary doctorate from the Ontario College of Arts and Design University. She also was the 2019 Laureate of the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award for Photography.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 44.2 (July 2021).

Cover Art Contest

Our 2020 Cover Art contest is now closed. The 2021 contest will open in November 2021.

FIRST PRIZE: $500 + publication on the cover of Room 44.2
SECOND PRIZE: $50 + possibility of publication in Room 44.2
HONOURABLE MENTION: publication on Room’s website

Shelley NiroOne 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.

2020 Judge: Shelley Niro

Shelley Niro is a member of the Six Nations Reserve, Bay of Quinte Mohawk, Turtle Clan. Shelley Niro is a multi-media artist, and work involves photography, painting, beadwork and film.  Niro is conscious of the impact post-colonial mediums have had on Indigenous people.  Like many artists from different Native communities, she works relentlessly presenting people in realistic and explorative portrayals. Recently she finished her film THE INCREDIBLE 25th YEAR OF MITZI BEARCLAW.

Shelley graduated from the Ontario College of Art, Honours and received her Master of Fine Art from the University of Western Ontario. Niro was the inaugural recipient of the Aboriginal Arts Award presented through the Ontario Arts Council in 2012. In 2017 Niro received the Governor General’s Award For The Arts from the Canada Council, The Scotiabank Photography Award and also received the Hnatyshyn Foundation REVEAL Award. Niro recently received an honorary doctorate from the Ontario College of Arts and Design University. She also was the 2019 Laureate of the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award for Photography.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 44.2 (July 2021).

Fiction Contest

The 2021 fiction contest is now closed. The 2022 Fiction contest will open January 2022.

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

Jenny Heijun Wills2021 Judge: Jenny Heijun Wills

Jenny Heijun Wills is the author of “Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related.” It won the 2019 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction prize and the 2020 Eileen McTavish Sykes Best First Book Prize. It was a 2019 Globe & Mail Best Book and a 2019 CBC Best in Canadian Non-Fiction Book. She is Chancellor’s Research Chair at the University of Winnipeg where she also teaches in the English Department. She is writing a novel.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 44.3 (September 2021).

Creative Non-Fiction Contest

Our 2021 Creative Non-Fiction contest is now closed. Our 2022 CNF Contest will open again in April.

2021 Judge: Dr. Njoki Wane A headshot of Dr. Njoki Wane. She is wearing a red collared shirt and smiling at the camera.

Dr. Njoki Wane, a professor at the University of Toronto, is currently serving as Chair in the Department of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). An accomplished educator, researcher and educational leader, Professor Wane headed the Office of Teaching Support at OISE from 2009 to 2012 establishing its priorities and activities while recognizing equity as a central dimension of good teaching.

From 2011 to 2014, Professor Wane served as Special Advisor on Status of
Women Issues, contributing to research and policy development concerning the intersectionality of
gender with race, disability, sexual orientation and aboriginal status, and the impact of these issues on the
lived experiences of women faculty, staff and students at the University of Toronto. She also served as
Director, Center for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies (CIARS) at OISE from 2006 to 2014. An award
winning teacher, Professor Wane was the recipient of many awards, the most recent one being The
President of Toronto Teaching Award.

Her memoir From My Mother’s Back takes a look at her childhood living in Kenya where her parents owned a small coffee farm. It explores her African identity and how her upbringing and close relationship with her mother fostered her sense of self as a Black woman.

FIRST PRIZE: $1000 + possibility of publication in Room
SECOND PRIZE: $250 + possibility of publication in Room
HONOURABLE MENTION: $50 + publication on Room‘s website

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 44.3 (September 2021).

Poetry Contest

Our 2021 Poetry Contest is now closed. The 2022 Poetry Contest will open in June, 2022.

2021 Judge: Kama La Mackerel

Kama looks into the camera with their hands pressed together. They are wearing a dark velvet jacket and a white shirt.

Kama La Mackerel is a Montreal-based Mauritian-Canadian multi-disciplinary artist, educator, writer, community-arts facilitator and literary translator who works within and across performance, photography, installations, textiles, digital art and literature. 

Kama’s work is grounded in the exploration of justice, love, healing, decoloniality, hybridity, cosmopolitanism and self- and collective-empowerment. They believe that aesthetic practices have the power to build resilience and act as resistance to the status quo, thereby enacting an anticolonial praxis through cultural production.

Kama has exhibited and performed their work internationally and their writing in English, French and Kreol has appeared in publications both online and in print. ZOM-FAM, their debut poetry collection published by Metonymy Press was named a CBC Best Poetry Book, a Globe and Mail Best Debut, and was longlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and shortlisted for the QWF Concordia University First Book Award. You can find them at lamackerel.net or via their social media handles, @KamaLaMackerel.

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

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 44.4.

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

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2021: The Longlist

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...

Your Skinny Daddy

Your Skinny Daddy

“Your Skinny Daddy” is the honourable mention for Room’s 2021 Fiction Contest. When your daddy is undocumented, you learn how to lie with ease. You learn how to protect him, to shelter his body. You learn, at the age of twelve, that secrets are an intimate, heavy...

Fiction Contest 2021: The Winners

Fiction Contest 2021: The Winners

The results are in! Congrats to these three talented writers for being selected as the winners of our 2021 Fiction Contest!   First Place: Of Dust, by N.B. N.B. is a queer friend, writer and researcher who cares a lot about the meaning of care. She is currently...

Cover Art Contest 2020: The Winners

Cover Art Contest 2020: The Winners

The results are in. Major congrats to the three winners of our 2020 Cover Art Contest! First Place: MENTAL LOAD 02, by Masha Nova Masha Nova explores womanhood, feminism, and ongoing events in her latest collage work. Born in 1992 and raised in Russia (Siberia), as a...

Cover Art Contest 2020: Honourable Mention

Cover Art Contest 2020: Honourable Mention

Honourable Mention: My Father Catches Me Confronting Memory, by Tea Gerbeza During my adolescence, I often returned to photographs of my family during the Yugoslavian civil war, packed away in a shoebox. Memories stacked on each other. Even though I was barely a...

Mind the Sentencing Gap

Mind the Sentencing Gap

Mind the Sentencing Gap is the honourable mention for the 2020 Short Forms Contest, selected by Judge Lisa Bird-Wilson. It is meant to be read in the graph it is presented in above; the text version of the piece is below. --- The day dawns cool; it turns mild by noon....

Memories and Where to Keep Them

Memories and Where to Keep Them

“Memories and Where to Keep Them” is the honourable mention for Room’s Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2020. Before my mother left, when my mind was still small and pink like two fists held together, we saw a miracle in the sky. I was still allowed outside then. Whenever...

Poetry Contest 2020: The Longlist

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2020: The Winners!

The results are in. Our warmest congratulations to the three winners of our 2020 Creative Non Fiction Contest! Photo credit: Carissa D'andrade The results are in. Our warmest congratulations to the three winners of our 2020 Creative Non Fiction Contest! Room's 2020...

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2020: The Shortlist

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2020: The Shortlist

Finally—here is the shortlist from our 2020 Creative Nonfiction Contest as selected by our esteemed judge, Amanda Leduc! Our heartfelt congrats to the following six essayists. Photo credit: Carissa D'andrade Room's 2020 Creative Nonfiction Contest: The Shortlist...

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