Contest Calendar

Cover Art | November 15 – January 30
Fiction | January 15 – March 15
Creative Non-Fiction | April 1 – June 15
Poetry | June 15 – August 31
Short Forms | September 1 – November 15

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  

Cover Art Contest

Our 2021 Cover Art Contest is now open!

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 open!

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

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

DEADLINE: June 15th, 2021

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.

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 again in June, 2022.

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

DEADLINE: August 31st, 2021

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.

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

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).

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

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...

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2020: The Winners!

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...

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2020: The Shortlist

Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2020: The Longlist

Photo credit: Carissa D'andrade The longlist is here! Here are the thirteen longlisted essays from our 2020 Creative Nonfiction Contest, which closed back in June. Room's 2020 Creative Nonfiction Contest: The Longlist “A conversation with my grandma about two oceans...

Good Friends We Have

Good Friends We Have

“Good Friends We Have” is the honourable mention for Room’s Fiction Contest 2020. My grandmother said, you can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends, so choose wisely. But I didn’t so much choose my friends as they chose me. At school, we clung...

Fiction Contest 2020: The Winners!

Fiction Contest 2020: The Winners!

Here are the winning short stories as selected by our esteemed judge, Rebecca Fisseha. A major congrats to the three writers! Here are what our judge has to say about the three winning submissions. Photo credit: Melanie EvelynThe results are finally here! Here are the...

Fiction Contest 2020: The Shortlist

Fiction Contest 2020: The Shortlist

Congrats to the following six writers who are shortlisted by our judge, Rebecca Fisseha, for our 2020 Fiction Contest! Congrats to the following six writers who are shortlisted by our judge, Rebecca Fisseha, for our 2020 Fiction Contest!Room's 2020 Fiction Contest:...

Fiction Contest 2020: The Shortlist

Fiction Contest 2020: The Longlist

The time has come for us to share the longlisted short stories from our 2020 Fiction Contest! The time has come for us to share the longlisted short stories from our 2020 Fiction Contest. Congrats to the following twelve writers!Room's 2020 Fiction Contest: The...

Cover Art Contest 2019: The Winners

Cover Art Contest 2019: The Winners

Finally—the results are in. Major congrats to the three winners of our 2019 Cover Art Contest! Finally—the results are in. Major congrats to the three winners of our 2019 Cover Art Contest!Room's 2019 Cover Art Contest WinnersFirst Place: “The Trinity of Self Care” by...

Cover Art Contest 2019: Honourable Mention

Cover Art Contest 2019: Honourable Mention

“Calling the River” is a digital representation of future-present Indigneous life. An Indigneous youth stands tall and proud, calling out to the river by its many names. The youth has adapted a traditional ribbon skirt into ribbon pants, and traditional design work...

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