Room's Contests

Contest Calendar

Fiction & Poetry | Open April 15 - July 15
Cover Art | Open September 1 - November 30
Short Forms | Open October 15 - January 15
Creative Non-Fiction | Open December 1 - March 8

General Guidelines
Past Winners  


Fiction & Poetry Contests

Our 2017 contest will open on April 15, 2017, and close on July 15, 2017.

2017 Judges: M. NourbeSe Philip (poetry) and Sigal Samuel (fiction)

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

Sigal Samuel is an award-winning novelist, journalist, essayist, and playwright. Currently the Religion Editor at the Atlantic, she has also published work in the Daily Beast, the RumpusBuzzFeedElectric Literature and the Walrus. She has appeared on NPR, BBC, CBC, and Huffington Post Live. The Mystics of Mile End, her debut novel, is nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award, and won the Fiction Prize at the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards and the Trade Fiction Book of the Year Award at the Alberta Book Publishing Awards in 2016. Sigal earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.

M. NourbeSe Philip is an unembedded poet, essayist, novelist, playwright, and former lawyer who lives in the space-time of the City of Toronto. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and the recipient of many awards, including the Casa de las Americas Prize (Cuba). Philip’s most recent work is Zong!, a genre-breaking poem that engages with ideas of the law, history, and memory as they relate to the transatlantic slave trade.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 40.3 (September 2017).


Cover Art Contest

Our 2016 Cover Art Contest is now closed. Congratulations to the shortlisted artists, and winners! Thank you to Jillian Tamaki and Hangama Amiri for judging, and to everyone who entered. The contest will open again in September 2017.

2016 Judges: Jillian Tamaki and Hangama Amiri

FIRST PRIZE: $500 + publication on the cover of issue 40.2 of Room
SECOND PRIZE: $50 + publication in issue 40.2 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.

Hangama Amiri graduated from NSCAD University with a BFA (Major in Fine Arts) in Canada in 2012 and she was a Canadian Fulbright researcher at Yale University in 2015. She is the winner of the 2013 Portia White Protege Award and a Honourable Mention as part of the 2015 RBC Canadian Painting Competition. You can read our interview with Amiri here.

Jillian Tamaki is a cartoonist and illustrator living in Toronto, Ontario. She is the co-creator (with Mariko Tamaki) of SKIM and This One Summer, and the creator of SuperMutant Magic Academywww.jilliantamaki.com. Read our interview with Tamaki here.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 39.4 (December 2016) or 40.1 (March 2017).


Short Forms Contest

Our first annual Short Forms Contest is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered. Winners will be announced in the spring of 2017. Next year's contest will open in October 2017.

Each entry can consist of one or two prose poems, flash fictions, or flash creative non-fictions 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 December 2017 issue.

FIRST PRIZE: $500 + publication (2 prizes)
HONOURABLE MENTION: $50 publication on Room's website

2017 Judge: Jen Sookfong Lee

Jen Sookfong Lee’s books include The Conjoined (ECW Press, 2016), The Better Mother (Knopf, 2011), a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, The End of East (Knopf, 2007), and Shelter, a novel for young adults. Jen is a columnist for The Next Chapter on CBC Radio One and teaches writing at both Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia. She lives in North Burnaby with her son and ancient dog. Her poetry recently appeared in Room issue 39.2, and her fiction appeared in issue 39.4.

You can read our interview with Lee here.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 40.1 (March 2017). 


Creative Non-Fiction Contest

Our Creative Non-Fiction Contest is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered. Winners will be announced in the summer of 2017. Next year's contest will open in December 2017.

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

2017 Judge: Carmen Aguirre

Carmen Aguirre’s Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter won CBC Canada Reads 2012 and is a #1 national bestseller. Mexican Hooker #1 and My Other Roles Since the Revolution, a Globe and Mail bestseller, was published in April 2016.

Read our interview with Carmen.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 40:1 (March 2017).


General Guidelines

  • Room's contests are open to women, including 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.
  • Each entry cost $35 CAD to enter, and $7 CAD for each additional entry. For international entrants: $42 USD, and $7 USD. All 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, but if you want to send us one, include your cover letter on the Submittable form.
  • 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.
  • We would prefer if you double spaced 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.

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


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