Room's Contests

Contest Calendar

Please note that as of September 2018, Room's contest deadlines have changed. The new deadlines are below.

Fiction | NOW OPEN - March 8
Creative Non-Fiction | Open April 1 - June 1
Poetry | Open June 15 - August 15
Short Forms | September 1 - November 1
Cover Art | November 15 - January 15

General Guidelines
Past Winners  

Questions or problems with your submission? Need an alternate entry method due to a disability? Contact contests [at] roommagazine [dot] com.


Fiction Contest

Our annual fiction contest is now open, and closes on March 8, 2019.

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

2019 Judge: Catherine Hernandez

Catherine Hernandez is the Artistic Director of b current performing arts and the award-winning author of Scarborough (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017). Scarborough won the 2015 Jim Wong-Chu Award, was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award, the Evergreen Forest of Reading Award, Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, the Trillium Book Award and longlisted for Canada Reads 2018. It made the "Best of 2017" list for the Globe and Mail, National Post, Quill and Quire, and CBC Books. It is now being adapted into a full-length film by Compy Films, Telefilm and Reel Asian Film Festival.

You can read our interview with the judge here.

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 42.2 (June 2019).

Enter our Fiction Contest 


Creative Non-fiction Contest

Our 2018 creative non-fiction contest, judged by Stacey May Fowlesis now closed. Congratulations to our winners, who will be published in our December 2018 issue. Our next creative non-fiction contest will open on April 1, 2019 and close June 1, 2019. The 2019 contest will be judged by Terese Marie Mailhot.

Terese Marie Mailhot is from Seabird Island Band. She graduated with an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She served as Saturday Editor at The Rumpus and was a columnist at Indian Country Today. Her writing appears in West Branch, Guernica, Pacific Standard, Elle, and elsewhere. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Heart Berries: A Memoir. She serves as faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts and she's a Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University.

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

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 42.3 (September 2019).


Poetry Contest

The 2018 competition closed on July 31, 2018 and winners have been announced. Our next poetry contest will open June 15, 2019.

2018 Judge: Vivek Shraya

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

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 42.4 (December 2019).


Short Forms Contest

Due to the changes to our contest calendar (noted at the top of the page), we will hold two Short Forms contests in 2018. The second Short Forms Contest has now closed, and winners will be announced in January 2019 and published in Room 42.2. The Short Forms Contest will open again in September 1, 2019.

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

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. Winners will be published in our June 2019 issue.

2018 Judge: Hiromi Goto

Hiromi Goto is an emigrant from Japan who gratefully resides on the Unceded Musqueam, Skwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil Waututh Territories. Her first novel, Chorus of Mushrooms, was the 1995 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book, Canada and Caribbean Region, and co-winner of the Canada-Japan Book Award. Her second adult novel, The Kappa Child, was awarded the 2001 James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award. Her YA novel, Half World, was the recipient of the Sunburst Award and the Carl Brandon Parallax Award. She’s published two more novels for children and youth, a book of poetry, and a collection of short stories (adult). Hiromi is a mentor in The Writer’s Studio Program at Simon Fraser University, a board member of Plenitude magazine, and has a graphic novel pending with First Second Books. She is currently at work trying to decolonize her relationship to the land and to be a responsible guest on Turtle Island.

Check out our interview with the judge here.


Cover Art Contest

Our 2018 Cover Art Contest has now closed. Winners will be selected by our judge, Syrus Marcus Ware, and announced in spring 2019. Our 2019 Cover Art contest will open on November 15, 2019.

FIRST PRIZE: $500 + publication on the cover of Room 42.2
SECOND PRIZE: $50 + publication in 
Room 42.2
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.

2018 Judge: Syrus Marcus Ware

Syrus Marcus Ware is a Vanier Scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture. His work has been shown widely, including at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Art Gallery of York University, the Art Gallery of Windsor and as part of the curated content at Nuit Blanche 2017 (The Stolen PeopleWont Back Down).

His performance works have been part of festivals across Canada, including at Cripping The Stage (Harbourfront Centre, 2016), Complex Social Change (University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, 2015) and Decolonizing and Decriminalizing Trans Genres (University of Winnipeg, 2015). 

He is part of the PDA (Performance Disability Art) Collective and co-programmed Crip Your World: An Intergalactic Queer/POC Sick and Disabled Extravaganza as part of Mayworks 2014. He is also a part of the Black Triangle Arts Collective (BTAC), a visual arts collective dedicated to exploring disability, racial and economic justice. Syrus’ recent curatorial projects include That’s So Gay: On the Edge, TSG: Fall to Pieces, TSG: Come Together (Gladstone Hotel, 2016, 2015 & 2014), Re:Purpose (Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2014) and The Church Street Mural Project (Church-Wellesley Village, 2013). Syrus is also co-curator of The Cycle, a two-year disability arts performance initiative of the National Arts Centre.

He is a facilitator/designer at The Banff Centre, and for twelve years was the coordinator of the Art Gallery of Ontario Youth Program. Syrus was the inaugural Daniel’s Spectrum Artist-in-Residence (2016/17).

Syrus is a core-team member of Black Lives Matter-Toronto. Syrus is also part of Blackness Yes!/Blockorama. Syrus has won several awards, including the TD Diversity Award in 2017. Syrus was voted “Best Queer Activist” by NOW Magazine (2005) and was awarded the Steinert and Ferreiro Award for LGBT community leadership and activism (2012). Syrus is working on a PhD at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies.

Photo Credit: Jalani Morgan

Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Room, beginning with issue 42.1 (March 2019).


General Guidelines

  • Room's contests are open to women, 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.
  • For entrants residing in Canada, each first entry cost $35 CAD to enter, and $7 CAD for each additional entry. For international entrants (anyone with an address outside of Canada): $42 USD, and $7 USD. 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Enter Our Contest


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