Canadian Writing Contests, Grants, and Awards


Are you ready to find a place for your stories out there in the world?

If you’ve ever sat around our table, you’ve heard us say that publishing a book isn’t the only way to move your writing out into the world. Leave a self-published copy in a library; host an intimate reading for your closest friends; wrap up your manuscript and put it on the subway seat across from you and watch… The possibilities are endless.

You might also want to consider the big wide world of the “literary establishment.” There are lots of opportunities out there for writers, but the landscape can be overwhelming. The Firefly team has collected together the resources below to help you start navigating your work to its next home.

Have fun with this. Sending work out to publishers involves a lot of rejection, so hold this lightly and pleeease try not to take the rejection personally. It’s all part of the big picture of being a writer. Getting work published can be incredibly satisfying, but the writing itself is the real treasure.

Writing Contests and Awards in Canada

We made this sweet little guide to help you get familiar with the wide world of Canadian writing competitions, awards, and contests. The guide is separated into two parts, one focused on “emerging” writers, and the second focused on “established” writers. At the bottom (“Footnotes and Fine Print”) we’ve added info about how each granting agency defines these terms. If you’re not “established” yet, work that first list, and keep the criteria close at hand to work towards so that the second list will open to you.

Click here for the Firefly Guide to Canadian Writing Contests

Grants for Writers

If you’re hoping for ongoing financial support for your writing, applying for a grant might be for you. This Firefly guide will help you get your head wrapped round the delicious idea of being paid to write. Once again, we’ve broken this into grants for “emerging” and “established” writers. Most of us fall into the first camp! If that’s you, check out the (very short) first list and then find out exactly what each granting agency considered “established” so that you can work towards it.

Click here for the Firefly Guide to Canadian Writer’s Grants

Literary Magazines and Journals

If you’re not sure where to start sending your work out, here’s a list of wonderful Canadian magazines or journals that might be perfect. Most are always looking for entries and many hold annual contests, which you can enter by subscribing to the magazine. We recommend spending some time with a journal before sending in your work — each has a specific flavour and flair, you want to find the right one. Read what they publish online, look them up in bookstores and libraries. If you’re taking a class with us, check out our literary journal shelf and borrow any that you’re curious about.

Also, here’s a great resource for you, a free email course on how to submit to literary magazines. Thank you to Literistic for this! There are so many great and helpful people in the world, and these folks are among the best.