David Adams Richards Prize

Fiction Manuscript

  • Story collection, novella, or novel extract
  • 15,000 to 30,000 words
  • Individual stories can be previously published, but a novella or novel extract must be unpublished
  • First Prize $400, Second Prize $200, Third Prize 1 year WFNB membership

2024 Judge: Trudy J. Morgan

Trudy Morgan-Cole is a writer and educator in St. John's, Newfoundland. She is the author of numerous works of historical fiction including By the Rivers of Brooklyn, Most Anything You Please, and A Sudden Sun. Her latest work, the Cupids Trilogy (A Roll of the Bones, Such Miracles and Mischiefs, A Company of Rogues), is a fictional exploration of the earliest English settlements on the island of Newfoundland. Trudy's particular interest is in uncovering and re-imagining the lost and silenced voices of women in history.


First Place: Confessions of a Binge Drinker – Alison Taylor, Fredericton

Judge's comments: A strong and compelling novel. The writing is vivid and the narrative voice is strong. I love how fluidly the story moves between past and present timelines, and among different main characters, and manages to make each one compelling. Mar’s story, moving between her adolescence and adulthood, was completely engaging, but the story held my attention just as well when we travelled back to the past with Flan, Lily, and Maeve. When we shift to Pete as a the main character of a chapter, layers of richness and nuance are added to the story. I wanted to read the whole novel immediately.

Alison’s bio: (they/them) I am a writer, editor, and filmmaker based in Fredericton. My short stories have appeared in Exile Literary Quarterly and Broken Pencil magazine. My debut novel Aftershock, was published by HarperCollins Canada, and received the 2021 Atlantic Book Awards First Book Award.

Second Place: Happenstance, Thomas Chamberlain, Rothesay

This is powerful fiction with an absolutely believable heroine. From the first pages I was engaged with Darby’s story and hoping she could somehow escape her situation – but not through her chosen escape route. The author does a brilliant job of building suspense throughout Darby’s “last day” and her checklist of things to do. Every interaction she has is vivid and authentic and her reactions feel completely in character; the minor characters are vividly drawn. I found myself fully wrapped up in this story and really wanted to read on to see how Darby’s story ended.  

Thomas’s Bio:   Thomas Chamberlain is a retired teacher. He taught in Plaster Rock, Sussex, Quispamsis, and the Arctic. He and his late wife Debbie raised four children. He enjoys the outdoors, and all the Maritimes has to offer. He has written outdoor articles on hunting and fishing in New Brunswick and on training hunting dogs.  He currently lives in Kennebecasis Valley with his partner Denise and their Labrador retriever, Islay.

Third Place: Little Blue Dancers, John McNeil, Fredericton

This is a great novel that I’d love to read in its entirety. From the first pages I was hooked by how the author managed to make Jack, a character I might not normally be sympathetic to or interested in, completely compelling. There’s a strong narrative voice, with great details that feel wholly authentic, and the dialogue is particularly well done. As more of the past unfolds through

Jack’s memories, I was more fully drawn in to who this character is and what has shaped him. This excerpt left me eager for more.

Bio: John McNeil is a communications professional and former reporter and editor. He placed second for WFNB’s Alfred G Bailey Prize in 2023 for Bigfoot at the Lord Nelson. He lives in Fredericton with his wife and two children.

Honourable Mention: The Watering of the Girls, Jane Simpson, Belleisle Creek

This story is well-written; the storylines in both time periods are intriguing; the characters feel solid and believable and the setting well-realized. I wanted to read more to find out how the present-day prologue, Tilly’s 1977 story, and Viva’s 1903 story all connected with each other. This is strong piece of writing with great promise.

Jane’s bio: Jane is an award-winning poet, short story writer and novelist. She recently received creation grants from the Canada Council for the Arts (New/EarlyCareer Artist category) and the New Brunswick Arts Board (Emerging Artist category) to complete her manuscript of The Watering of the Girls, a story set on White Head Island, New Brunswick, where she spent much of her childhood.

2022-23 Judge: Michelle Wamboldt 


First Place: Zev Bagel (Shediac, NB), Seeking Isak Lowenstein

Second Place: Ed Lemond (New Richmond, QC), The Last Thing She Said

Third Place: Kelly Alcorn (Rollingdam, NB), Grand Manan

2021-22 Judge: Thomas Moore


First Place: Heather Gunn, Her Wilco Years

Second Place: Vanessa Hawkins, Dante's Inferno: Canto X

Third Place: Richard Toth, Easy Up and Down

About David Adams Richards

We are thankful to Mr. Richards, who sponsors this award.

"I won the David Adams Richards prize (for a collection of short stories) in 2005. I was super happy to have that as a thing to mention in every single query letter I sent to agents and publishers trying to get published. My advice: Enter."

Riel Nason, Quispamsis: Award-winning author

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