The 2022-23 NB Writing Competition opens December 1

The New Brunswick Writing Competition began in 1985, the same year as the WFNB's date of incorporation. We’ve held it annually ever since, awarding hundreds of prizes over the decades. Many past winners have since achieved national and international publishing fame. It opens every year on December 1. See guidelines below: 

Guidelines

WHEN: The 2022-23 season will run from December 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023.

WHO: Open to New Brunswick residents, or to WFNB members living outside the province of NB. WFNB members pay a reduced entry fee. WFNB directors and executive are not eligible.

WHAT: All entries must be original, unpublished works. Entries must not have been submitted recently for publication, accepted for publication, or previously published in magazines, online magazines, blogs, other online publications, or in self-published works. For detailed guidelines, see the specific category (below) you wish to enter.

HOW: While the competition is active, submit your manuscript and payment by clicking the “SUBMIT” link at the bottom of this page. Entries can only be submitted online.

See individual categories (sidebar at right) for entry requirements, including word count. Word count includes titles. Our word limits are strict in each category.

Submit as many texts as you wish in one or all categories. Each text may be submitted to only one category. You must complete a separate entry and pay the entry fee for each manuscript entered.

You will receive an email confirming your submission has been received.

How to format and submit entries

Complete and eligible submissions to prize categories must include the following. (Please keep a copy of the complete online submission for your records.)

Prepare your manuscript

Your unpublished manuscript, containing no personal information, must be formatted as follows:

  1. Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF format;
  2. Use 12 pt. font, Times New Roman or Arial, double-spaced, (except poetry), on a 8.5 x 11 page, with at least a one inch margin on all sides (if you are submitting poetry that relies on certain formatting, we suggest submitting as a .pdf to ensure nothing shifts). For scripts, please use standard scriptwriting format.
  3. Each page must be numbered in sequence and each page must include the title of the story in the header or footer;
  4. Please do not put your name on your submission. Your name should only appear on your cover letter, as the cover letter is for office use only. This ensures blind judging;
  5. The filename should include the title of your piece and the category you are submitting to (ex: MyStory_CNF.doc.)  Please do not submit files that are labelled ‘my manuscript’ or other generic titles.
Prepare your cover letter (for office use):
  1. Along with your name, please include your permanent address  and phone number, not just your e-mail;
  2. Provide a one-paragraph description / biographical note of the entrant, including mention of any previous writing credits, if applicable
  3. Copy and paste your cover letter into the text box provided on the category submission page.

Payment by cheque is payable to the Writers' Federation of New Brunswick. Please mail to: WFNB, 52 Amity Street, Moncton, NB E1G 0S3. Your complete submission and payment must be received no later than the stated deadline.

The Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick does not accept applications that are incomplete, formatted improperly, exceed the word limit, or submitted past the deadline. Entry fees will not be refunded, so please check your application carefully. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the WFNB office prior to submitting your manuscript.

Please note that due to limited resources, we are unable to provide technical assistance such as formatting or attaching documents to email. If you require this kind of assistance, please speak to a friend or family member, or contact your local library branch.

Fees & Payment

Entry fees are as follows:

  • The David Adams Richards Prize for fiction and Poetry manuscripts are $35 CDN for members and $40 CDN for non-members
  • Sheree Fitch Prize for Teen writers is $5 CDN, which includes a one-year membership for youth 13-18 years.
  • Entry fee for all other categories is $20 CDN for members and $25 CDN for non-members.

When you electronically submit your entry (using the Submit Button below) you will be prompted to pay by Paypal or credit card. If you wish to pay by cheque, please choose the category that offers that option. For example, if you are submitting to the Quantiphi Prize category, choose “Books for Young People (Quantiphi Prize) Pay by cheque“.

Entries will not be considered until both the manuscript and payment have been received.

The entry fee will not be refunded if your submission is ineligible. All submissions are final: entry fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Judging

Judging is blind. Prizes will be awarded (or not) at the discretion of the judges. Judges will provide brief comments for the first-, second-, and third-place winner. We notify all winners in late April and award the prizes at the Literary Soirée during WordSpring. This year, WordSpring takes place June 2-4, in Saint John, NB, at a location tbd. Manuscripts will not be returned.

Prizes

See individual categories for prizes. Prizes will be awarded to first-, second-, and third-place winners in each category. All winners will be invited to read from their submission at the Literary Soirée during WordSpring, where the prizes will be awarded.

Questions? Email info@wfnb.

Submit your Manuscript Here

WFNB uses the Submittable online platform to accept electronic submissions.

submit

Sponsors

   
 

David Adams Richards


The Kyle Family, in honour of the late Viola and Douglas Kyle of Bathurst, NB

Gwen Martin, Yoho Lake NB, in honour of the late Dawn Watson

Go And Write!

The 2021- 2022 winners

April 25, 2022--The Writers' Federation of New Brunswick (WFNB) has announced the winners of its annual New Brunswick Writing Competition. The winners will be celebrated at a literary soiree on Friday evening, June 3, at St. Thomas University, as part of WFNB’s annual WordSpring writing festival, this year to be held in Fredericton.

The program celebrates eight categories of unpublished writing, including the inaugural Jane LeBlanc Screenwriting Award, for unpublished short film script. Seven more categories of novel, short story, single poem, poetry manuscript, books for and by young people, and narrative non-fiction all display a diverse spectrum of writing talent in the province.

The finalists are as follows:

The David Adams Richards Prize for Fiction
Judge:
 Thomas Moore.

First Place – Heather Gunn (Shediac, NB), Her Wilco Years

Second Place – Vanessa Hawkins (St. GeorgeNB) Dante's Inferno: Canto X

Third Place – Richard Toth (Riverview, NB),

Easy Up and Down

Douglas Kyle Memorial Prize

Judge: Hugh MacDonald

First Place— Andrew Campbell (Riverview, NB),

Nail House: 10048  

Second Place—Eva Allen (Moncton, NB),The Gift  

Third Place—Pat Post (Fredericton, NB) , The Defaulters 

Honourable Mentions:

Neil Sampson (Durham Bridge, NB), House on Water Street 

Sandra Bunting (Burnt Church, NB)Dali's Elephant

Angela Joynes (Columbia, Tennessee)Bandana Girls 

The Alfred G. Bailey Prize for Poetry Manuscript

Judge: Trevor Corkum

First Prize:

Amy Murphy (Fredericton, NB ) Cliffs and Piles

Second Prize: Phillip Crymble (Fredericton, NB), The Rowan Berries of Winter

Third Prize: Jane Tims (Rusagonis, NB)persist, perish, escape

Honourable Mention:

Bryn Harris (Grand Manan, NB)The Anthem of the White-Throated Sparrow

The Dawn Watson Memorial Prize for Single Poem

Judge: Leigh Faulkner

First Place: Edyn Clowater (Fredericton, NB), The Story Never Told

Second Place: Shaun Cunningham (Sackville, NB) Grid Road, Saskatchewan

Third Place:

Shari Andrews (New Maryland, NB), Her Open Mouth

Honourable Mention: Shari Andrews (New MarylandNB) Snow on Evergreen

Honourable Mention: Frederick Mundle (Moncton, NB)

One Sighting


The Accreon Books for Young People Prize

Judge: Orysia Dawydiak

First place-- Betty Sleep (Coles Island, NB), The Caterpillar That Roared

Second place-- Brandi Estey-Burtt (Zealand, NB)The Art of Repetition

Third place--Odette Barr (Petit-Cap, NB)Becoming Canadian

Honourable Mention--Nola Hicks (Midgic, NB), Reach for the Rain

The Sheree Fitch Prize for Teen Writers

Judge: Lana Button

First Place—Meaghan Whittier (Saint John, NB), Through a Child’s Eyes

Second Place—Tori Garnett (Saint John, NB)Teenage Years

Third PlaceCaleb Bulmer (Moncton)The Main Act

Honourable Mention— Simon Hatfield (Saint John, NB)A Desperately Needed Change

The Narrative Non-Fiction Prize

Judge: Sandra Phinney

First place: Trenton Pomeroy (Rothesay, NB)The Dances We Do With Our Children

Second place: Deborah Carr (Hillsborough, NB)Ashes to Ashes

Third place: Duncan Matheson (Fredericton, NB)On The Overnight Train from London

The Jane LeBlanc Screenwriting Award

Judge: Tracey Lavigne

First Place: Sue Rose (Sackville, NB), The Getaway Tree

Second Place—Gordon Mihan (Fredericton, NB) Happy Campers

Honourable Mention— Jeremy Bouchard (Moncton, NB)Two Angels

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Award Categories

Competition Categories

Featuring comments from the 2022 judges


Dawn Watson Memorial Prize (single poem)
  • Single poem
  • Up to 100 lines
  • First Prize $200, Second Prize $100, Third Prize 1 year WFNB membership

2022 judge: Leigh Faulkner

First Place: Edyn Clowater, The Story Never Told

Judge's comments: I keep coming back to this poem. It is confessional, the type of poem that might slip into solipsism. It is powerful. It is brutal. It cuts to the core of experience on several levels and forces one to examine the nexus of the one and the many in both the intimate and extended social context. The graphic presentation, particularly the change of typeface at key points throughout the poem, but also the variety of line lengths and spacing, fragments the poem in a manner that effectively reflects the fragmentation of the recounted experience. I found the three lines near the end of the poem — those beginning with “i lied.” and without uppercase — to take me beyond the situation expressed — as poignant as it is —to suggest disintegration and loss in a wider context. This is not at all a pleasant poem, however, it touches on our essential humanness in a meaningful way and is worthy of being read and reread.

Second Place: Shaun Cunningham, Grid Road, Saskatchewan

Judge's comments: This poem is a satisfyingly contemplative example of the life is a journey metaphor. The poet’s tightly controlled language effortlessly draws the reader into both the physical landscape and the mental landscape. This is a simple pause on the journey, but the decision to be made may have significant outcomes. It’s easy to see a connection between this poem and Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” however the prairie landscape provides a different set of symbols to provide intimations of the past, the present, and the future. The abandoned homestead is an appropriately enigmatic symbol, perhaps of failure, perhaps of merely a stage that was replaced by something better. The distant past is there to see, but what came after is unknown, and, in this, parallels the situation of the poet.

Third Place: Shari Andrews, Her Open Mouth

Judge's comments: This is another example — a touching example — of the life is a journey metaphor. The language is simple and natural, yet the images in the fourth and sixth stanzas are powerfully evocative. The linkage of “vulnerability’ and “a pink, naked tongue” opens the reader’s mind to the natural state of the human and serves to emphasize loss on many levels. It prepares us for the contrast between the determination and promise of the child in stanza five and the resignation of the aged mother in the final stanza. This recognition of intergenerational continuity strengthens the impact of the poem. The juxtaposition of the start and the end of life’s journey invites contemplation. Again, I keep coming back to this poem in appreciation of what it offers.

Honourable Mention: Shari Andrews, Snow on Evergreen

Judge's comments: The reality exposed in this poem is something that is very much part of our society — people getting old and needing care. The stark institutional setting is simply and effectively described. The poet’s memory of childhood is in stark contrast to the mother’s loss of memory. However, there is more than loss — there is also hope expressed in that powerfully evocative final line: “And if you wait a bird will always come.” Honourable Mention: One Sighting Poetry is worthy of celebration — poets, too. This poem is a celebration of poetry and an acknowledgement of some of the poets who have contributed to the vibrancy of the New Brunswick literary landscape. The shape of the poem on the page reflects both a central image (stairway) and the movement of the poem “Step above step.” The final “step” brings the poem to a fitting and satisfying conclusion. The limits of our left-to-right, top-to-bottom writing/ reading in English imposes a logical inconsistency on the poem that we need to take as an ironic nod to the limits of language, itself, yet limits that challenge poets to strive to take the next step.

Honourable Mention: Frederick Mundle, One Sighting

Judge's comments: Poetry is worthy of celebration — poets, too. This poem is a celebration of poetry and an acknowledgement of some of the poets who have contributed to the vibrancy of the New Brunswick literary landscape. The shape of the poem on the page reflects both a central image (stairway) and the movement of the poem “Step above step.” The final “step” brings the poem
to a fitting and satisfying conclusion. The limits of our left-to-right, top-to -bottom writing/reading in English imposes a logical inconsistency on the poem that we need to take as an ironic nod to the limits of language, itself, yet limits that challenge poets to strive to take the next step.

Accreon Books for Young People Prize
  • Short stories or poems written for young people (up to age 18)
  • Up to 4,500 words
  • First Prize $200, Second Prize $100, Third Prize 1 year WFNB membership

2022 judge: Orysia Dawydiak

First place, Betty Sleep, The Caterpillar That Roared
Judge's comments: This story could be a modern fable.  It is tightly written, with lively characters, subtle humour (I laughed out loud) and a mystery that is revealed at the very end, along with a satisfying conclusion.  I was able to imagine the characters and the setting, as if the story had actually been illustrated.  I can't think of any serious improvements off hand, except to stretch it out since I enjoyed the story so much.

Second place, Brandi Estey-Burtt, The Art of Repetition
Judge's comments: The voice of the young narrator, Sophie, was strong from the start and the phrasing and vocabulary made it clear we were not dealing with an ordinary child.   It was consistent and believable throughout the story.  In spite of Sophie's emotional discomfort and pain in certain situations, the story is sensitive and allows the reader to experience her internal world with empathy.  I also appreciated the 'word play' in the title of this story.

Third place: Odette Barr, Becoming Canadian
Judge's comments: I enjoyed Morag's voice as she experienced her introduction to Canadian life at the age of 10-11.  The writer captured the school atmosphere and the dialogue and behaviour of girls that age.  The Scottish accent when Morag spoke felt authentic.  I also found the unusual 'trial by subway' an interesting way to initiate Morag to Canadian life, and I was right there with Morag freaking out. The story moved along nicely with an unusual but satisfying ending.

Honourable Mention: Nola Hicks, Reach for the Rain
Judge's comments: I found this story of change and adaptation creative and relatable to our current times.  It is sensitive and hopeful.  I also loved the 'Droplets' who lived in the forest.

Sheree Fitch Prize for Teen Writers (age 13 to 18)
  • Short story or poem written by teens age 13 to 18
  • For short story–up to 4,000 words; for poem–up to 100 lines
  • Entry fee is $5, which also gives you a free WFNB membership
  • Only two submissions per person
  • First Prize $100, Second Prize $50, Third Prize 1 year WFNB membership

2022 judge: Lana Button

First Place: Meaghan Whittier, Through a Child’s Eyes

Judge’s comments: Wow! This is a powerful read with strong characterization. The author crafted the twist of the girl’s situation very well, and it gave me shivers. Great job establishing setting, I could see it very clearly.  I was intrigued throughout. My heart ached for the mom but her arc was really satisfying as we witnessed her starting the process of moving forward. The arc of the girl was also heartbreakingly satisfying, as she came to her own realizations about her situation, but I did wish for a more peaceful resolution for her. I would suggest the author consider adding a bit more description of the child and of the mom’s appearance. The author did a very good job maintaining character, telling this story very well through the eyes of this child. The voice of both the mom and the child came across as authentic. Congratulations on a great story. This talented author is encouraged to keep writing!

Second Place: Tori Garnett, Teenage Years

Judge’s comments: This is such a powerful poem. I loved it. It was incredibly atmospheric and intimate and it flows very well. I was engrossed in the description and the emotion. It portrayed the transition from childhood to teenage years with gut-wrenching honesty, that showed both vulnerability and strength, and I found myself reading it several times. This author is encouraged to keep writing!

Third Place: Caleb Bulmer, The Main Act

Judge's comments: Wow, there is great tension, suspense and pace in this story. The author does a nice job creating a character I care about. I like hearing the back story of Marcus as well, showing the desperate situation they are both in. The setting is well established, and the author does a great job using minor characters to enhance the feel of the story. I needed a little more description in the action scenes to follow exactly what was happening. Powerful ending that stuck with me. The author is encouraged to keep writing!

Honourable Mention: Simon Hatfield, A Desperately Needed Change

Judge's comments: I loved this story. These are great characters, and I was intrigued the whole time. I love how the author allowed the audience to see the vulnerable wounded side of James, to explain his closed-off demeanour. It made it so satisfying to see the ‘cracks in his armor’ as he had interaction with Edward. I would suggest perhaps condensing some of the reflection and tightening up the action. I am rooting for these two. Such a satisfying ending. The author has a lovely voice and a keen sense of creating character and is encouraged to keep writing!

Narrative Nonfiction Prize
  • Narrative nonfiction prose
  • 1,500 to 3,000 words
  • First Prize $200, Second Prize $100, Third Prize 1 year WFNB membership

2022 judge: Sandra Phinney

First place: Trenton Pomeroy, The Dances We Do With Our Children

Judge's comments: This writer pens a heartbreaking tale by superbly "showing" vs "telling" and presents a difficult situation with both understanding and grace. Most of the story is rendered in dialogue--no easy feat---yet the conversations between various people in the story invisibly set the scene, are always fluid and ring true. The ending is powerful, insightful and enlightening. Readers will find more than one universal truth in this story. BRAVO!

Second place: Deborah Carr, Ashes to Ashes

Judge's comments: This story is gift with many layers. All are connected yet each layer has it's own raison d' être. The writer also combines strong narrative elements from using vivid scenes and metaphor, to incorporating dabs of dialogue and personal insights. As a reader, I came away with a larger heart.

Third place: Duncan Matheson, On The Overnight Train from London

Judge's comments: The strength of this story is how the writer was able to take me along on what could have been a long boring train ride from Ontario to New Brunswick as if I were sitting next to him--and I was not bored! I could see the transformation that occurred during the trip, and how that experience enriched his life. A simple story, well told.

The Jane LeBlanc Screenwriting Award
  • Short Film Scripts (up to 15 minutes in length)
  • Unproduced or produced accepted. (must have been written within the last two years)
  • First Prize $500, Second prize, 1 year WFNB membership

2022 judge: Tracey Lavigne

First Place: Sue Rose, The Getaway Tree

Judge's comments: An imaginative and erudite take on how to cope in a modern world of horrors. Each character stands out from one another as a unique archetype. The writer could consider developing the main character Sylvie, who seems to be a sort of modern Everywoman, with a little more specificity of her own. The visual cues that are present in the story are clever and interesting. But I would love to see more visuals incorporated into this script. It reads very much as a stage play, with its dialog-heavy scenes. Even if the elements of the mise-en-scene remain quite spare, the writer could give us more with how they introduce the characters and describe the scenes and the action. It would serve the story well to find a few more opportunities to create events visually instead of relying on dialog. Overall, a refreshing read that will make a compelling experimental short film.

Second Place: Gordon Mihan, Happy Campers

Judge's comments: A sensitive story from the point of view of boys at the age they are being taught toxic masculinity, this script hooks the reader right away by dropping us right into the action. From early on in the script, the brisk visual cues are very clear, which serves the pace of the action very well. The way the script introduces the characters is satisfying but they could be developed a little further with another beat or two, particularly the dominant supporting characters of the Mean Boy and the Boy in Charge. For example, the scene when we meet Boy in Charge telling the kids about wrestling on Friday could be an opportunity to perhaps show him doing something macho that inspires the boys’ (or at the least the Mean Boy’s) admiration. Every line the Boy in Charge says should reveal his character: would he really express weakness to the other boys by saying “I need to get some air”? The end of the story marks an important turning point for the boys in banding together and breaking from their idol’s brutal world view. However, the action of painting over the camp sign does not feel like a strong enough expression of the theme. Perhaps the moment would be more powerful if the boys do something that is a challenge to the authority of the Boy in Charge. Overall, a tight and very readable script with the potential to be a great short film.

Third Place/Honourable Mention: Jeremy Bouchard, Two Angels

Judge's comments: This story immediately creates empathy for its main character and his sense of isolation and confinement. The imagery of the bedbugs is particularly effective at placing us in this character’s world. Adam’s emotional arc seems to be to take a small step towards freeing himself from internalized homophobia. However, the theme is confused by the subplot of the gay legal aid lawyer being a sexual predator, which associates homosexuality with evil. This supporting character could instead provide an opportunity for us to learn more about Adam — for example, did he leave someone behind back home? Why does he have a child’s toy in his apartment? Many countries in the world still criminalize homosexuality and persecute and brutalize gays. Being specific rather than generic with Adam’s nationality could make the story more believable. The film (and script) could present a great opportunity to collaborate with a lead actor who is a refugee or recent immigrant. As with any script dealing with a historically underrepresented community, it would be essential to consult with a reader from the queer community if the writer is not queer, to ensure that this important topic is treated sensitively.

© 2021 Writers' Federation of New Brunswick

Territorial Acknowledgement

The Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick acknowledges that the land on which we live, work and gather is the traditional unceded territory of the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) and Mi’kmaq Peoples, and we honour the spirit of our ancestors’ Treaties of Peace and Friendship.

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