Alfred G. Bailey Prize

Poetry Manuscript

      • 48 to 96 pages
      • Individual poems can be previously published, but the manuscript
        must be unpublished
      • First Prize $350, Second Prize $200, Third Prize 1 year WFNB membership

      2024 Judge: Susan Gillis 

        Susan Gillis has lived on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and along the St. Lawrence River, and now makes her home near Perth in eastern Ontario. Her most recent book, Yellow Crane (Brick, 2018), is a meditation on ecologies of place, writing, and desire. Her work has been featured in Best Canadian Poetry, Juniper, The Fiddlehead, Grain, and other journals in print and online. A member of the collaborative group Yoko’s Dogs, Susan also works as an editor and mentor. Find her at

        2024 WINNERS

        First Place: Wolf Peach- Author: Grace Taylor, Fredericton, NB

        Judge's Comments: From the striking title to arresting detail and evocative language, “Wolf Peach” compels and rewards attention. Taking its title from the botanical Latin name for the tomato—notably, botanically a fruit, yet everywhere normally regarded as a vegetable—the collection sets up a potent central metaphor and develops it with power and impact. In the garden, images and events occur almost as though in reflecting globes, appearing as slippage, confrontation, grotesquerie, distortion, and reality. “Wolf Peach” holds up its subjects—gender, identity, belonging, change, rejection, legacies of discord and dissonance—for close encounters. Walking right up to the edge of, and sometimes into, extremes of expression, these poems risk. Amid the struggle and furor are moments of tenderness. The stakes are high, the work fully engaged.

        Bio: Grace R. Taylor (They/Them) is a queer, disabled writer obsessed with the murderous women of Greek Mythology. They have a MA in English from the University of New Brunswick and their poetry received the Bliss Carmen Memorial Prize for Poetry in 2020. Their poetry has been published in The Angle and TransCare+’s Comfort Food Zine. For two years, they were an editor for Qwerty Magazine, first the Lead Poetry Editor and then a Co-Managing Editor and has since gone on to work at Goose Lane Editions and now works with The Fiddlehead and volunteers for the Word Feast literary festival.

        Second Place: Unfinished LinesAuthor: Ed Lemond, New Richmond, Quebec

        Judge's Comments: “Unfinished Lines” is tender and elegiac, a collection of poems sourced in diaries of a beloved spouse, shaped and embellished by the bereaved. The poems crackle with wit and observation, their direct speech and carefully enjambed lines telling stories, speculating on events, noting moments of intimacy; they enfold these details into what becomes, in effect, a tapestry of days and years. At times the poems seem to speak directly from the diary’s pages, and at other times in response to them, or to the diarist, generating an effective slight blurring of perspective. (This invites meaningful questions around the practice of speaking “for” another through the selection and shaping of their words; over repeated readings I came to regard this as one of the collection’s rewards.) I find a heartening candour and loveliness in the portrait this collection creates of the beloved and lives shared.

        Author Bio: I lived in the Moncton, New Brunswick area from 1993 to 2021.  Before that I lived for 24 years in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  I grew up in Long Beach, California and Lafayette, Indiana, and came to Canada in 1969.  I am a retired bookseller and one of the founders of the Northrop Frye Literary Festival, held annually in Moncton, Frye’s home town. From the first festival in 2000 through the April, 2011 festival, I was co-chair of the Program Committee, responsible for English language authors and programming. I started the Attic Owl Reading Series, held monthly in Moncton, NB, from August, 1994, to the present. Since 2021 I have lived in New Richmond, Quebec.

        Third Place: The Reign – Author: Shane Neilson, Cambridge, Ontario

        Judge's Comment: What to say about “The Reign”? An energetic, dramatic, larger-than-life hybrid work re-imagining origin and other stories centred in New Brunswick, with a cast of characters and concerns drawn from the outer and inner reaches of fantasy, fable, nature, concepts of manliness, gaming, and life. A wild ride. 

        Author Bio: Born and raised New Brunswicker, who returns several times a year. Even published a book titled New Brunswick w/ Biblioasis. Poet, physician, and critic.

        Honourable Mention: wings of a mothAuthor: Jane Tims, Rusagonis

        Judge's Comment: The human heart is laid open in “wings of a moth,” in fully felt poems that rise from place, family, memory and experience. Often taking the shape of life lists rich in resonant detail, the collection unfolds with grace and poignancy.

        Author Bio: I am a biologist, artist and writer living in rural New Brunswick. I have three books of poetry published with Chapel Street Editions, within easy reach (2016), in the shelter of the covered bridge (2017) and mnemonic (2024). I also have self-published five books of poetry and five novels in the Kaye Eliot Mystery Series. Under the name Alexandra Tims, I have published twelve books of narrative poetry in the science-fiction genre. My poems also appear in 25 journals/periodicals. I won the Alfred G. Bailey Prize for the poetry manuscript ‘mnemonic’ in the 2016 competition and Third Place in the same competition in 2020 and 2022. My book ‘a glimpse of water fall’ was shortlisted for The Fiddlehead Poetry Book Prize (NB Book Awards) in 2022.

        2022 - 2023 Judge: Alice Burdick


        First Prize: Agata Antonow (Florenceville-Bristol, NB ), Her Strange Position

        Second Prize: John McNeil (NB), Bigfoot at the Lord Nelson

        Third Prize: Ian LeTourneau (Fredericton, NB), Metadata from a Changing Climate

        2021 - 2022 Judge: Trevor Corkum


        First Prize: Amy Murphy, Cliffs and Piles

        Second Prize: Phillip Crymble, The Rowan Berries of Winter

        Third Prize:  Jane Tims, persist, perish, escape

        Honourable Mention: Bryn Harris, The Anthem of the White-Throated Sparrow 

        I won First Place in the Bailey Prize category in 2016, Third Place in 2020 and 2022. I am so proud to be able to report this in the author and cover descriptions for my various books, knowing that people unfamiliar with my work will recognize the honour and confidence expressed through the winning of these awards.

        --Jane Tims

        Winning the Alfred G. Bailey prize for best poetry manuscript has encouraged me to continue to improve my manuscript, to create new works, and even to explore writing new genres.  I am motivated to regularly submit to contests, and I have become both more open and more discerning in how I consume all art forms, with a heightened appreciation for process. --Amy Murphy, First Prize, 2022

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