This Magazine’s Prize for Creative Non-Fiction honours the brightest new voices in Canadian letters. Send us your work, and join This Magazine’s long tradition of publishing outstanding literary and creative non-fiction. We’re looking for personal and journalistic pieces with a strong voice, attention to narrative, experimental styles and, of course, compelling subject matter.

Creative non-fiction is a hybrid of literature and journalism. It uses the essay form, standard rhetorical patterns, and focuses on ideas and researched facts. Literary elements include: a literary voice, story/narration, characterization, descriptions of place, scenes, settings, a personally engaged author and polished language.

Entries should present holistic pictures of their subject, using concrete examples and narration to support a thesis. They must be based on exhaustive research and present subject matter grounded in real-world facts, and offer insight into important social, cultural and/or political issues.

Past winners include David Surjik for “A seedling for Samantha,” a moving memoir of mental illness; Chris Tenove for “The Weight of Evidence,” an exploration of the legacy of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia (the piece also received an honourable mention at the National Magazine Awards); and Joelene C. Heathcote for “Boys in Pieces,” a powerful, poetic account of an attack on her brother.

Your first publishing credit (outside of a school or university publication or self-published chapbook or zine) must have been within the last 10 years. Of course, unpublished writers are welcome too.

This Magazine Prize for Creative Non-Fiction
401 Richmond St. W., Suite 396,
Toronto ON M5V 3A8.


1. Entries must be postmarked by March 1, 2003.
2. There is no entry fee.
3. You may send in multiple entries.
4. Entries must be submitted by post or messenger. Fax and email submissions will be discarded unread.
5. All entries must be original and unpublished.
6. Entries must be no longer than 3,000 words.
7. Entrant’s first professional publishing credit (outside student media and self-published chapbooks or zines) must have been within the last 10 years.
8. Previous winners of the contest are not eligible.
9. The prize is $250, plus publication in the May/June 2003 issue of This Magazine.
10. Judging will be blind. Entrant’s name MUST NOT appear on the manuscript itself. Include your full name, address, telephone number and email address on a separate sheet.
11. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope for notification of results.
12. Manuscripts will not be returned. DO NOT SEND ORIGINALS.

* Read back issues of This Magazine. Previous winners of this contest are included in our May/June 2001 and 2002 issues. General writers’ guidelines are available at Entries should be on a subject suitable for the magazine.
* Research thoroughly and provide accurate data. Combine primary research (interviews, trips to the place, personal experience) and secondary (library) research. Cite sources so readers know how you gathered the information. Give background to educate readers, and information to help them understand the subject better. DO NOT invent or change facts or events.
* Cultivate relationships with subjects over a period of time to create trust, absorb information, note change, and know individuals in order to describe their thoughts, feelings, and attitudes correctly.
* Organize the story in a logical, but interesting way (i.e. chronological, spacial, dramatic, general to specific)
* Use interesting language: revealing metaphors, compelling imagery, vivid details, germane quotations. Aim for a clear style with rhythm, colour, and a dramatic pace.
* Analyze, interpret, explain, synthesize the information, to convey the story’s importance to readers.

Winners will be contacted by phone. Entrants who provide a SASE will receive contest results by mail.