The Voice Writing Contest 2021

Your Words for a shot at Our Money!

The Voice is launching its 2021 writing contest, with categories for both fiction and non-fiction, and there’s a total $2000 available to be won.

Please read the contest rules and regulations and submission guidelines carefully to ensure you are not disqualified.

It’s free to enter, but the length limits are firm and all entries that go beyond these limits will be disqualified.  Good luck!


First place in each category receives an Amazon gift certificate worth $500.

Second place winners will each receive a $250 Amazon gift certificate.

Plus, five random winners from all entrants will receive a $100 Amazon gift certificate.



In 1,500 words or less, write about any issue affecting equity, diversity, and Inclusion at AU.  You may write about issues in the press, in politics, or on a personal scale.  You may focus on current issues and undertakings of AU toward these concepts or take a historical approach.  Feel free to use research or statistics in your article (with proper citations), or write a creative opinion piece.


This category is open to your imagination!  Write a 1,500 word or less fiction submission in any genre or format.  Short stories, poetry, a scene from a play, even a comic.  Be creative!

Who, How, and When

Who can Enter

The Voice writing contest is open to anyone 16 years of age or older, with the following exceptions: AU, AUSU, and Voice staff and AUSU councillors are not eligible to enter the contest.  Each entrant may submit one entry in each of the two categories.

How to Enter

Your submission must be an electronic file attached to an email and submitted to with the subject “CONTEST ENTRY” Submissions sent as the body of an email, or without the subject “CONTEST ENTRY” will not be accepted.  Contact if you require instructions on how to attach a file to an email.

The email should include the following information: Your full name, AU student ID number (if applicable), email address, telephone number, mailing address, the title of your entry, and whether you are submitting to the fiction or non-fiction category.

When to Enter

The deadline for submissions in both categories will be March 19, 2021.  The winners will be announced by April 30, 2021.  The Voice reserves the right to extend either deadline if necessary.

Submission Requirements

Submissions should be in Microsoft Word format [.doc or .docx], rich text format [.rtf] or plain text format [.txt].

Make sure non-fiction entries are based on the topic question detailed above.  Fiction entries can be on any topic you like.  Do not include your contact information within your article but be sure to include a title.

If you use footnotes or endnotes, type them in at the end of the document, rather than using the endnote feature of your word processor.

All entries must be under 1,500 words due to judging time constraints.  Length will be determined by the word count feature in Microsoft Word.  Your references and citations section will not be included in the word count.  Entries must be original works that have not been printed or published elsewhere (including online), and must not be course assignment papers or derivatives of.

References should be formatted consistently according to a standardized publishing style guide, such as the American Psychological Association (APA) or the MLA press style.

Entries should not include unnecessary formatting such as drop caps, graphics (unless the graphic is integral to the work), or unusual fonts.  Entries must be text; scans of handwritten or typed documents will not be accepted.  Entries must not contain any information that would make the identity of the author evident to judges.

Entries will not be edited for grammar, spelling, or content, although The Voice editors may black out any personally identifying information contained within the submission.  Otherwise, entries will be forwarded to the judging panel as is, with the exception that all entries will be converted to use the same file format, margins, font size, and font style to ensure that all entries are equally readable.


Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

Non-Fiction entries will be judged on originality, creativity, accuracy, and how well your support your assertions with data or argument.  You will also be judged on the presentation of your article, including professionalism, proper spelling, grammar and syntax, and readability.  You may write in journalistic style or essay format.

Fiction entries will be judged on creativity, entertainment value, and the originality of your writing style.

Regardless of the genre you choose, you will be judged on the effectiveness of your piece and your technical writing skills.

Entries will be judged by a panel to be selected by the Voice editors, and this panel may include: AU students, AU tutors, professors, or current members of the AU community, and/or AUSU councillors.  The panel will include at least 3 members.

The Voice editors will collect articles and oversee the judging, but will not be judges.

To ensure fairness, all entries will be forwarded to the judging panel with a reference number attached, but no personally identifying information.  The Voice editors will keep the identity of the authors private until the contest closes.  The Voice editors will keep a record of the authors of submissions, and will be the sole owner of this list.

No preference will be given to regular Voice writers.  Entries will not identify the writer as a regular Voice contributor when sent to the judging panel.

All decisions regarding this contest and the selection of winners remain with the judging panel and are final.

Additional Information

Winning entries will be published in The Voice.  The Voice reserves the right to print non-winning entries at a rate of remuneration in accordance with current Voice freelance submission rates.  The Voice may use portions of non-winning non-fiction entries in a composite about perspectives on equity, diversity, and inclusion at AU.  No remuneration will be provided for such use.

One grand prize winner and one second place winner will be selected in both the fiction and non-fiction categories.  If no entries are received in one of the categories, the prize money will be returned to the Voice awards budget.  Prizes will be awarded in the form of Amazon gift certificates.

The Voice is not responsible for lost emails.  The Voice editors will confirm receipt of all entries by email.  Please follow up if you do not receive a reply in two business days.

All entrants agree to allow their name and city of residence to be printed, along with their submission, should it be selected as a winning entry.  No further remuneration beyond the appropriate contest prize will be paid to the contest winners when their entry is printed.

Winners will be asked to sign a standard Release and Indemnity form; each prize winner agrees to release the sponsor and its agents from any liability in connection with the prizes awarded in this contest.

Any entrant found to be tampering with the contest results, or attempting to influence any of the judging members, or using any forums or other public communications media to advise others of which entry is theirs will be disqualified; or if The Voice editors determine, at their sole discretion, that any other form of tampering has been attempted, that entrant will be disqualified.

Where applicable, this contest is subject to all federal, provincial, and municipal laws.  Contest void where prohibited.

Contact if you have any questions.


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