Most events are installed on their deadline date, unless there is a long submission window or unless it's a rolling submission.
P=Poetry, N=Nonfiction, F=Fiction
- This event has passed.
N – CBC Nonfiction Prize
Nonfiction (up to 2,000 words)*
- The Nonfiction Prize includes memoir, biography, humour writing, essay (including personal essay), travel writing, and feature articles. While the events must be real and the facts true, creative nonfiction conveys your message through the use of literary techniques such as characterization, plot, setting, dialogue, narrative and personal reflection. The work should be accessible to a general reading audience (i.e., not written for a specialized or academic audience).
Competition opens: January 1, 2022
Deadline: February 28, 2022
*(Word count includes all words contained in the work including but not limited to titles, footnotes, introductions, etc. Submissions over the specified word count will be disqualified.)
Our word limits are strict in each category. To calculate word counts, we put your entire submission (including the title) into Microsoft Word and use Word’s word counter. Since Word only relies on spaces to delimit words, any term containing a hyphen (“twenty-five”) or an apostrophe (“can’t”, “don’t”) counts as a single word. Word also counts every article (“the”, “a”, etc.) as a separate word. Microsoft Word also automatically counts groups of characters (e.g. “xxx”) as well as symbols (e.g. “***” or “~~~”) as a word.
Participants may submit as many texts as they wish in one or all categories. A writer can win only one prize per category. Each text may be submitted to only one category.
For each manuscript entered, participants must complete a separate official entry form and pay the entry fee.
Participants must verify the exact deadlines on the cbcbooks.ca website. Please note that CBC/Radio-Canada is permitted to modify these deadlines at any time.
Online submission: all works must be submitted and payments must be made on or before 11:59 PM (ET) on the day of the deadline.
Winners will be announced approximately six months after the deadline for each competition.
HOW TO SUBMIT
All submissions must:
- Be accompanied by the official entry form and the parental permission (electronic or print version) if applicable
- Be submitted anonymously: the name of the entrant must not appear anywhere on the text to ensure the objectivity of the jury
- Be submitted in Word or Wordpad (.doc, .rtf or .docx) format, in letter format (8½” by 11”)
- Be double spaced, except for poetry texts
- Be in a legible font and font size
- Be submitted to the correct category during the entry period for that category
If you are unable to submit your content online, please contact the CBC Literary Prizes team to obtain an alternate form of entry.
- All submissions are final: no changes or substitutions are allowed
- No handwritten manuscripts or fax texts will be accepted
- Texts will not be returned and editorial comments will not be given on the works
A fee of $25.00 (taxes included) for administration purposes is required for each entry. The competition is 100% not-for-profit, with all fees going towards covering administrative costs, which include payment of readers and jurors of the competition. Participants are not eligible until payment of the registration fee has been received and cashed. The entry fee will not be refunded if your submission is ineligible. All submissions are final: entry fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Works are judged anonymously on the basis of the participant’s use of language, originality of subject and writing style.
Only the work submitted will be considered by the judges, other documents, images, diagrams etc. are not eligible for consideration by the judges.
Submissions are processed by a two-tiered system in both languages (English, French) by readers and jurors.
The initial texts are screened by readers chosen for each category from a group of qualified editors and writers across the country. Each text is read by two readers.
The English readers come up with a preliminary list of approximately 100 texts that are then forwarded to a second group of readers who will decide upon the approximately 30 entries that comprise the longlist and be forwarded to the jury.
The French readers come up with a longlist of approximately 20 texts that are forwarded to the jury.
The English and French juries will read all stories on the longlist and decide on a shortlist of five in each language, which will include a first-place winner and four runners-up. The members of the jury (three per category) are composed of eminent writers and editors from the Canadian literary community.
Every effort is made to achieve a balance of gender and diversity in the readers and judges and to reflect regional differences and trends. The readers and jurors change every year and are based in different areas of the country.
Jurors and readers in each category will be chosen by CBC/Radio-Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Banff Centre.
All decisions by the readers and the jury are final (subject to meeting any conditions and eligibility criteria as determined by CBC). Readers’ names are confidential until the end of the competition to ensure the judging process remains blind.
Canada Council for the Arts will offer five cash prizes in each category and in each language:
- Grand Prize: $6,000
- Four finalists will receive $1,000 each
Moreover, the Grand Prize winner will receive a two-week residency at The Banff Centre approximately valued at $2,500 which will include:
- accommodation and meals at The Banff Centre for two weeks;
- 24-hour access to a studio; and
- opportunities to access Banff Centre events and performances for free.
Winners must use their prize within two years of the prize award, at a time mutually agreeable to the Banff Centre and the prize winner. This prize does not include travel costs to and from the residency at Banff.
Moreover, CBC/Radio-Canada will provide visibility to winners and their work on one or more of its platforms.
Participants may win only one prize per category. Participants maintain ownership of their works, although rights to reproduce and distribute them to the public are limited by the licenses granted according to these rules.
The prize is not transferable and includes only what is specifically mentioned in these rules. If for any reason whatsoever, the winner is unable to use the prize in whole or in part or is unwilling to accept or take advantage of the prize as described, or a portion thereof, the prize or portion thereof will be forfeited without compensation and CBC/Radio-Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, The Banff Centre and their affiliated companies or agents, as well as their respective directors, officers and employees, will be released from all obligations toward the winner with regards to the prize or portion thereof.
If a prize cannot be awarded as described in these rules, CBC/Radio-Canada, The Banff Centre and the Canada Council for the Arts reserve the right to substitute one or more prizes or prize components with another of approximately equivalent value.
To be proclaimed winners or finalists, participants must meet all the conditions and eligibility criteria set out in these rules. The winners and finalists, or in the of case minors, their parents or guardians, shall provide information requested by CBC in this regard, and shall sign a declaration of eligibility for the competition, as set out in these rules, and release CBC/Radio-Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, The Banff Centre and their affiliated companies or agents, as well as their respective directors, officers and employees, from any liability for damage or loss whatsoever, whether arising from the participants’ involvement in this competition or from the awarding, acceptance or use of the prize.
A winner’s refusal to accept a prize releases CBC/Radio-Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, The Banff Centre and their affiliated companies or agents, as well as their respective directors, officers and employees, from all obligations toward the winner.
Texts submitted to CBC Literary Awards must be written in English (texts written in several languages and translations are not eligible). Texts written in French must be submitted to the Prix de la création Radio-Canada.
Canadian citizens, whether living in Canada or abroad, and permanent residents of Canada are eligible to enter.
For any participant who has not reached the age of majority in his/her province or country of residence, parental or guardian consent is necessary to enter the competition.
People who work for CBC/Radio-Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Banff Center, their affiliates, as well as the members of the jury and the selection committee (readers), as well as their immediate family (father-mother, brother-sister, son-daughter) and people living under the same roof during the registration period of the prize are not eligible for this prize. For example, if one of the people listed above (immediate family or person living under the same roof as one of these people) works at one of the companies listed above during the registration period for the Short Story category but is no longer in the employ of this company during the registration period for the Poetry and Nonfiction Prizes, they could participate in the Poetry and Nonfiction Prizes but not in Short Story.
Previously published participants may submit texts providing that the submissions are original unpublished works. There must be only one author per entry.
All works that have been published or broadcast are considered not eligible for the competition.
Participants warrant that the work they are submitting is an original and unpublished work written by them and that they own all rights to it. Participants will indemnify and hold CBC/Radio-Canada, Banff Centre and Canada Council for the Arts and their affiliates, harmless from and against any and all loss, damage, costs and other expense arising out of claims, whatever their nature, resulting directly or indirectly from breach of this warranty.
Participants submitting to the prize
In submitting their work, each participant grants CBC/Radio-Canada (both for French and English services) the following licenses free of charge and irrevocably:
The right to translate an excerpt from the work submitted (no more than 15% of its total length)
The non-exclusive right to reproduce and publish an excerpt from the work submitted (no more than 15% of its total length) on the websites and platforms controlled or authorized by CBC/Radio-Canada, both in the original language and in translation
Finalists and winners
In accepting a prize, the winners and finalists grant to CBC/Radio-Canada, for the entire term of all rights, the following licenses:
The right to translate the work
The right to reproduce and publish the work in all formats, including on the websites and platforms controlled or authorized by CBC/Radio-Canada and on any future merchandise, both in the original language and in translation; net income from any sale or exploitation of merchandise shall be split 50/50 between CBC/Radio-Canada and the participant or participants
The right to make an audio/video recording by means of any existing or not-yet-invented technology, to distribute and broadcast readings of works or excerpts therefrom in the original language or in translation, on CBC/Radio-Canada networks and websites/platforms controlled or authorized by CBC/Radio-Canada
The right to edit, abridge or excerpt the work for the purposes of publication or broadcast. (The participant will be consulted if significant edits are necessary.)
For a purpose of clarity, the Licenses granted to CBC/Radio-Canada by the finalists and winners are for all territories throughout the world (unless another agreement is reached with CBC/Radio-Canada) and are exclusive for a year from the date of acceptance of the prize and non-exclusive thereafter. Moreover, the finalist and winners, as well as the people accompanying them, or their parents or guardians if the winners are minors, shall agree, if necessary, to have their name and/or picture, including their photograph and/or their voice used for advertising purposes related to this competition, free of charge.
These licenses include the rights for CBC/Radio-Canada to grant sub-licences to exercise the rights granted by this licence.
Read full guidelines here.