CNF contest

The Creative Nonfiction Collective hosts an annual CNF writing contest. For the third year in a row, we are happy to be collaborating with the Humber Literary Review.

Past winners of the contest include Kirsten Fogg, Joshua Levy, Deborah Elderhorst, and Margaret Nowaczyk.


2021 Contest Announcement

The Humber Literary Review (HLR) and the Creative Nonfiction Collective Society (CNFC) have joined forces to bring you a Canada-wide creative nonfiction contest. The 2021 Contest opens November 8, 2020.

CONTEST CLOSES February 15, 2021 at 11:59pm EST.

Winners will be announced in May 2021 during the 2021 CNFC virtual conference. First prize will include a payment of $750 and publication in The Humber Literary Review.

WHAT: Original previously unpublished creative nonfiction – maximum word length 3,000 words (no minimum). Literary journalism, memoir, the personal or lyric essay—all are welcome.

WHO: The competition is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.

WHEN: The competition is open from November 8, 2020 to February 15, 2021.

FEE: General public $20; CNFC members $15.
CNFC members receive a discounted entry fee. You can become a member by registering here.

HOW: Submissions will be accepted via the Submittable platform only. The contest will be judged blind so PLEASE don’t put your name or contact information on the actual submission. If you do not delete identifying information, your submission will be disqualified.

Enter now!

The Humber Literary Review, a literary and arts magazine, publishes two print issues a year (fall/winter & spring/summer). Its pages feature personal essays, short fiction, poetry, artwork, and comics by emerging and established Canadian artists. The HLR is distributed by Magazines Canada and can be found in bookstores and on newsstands across the country. Work from the HLR has been featured in Best Canadian Poetry, Best Canadian Essays, and has been nominated for a National Magazine Award. Find out more.


Past contest news:

2020 CNFC/HLR Contest Winner Announced!

Watch Ian Brown announce the winner of this year’s Creative Nonfiction contest!

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Meet the 2020 Contest Short List!

Congratulations to our four finalists! Read on for more information about each writer.

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2020 Contest Short List Announcement!

Announcing the 2020 contest short list!

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Announcing the 2020 CNFC/Humber Literary Review Contest Long List!

The Creative Nonfiction Collective Society and The Humber Literary Review are pleased to announce the long list for this year’s creative nonfiction contest.

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Ian Brown: ‘I can’t wait to see what the new generation of nonfiction writers is up to’

2020 CNFC / Humber Literary Review contest judge Ian Brown shares his take on the genre of creative nonfiction and what he’ll be looking for in this year’s submissions.

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‘Write the story that is knocking most insistently around the edges of your consciousness’

2019 CNFC/Humber Literary Review contest winner Deborah Elderhorst offers insight and encouragement for those hoping to submit this year.

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Deborah Elderhorst wins the 2019 CNFC/Humber Literary Review Creative Nonfiction Contest

Congratulations to Deborah Elderhorst, whose piece “Foreign Object” was selected by Helen Humphreys as the 2019 winner of the CNFC/Humber Literary Review Creative Nonfiction Contest.

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2019 CNFC/Humber Literary Review creative nonfiction contest short list revealed!

Thanks to everyone who submitted to this year’s CNFC/Humber Literary Review creative nonfiction contest. Our 2019 judge, Helen Humphreys, selected the following three pieces for the short list. The contest winner will be announced on June 14 at the CNFC annual conference in Vancouver, BC. Congrats to all the finalists! “Foreign Object,” by Deborah Elderhorst Deborah Elderhorst is an Australian-Canadian writer whose work has appeared in literary journals and anthology in Australia, New Zealand, and the US. Find her online at…

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Announcing the 2019 CNFC/Humber Literary Review contest long list!

Humber Literary Review and the Creative Nonfiction Collective Society are pleased to announce the long list for our 2019 creative nonfiction contest: “How to Become a Woman Carpenter,” by Marcia Braundy “Foreign Object,” by Deborah Elderhorst “All the Cake I Never Ate,” by Sierra Skye Gemma “Metamorphosis of My Mother,” by Carole Harmon “Algebra Lessons,” by sonja larsen “High Tension Line,” by Lina Lau “Leaving Saskatchewan,” by Melanie Mah “Fools Rush In,” by Julie Paul “Surfing, Not Drowning,” by Shannon…

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‘Give yourself the opportunity to find out how well you write’

Nancy O’Rourke was the winner of the 2018 CNFC creative nonfiction prize and will be one of the readers selecting the 2019 shortlist. Below she offers insight into the power of the CNF genre and words of encouragement for those hoping to submit this year. “The story need not be life shattering, or a grand tale, but it does need to remind the reader of something understood at a gut level.” CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR WINNING PIECE AND WHAT…

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