CNF contest

The Creative Nonfiction Collective hosts an annual CNF writing contest. For the second 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 more.


The 2020 contest closed on February 8. Please see our blog for the 2020 long list.

The winner will be announced in May 2020 at the annual CNFC conference in Toronto. First prize includes 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WHAT: Original previously unpublished creative nonfiction – maximum word length 3,000 words (no minimum).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 journalismmemoir, the personal or lyric essay—all are welcome.

The judge will be Ian Brown, keynote speaker at the 2020 CNFC conference.


Past contest news:

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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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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Excerpts from past CNFC contest winners

2018 winner: “Descent into Darkness,” by Nancy O’Rourke Machetes. The weapons of choice. Crude weapons, many of them with blades stained dark by the blood of victims. Machetes used viciously in the streets, in markets, schools, and churches. Machetes used to maim and slaughter men, women and children. Machetes used by farmers, shop owners, teachers, and priests. Machetes used to kill strangers, neighbours and sometimes family members. * I’d only been reunited with the children of Kimihurura for two weeks.…

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AND THE 2018 CNFC/CARTE BLANCHE CONTEST WINNER IS…

“Descent into Darkness,” by Nancy O’Rourke. Congratulations to Nancy and to both our runners-up, Emily Kellogg and Julie Paul. The winning piece is now published in the current edition of carte blanche . Experienced sociologist Nancy O’Rourke’s creative nonfiction was recently recognized by Memoir Magazine. “Descent into Darkness” is adapted from a memoir-in-progress that examines processes of forgiveness, focusing on a group of children she befriended in Rwanda in 1992, lost during the genocide, and found 18 years later.  

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And the 2017 CNFC/carte blanche contest winner is…

Congrats to Joshua Levy on being selected as this year’s winner of the CNFC/carte blanche creative nonfiction contest. Joshua’s piece, “A Chaotic Jumble of Infinite Possibility,” will be published in an upcoming issue of carte blanche. Below is a clip of the author reading an excerpt from it.

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And the winner of the carte blanche/CNFC contest is…

Congratulations to Nicole Breit for her essay “Spectrum”! Nicole Breit is a poet and essayist who lives and writes in the suburbs of Vancouver. She was nominated for the Malahat Review 2016 Open Season awards, the 2015 Room poetry prize and the 2015 PRISM International CNF contest. Her debut poetry chapbook, I Can Make Life, was a finalist for the 2012 Mary Ballard poetry competition. Her work has been published in carte blanche, Exhale and other print and online publications.…

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Announcing the Winner of the CNFC/carte-blanche Competition

Congratulations to Kirsten Fogg for her essay “Nana Technology”! Kirsten Fogg is an essayist and wanderer who is currently working on a collection of essays, interviews, and book reviews on belonging at www.thebelongingblog.com. She is the writer in residence at Milpera State School for refugee and migrant children. Her articles have been published in The Chicago Tribune, The Globe and Mail, The International Herald Tribune and many other world newspapers. She lives in Brisbane, Australia. Congratulations to everyone on the…

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