A festival for all writers and readers – Join us May 19-21, 2023

Whether you’re an established or emerging writer, the Askew’s Word on the Lake Writing Contest has a place for you. Part of the Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival in Salmon Arm, BC, the contest is open to submissions in short fiction (1,200 to 1,500 words), nonfiction (1,200 to 1,500 words), and poetry (up to three poems of one page each).

The contest submission period opens on January 3, 2022, and submissions can be emailed up to midnight Pacific time, January 31, 2022.

  • If you’ve submitted to the contest in past years, please note this year’s earlier submission period and deadline!

The First Place winner in each category receives a $150 cash prize, a 2022 festival registration package (approximately a $200 value), and a $40 voucher for meals at this year’s festival venue, Sorrento Centre retreat and conference centre.

The Second Place winner in each category receives a $75 cash prize, plus a $40 voucher for meals at Sorrento Centre during this year’s festival.

The Honourable Mention winner in each category receives a $50 cash prize, plus a $40 voucher for meals at Sorrento Centre during this year’s festival.

All winners will be listed on the festival website, and will have their winning entries published in the 2022 edition of the Askew’s Word on the Lake Anthology. Everyone who enters the contest will receive a copy of the anthology in ebook format (epub, mobi, and PDF), and each contest winner also receives the anthology in print. The 2022 anthology and the anthologies from previous years will be available at the festival and online. You can also check out previous years’ anthologies here.)

Each entry to the contest has a $15 Canadian entry fee, one hundred percent of which goes directly to supporting the Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival.

Full contest rules and guidelines are available for download. For more information on the Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival, click here.

Any queries about the contest should be directed to contest.saow@gmail.com with ‘Writing Contest Questions’ in the subject line of your email.

Pay Your Entry Fee Through Paypal

If you wish to pay your contest entry fee through PayPal, you can do so here using your PayPal account or a major credit card.

Payment can also be made through Interac e-transfer or by cheque. See the downloadable contest guidelines for information.

Entry Type

The Winners of the 2021 Askew’s Word on the Lake Writing Contest

In the fiction category, judged by Richard Kelly Kemick:

• First Place: “Pomodoro Vesuvio” by DK Eve
• Second Place: “Who Was That Masked Man?” by Shawn L. Bird
• Honourable Mention: “Oops” — by Finnian Burnett

In the nonfiction category, judged by Linda Rogers:

• First Place: “Out of Place” by Chester Ferris
• Second Place: “Crossroads” by Oliver Butterfield
• Honourable Mention: “Shooting the Midnight Ship” by S. Maggie Ricciardi

In the poetry category, judged by Sylvia Taylor:

• First Place: “Where I’m From” by Charlene Coles
• Second Place: “Make Poems For You” by Karen Bissenden
• Honourable Mention: “A Lament for Hunter S. Thompson” by Simone Blais

The 2021 Askew’s Word on the Lake Anthology contains these stories and poems and more.

All three of this year’s judges were uniformly enthusiastic in their reactions to the entries and the difficulty of choosing just three winners in each category. Nonfiction judge Linda Rogers observed an interesting overarching theme to many of this year’s entries, noting that: “The entries in nonfiction form a COVID gathering that actually fits the arc of the pandemic. We are in the final phase, we hope, and the reflection and almost anachronistic tone of these pieces speaks not to the external conflict we are witnessing as much as to kindness — a desire to connect generational past and present, and make something better out of all we have experienced and learned.”