2024 Askew’s Word on the Lake Writing Contest

Whether you’re an established or emerging writer, the annual Askew’s Word on the Lake Writing Contest has a place for you.

Part of the Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival, the contest is open to submissions in short fiction (up to 2,000 words), nonfiction (up to 2,000 words), and poetry (up to three poems of one page each), for works that are unpublished, have not previously won another contest, and are not currently entered in another contest.

The contest submission period opens on January 2, 2024, and submissions can be emailed up to midnight Pacific time, January 31, 2024.

The contest offers prizes for nine winners overall, thanks to the generosity of contest sponsor Askew’s Foods:

  • $200 for First Place in each category (short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry), plus a 2024 festival registration package
  • $125 for Second Place in each category, plus a festival banquet package
  • $100 for Honourable Mention in each category, plus a festival banquet package

All winning entries will also be published in the 2024 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 2024 anthology, along with anthologies from previous years, will be available at the festival and online.

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.

If you’d like to get on the contest mailing list for updates, drop a line to [email protected]. For more information on the Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival, see the festival website.

Any queries about the contest should be directed to [email protected] 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 2023 Askew’s Word on the Lake Writing Contest


In the fiction category, judged by Chris (C.C.) Humphreys:

  • First Place: “West of Alberta” by Harrison Kim
  • Second Place: “Memory Alley” by Finnian Burnett
  • Honourable Mention: “Sorrow’s Own Aria” by Natalie J. Chan

In the nonfiction category, judged by Theresa Kishkan:

  • First Place: “Waltz Time” by S. Kaija Pepper
  • Second Place: “Trouvaille: A Legacy for Generations” by Donna VanSant
  • Honourable Mention: “Finding Joy” by Serena Caner

In the poetry category, judged by Conor Kerr:

  • First Place: “Rowing” by Evan J
  • Second Place: “Sipping coffee from a leaky thermos” by Wendy Weseen
  • Honourable Mention: “It’s okay for people to be angry” by Melissa Sawatsky
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