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

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 1,500 words), nonfiction (up to 1,500 words), and poetry (up to three poems of one page each). The contest submission period opens on January 2, 2023, and submissions can be emailed up to midnight Pacific time, January 31, 2023.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the writing contest, we’re pleased to announce increased prize money starting this year!

  • $200 for First Place in each category, plus a 2023 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 2023 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 2023 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 2022 Askew’s Word on the Lake Writing Contest


In the fiction category, judged by Norma Dunning:

  • First Place: “In the Spring, 1939” by Sinclair Buckstaff, Jr.
  • Second Place: “Empty” by Neil McKinnon
  • Honourable Mention: “When We Meet Again for the First Time” by Finnian Burnett

In the nonfiction category, judged by Jacqueline Turner:

  • First Place: “Heart Broken, Heart Mended” by Mary Leah de Zwart
  • Second Place: “The Banffshire 6232” by Jill Martin
  • Honourable Mention: “The Open Cabin Door” by Barclay Alldred

In the poetry category, judged by Anne Fleming:

  • First Place: “Bringing in the Sheaves” by Myrna Garanis
  • Second Place: “What Drifts In” by Heidi Garnett
  • Honourable Mention: “I Was Standing Over” by Cherie Hanson
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