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 Shuswap Association of Writers is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 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

Thank you so much to everyone who entered, for your amazing creativity and your ongoing support of Word on the Lake. Thank you to Askew’s Foods for their ongoing support of the writing contest and the Word on the Lake Anthology since the start of the contest ten years ago. And thank you to Simon Fraser University and the Writer’s Studio at SFU for joining us this year as a first-place prize sponsor.

The submission period for next year’s contest runs from January 2, 2024, to midnight Pacific time, January 31, 2024, so mark your calendars. As always, prizes will be awarded to three winners in all three categories of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry:

  • $200 for First Place in each category, plus a 2024 festival registration package, plus a gift certificate (a $600 value) for one of the online creative writing courses available through Simon Fraser University and the Writer’s Studio at SFU.
  • $125 for Second Place in each category, plus a festival banquet package.
  • $100 for Honourable Mention in each category, plus a festival banquet package.

Winning entries from each year are published as trade paperback and ebook in the Askew’s Word on the Lake Anthology. Everyone who enters the contest receives a copy of the anthology in ebook format (epub, mobi, and PDF), and each contest winner also receives the anthology in print. Anthologies can be purchased at the festival and online.

Any queries about the contest should be directed to [email protected] with ‘Writing Contest Questions’ in the subject line of your email.