Federation of British Columbia Writers, 2019 Literary Writes Poetry Contest



Submissions are now open for this year’s Literary Writes poetry contest sponsored by the Federation of British Columbia Writers (FBCW). There will be two sections – a general category, judged by Fiona Tinwei Lam and a 19-and-under youth category judged by Renée Saklikar, both with the theme: “Who is ‘The Other’?”

“The Federation of British Columbia Writers is committed to supporting and inspiring writers and is very happy to be able to include an award for young poets this year,” said FBCW president Ann Graham Walker. “We’d like people to please help us by ensuring that news of this contest gets to schools and libraries in their community.”

Fiona Tinwei Lam has authored two poetry books and a children’s book. She edited The Bright Well: Canadian Poems on Facing Cancer, and co-edited Love Me True: Writers on the Ins, Outs, Ups & Downs of Marriage. She has won The New Quarterly’s Nick Blatchford prize and was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award. Her work appears in over thirty anthologies, including The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry: 10th Anniversary Edition and Forcefield: 77 Women Poets of BC. Her poetry videos have screened at festivals locally and internationally. She teaches at Simon Fraser University’s Continuing Studies. Her new collection of poems is forthcoming with Caitlin Press in 2019. fionalam.net

Renée Sarojini Saklikar is Poet Laureate for the City of Surrey, British Columbia. Her latest book is a B.C. bestseller: Listening to the Bees (Nightwood Editions, 2018), about honey, bees, ecology, and language. Renée’s bee poetry explores sound, language as material, and experiments and plays with different form poems as well as the page as landscape. Renée’s first book, children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections, (Nightwood Editions, 2013), about the bombing of Air India Flight 182, won the 2014 Canadian Authors Award for Poetry and was a finalist for the 2014 Dorothy Livesay (BC Book Prize) award. Her second book, an anthology co-authored with Wayde Compton, The Revolving City: 51 poems and the stories behind them, (Anvil Press/SFU Public Square, 2016), was a 2016 City of Vancouver Book Award finalist. Renée is currently working on an epic poem, THOT-J-BAP published in chapbooks by Nomados Press, Nous Zot Press, and in journals such as Tripwire, and Eleven Eleven. After the Battle of Kingsway, a chapbook published by above/ground press was a 2017 bpNichol chapbook award finalist. Renée’s work has attracted the interests of composers resulting in collaborations with Canada’s acclaimed Turning Point Ensemble for an operatic adaptation of her work: air india [redacted], 2015 and forthcoming, with the Ensemble, a composition based on her bee poems (2019. Extracts from Reneé’s long poem THOT-J-BAP formed part of an eco-art installation with conceptual artist Chris Turnbull. Renée serves on the boards of Event magazine, The Capilano Review and the Surrey International Writers Conference and she is co-founder and curator of the popular poetry reading series, Lunch Poems at SFU. She teaches creative writing and legal ethics for SFU Continuing Studies and creative writing for VCC. You can find out more about her work at thecanadaproject on wordpress and follow her on twitter: @reneesarojini

“The Federation of BC Writers is very honoured to have such outstanding writers helping us to nurture excellence through our contests,” said organizer Cynthia Sharp, a Vancouver writer on the board of the FBCW. 

The FBCW is committed to supporting excellence in writing and – with funding from the BC Arts Council — runs three literary contests per year. In addition to the Literary Writes poetry competition in the winter, it offers the BC Short, a short story competition in the spring, and a 650-word “Flash Prose” (Fiction/Non-Fiction) contest in the Fall.

For more information, contest guidelines, and to submit, please go to the Submittable page, fbcw.submittable.com/submit.

 The entry fee is $15 per poem. FBCW Members pay $10 and youth pay only $5.

Entries will be handled through Submittable.

The name of the entrant must not appear anywhere on the entry itself.


The winner of each category will receive a cash prize of $350

Contest Details

• The deadline for submissions is midnight February 1, 2019.

• The contest is open to residents of Canada and Canadian citizens.

• A short list will be published at www.bcwriters.ca on February 16, 2019.

• Winners will be notified by email.

• Winners will be announced at www.bcwriters.ca on March 1, 2019.

• Winning entries will be published in the FBCW’s magazine, WordWorks. The winners will also receive a year’s FBCW membership.


• One poem per entry, maximum length 40 lines, including title, on one page.

• Entry fee for each submission is $10 for FBCW members, $15 for non-FBCW members and only $5 for any youth.

• All submitted work must be original, previously unpublished, and not awaiting publication anywhere. Previously published is considered to be any appearance in print or online, including on or in a newspaper, newsletter, magazine, anthology, chapbook, book, website, electronic magazine, personal blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

• Please use standard margins, 12 point font.

• Acceptable file formats are .doc, .docx, or .pdf.

Entries will be blind judged. To assure anonymity please do not put your name on your story or poem in the file you upload or in the file name. Make sure the title of your piece is in the file name.

Judging will be based on

• Compelling use of language

• Creative and interesting development of the theme

• Overall writing style

How to Submit 

To enter, please visit fbcw.submittable.com/submit, and follow the directions listed on the page. You will need to have ready:

• Your submission in a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file format with no identifiable information on any of the pages

• A cover letter, including a short biographical statement. This will be pasted into the form, not attached.

• The title of the submission

• A paypal account or credit card to pay the submission fee

Only online entries will be accepted. FBCW has designated the external site Submittable to manage the submissions to the contest.



To see the past contest details, go here.


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