Short Grain Contest

Submissions are now closed.

We thank Cheryl & Henry Kloppenburg, Barristers and Solicitors, Saskatoon, for their ongoing support of Grain and the Short Grain Writing Contest.

Grain and the Short Grain Writing Contest have featured the work of such literary luminaries as Lorna CrozierXi ChuaTim LilburnGuy MaddinPatrick LaneMiriam ToewsZsuzsi Gartner, and Eleanor Wachtel. You could join them in the pages of Grain.

2019 Short Grain Judges

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Karen Solie, Poetry Judge

Karen Solie’s fifth collection of poetry, The Caiplie Caves, will be published in Canada, the US, and UK this spring. She has worked for writing programs across Canada and in the UK, and has served most recently as Writer-in-Residence for Memorial University of Newfoundland. An Associate Director for the Banff Centre’s Writing Studio, she lives in Toronto.

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Joshua Whitehead, Fiction Judge

Joshua Whitehead is an Ojibwe-nêhiyaw Two-Spirit member of Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1). In 2018 he received an Honour of Distinction from the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers. He is the author of Jonny Appleseed (Arsenal Pulp, 2018), which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and shortlisted for a Governor General’s Literary Award, and full-metal indigiqueer (Talonbooks, 2017), which was shortlisted for the inaugural Indigenous Voices Award and the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry. He is currently a doctoral student at the University of Calgary (Treaty 7) where he focusses on Indigenous literatures and cultures.

2019 Winners (to be published in Grain 47.1)



First place: “Middle of Nowhere” by Roni Muench
Second place: “The Settler” by Shandell Houlden
Third place: “Don’t Tell Pablo” by Cora Siré

Honourable mentions:
“Small Fires Burned in Newspaper Boxes” by Chelsea Comeau
“Lady with the Big Head Chronicle” by Angélique Lalonde


First place: “Horizontal gene transfer” by Bradley Peters
Second place: “Walking with Lions” by Bert Almon
Third place: “330 + 1 Lakes” by Sarah Pelletier

Honourable mentions:
“Flood” by Tara Borin
“The Reasons Why My Younger Self Will Not Surrender Her Memories to Me” by Tea Gerbeza


Three prizes will be awarded in each category:

  • 1st = $1,000 and publication in Grain

  • 2nd = $750 and publication in Grain

  • 3rd = $500 and publication in Grain

Contest prizes donated in part by Cheryl & Henry KloppenburgBarristers and Solicitors, Saskatoon.

Each entrant receives a free subscription to Grain Magazine.

Entry Guidelines

1. The basic fee for Canadian entrants is $40 (includes GST) for a maximum of two entries in one category (Poetry or Fiction). The fee for US entrants is $50 and the fee for international entrants is $60, payable in US or Canadian funds. Please make your cheque or money order payable to Short Grain Contest. You may also pay online via PayPal (see below). Every entrant receives a one-year (four-issue) subscription to Grain Magazine, starting after payment is received.

2. Each entry must be original, unpublished, not submitted elsewhere for publication or broadcast, nor accepted elsewhere for publication or broadcast, nor entered simultaneously in any other contest or competition. Work that has appeared online is considered published and is not eligible.

3. All entries in this contest will be judged anonymously, on merit alone. The judges' decisions are final. Judging is blind. Do not print, type, or write your name on the text pages of your entry.

4. Entries must be accompanied by one cover page, regardless of the number of entries submitted, and must provide the following information. If you are submitting via email, include this information in the body of your email.

  • Your name, complete mailing address, telephone number, and email address.

  • Title of your entry or entries.

  • Category you are entering: Poetry (to a max of 100 lines each) or Fiction (to a max of 2,500 words each).

  • Word Count (Fiction) / Line Count (Poetry). An absolutely accurate word or line count is required.

  • Method of Payment (if submitting by email).

5. Entries must be typed (double-spaced for fiction) on 8 1/2 x 11 inch pages, and sent as individual files if emailed.

6. Names of the winners and titles of the winning entries of the Short Grain Contest will be posted on the Grain website in August. Contest winners will be notified directly either by telephone or by email.

7. MAIL: Send your entry or entries to:

Short Grain Contest
PO Box 3986
Regina, SK
Canada, S4P 3R9

Mailed entries will not be returned. Keep a copy of your entry.

8. EMAIL: Send entry or entries as individual files to: with a subject line that contains the author’s full name, genre(s), and payment method (cheque, money order, or PayPal). For example: Jane Grain, Fiction, Cheque OR Jim Grain, Poetry, PayPal. REMEMBER: Judging is blind. Do not put your name on your entry. Acceptable file formats are Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF.

9. Make your cheque or money order payable to Short Grain Contest. If you want to pay online, use the PayPal order form below. If payment is from a name other than that which is on your submission, please let us know.

10. All entries must be POSTMARKED or EMAILED by April 1. Entries postmarked or received by email after this date will not be accepted.

11. Entries by fax will not be accepted.

Pay Online!

You may pay for your online entry by paper means (cheque or money order) or online via PayPal. Use the form below to submit your online payment. Remember: each entry of UP TO two poetry entries or UP TO two fiction entries requires one entry fee. If you submit a poetry entry and a fiction entry, that’s two entry fees. If you submit four fiction entries, that’s two entry fees. All fees are subject to GST (5 %).


After paying, please print a copy of the PayPal receipt for your records.
We will match your payment with your entry by your name. If there is any doubt, we will contact you to confirm your receipt number.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. When you say, "...a maximum of two entries in one category..." does that mean I can enter one piece of Fiction and one piece of Poetry with one $40 entry fee?

A. No. For each $40 entry fee, you may enter one or two pieces of Fiction OR one or two pieces of Poetry. If you do send one piece of Fiction and one piece of Poetry, we will choose one of them at random to be considered.

Q. Can I enter more than once?

A. You may enter as many times as you like, provided you include another entry fee for each entry beyond the first; therefore, two Canadian entries would cost $80.

Q. If I enter twice, can I enter two pieces of Fiction AND two pieces of Poetry?

A. Absolutely! Or you could enter four pieces of Poetry, or two pieces of Poetry and one piece of Fiction, but not three pieces of Poetry and one piece of Fiction.

Q. Do I need to send a separate cover page for each piece of writing I enter?

A. No. Send only one cover page that includes all the information for every piece of writing you are entering. Don't forget to include your complete contact information!

Q. And what happens to my free subscription if I enter more than once?

A. Your Grain subscription will be increased by four issues for each entry fee received beyond the first. So, if you enter twice, you will receive a two-year (eight-issue) subscription to Grain Magazine. If you already have a subscription to Grain, we'll simply add another four issues to your current subscription for each entry fee received. If you’d rather your additional entry fee go towards a subscription for someone else, please indicate this on your cover letter, and provide your friend’s name and mailing address.

Q. What if I enter something that's over the word count? Will that piece be disqualified?

A. Yes. Any piece that is over the word or line count will not be judged. Be conscientious of your word and line counts.

Q. For poetry, do titles or line breaks count as lines toward the 100 line maximum?

A. No. Titles or line breaks or spaces between lines of poetry do not count toward the 100 line maximum. Only lines of text count.

Q. Will entrants be notified of the winners?

A. No. Winners and the names of the winning pieces will be posted on our website in August.

Q. What if the postmarked deadline falls on a weekend when the post offices are closed?

A. Because we are using a postmarked deadline, if the deadline falls on a day when the post offices are closed, we will accept entries postmarked on the next business day.