Contest

Guidelines

This contest runs every month from the 1st to the 10th. Entries are due on the 10th at 11:59 p.m Pacific Time.

We rotate through fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. Check this page on the 1st of the month for the next contest guidelines or sign up for our mailing list for notifications.

Open to anyone worldwide. Prize payout via e-transfer (in Canada), IBAN transfer (Europe), or Wise or PayPal (rest of world).

May 2022

Poetry:

Write a poem about work, workers, employment, contracts, unions, or some other aspect of labour. It could be about a mining camp or the sensation of using your muscles to swaddle a newborn baby. It could be about physical or intellectual labour, the health impacts of repetitive motion or the joy of learning a new skill. Be creative, as long as the theme of labour is clearly present.

All poetry forms, rhyme schemes and meters, traditional or otherwise, are accepted. The exception: Do not submit images with your text.

Poems should be 20 lines or less (including blank lines).

Multiple submissions welcome, but each one counts as a new entry with a new fee. You can pay your fees in one transaction, as long as it totals $5CAD per piece.

Submit by May 10, 2022, at 11:59pm Pacific Time.

All eligible entries receive feedback from the judges

Prize

The winner will take home 50% of the submission fees and your story will be published here at Off Topic. It may also be eligible for future anthologies.

April 2022’s prize was $64 CAD.

Starting in April 2022, honourable mentions may also choose to be published online throughout the following month.

Submission Fee:

$5 CAD (additional contributions gratefully accepted, to boost the prize, pay the judges, and help cover costs)

A person in PPE welding something on a worktable.

GENERAL CONTEST info

As of April 2021, we publish one piece online every month. This piece is the winner of our contest.

Winners are paid 50% of the submission fees received for that month. The other 50% goes to the judges, organizers, and incidental costs (such as website upkeep and payment processing).

No simultaneous submissions!

No reprints!

Multiple submissions are welcome!

Short Fiction: All fiction genres, mixed genres, non-genres, and so on are accepted. For this category, we do not accept poetry, screenplays, or anything else that is not a prose story.

Stories should be 1500 words or less. 

Short Creative Non-Fiction: All creative non-fiction genres, mixed genres, non-genres, and so on are accepted. For this category, we do not accept poetry, screenplays, or anything else that is not a prose story.

Stories should be 1500 words or less. 

Poetry: All poetry forms, rhyme schemes and meters, traditional or otherwise, are accepted.

Poems should be 20 lines or less, including blank lines. This does not include the title, which should be at the top of your document.


Please do not include images with your submission.

If you win, we ask for first serial rights, exclusive worldwide print and electronic rights for six (6) months, and perpetual non-exclusive worldwide print and electronic rights, including the right to archive and anthologize the work.

If your piece is reprinted elsewhere, we ask that you include a statement that it originally appeared at Off Topic.

Winners and honourable mentions may also be included in a future anthology. If selected for such a project, rights will be negotiated at that time.

Submissions that do not follow the guidelines will be ignored and will not receive feedback. No submission fees will be refunded. Please double-check your entry before you send it in!