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Have a story or a poem about to bloom?

Send it to our 28th annual literary contest! 

$2000 for Best Short Story!

$2000 for Ralph Gustafson Prize for Best Poem!

$250 for two honourable mentions in each category!

Good luck to all entrants. Since December 1st falls on a Saturday, this year's contest deadline is Monday, December 3, 2018 (postmarked for mailed entries and 11:59 pm Atlantic Standard Time for Submittable entries)

Annual Contest General Rules and Information:

  • Entries must be original and unpublished. No simultaneous submissions and no previously published (or accepted for publication) submissions. This means that an entry must not be under consideration elsewhere for publication, nor accepted elsewhere for publication, nor entered in any other contest. Work that has appeared on the internet (e.g., online magazines, blogs, or social media sites) is considered published for the purposes of this contest and is ineligible.
  • An entry must be the original work of the person who is submitting it and the name and contact information provided must be the author’s. Contest entries should be submitted under the author’s real name. If you use a pseudonym for your published works, you will have a chance to inform the editor of this, should your work be selected by the judges.
  • All entries must be submitted by mail or via Submittable. This year's contest deadline is Monday December 3, 2018 (postmarked for mailed entries and before December 3rd, 11:59 pm Atlantic Standard Time for Submittable entries ). No faxed or emailed submissions are allowed.
  • No revisions or changes may be made to an entry once you have submitted it. So please carefully check your entry before you enter it into the contest.
  • Judging for the contest is blind. Do not put your name or contact information or other identifying information (e.g., publishing pseudonyms) anywhere on your actual entry. For mailed entries place your name and contact information on an accompanying cover page along with information about the submission requested below. For Submittable entries, there will be a place on the Submittable form for your name and contact information.
  • The contest has two categories: short fiction and poetry. An entry can only be submitted to one of the categories. If you, for example, send 1 poem and a story, then you have sent two entries – one for the poetry category and one for the short fiction category — and you must include payment for two entries.
  • One short-fiction entry is one story (6,000 words maximum). Short-fiction entries should be double spaced and paginated. For mailed entries the word count should be noted on cover page that accompanies your entry. For Submittable entries the word count should be noted on the Submittable form.
  • One poetry entry is up to 3 poems; no more than 100 lines per poem. If a poem is longer than one page, please make sure that each page is numbered and has the poem’s title in the header. Each poem should start on a new page. Poems may be single spaced. For mailed entries the title and the number of lines for each poem should be noted on the cover page. For Submittable entries the title and the number of lines for each poem should be noted in the Submittable form.
  • The entry fee for your first entry depends on where you are living. If your address is in Canada, then the fee for first entry is $30. Additional entries after that first contest entry (to either contest category) are $10. If you do not live in Canada, then the fee for your first entry is $36 and additional entries after that first entry (to either contest category) are $10.
  • You must submit a first entry (and pay the first entry fee) before submitting an additional entry. If you submit an additional entry without first submitting that first entry, your entry may be disqualified and the entry fee will not be returned.
  • You will receive a one-year subscription to The Fiddlehead with your first entry. New subscriptions will start with the winter 2019 issue (no. 278). Already a subscriber? — you'll receive a one-year extension to your current subscription. Additional entries do not receive an additional subscription or subscription extension.
  • The Fiddlehead occasionally swaps its subscription list with other literary organizations. If you don't wish to be included in such exchanges, please state this on your entry's cover page.
  • Contest winners and honourable mentions will be contacted directly (by either email or telephone) before the end of February 2019. Other entrants will not be individually contacted about the results. Authors’ names and the titles of the works that made the longlist of 15 in both categories will appear on The Fiddlehead’s website in early March 2019. The shortlists will appear in early April 2019. The winners and honourable mentions are announced on The Fiddlehead website and on The Fiddlehead’s social media spaces once the spring issue comes out.
  • The winning entries and honourable mentions are published in The Fiddlehead’s spring 2019 issue and on our website. Authors are paid for publication in addition to their contest prizes. The current publication payment rate is $60/page.
  • The two winners will be interviewed. The interviews will be published on The Fiddlehead’s website when the spring issue comes out.
  • An entry will be disqualified (no matter at what stage in the contest process it is at), if it is discovered that an entry has violated the contest rule on simultaneous submissions, prior publication or original authorship. The entry fee will not be reimbursed; however, the entrant will still receive the one-year subscription if the entry was an initial entry.
  • An entry may be disqualified (no matter at what stage in the contest process it is at), if it is discovered that the author entered that entry as an additional entry and never submitted and paid for a first entry. The entry fee will be not be reimbursed; and if a subscription was started in error, it will immediately be cancelled.


For Submittable entries:

  • You can only upload ONE file when entering via Submittable, so your entire submission must be in that one file (.doc or .docx preferred; rtfs acceptable; no pdfs please). Please do not submit your entry as a pdf. Do not include a cover letter or bio as part of that file. Cover letters and bios will be deleted from any entry file.
  • Remember only use the additional entry category if and only if you have already submitted and paid for a first contest entry.
  • For poetry entries: Remember that all the poems in your entry (maximum of three poems in one entry) must be in one file. Submitting two or three poems? — please begin each poem on a new page within the document file.


For mailed entries:

  • Please include a separate cover page that has on it the entry’s title(s), the category your entry goes in (short fiction or poetry), and your name and contact information (mailing address, phone number, and, if you have one, your email address). There is no need to include any additional information.
  • You need one cover page for each entry. It is fine to mail your first entry and additional entries in one package, but please make sure each entry has a cover page and that your enclosed payment covers the fees for all the enclosed entries.
  • Word-processed or typed entries only. Please use white paper, print only on one side; 12-point fonts preferred. Clip the sheets together, do not staple.
  • Please keep a copy of your entry; mailed entries will not be returned even if accompanied by a SASE.
  • Paying by cheque or money order? Make your cheque or money order payable to The Fiddlehead and enclose it with your entry. International entries paying by cheque or money order must pay in US dollars.
  • Paying by credit card? Download and print out the contest credit card form and enclose it with your contest entry. Mailed international entries done by credit card will be charged the entry fees in Canadian dollars. We are sorry but debit and bank access (ATM) cards cannot be used in place of credit cards.

For further information contact us at

The Fiddlehead Contest
Campus House
11 Garland Court
UNB PO Box 4400
Fredericton NB, 
E3B 5A3 Canada