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The Fiddlehead's Annual Contests

The Fiddlehead’s 2023 Ralph Gustafson Prize for Best Poem is Open!


$2000 CAD for Best Poem!

Good luck to all entrants. This year's contest deadline is Friday, December 1, 2023 (postmarked for mailed entries and 11:59 pm Pacific Time for Submittable entries). This year's judges are Kirby, Sadiqa de Meijer, and Rebecca Salazar! 


KIRBY’s work includes Behold (2023), a stage adaption of Poetry is Queer (Palimpsest Press, 2021) What Do You Want to Be Called? (Anstruther Press, 2020) This Is Where I Get Off (Permanent Sleep Press, 2019) She’s Having a Doris Day (KFB, 2017) & editor NOT YOUR BEST No. 2, The Queer Ass Fuck Issue (KFB 2021). Their new collection, She, is slated for 2025 as well as a follow-up to Poetry is Queer, MORE. Their Substack column, “The First Time” can be found at Send My Love To Anyone. They are the publisher, purveyor of fine poetry at knife | fork | book

Sadiqa de Meijer

Sadiqa de Meijer has written the poetry collections Leaving Howe Island and The Outer Wards, and the language memoir alfabet/alphabet. Her work has been awarded the CBC Poetry Prize, Arc's Poem of the Year award, and a Governor General's Literary Award.

Rebecca Salazar

Rebecca Salazar (she/they) is a queer, disabled, and racialized Latinx writer currently living on the unceded territory of the Wolastoqiyik people. Her writing has appeared in journals across Turtle Island, and in two chapbooks: Guzzle (Anstruther) and the knife you need to justify the wound (Rahila’s Ghost). Their first full-length collection sulphurtongue (McClelland & Stewart) was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, the New Brunswick Book Awards, the Atlantic Book Awards, and the League of Canadian Poets’ Pat Lowther Memorial Award.

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•   Entries must be original and unpublished.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 Friday, December 1, 2023 (postmarked for mailed entries and before 11:59 pm Atlantic Standard Time for Submittable entries). No faxed or emailed submissions are allowed.

•   The Fiddlehead will not read work that is ableist, misogynistic, queer-phobic or racist.

•   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 anonymous. 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.

•    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 $35 CAD. Additional entries after that first contest entry are $10 CAD. If you do not live in Canada, then the fee accounts for the exchange rate and is $50 CAD (approximately $40 USD) for the first entry and $10 CAD for additional entries.

•    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 next issue published after the contest closes. 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.

•    The contest winner will be contacted directly (by either email or telephone) 2-3 months after the contest deadline. Other entrants will not be individually contacted about the results. Authors’ names and the titles of the works that make a shortlist of 10-15 will appear on The Fiddlehead website. The winner will be announced on the website and on The Fiddlehead social media spaces at a later date.

•    The winning entry will be published in issue 299 of The Fiddlehead and on the website. There is a publication payment in addition to the contest prize. The current publication payment rate is $60/page.

•    The winner will be interviewed. The interview will be published on The Fiddlehead website when the issue featuring the winning piece is published.

•    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, (pdf, doc or .docx preferred; rtfs acceptable). 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 you have already submitted and paid for a first contest entry. 

For mailed entries:

Please send mailed submission to:

  The Fiddlehead
  Campus House
  11 Garland Ct
  University of New Brunswick
  PO Box 4400   
  Fredericton NB  
  E3B 5A3  

Please make cheque payable to The Fiddlehead.