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Canadian Art Writing Prize

Founded in 2009, the Canadian Art Writing Prize is a juried award designed to encourage new writers on contemporary art.

The winner of this national competition receives $3,000 and is commissioned to write a feature story for an upcoming print issue of Canadian Art. The two-runners up each receive $1,000 and are commissioned to write a feature story for Both the winner and the runners-up receive complimentary subscriptions to Canadian Art.

To be eligible for this prize, the applicant must be 18 years of age or older and have no more than three pieces of writing published in a professional context.

The 2019 Writing Prize was awarded to Mercedes Webb, who will be commissioned to write a feature story for a future issue of Canadian Art and will receive a $3,000 award. The two runners-up are emerging artist and writer Louis Fermor, and curator and writer Missy LeBlanc. Each will receive recognition in the magazine and a $1,000 award.

Past jurors of the Writing Prize have included Vancouver-based writer and curator, Bopha Chhay; New York–based writer and editor Haley Mlotek; Montreal-based novelist, short-story writer and essayist Heather O’Neill; curator and writer Nasrin Himada; writer and artist Sam Cotter; and Canadian Art managing editor Tess Edmonson.

Application guidelines: Please send an unpublished writing sample (800 to 1,000 words) on any art-related subject, plus a 200-word biography, to Your writing sample should take the form of a critical essay or review. If a review, please frame it as it relates to current artistic and cultural discourse. Successful applicants will have writing that is opinionated, provocative and original, and reflects Canadian Art’s commitment to intelligent, accessible writing that connects contemporary art to broader ideas around culture and politics.

Before submitting, we encourage you to become familiar with our publication, including our mandate and contributor guidelines.

Applications for the 2020 Writing Prize are due July 3, 2020.

We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the Joan and Clifford Hatch Foundation and the Norman and Margaret Jewison Foundation.