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Writing DiverCity

Writing DiverCity is The Word On The Street's first fiction contest for writers under 35 and aims to highlight the diversity and vibrancy of emerging Canadian talent.

Writing DiverCity: Fiction Contest


We are thrilled to announce the winners of our inaugural Writing DiverCity Contest, a competition for writers under 35 aimed at highlighting the diversity and vibrancy of emerging Canadian talent, awarding a total of $2,500.

Read the winning Stories:

Congratulations to all the winners! Judges Phoebe Wang, Elyse Friedman, and Ian Williams chose the winning stories over the summer from a large selection of submissions and were amazed at the talent coming forward.

Contest Info



Phoebe Wang

Phoebe Wang is a poet, reviewer and educator based in Toronto. Her debut collection of poetry, Admission Requirements, appeared with McClelland and Stewart in Spring 2017. Her work has been published in The Globe and Mail, Maisonneuve, Ricepaper Magazine, and THIS Magazine. She has been twice been a finalist for the CBC Poetry Prize and won the 2015 Prism International Poetry contest. She has also taught creative writing workshops through Artscape Youngplace and currently works at Seneca College.

Elyse Friedman

Elyse Friedman has written for screens large and small, radio, magazines, and the stage. She is the author, most recently, of The Answer to Everything (HarperCollins Canada). Her work has been shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award, The Toronto Book Award, and the ReLit Award, and has won a gold National Magazine Award for fiction. 

Ian Williams

Ian Williams is the author of Personals, Not Anyone’s Anything, and You Know Who You Are. He was a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award, the ReLit Prize for poetry, and winner of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for the best first collection of short fiction in Canada. He was named as one of ten Canadian writers to watch by CBC. His first novel, Reproduction, is forthcoming from Random House.


First Prize: $1500
Second Prize: $750
Third Prize: $250

The three winning entries will be previewed in our Toronto Star insert on September 23, 2017, published in full on The Word On The Street Toronto’s website, and featured on stage at The Word On The Street festival on September 24, 2017.

Contest Guidelines

  • Entrants must be 35 years-old or younger
  • Entry fee: $20.00 CAD
  • Limit of one story per submission. All proceeds help fund The Word On The Street’s programming and production.
  • Entries must be between 1000 and 2500 words. The judges reserve the right to disqualify stories that do not follow these guidelines.
  • Entries must be double-spaced. 
  • Entries must be received by June 30, 2017, 11:59 pm. Any entries sent after this time will not be considered for the contest.
  • All entries must be submitted using the Submittable form. Please do not submit by email or snail-mail.  The button to access our Submittable page is below.
  • Previously published stories are ineligible for entry. Previous publication is considered to be any appearance in print or online format, including in a Facebook, Twitter, any social media, newspaper, newsletter, magazine, anthology, chapbook, book, website, electronic magazine, zine, or personal blog.
  • Simultaneous submissions are not accepted. If The Word On The Street learns that an entry has been submitted elsewhere for consideration, be it another contest, a magazine, or publisher, the entry will be immediately ineligible.
  • Submissions will not be returned with comment from the judges.
  • Please submit a separate cover letter including the following information:
    • Full name
    • Title of entry
    • Story word count
    • Mailing address
    • Email address
    • How you heard about the contest (to inform future promotion)
  • Ensure that NO personal information, contact information, or identifying markers are present on the entry itself. The judges are required to review each submission without bias. Only the quality of the entry will be considered in determining winners.
  • Winners will be interviewed, which will appear on The Word On The Street’s website, newsletter, and other promotional materials.
  • Winners must be available to read at The Word On The Street on September 24, 2017, at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto.
  • Acceptable file formats: Word (.doc and .docx) or pdf
  • Winners will be notified by email.