The deadline for pitches is September 1, 2021. Please send pitches to pitch[AT]briarpatchmagazine.com with the subject line “Northern Writing Prize.”
The Northern Writing Prize was established in 2018, to help writers, photographers, and artists tell stories about the North.
The winner will receive $600 for a feature article, photo essay, or graphic narrative that examines the politics, culture, environmental issues, and/or activism present in Canada’s North. The best pitch will be selected by Briarpatch’s staff, and developed into a feature that will be published in the January 2021 issue of Briarpatch Magazine.
Briarpatch seeks to publish writing on social and environmental justice – we’re interested in decolonization, land defense, feminism, poverty, and workers’ rights, among other topics. Take a look at the features that were developed from 2018, 2019, and 2020's winning pitches: a feature about food, family, and finding queerness in Inuit Nunangat; a feature about tourism, climate change, and cultural preservation in Old Crow; and a feature about the colonial practices of the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.
We recognize that the North is defined culturally, rather than by strict geographic lines, and we’re looking for writers who have a connection to the land, culture, and/or communities of the North. The North roughly encompasses what is currently known as the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, and northern parts of what is currently known as B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador. We are especially seeking pitches from Indigenous people.
How to pitch
You don't have to be a journalist to submit a pitch – we're looking for anyone with a story to tell about their community, environment, or land. We prioritize writers of colour, especially Indigenous and Black writers. If you’re a writer of colour who wants more support in crafting a pitch or developing an angle for your story, you can email saima[at]briarpatchmagazine.com before August 15, 2021.
A pitch is a short summary of the story you want to write. Your pitch should be under 200 words, and between one and three paragraphs.
Ideally, your first paragraph will grab the editor’s interest with a jaw-dropping hook. Within three to five sentences it will explain the thrust of the story. The second paragraph should briefly elaborate, situating the story in time and place (make it relevant to today’s political debates and current events) and revealing your analytical contribution. The third paragraph will explain who you are and what your connection to the story is.
Make sure you include the length of the piece you propose. Briarpatch usually publishes features between 1,500 and 2,500 words. A strong pitch will always include the interviews you’ve done or plan to do. Please include a brief bio, and a sample of your writing.
Those who want to make a financial contribution to the Northern Writing Prize fund may make donations payable to Briarpatch Magazine at 2138 McIntyre St, Regina, SK, S4P 2R7, or by calling 1-866-431-5777. This will help us sustain the prize and pay for deep-dive stories on the North for many years to come!