To submit to the contest, please fill out this submission form. The deadline for entries is December 1, 2021.

Briarpatch is accepting submissions of original, unpublished writing and photography for our 11th annual Writing in the Margins contest. This year the categories are creative non-fiction, poetry, and documentary photography. Have your work seen by judges Amber Dawn (creative non-fiction), jaye simpson (poetry), and Jeff Bierk (photography).

Briarpatch is seeking fresh writing and photography that brings to life issues of political, social, and environmental justice. We want writing and photos from the edges – from new creators who have something important to say, or from longtime creators who can show us a new way of seeing things.

Winning entries in each category will receive cash prizes of $500 and will be published in Briarpatch, an award-winning, nationally distributed magazine of culture and politics. Runners-up in each category will receive cash prizes of $150 and will be published online.

The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2021. Entrance costs $25 and includes a one-year subscription to Briarpatch (entrance details are below, and we have a limited number of bursaries for low-income writers and photographers).

Judging

This year’s creative non-fiction entries will be judged by Amber Dawn.

​​Amber Dawn is a writer and creative facilitator living on unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (Vancouver, Canada). She is the author of five books and the editor of three anthologies. Her memoir How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir (2013) won the Vancouver Book Award. She currently teaches creative writing at Douglas College, as well as guest mentors at several low-barrier, community-driven spaces.

This year’s poetry entries will be judged by jaye simpson.

jaye simpson is an Oji-Cree Saulteaux Indigiqueer from Sapotaweyak Cree Nation. Their debut collection of poetry it was never going to be okay won the Indigenous Voices Award for Published Poetry in English and was shortlisted for a 2021 ReLit Award and a 2021 Dayne Ogilvie Finalist. simpson resides on the unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territories.

This year’s photography entries will be judged by Jeff Bierk.

Jeff Bierk is a self-taught, multi-disciplinary artist, working with photography, sculpture, video and paint. Born to the late artists Liz and David Bierk, he grew up in Peterborough, Ontario and learned the basics of photography and composition from his father. Jeff spent the majority of his teens and twenties lost to the opiate epidemic, addicted to OxyContin. He currently works for Anishnawbe Health, is a founding member of the Encampment Support Network, and is deeply committed to his community in downtown central east of Toronto. His work has been exhibited nationally, engaging themes that grapple with grief, addiction, homelessness, and settler colonial constructs of beauty and masculinity. Predominantly known for his portraiture, Bierk’s work poses serious questions about the ethics of street photography. Through a practice of collaborative photography, Bierk and his collaborators disrupt the formal definition and economics of photojournalism, and problematize the idea of the photographer as sole author of the photograph.

Prizes

We will select one winner from each category. Each winner will receive $500, and their submissions will be published in the May/June 2022 issue of Briarpatch, following a collaborative editing process.

Honourable mentions will receive $150, and their submissions will be featured online alongside contest winners at briarpatchmagazine.com.

The best local entry (from an entrant based in Regina and surrounding area) will receive a special prize package of books.

How to enter

Creative non-fiction
Creative non-fiction submissions should not exceed 2,000 words. Please attach your submission as a DOC, DOCX, or PDF file. Your submission should include the title of your work, but in order to ensure fairness and anonymity in judging, please do not indicate your name on the submission itself.

Poetry
Poetry entries are limited to one poem that should not exceed two pages in length. Please attach your submission as a DOC, DOCX, or PDF file. Your submission should include the title of your work, but in order to ensure fairness and anonymity in judging, please do not indicate your name on the submission itself.

Photography
Please submit between 1 and 7 original, unpublished photos that document an issue of social, environmental, or political justice. We’re interested in photos that show a deep and enduring engagement with the issue, land, event, or community that you’re documenting.

Please also provide either:

  • one artist statement of up to 350 words, to accompany the entire set of photos
  • a caption of up to 50 words to accompany each photo

Photographs must be digital files – we will not be accepting print submissions by mail. The photograph does not need to have been taken with a digital camera; scans of negatives, transparencies, or photographic prints are acceptable. Watermarks are not acceptable. All digital files must be 20 megabytes or smaller, must be in JPEG or .jpg format, and must be at least 1,200 pixels wide (if a horizontal image) or 1,200 pixels tall (if a vertical image).

Deadline

The deadline for entry is December 1, 2021. Any entries received after midnight Central Standard Time on this date will not be considered.

Winners will be notified in January 2022, and will be announced on the website after January.

Submission form & entry fee

To submit to the contest, please fill out this submission form.

Entry fee

Your $25 entry fee gets you a full year’s subscription to Briarpatch (regularly $29.95). This fee helps to cover the costs of organizing, promoting, and administrating the contest, as well as the cash prizes. Please note that U.S. submissions cost $40 and other international submissions cost $45 to cover the additional costs of postage for your subscription.

To pay your entry fee online with your credit card or PayPal account, fill out the form below:

Entrant location
Your full name

Payment can also be made by cheque or cash (mailed separately with your name clearly identified) to Briarpatch Magazine, 2138 McIntyre Street, Regina, SK, S4P 2R7; or over the phone with your credit card at 1-866-431-5777.

Bursaries

We know that for some, a $25 entry fee can be prohibitively expensive. So we’ve created a bursary that will cover the cost of entry for 10 low-income writers and artists living in Canada. We will give out bursaries on a first-come, first-served basis for those who request them. People who receive a bursary to cover the cost of entry will also still receive a year-long subscription to Briarpatch. You can request a bursary on the submission form, and we will reply to you by email to let you know if there is a bursary available for you.

Other details

Please submit only one entry per person. Entries must be original, unpublished, and not submitted simultaneously to other publications or contests. Entrants must agree to be bound to the contest rules. The decisions of our keen-eyed judges are final. Winners may be requested to engage in a collaborative editing process with Briarpatch editors prior to publication.