The Islands Short Fiction Contest will feature increased cash awards in 2019.

Now in its 14th year, the contest is open to writers of all ages on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Over $2200 in cash and prizes will be awarded over three categories: Adult (writers 19 and over), Youth (writers 13 to 18), and Junior (writers 12 and under).

Adult first prize now $700

Thanks to a boost in funding from the Vancouver Island University Department of Creative Writing and Journalism, which co-sponsors the award with the Nanaimo Arts Council and the Vancouver Island Regional Library, the top prize, given to the first-place winner of the Adult category, is now $700. Increased amounts will go to the second- and third-place finalists as well.

“We’re delighted to support the Islands Short Fiction Contest,” says Kathy Page, Chair of the VIU Department of Creative Writing and Journalism. “The contest is a great motivator and a wonderful opportunity for writers — it’s just a fantastic way to both stimulate and celebrate local talent.”

“This is an opportunity for Island writing talent to shine,” adds Daniel Appell, General Manager of the Nanaimo Arts Council.

Stephen Guppy

Judge of the 2019 adult category is Stephen Guppy. The author of two novels, The Fire Thief and Like I Care, he has also published two collections of short stories, Another Sad Day on the Edge of the Empire and The Work of Mercy. His stories have been selected for The Journey Prize Anthology, Best Canadian Stories, and various other anthologies. Recently retired from VIU, Guppy has also published a textbook for creative writing workshops: Writing and Workshopping Poetry—A Constructive Introduction (Broadview Press).

The Youth and Junior categories are judged by VIRL librarians specializing in young adult and children’s literature.  The winner of the Youth category will be eligible for publication in the anthology “In Our Own Teen Voice – 5,” produced by the Vancouver Island Regional Library with the support of Rebel Mountain Press.

The entry deadline is March 29, 2019 (noon). Complete details and entry forms are available on this website and at A $20 fee is charged per adult entry. There is no fee for the youth and junior categories.

Winners will be announced at a presentation in Nanaimo in April.

For further information, e-mail or phone 250-729-3947 (Nanaimo). Recent winners and finalists can be read here. The Islands Short Fiction Contest is made possible by support from the City of Nanaimo.