Islands Short Fiction Contest 2021

Presented by the Nanaimo Arts Council

Vancouver Island University,
Department of Creative Writing and Journalism

Vancouver Island Regional Library

Special support for youth through
The Nanaimo Foundation

Islands Short Fiction Contest is open to writers of all ages from Vancouver Island and the surrounding Gulf Islands.

Short Fiction of up to 2000 words. Deadline for submissions is 11:59 pm, March 31, 2021.

Winners share $2,200 in cash and prizes!


Junior: Peter Maguire, Library Manager, Sooke & Port Renfrew branches, VIRL
Youth: Arija Fisher, Librarian, Campbell River branch, VIRL
Adult: Doretta Lau, author of the short story collection How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? (Nightwood Editions, 2014) and the poetry chapbook Cause and Effect (The Vault, 2020). She is writing a comedic novel about an inept company struggling to open a theme park about death and an essay collection about navigating volcanoes, illness, and other enormities on the worst timeline.

There are three categories.

Junior: Ages 12 and under. No entry fee
First prize: $100 cash & $75 gift certificate
Second prize: $50 cash & $50 gift certificate
Third prize: $25 cash & $25 gift certificate
All Junior Entries: Certificate of Accomplishment

Youth: Ages 13 to 18. No entry fee
First prize: $150 cash & $75 gift certificate
Second prize: $100 cash & $50 gift certificate
Third prize: $75 cash & $25 gift certificate
All Youth Entries: Certificate of Accomplishment

Adult: Ages 19 and over. $20 per entry
First prize: $700 cash
Second: $400 cash
Third: $300 cash

Contest Rules and Submission Requirements

● Stories of up to 2000 words will be accepted. Entries over the word count will not be considered.
● This is a regional contest, limited to residents of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
● Your name MUST NOT be on any part of your submission except the entry form.
● Multiple entries are permitted, but adults must pay a separate $20 entry fee for each submission.
● Entries must not be previously published. Stories which have previously placed first, second, or third in the Islands Short Fiction Contest may not be entered again.
● Payment can be made on the NAC website via credit card or PayPal, or by cheque payable to The Nanaimo Arts Council. Adult entries will not be considered until payment is received.
● We prefer online entries (doc, docx or pdf formats only please) but will accept typewritten stories and cheques mailed to: The Nanaimo Arts Council,
PO Box 401 Stn A, Nanaimo BC, V9R 5L3. Please download and fill out an entry form, and send it in with your submission.
● Winners may be required to submit proof of identity and age in order to accept their prize.
● Employees and Board Members of the Nanaimo Arts Council are not eligible to enter.
● Deadline for submissions is March 31, 2021, at 11:59 pm.

Winners will be announced at a prize ceremony and reading on May 1, 2021, at 2 pm. Information about attending this virtual event, which will be held online via Zoom, will be published in advance of the ceremony, and winners will be contacted directly beforehand. Results will be announced via press release, on social media, online on this website and on, and in the NAC newsletter. Subject to permission from the authors, the first, second and third place stories in each category will also be published on this website. Questions? Please contact info(at)

If you would like to help us spread the word about the contest, we would be very grateful if you would print and display the contest poster (use the buttons at the top of this page) and share our social media posts.

This program is made possible through generous assistance and funding from Vancouver Island University’s Department of Creative Writing and Journalism, the Vancouver Island Regional Library, the Nanaimo Foundation, The City of Nanaimo, and the British Columbia Arts Council. Special thanks to Jen Seper at VIRL, and Frank Moher, Sonnet L’Abbé, and William Litchfield at VIU, who have all contributed greatly to the contest.