THE WRITERS' TRUST McCLELLAND & STEWART JOURNEY PRIZE

SPECIAL EDITION: Celebrating the Best of Canada's New Black Writers

For over three decades, the Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize has prided itself on showcasing the best short fiction by Canada’s most exciting emerging writers. But we recognize that not all voices are given the same opportunities or heard equally. In these urgent times, The Journey Prize commits to amplifying the voices of writers who have historically been silenced by systemic inequality, including within the publishing ecosystem. The 2021 Journey Prize competition and its associated anthology, The Journey Prize Stories, will be dedicated to celebrating the work of Canada’s best emerging Black writers and led by a jury of prominent Black Canadian literary figures.

CALL TO ACTION: In recognition of the vital role Canadian literary magazines and anthologies play in fostering new talent, The Journey Prize has made changes to its submission criteria to encourage our partners in the lit mag world to commit to publishing more Black Canadian writers, and to making the larger CanLit publishing community more accessible for all. Please see details below. 

  • Expanded publication window for eligibility: We have increased the eligible publication window from 1 to 3 years. This means stories by emerging Black Canadian writers published in 2019 and 2020, as well as stories scheduled for publication before the end of 2021, may be submitted for the 2021 Journey Prize. 
  • Removal of submission caps: We have removed limits on the number of eligible stories by emerging Black Canadian writers published between 2019 and 2021 that eligible literary publications may enter to the 2021 competition. 
  • Staggered submission deadlines: SUBMISSION DEADLINE FOR WORKS PUBLISHED IN 2019 AND 2020: December 1, 2020. 
  • The deadlines for stories scheduled for publication in 2021 are to be announced. To help us determine the 2021 submissions deadlines, we would encourage literary publications to fill out this survey: http://bit.ly/JP2021Survey


1. THE PRIZE 

The $10,000 Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize is awarded annually to an emerging Canadian writer of distinction at the beginning of their career for a short story or excerpt from a fiction work-in-progress that has, traditionally, first been published by a Canadian magazine or annual anthology. The Journey Prize is made possible by the late James A. Michener’s generous donation of his Canadian royalty earnings from his novel Journey, published by McClelland & Stewart in 1988. To acknowledge the important role literary print and online magazines and annual anthologies play in discovering new writers, McClelland & Stewart makes its own award of $2,000 to the publication that originally published and submitted the winning entry.

Each year, an independent jury is appointed by McClelland & Stewart in conjunction with The Writers’ Trust of Canada. The jury will select approximately 9–12 stories for inclusion in The Journey Prize Stories, which is published by McClelland & Stewart. From the stories selected for the anthology, the jury will select a shortlist of three stories and a winner.  


2. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA 

i. ***NEW*** For the Celebrating the Best of Canada’s New Black Writers edition, all submitted writers will need to fill out an Author Eligibility Form, as only short stories or excerpts from a fiction work-in-progress from writers who meet the following criteria are eligible:

  1. Writer must self-identify as Black.
  2. Writer is a Canadian citizen, whether living in Canada or abroad, or a permanent resident of Canada.
  3. Writer is an emerging writer who has not published more than one book of fiction as of January 2021, nor has their fiction already received substantial national attention.

ii. Writers may have appeared in earlier volumes of The Journey Prize anthology but cannot have won The Journey Prize before. Previous winners are listed here.

iii. Entries by writers who are currently on the masthead of the submitting publication are not eligible.

iv. ***NEW*** We have expanded the publication window for eligibility, so that stories by emerging Black Canadian writers published in 2019 and 2020, as well as stories scheduled for publication before the end of 2021, may be submitted for the competition. There will be separate submissions deadlines for works published in 2019 and 2020, and for those scheduled for publication in 2021. More details below. 

v. For the first submissions period, in 2020, submissions to the Celebrating the Best of Canada’s New Black Writers edition must come from eligible Canadian print and online literary magazines and annual anthologies, and must be the product of an editorial process. The Journey Prize reserves the right to decide whether a publication qualifies for entry. Publications that have never before submitted to The Journey Prize should write to jolee@penguinrandomhouse.com to confirm their eligibility prior to submitting.

vi. The Journey Prize and the Journey Prize anthology are designed to support new and developing Canadian writers during the early stages of their career. The Journey Prize reserves the right to decide whether a submitted writer qualifies for entry based on this mandate. In the event that a writer is disqualified on this basis, the submitting publication will be given the opportunity to submit a replacement entry.

vii. Following this long-overdue amplification of emerging Black Canadian voices in the 2021 competition, future editions of The Journey Prize will be open to stories published between 2021–2022 and from emerging writers of all backgrounds. In other words, those stories that, under regular circumstances, might have been submitted to the 2021 competition will still have the opportunity to be considered for the next Journey Prize. It is our belief that this celebration of Black Canadian talent should not in any way be misconstrued as resulting in any lost opportunities for other writers; rather, it is our hope that the conversations that may result from this competition will lead to a more accessible and diverse literary community. 


3. SUBMISSION PROCEDURES AND DEADLINES

i. ***NEW*** For the 2021 Journey Prize, there are no limits on the number of eligible stories that literary publications may enter to the competition. We hope editors and editorial boards will accept our call to action and commit to publishing more Black Canadian writers as a step towards ensuring a more robust and diverse literary community. 

ii. There is no entry fee. There are no restrictions on word length, though the prize is intended for short stories or excerpts from a fiction work-in-progress.

iii. Each entry must be accompanied by: 

  1. A completed entry form  (click "submit" below to bring up electronic form). 
  2. A completed Author Eligibility Form, to be filled out by the AUTHOR.
  3. A MASTER copy of the story. 
  4. A BLIND copy of the story.  IMPORTANT: To ensure blind judging, please delete or redact all identifying info, including author’s name, publication title, and any other identifiers (e.g., running heads/tails, ads, etc.) from every page of the story. 
  5. A biographical note for the author.
  6. For those publications that have not previously had pieces selected for The Journey Prize anthology, submissions should include a brief statement about the publication, including its editorial mandate, and where and to whom submissions to the publication may be sent.

iv. Submissions by literary magazines and anthologies can be submitted digitally  via the Journey Prize’s Submittable page. (If you don’t have a Submittable account, you will be prompted to register for a free one.) 

v. ***NEW*** For the 2021 competition, there will be staggered submission deadlines:

  • Submissions by literary magazines or anthologies:
  1. For stories published in 2019 and 2020: December 1, 2020. 
  2. For stories published in 2021: TBA. To help us determine the 2021 submissions deadlines, please consider filling out this survey: http://bit.ly/JP2021Survey
  • Self-submissions by emerging Black Canadian authors: Submissions period in 2021 TBA. We will not accept any stories submitted directly by writers outside of the official submissions window (dates TBA). Given the invaluable role that literary publications often play in nurturing and supporting new writers, however, we would encourage emerging Black Canadian writers to first submit their work to literary magazines and anthologies for publication, and then ask their editors to submit the published stories to the Celebrating the Best of Canada’s New Black Writers edition of The Journey Prize.  

vi. Full eligibility criteria and submission guidelines for writer self-submissions will be announced at a later date. 


4. ANNOUNCEMENTS

i. Those authors whose stories have been selected to appear in the forthcoming The Journey Prize Stories 33: Celebrating the Best of Canada’s New Black Writers will be contacted in late 2021.

ii. The complete list of contributors to The Journey Prize Stories 33 will be announced ahead of the anthology’s publication at www.facebook.com/TheJourneyPrize.


5. FURTHER INFORMATION

All inquiries should be directed to Joe Lee at jolee@penguinrandomhouse.com.

For more information and news about The Journey Prize and The Journey Prize Stories throughout the year, please like us at www.facebook.com/TheJourneyPrize.

Please complete the entry form below for each submission (there are no limits on how many submissions a literary magazine or annual anthology can nominate). 

SUBMISSION DEADLINE FOR WORKS PUBLISHED IN 2019 AND 2020: December 1, 2020

Eligibility reminders:

  • For this first round of submissions to the 2021 Journey Prize, submissions must come from eligible Canadian print and online-only magazines and annual anthologies only. 
  • Only works from writers who meet the following criteria are eligible: 1) Writer must self-identify as Black; 2) be a Canadian citizen, whether living in Canada or abroad, or a permanent resident of Canada; and 3) be an emerging writer who has not published more than one book of fiction as of January 2021, nor can their fiction already have received substantial national attention.
  • For this first round of submissions to the 2021 Journey Prize, entries must have had first publication in the submitting publication during the 2019 or 2020 calendar year.
  • The prize is intended for new and developing writers during the early stages of their careers. If you are uncertain whether a writer meets this requirement, please contact jolee@penguinrandomhouse.com.
  • See submission guidelines for complete eligibility criteria.


Additional Required Uploads:

For each entry please submit:

1) A completed entry form (click "submit" below to bring up electronic form). 

2) A completed Author Eligibility Form, to be completed by the author.

3) A copy of the story as it first appeared in the publication or online. 

4) A “blind” copy of the story with only the title included. Please delete or redact author name, publication name, running heads/tails, graphics, and ads. A Word document is preferred. 

5) An author bio. 

If you have any questions, please contact jolee@penguinrandomhouse.com. 

The Journey Prize 33: Celebrating the Best of Canada's New Black Writers