Writing Contest 2024 Information and Rules

Submission categories

The Winter in the Bay writing contest invites submissions in three categories:

  • Short nonfiction essay (maximum 400 words)
  • Short fiction (maximum 2,500 words)
  • Poetry (maximum 2,500 words) or song lyrics

You may submit one entry per category in up to two of the three categories.


You are eligible to submit to the writing contest if:

  1. You live full-time or part-time in The Masthead News delivery area (see map on themastheadnews.ca).
  2. You are 8 years old or older. Writers aged 8 to 15 must provide written permission from a parent or guardian to participate.
  3. You include your name and permission for your name and submission to be published.

How and what to submit

All submissions must be:

  1. Previously unpublished.
  2. Within the word limit.
  3. Inspired and/or illustrated by one of the works of art in the Winter in the Bay 2024 art show.
  4. Submitted as a Word document (not a PDF).
  5. Submitted by the deadline of March 18, 2024, 11:59pm.
  6. Submitted by email to winterinthebay@gmail.com (we cannot accept paper copies).

See the Winter in the Bay 2024 art show and sale in person at the SMB Community Enterprise Centre, the Tantallon Public Library, and the CUA-Tantallon Branch, or online on the Winter in the Bay Facebook page.

Winning entries

At least one winner will be selected in each of the nonfiction essay, short fiction, and poetry/song lyrics categories for adults (aged 16 and up) and youth (aged 8-15). Judges will consider the age of the writer when assessing entries in the youth category. Depending on the number of submissions received, 2nd and 3rd place prizes may be awarded for both adults and youth. More information about prizes will be available on the Winter in the Bay Facebook page by Friday, February 23.

Questions? Please email winterinthebay@gmail.com or visit facebook.com/WinterintheBay

Answers to frequently asked questions

What does it mean for writing submissions to be “inspired” by one of the works in the Winter in the Bay 2024 art show?

Each writing submission—nonfiction essay, short fiction, poetry, or song lyrics—must be submitted with one of the art images from this year’s Winter in the Bay art show as an illustration. That piece of art must somehow link to your piece of writing. But that link can be as creative as you like.

Using a piece of art as inspiration simply means the art helps plant the seed of an idea for a character, place, or moment that grows into your essay, story, poem, or song.

For example, a painting with birds may inspire a story about a bird—but it may also inspire an essay about being a parent volunteer on a field trip with a bus full of chattering kids. Or a piece of art that includes trees might inspire a story about a walk in the woods, or about a moment of resiliency in a challenging time.

Does every writing submission have to be about winter or be set in St. Margaret’s Bay?

No, writing submissions don’t have to be about winter as a season. Winter can also be defined creatively in submissions, exploring ideas and feelings sometimes identified with winter: sleep, peace, cold, loss, hope for the future, and more.

Submissions need not be set in St. Margaret’s Bay or Mahone Bay or in any bay. In the first year of the event, all writing submissions had to somehow reference St. Margaret’s Bay, but as our contest’s geographic boundaries have expanded, our sense of place for writing submissions has also expanded.

Check out some previous Winter in the Bay submissions

We are posting some past submissions to Winter in the Bay on smbcec.org. These examples may help you get started.

Questions? Email us at winterinthebay@gmail.com.

Winter in the Bay is a partnership event offered by the St. Margaret’s Bay Community Enterprise Centre, the Peggy’s Cove Area Art Society, and The Masthead News.