Every year, the Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop association hosts the International Writers Contest which sees submissions from all over the world. The contest offers a chance to celebrate and honour the talented writers who all share a love for all things literature. Winners are always announced at NOWWs Annual Litfest, which happened on May 12-13th at Definitely Superior Art Gallery and the Prince Arthur Hotel.  This year, the 25th anniversary of NOWW, the contest saw winners from Athens, Greece to Kenora, Ontario. Below, find the complete list of winners from all different categories, which includes everything from poetry to literary critical writing. We are proud to see so many winners from the region, and honoured to be home to this important celebration of writers from all over the world. 


Poetry – Judged by George Murray

1st place: Elizabeth Pszczolko, Thunder Bay, Ontario for Waking, Winter Poem, and I Am Happy

2nd place: Chantel Daniels, Peterborough, Ontario for Purgatory is Earwigs in Basement Apartments, Carnie, and Empty Roll

3 rd place: Carmen Kinniburgh, Thunder Bay, Ontario for Wild Rose


Creative Nonfiction – Judged by Donna Besel

1 st place: Tanis MacDonald, Grand River Region, Ontario for Perfectly Good

2 nd place: Celia Chandler, Toronto, Ontario for Why

3 rd place: Denarii Peters, Lincolnshire, England for Only One Man Died


Literary Critical Writing – Judged by Shaun Hatton

1 st place: Brenda Fisk, Atikokan, Ontario for her review of the work of Graham G. Harris

2 nd place: John Pringle, Atikokan, Ontario for his review of The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy

3 rd place: J.F. Foulds, Thunder Bay, Ontario for Gateway to Reconciliation: a Review of Richard Wagamese’s Keeper ’n Me


Short Fiction – Judged by Michelle Good

1 st place: Defne Suman, Athens, Greece, for Hitchhiker


Short Crime Fiction – Judged by Elisabeth de Mariaffi

1 st place: John Pringle of Atikokan, Ontario for Sunflowers

2 nd place: Willow Healy of California for One Hundred Million Shades of Colour

3 rd place: JE Crossman of southwest England for The Gamble


Bill MacDonald Prize for Prose (fiction set in NWO) – Judged by Lauren Carter

1 st place: Jack Shedden of Thunder Bay, Ontario for Dickie Birds

2 nd place: Irene McCuaig of Kenora for Unfettered


The Kouhi Award

Winner: Roy Blomstrom, Shuniah, Ontario

This award was established by NOWW in 1999 to recognize “outstanding contributions to the literature of Northwestern Ontario.” It is named in honour of poet Elizabeth Kouhi.


The Margaret Phillips Award

Winner: Heather Campbell, owner/publisher of Latitude 46 Publishing, Sudbury, Ontario

This award was first established in 2009 to recognize a “builder,” either a group or individual who has made outstanding contributions to publishing, promoting, or supporting the literature of Northwestern Ontario. The intent is to recognize those who support the practice and community of writing, as distinct from the Kouhi Award which recognizes writers.


NOWW gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council and thanks everyone who participated in this year’s