Arts & Culture In Focus

Penguin Contest: Creative Non-fiction

Graduating students in the Master of Fine Art in Creative Nonfiction have the opportunity to win $2500 by submitting a piece of their creative non-fiction.
Run by Penguin Random House Canada through the University of King’s College, the winner will be represented by an agent at Westwood Creative Artists, another partner in the competition. With a 50 page limit, the deadline for the contest is February 18, 2019. The prize will be awarded in May when students are set to graduate.
“This contest is a way to encourage and inspire nonfiction writing as opposed to fiction, which tends to get a lot of attention in this country,” said Diane Turbide, publishing director at Penguin Canada. “I’m hoping this prize will work to benefit the students in the program, helping people complete their project to hone it, to shape it, and make it presentable to a publisher.”
The King’s program is designed to work with students in writing their non-fiction book. The program is low residency and in addition, most of their work is focused on writing their book manuscript while they work with mentors, professional editors and writers who work back and forth with students to assist with chapters and proposals. Four classes have graduated so far, with just over 70 students in total.
“It is really about forging connections to the industry that helps students to make the leap from writing their books to actually having their books published,” said Kim Pittaway, executive director of the King’s MFA program, “We’ve had really incredible success in getting and equipping our students to get their books published.”
Pittaway also said the contest is another way of helping get a book proposal past the usual gatekeepers and onto somebody’s desk for real consideration.
This partnership has the potential to greatly impact a new authors portfolio and future career. Penguin Random House Canada is a part of one of the largest trade book publishers in the world while Westwood Creative Artists is one Canada’s most respected literary agencies, handling international literary, film, television and stage adaptation rights for its literary clients.
“I personally have been involved with King’s for a few years and I’ve been so impressed by the diversity of writers there and the stories that represent the projects they’re working on,” said Hilary McMahon, executive vice-president of Westwood Creative Artists. “I have a real appreciation for what the MFA is doing and the WCA want to support that. This contest is an exciting opportunity in terms of the North American publishing and writing communities and the WCA want to be a part of that to keep encouraging writers in developing their craft.”

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