VWS Writing Competition Winners

22nd Annual – 2023

Fiction (Judge John Gould)

1st Place – Jann Everard, Four Minutes

2nd Place – Loucas Raptis, To Hang an Elephant

3rd Place – Michael Pennock, Paddy and Garnet at the Pond

Creative Non-Fiction (Judge Deborah Campbell)

1st Place – Kim Harrison, Days of the Pink Pills

2nd Place – Michael McGovern, Hire Education

3rd Place – Patricia Brooke, A Different Sun

Poetry (Judge Marlene Grand Maître)

1st Place – Clare Sharpe, The Marriage Bed

2nd Place – Jane Pepper, Young Compleat Angler

3rd Place – Britta Gundersen, Fudge


21st Annual – 2022

Fiction (Judge Jennifer Manuel)

1st Place – Chad Ganske, Missing Teeth

2nd Place – Loucas Raptis, The Impromptu Resurrection of Elefterios Sklavos

3rd Place – Danielle Renaud, After Ellie

Creative Non-Fiction (Judge Stephanie Harrington)

1st Place – Paul Kendrick, Kairos Time on the Grid

2nd Place – Deborah Graham, Such a Busy Road

3rd Place – Joan McHardy, Still Standing in Line

Poetry (Judge Daniel Scott)

1st Place – Nicole Moen, Stifle a Yarn

2nd Place – Sarah Weaver, Two Mid-Winter Nights

3rd Place – Daniela Lorenzi, Evasion


20th Annual – 2021

Fiction (Judge Tricia Dower)

1st Place – Loucas Raptis, My Father’s Portal

2nd Place – Michael Maitland, In Death There is Life (Insurance)

Honourable Mentions: Kim Harrison, Kids of the Free Range and Leanne Stepp, Liminal Spaces

Creative Non-Fiction (Judge Yvonne Blomer)

1st Place – Kim Harrison, Six Months in a Hammock

2nd Place – Britta Gunderson-Bryden, The Ambassador’s Cat

Honourable Mentions: Sharon McInnes, Disappearing and Debra Henry, Family Tree

Poetry (Judge Barbara Pelman)

1st Place – April Ripley, Early Onset

2nd Place – Donald Niedermayer, Lockdown Haikus

Honourable Mentions: Melanie Higgs, Brigid’s Gift and K.J. Ives, Lament


19th Annual – 2020

FICTION   Judge: Julie Paul

1st prize: Sharon McInnes – Various Functions of Fire 
2nd prize: Loucas Raptis – Life of the Osprey 
Honourable Mention: Garth Von Buchholz – Will the Circle Be Unbroken                Honourable Mention: J P McLean – Boone Park

POETRY    Judge: Susan Braley

1st prize: Ulrike Narwani – Wild Strawberries
2nd prize: Ahmad Anthony Miles – Tree Poem
Honourable Mention: Mary Nelson – Springtime Elixir                                         Honourable Mention: Neil Garvie – Rumours from Wuhan

CREATIVE NON-FICTION    Judge: Robin Stevenson

1st prize: Jude Morton – Borders
2nd prize: Maureen Magee – Beggars and Brides
Honourable Mention: Gloria Lorenzen – Scorched: Lucid Thoughts in Mexico      Honourable Mention: Bill Engleson – Lying in Wait


18th Annual – 2019

FICTION   Judge: Michael McGovern

1st prize: Edeana Malcolm – Menage a Trois 
2nd prize: Eve Ruth – Oak Moon 
3rd prize: KD McDougall – Meteor Response

POETRY    Judge: Judith Castle

1st prize: Cathy Ready – Whispers in the Blood
2nd prize: Gisela Ruebsaat – A Tale Told to my Daughter on her Wedding Day
3rd prize: Joy Huebert – Cheese Melt


1st prize: Mary Brackenbury – My Fiery Red Life
2nd prize: Dianne Common – Once Upon a Queen’s Throne a Commoner Sat
3rd prize: Tamara Grandson – A Voice in Time


17th Annual – 2018

FICTION   Judge: Robert Wiersema

1st prize: Debra Henry 
2nd prize: Vicki W. Drybough 
3rd prize: Ada Robinson

POETRY    Judge: Agartu Ali

1st prize: Katy Weicker
2nd prize: Amanda Merrit
3rd prize: Edeana Malcolm

CREATIVE NON-FICTION    Judge: Lynne Van Luven

1st prize: Anne Hopkinson
2nd prize: Maureen Magee
3rd prize: Diane Young


16th Annual – 2017

FICTION   Judge: Alex Van Tol

1st prize: Loucas Raptis – They Name Me, More or Less, Immortal
2nd prize: Trish Brooke – Conflict
3rd prize: Debra Henry – Rescuing Robins

POETRY    Judge: Terry Ann Carter

1st prize: Michael McGovern – Puebla: the place, beggars, description
2nd prize: Sheila Martindale – What is Lost
3rd prize: Pat Smekal – Sloth 

CREATIVE NON-FICTION    Judge: Myrtle Siebert

1st prize: Michael Lalonde – Smokey Saunders
2nd prize: Judy Burgess – A Fairy Tale of Sorts
3rd prize: Elaine Harvey – Almost There


15th Annual – 2016

FICTION   Judge: Julie Paul

1st prize: Debra Henry
2nd prize: Judy Millar
3rd prize: Liz Walker

POETRY    Judge: Yvonne Blomer

1st prize: Matthew Gallagher
2nd prize: Judy Millar
3rd prize: Kelly Madden 

CREATIVE NON-FICTION    Judge: Myrtle Siebert

1st prize: Cathy Korpela
2nd prize: Trish Brook
3rd prize: Maureen Magee


14th Annual – 2015

FICTION   Judge: Jeanne Iribarne

1st prize: Sarah Pollard for Lives for Sale
2nd prize: Katrin Horowitz for The Box/ A Love Story
3rd prize: Debra Henry for On the Road to Anywhere

POETRY    Judge: Arlene Paré

1st prize: John G. Smith for Departures
2nd prize: Jill Talbot for Love in Infant Monkeys
3rd prize: Kyla Pawlyshyn for Hills at Dusk

CREATIVE NON-FICTION    Judge: Christine Kirchner

1st prize: Tom Gurgal for I Lied to the Dalai Lama
2nd prize: Judy Millar for Snoopy and Me and the King of Burundi
3rd prize: Lachlan Ross for The Seaside Swings


13th Annual – 2014

POETRY Judge: Alisa Gordaneer

1st Prize: Judith Castle – for Swimming to Russia
2nd Prize: Linda K Thompson – for Stawamus Chief
3rd Prize: Judy McIlmoyl – for Parables

FICTION Judge: Erin Fisher

1st Prize: Vic Parsons – for Fabricio’s Bridge
2nd Prize: Judith Castle – for The Bracelet
3rd Prize: Derek Peach – for Advent Calendar

CREATIVE NON-FICTION Judge: Frances Backhouse

1st Prize: Lara Reynolds – for Delicate Things
2nd Prize: Jean Oliver – for All the Way to China
3rd Prize: Dennis J Murphy – for The Men of Steel


12th Annual – 2013

POETRY        Judge: Dvora Levin

1st Prize: Kyle Kushnir for Low Tide
2nd Prize: Marlene Grand Maitre for The Other Storm
3rd Prize: Daniel Scott for Tenacious

FICTION            Judge: Kathleen Pearson

1st Prize: Judy Burgess for Cougar Bait
2nd Prize: John Paterson for Christmas Morning
3rd Prize: E.C. Nahne for Technology

CREATIVE NON-FICTION           Judge: Jack Knox

1st Prize: Jenny Vester for How to Break an Old Man’s Heart
2nd Prize: Christine Henry for Falling Into Snow
3rd Prize: Barbara Black for Que vive el toro


11th Annual – 2012


First place: Susan Braley
Second place: Judith Castle
Third Place: Linda K. Thompson


First place: Judy Burgess
Second place: Trish Brooke


First place: Michael McGovern
Second place: Kathryn McAllister
Third Place: Laura Seabury Smith


10th Annual – 2011


First place: Ulrike Narwani
Second place: Derek Peach
Third place: Lee Danielle Hubbard


First place: Diana Jones
Second place: Judy Burgess
Third place: Judy Burgess


First Place: C.J. Van Elslande
Second Place: Valerie Warder
Third Place: Laura Seabury Smith

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