Bridge Prize contest draws entries from across Canada

The University of Lethbridge’s Bridge Prize, Canada’s largest literary prize for post-secondary students, has once again received an overwhelming number of entries.

When the deadline for entries closed at midnight on Jan. 24, 186 manuscripts from 49 post-secondary institutions across nine provinces had been received.

Dr. Shelly Wismath

“The Bridge Prize is meant to inspire and motivate the next generation of literary artists in Canada,” says Dr. Shelly Wismath, dean of the U of L’s School of Liberal Education. “To have received nearly 200 submissions indicates we have plenty of aspiring literary artists in our midst. We look forward to announcing our winners in early fall.”

The Bridge Prize is a biennial short-story, fiction writing competition launched in March 2019 by the School of Liberal Education. The contest is open to any student registered in a Canadian post-secondary institution at the time of the submission deadline. The prize is designed to celebrate excellence in the literary arts, nurture aspiring writers and support the transition from student writing to professional literary art.

“We are very pleased with the number of submissions we have received for this second iteration of the Bridge Prize,” says U of L alumnus Terry Whitehead (BA ’94), founder and lead donor of the competition. “It’s heartening to know we have such an enthusiastic group of budding creative writers in our post-secondary institutions.”

One thing is sure, the panel of judges have quite a task ahead. The 2022 Bridge Prize Main Jury includes some of Canada’s most beloved authors and emerging writers — Joan Thomas, Bill Richardson, Lisa Moore, Waubgeshig Rice, Francesca Ekwuyasi and Sam Wiebe.

Each submission will first be evaluated by a local jury that will select the top 10 entries to be forwarded to the main jury by May 30. The main jury will then select a winner and three finalists in August, with the winners to be announced in September.

Sponsors of the Bridge Prize include The Walrus and Munro’s Books in Victoria, B.C. The winner receives $7,500 and three finalists will be awarded $1,000. All four winners will also receive a $200 gift card courtesy of Munro’s Books.