Bridge Prize short story competition continuing to attract country’s most talented post-secondary writers

A total of 184 submissions from 36 universities and colleges across nine provinces have been received for the 2024 Bridge Prize post-secondary short story fiction writing competition.

The biennial competition, the largest literary cash prize event for post-secondary students in Canada, is open to both undergraduate and graduate students who are a registered student at the time of the submission deadline. This year’s submissions include representation from some of Canada’s biggest post-secondary schools, such as McGill University, University of British Columbia and University of Toronto, as well as smaller universities and colleges across the nation.

“The Bridge Prize continues to grow in popularity as a meaningful national prize recognizing excellence in short story writing at the post-secondary level,” says Dr. Shelly Wismath of the University of Lethbridge’s School of Liberal Education. Wismath was dean of the school when the Bridge Prize initiative was launched with the support of lead donor Terry Whitehead (BA ’94), ULethbridge’s current Chancellor.

“Since its inception in 2020, over 1,000 short stories have been written and submitted, which suggests students are excited by the short story genre as a form of storytelling.”

Over the next four months, a local jury, comprised of 28 volunteers from ULethbridge and local cultural communities, will evaluate the 184 entries. Each story will be read by a minimum of four jurors. The author’s identity and school are not shared with jury members. The local jury will identify up to 10 short stories that will be elevated to the main jury who will read and adjudicate over the summer.

Dr. Shelly Wismath says students continue to show their enthusiasm for the short story form.

The main jury is comprised of established authors from across Canada. A winner will be determined by late July, and the winning author will work with a professional editor to arrive at the final version. The winning author and three finalists will be announced in September and the winning short story will be published on the Bridge Prize website.

“The Bridge Prize and the students who participate benefit from the support of our jurors who value the work of the next generation of storytellers in Canada,” adds Wismath. “We are grateful for the ongoing commitment from our local and main jurors, and to our sponsor, Munro’s Books of Victoria, for their continued support.”

The winner of the Bridge Prize receives $7,500 and three finalists each receive $1,000 and a $200 gift card from Munro’s Books. A $500 award goes to the top story written by a ULethbridge student. The winning author also receives a bronze sculpture, created by artist and sculptor, Niall Donaghy, of the ULethbridge Faculty of Fine Arts. More than $11,000 is awarded each competition, and since its inception, over 1,000 student stories have been submitted and $22,000 in prize money awarded.

2024 Main Jurors

Michelle Good (Saskatchewan) author of Five Little Indians (winner of Canada Reads and Amazon First Novel; Giller Prize finalist in 2022)

Nicholas Herring (PEI)  author of Some Hellish (winner of Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize)

Sheena Kamal (Quebec) Award-wining crime fiction writer and young adult novelist

George Murray (Newfoundland and Labrador)  Poet and author. Former Poet Laureate for St. John’s

Danny Ramadan (British Columbia) Activist and author of The Foghorn Echoes and several children’s books. Finalist in the 2020 Bridge Prize

Madeleine Thien (Quebec) Novelist and short story author. Winner of the Giller Prize and Governor General’s Award for the novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing