Overview | Adjudication Process & Competition Timeline



Established in 2017, the Nova Writes Competition for Unpublished Manuscripts supports the development of emerging Nova Scotia writers (as well as established writers exploring new genres) who are unpublished in the category they choose to enter. Unlike its predecessor, the Atlantic Writing Competition, Nova Writes accepts entries only from permanent residents of Nova Scotia. Residents of other Atlantic provinces should refer to their provincial competitions: the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick Writing Competition, the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union Fresh Fish Award (WANL), or the Island Literary Awards (PEIWG).

Nova Writes accepts entries in five short-form categories: short fiction, poetry, short creative non-fiction, writing for children/young adult fiction (alternating category), and French-language short forms. All entrants receive written comments on their manuscripts. Manuscripts are evaluated for their originality, creativity, and quality of writing, and comments may appraise a wide range of literary techniques as well as matters such as structure and plot. While WFNS does not accept long-form entries for Nova Writes, we encourage any writer working on book-length works of fiction (e.g., novels), creative non-fiction (e.g., full-length memoirs), or children’s literature to consider submitting an excerpt of their work. Writers keen for feedback on a completed full-length manuscripts should check out our Manuscript Review Program.

Due to the volume of Nova Writes entries each year, WFNS is unable to personally confirm acceptance of each manuscript or to personally update all entrants on the status of manuscript comments and competition results. The first public announcement of the category winners will take place at the Celebration of Emerging Writers in late May, and the list of category winners is embargoed information until June. For additional entry confirmation and status notification details, see the competition timeline below.

Adjudication Process & Competition Timeline

Assessment of all eligible entries to Nova Writes is conducted by readers and judges recruited by WFNS for their professional expertise as writers, editors, booksellers, librarians, or teachers. Readers and judges are carefully selected to provide a balance of literary skills and experience appropriate for each prize category.  

November to January

  • All entrants must submit entry fees and digital copies of manuscripts by the competition deadline. Any established writer is eligible to enter only those prize categories in which they are unpublished. Any previous winner of Nova Writes may no longer contend in the prize category in which they won their prize. 
    • Entry fees and confirmation of entry: WFNS accepts entry fees by mail (cheque or money order), by phone (credit card), and through our online shop (PayPal or credit card). Your fee receipt (for payments made by mail or online) or verbal confirmation (for payments made by phone) serves as confirmation that your entry was received. If you do not receive a receipt, please do contact us. Otherwise, if you do not hear from us, you can assume your entry has been accepted.
    • Entry manuscripts: If you are not technically adept, please seek assistance in entering your manuscript digitally from a friend or family member or your local library branch. 

February and March

  • Reading teams recruited for each prize category assess entries and produce a shortlist for each category.

early May

  • WFNS notifies all entrants in writing as to whether they have been shortlisted.
  • Judges assess each prize category shortlist to determine the winner for each category and, if appropriate, any honourable mentions.


  • WFNS notifies all shortlisted entrants in writing as to whether they are category winners.
  • WFNS returns manuscript comments to all entrants.
  • WFNS announces category shortlists on the WFNS website.

late May

  • The Celebration of Emerging Writers is held, at which prizes are presented in each category and the winner of each category reads. 

early June

  • WFNS announces category winners on the WFNS website.