DEADLINE EXTENDED to OCTOBER 11th: The Second Annual Talking Back Awards is Here!

August 15th, 2016     by Sheila Sampath     Comments

Illustration: Erin McPhee

_Please note: The deadline for the talking back awards has been extended to Tuesday October 11th to account for downtime and technical difficulties with the submission form. _


Shameless is now accepting submissions for our second annual creative writing contest, the Talking Back Awards! The deadline for all submissions is Friday, September 23 2016 at midnight.

We gratefully acknowledge our sponsors Invisible Publishing, Second Story Press, Annick Press, Pedlar Press and Inanna Publications! Additional sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact our publisher for more information.

What is Shameless?

Shameless is an independent, volunteer-run, grassroots magazine for teen girls and trans* youth. We are a fresh alternative to typical teen magazines, packed with articles about arts, culture and current events, reflecting the day-to-day realities of diverse youth. We work from a place of social justice and anti-oppression (sometimes called “equity”), and, through words and images, on paper and online, we aim to inspire, inform and advocate for young women and trans* youth.

If you’ve never read Shameless before, feel free to check out our website, where you can read our blog and even buy some back issues to see the sorts of things we publish.

Who can submit work?

We’re looking for work from 13-19 year olds who identify as teen girls or trans* youth.

What can I submit?

Write what you want! We’re looking for all kinds of your creative work, no matter the genre. There are three streams to our contest: Poetry, Short Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction. We are accepting one submission per person per category. The maximum word count is 2,000 words for each entry. There is no minimum!

Who is going to read my work?

We have assembled a super-sweet panel of three judges who are going to read all entries. The judging process will be anonymous, which means that your names will be temporarily removed from your entries and no one will know who you are until after the prizewinners have been selected.

Soraya Peerbaye

Soraya Peerbaye’s most recent collection of poetry, Tell: Poems for a Girlhood, won the Trillium Book Award for Poetry in English and was a finalist for the Griffin Poetry prize. Her poems have appeared in Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Women Poets, and the chapbook anthology Translating Horses. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Peerbaye lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

Carrianne K.Y. Leung

Carrianne K.Y. Leung is a fiction writer and educator. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and Equity Studies from OISE/University of Toronto and worksat OCAD University. Her debut novel, The Wondrous Woo was shortlisted for the 2014 Toronto Book Awards. Her new book titled, _That Time I Loved You _will be released in the winter of 2018 by Harper Collins.

Lauren McKeon

Lauren McKeon has been the editor of Canada’s progressive, independent This Magazine since December 2011. Before that, she worked as a reporter, editor and writer in the North for several years, living in Yellowknife, and travelling Canada’s territories and northern Alberta. Her work has recently appeared in Hazlitt, where she wrote about the women history forgot, and also Toronto Life, where she wrote about her experiences with sexual assault. In 2015, she won a gold National Magazine Award in the personal journalism category for her Toronto Life piece “Save me From My Workout.” She tweets infrequently @mckeonlauren.

What’s the prize?

Good question. There will be a first and second place winner in each category (fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction!)

The Talking Back Gold first place winner in each category will be published in a 2017 issue of Shameless, and on the Shameless blog and receive an honorarium of $200 CAD

The Talking Back second place winner in each category will be published in a 2017 issue of Shameless, and receive an honorarium of $100 CAD

PLUS all six winners will be invited to do a special reading at the Shamies Gala, an annual celebration of Shameless and the youth voices in the magazine. The event will take place on October 25th at The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. If you’re from outside the Greater Toronto Area and can’t make it to the Shamies, you will be invited to submit a video of your reading.

How do I submit? Does it cost money?

The Talking Back awards cost $15 to enter and come with a free one-year subscription to Shameless magazine. You can enter up to one entry per category.

To enter:

If, for any reason, you are not able to pay the $15 entry fee, please email us at for a subsidy code.

Thank you for entering our first ever Talking Back Awards and letting us read your writing! We’ll be getting back to each of you in mid-October. We understand that submitting your creative work can sometimes be a scary and intimidating process and we promise to treat your words very gently.

Tags: all about shameless, talking back, youth fiction

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