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DEADLINE: Call for Nonfiction Submissions from ArtForceNL (youth ages 15-30)

April 15, 2023

ArtForceNL: Call for Nonfiction Submissions

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are used to being on the brink.

For millennia, Indigenous peoples and, later, settlers have eked out a living here on the far edge of the continent, at the margins of the Atlantic Ocean, from an environment that’s often harsh and unpredictable.

Throughout our history, we have faced collapse after collapse, from the extinction of the Beothuk people to the dissolution of Newfoundland self-government in 1933 to the cod moratorium of 1992.

Today, the province’s circumstances are precarious by any measure.

We have the highest net debt per capita of any jurisdiction in Canada, our rural hospitals are regularly closed due to understaffing, and we are experiencing some of the most significant effects of climate change in the country.

Young people trying to get their start in the province bear the brunt of this instability. Compared to previous generations, today’s youth face reduced life expectancy, greater household debt, stagnant wages, and precarious employment. A housing crunch in the province’s cities makes roommates mandatory and puts home ownership out of reach for many.

Seeking submissions from youth ages 15-30

Artforce is inviting youth ages 15-30 who are current or former residents of Newfoundland and Labrador to write about their experiences being on the brink for the upcoming anthology On the Edge: Being Young in a Precarious Province. The anthology will be edited by cultural historian and nonfiction author Ainsley Hawthorn.

We’re looking for nonfiction personal essays up to 2,500 words. There are many forms a personal essay can take. You can write about a single incident in your past, tell the story of a series of related experiences, or express your opinion on a subject that’s important to you using examples from your own life.

For this anthology, you could explore:

  • Precarious employment, food insecurity, housing insecurity
  • Being at the point of a major decision or life change
  • Coming out or transitioning
  • Feeling “on edge” emotionally or psychologically
  • Taking risks, for better or worse
  • Living at the tip of the demographic pyramid or being young in an aging population
  • NL’s financial future
  • The looming climate crisis

These are just ideas – we want you to interpret the theme of being on the edge in whatever way is most meaningful for you.

What do you want to tell people about living in Newfoundland and Labrador? What do you wish they knew about what it’s like to be a young person here now?

We want this anthology to spark a community conversation about the future of the province and what’s needed to support youth living here today.

Submission Deadline

The deadline for submissions is midnight Newfoundland time on April 15, 2023.


Contributors must be:

  • Between the ages of 15 and 30.
  • Current or former residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.


  • Submissions should be nonfiction personal essays no longer than 2,500 words. Content and tone are completely up to you – your pieces can be positive or negative, serious or humorous, critical or radical.
  • Submissions should be original and unpublished. This includes self-publication and publication anywhere online (social media, your website, Patreon, etc.).
  • Submissions should use Canadian spelling. You can double-check your spelling in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary ( For Newfoundland words, check the Dictionary of Newfoundland English (
  • Please be careful to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is using another person’s words or ideas without crediting them. If you do use information you found somewhere else, please give the source (author, publication title, and date) in the text of your piece. No footnotes, endnotes, or bibliography. If you’re using someone else’s exact words, please be sure to put them in quotation marks.
  • Send only one submission per person (no multiple submissions).
  • Do not submit your piece to any other publishers at the same time (no simultaneous submissions).


Thanks to a generous grant from ArtsNL’s Community Arts Program, each accepted author will be paid $200 for their work.

How to submit 

Send your submission as a Google document or .doc/.docx file, double-spaced and in a 12 pt font, to:

In the subject line, please write: On the Edge Submission:  [TITLE OF YOUR PIECE] 

What does the publishing process look like?

After the deadline, we will take 6-8 weeks to read through all the submissions and choose which to include in the anthology.

If your work isn’t accepted, that doesn’t mean it’s not good, just that it’s not the right fit for this particular book. If you receive a rejection message from us, you’re free to submit your piece to other publishers.

If your work is accepted, you will begin the editorial process. Ainsley will send you constructive feedback on your piece and ask you to write another draft or two until your work is the best it can be. Editing is meant to be supportive, so, if you’re struggling at any point, you can reach out to Ainsley for help.

Once all the pieces have been edited, the book manuscript will be given to the publisher. They will do a copy edit to make sure that all the grammar, punctuation, and spelling matches their in-house style. The publisher might have some more feedback for you at this point. Usually, the publisher’s feedback at this stage is minor, since the major editing has already taken place, but keep in mind that the publisher has the final say on what does and doesn’t go in the book, so there’s always a chance they might cut something or ask for a change.

The publisher will send a contract for you to sign. If you are under the age of 18, a legal guardian will have to sign on your behalf. The contract will ask for permission to publish your piece in return for your payment. It will also ask you to guarantee that your work hasn’t been previously published, isn’t libellous, doesn’t plagiarize anyone else’s work, and doesn’t violate any laws. You will keep the copyright to your work, which means that you will be able to republish it elsewhere after a certain amount of time has passed.

Once you return the signed contract, your payment will be sent to you.

The publication process is slow and requires lots of patience! We expect to have the editing done and payments sent this year, but the book may not come out for another year or two depending on the publisher’s schedule.

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Times and Locations

April 15, 2023

11:59 pm