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NL Writes presents The Ocean is a Magnet: A Short Story Celebration

The Ocean Frontier Institute Module I, ‘Informing Governance Responses in a Changing Ocean’ (OFI I) and Writers NL, in conjunction with Moving Together for Marine Conservation (MTC), introduce NL Writes—a writing competition aimed at stimulating reflection and dialogue on the diverse connections, visions, and experiences related to the coasts and ocean of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has named, 2024, The Year of the Arts to celebrate the province’s rich arts and cultural sector. To contribute to celebrations, NL Writes calls on emerging and amateur writers to reflect on “The Ocean is a Magnet”.

NL Writes invites emerging and amateur writers to ponder the theme, “The Ocean is a Magnet.” Winning entries will be curated and submitted to a publisher, while all other high-quality submissions, regardless of the writer’s experience, will be showcased in e-books, websites, and newsletters. The culmination of this literary competition will take place at an NL Writes celebration in Fall 2024.

What is the Topic?

The ocean is a magnet. It is a powerful draw for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, captivating residents and visitors. Its awe-inspiring presence keeps locals rooted through highs and lows, acting as a magnetic force that beckons them home and attracts visitors from across the globe.

The ocean is also a source of tragedy and joy, and every emotion in between. The diverse emotional connections to the ocean are based on deeply personal emotional experiences. These are sometimes obvious, but also sometimes strange. These feelings, at times apparent but often subtle, demand reflection to come to the surface. Every expression of an ocean connection has a story, waiting to be uncovered.

The ocean’s allure is tied to diverse psychological, social, cultural, economic, historical, and political ties to the province’s coasts. Sharing these connections is vital for cultural persistence and renewal, bridging the past and forging new futures across generations. This year’s competition explores these connections through short stories that delve into the theme, “The Ocean is a Magnet.”

Who can submit?

To be eligible for NL Writes 2024, you must not have been published your stories of any length with a book or short story publisher. The competition is open to both youth (ages 14-18) and adult writers (18 and over) with an emphasis on publishing adult writers. Some youth submissions will receive special consideration for publishing.

All quality submissions will be published in the TBTI Global Book.
Winners will receive a cash prize of $300.

To express intention to submit please e-mail:

Deadline: April 7, 2024.

What can be submitted?

This year’s competition is for short stories, between 1,500 and 4,500 words. They can be fiction or non-fiction, reflect any perspective or genre, and need to be submitted in English. Submissions must principally focus on Newfoundland and Labrador’s communities and their diverse connections to the coasts and ocean. They can cover or be set in any time period, from the past to the future.

What is the competition process?

Once submissions are received (see Timeline below), they will be reviewed by a multidisciplinary jury, including established writers, writing specialists, ocean researchers, and ocean leaders. Submissions will be reviewed for how they capture and expand the reader’s imagination of the ocean as an awe-inspiring magnate, including showcasing, revealing, or uncovering critical connections to NL’s coasts and ocean. Jury members may be recruited to help assess short stories from distinct cultural perspectives.

The adjudication will result in a long list. Long-listed submissions will be provided feedback from the jury and their authors will be mentored during a Mentorship Workshop to strengthen their submissions. After resubmissions, a short list will be produced.  The shortlisted contributions will be collected, assembled, and submitted to a publishing house. All submissions will be celebrated during an NL Writes event in September 2024.

What is NL Writes?

NL Writes is a creation of OFI I ( and Writers NL  (, in collaboration with Moving Together for Marine Conservation ( It is intended to support emerging and amateur writers to hone their craft, get visibility, and share their stories and perspectives. NL Writes turns the competitive spirit of Canada Reads on its head. NL Writes focuses on bringing writers together, along with their readers. It aims to foster an inclusive and supportive setting for writing growth of diverse writing styles, all with the intention to spark new reflection and dialogue among broad readership in NL and beyond. OFI I I is a collaborative research initiative that examines social, ecological, economic and institutional changes for the future of fisheries, coastal communities and oceans of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Writers NL is a not-for-profit, member-based organization, to serve the needs of writers in the province. MTC is a multi-year outreach and engagement project based at Memorial University to create community in marine conservation.