Monday, August 30, 2010

The Arthur Ellis Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel

Is the Great Canadian Crime Novel tucked carefully away in a drawer or even languishing under your bed?

Well, here's your chance to pull out that manuscript and enter it in the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel (the Unhanged Arthur).

Sponsored by The Crime Writers of Canada, the Unhanged Arthur contest is open to Canadian citizens, no matter where they are living, and to writers, regardless of nationality, who have Permanent Resident status in Canada, and who have never had a novel of any kind published commercially.

Contestants should have a completed manuscript and should submit the opening chapter(s) – no more than 5000 words – plus a 500-word synopsis of the rest of the novel. "Crime novel" is defined as crime, detective, espionage, mystery, suspense, or thriller, and can be set in any time period and crime-related sub-genre.

From these initial submissions, up to ten authors will be asked by the judges to submit their completed manuscripts. A short list will be selected from these completed manuscripts. The winner will receive a special Arthur Ellis Award along with cash from McArthur and Company. In addition, the winner’s completed manuscript will be read and critiqued by publisher Kim McArthur, who will have the right of first refusal to publish the novel.

All shortlisted authors will received a summary of the judges’ comments about their work. All judges are professionals working in the Canadian publishing industry.

Deadline: October 15, 2010.
More here. And submission rules here.

Update. April 30, 2011: The Crime Writers haven't yet updated the contest rules for the 2012 contest, but you can assume the deadline for this year will again be in October, which gives you just five and a half months from today to get your manuscript in shape. Good luck!

See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Toronto, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, Kitchener, Woodstock, London, Orangeville, Barrie, Gravenhurst, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.


  1. sounds like a fantastic opportunity, and announced with enough time for those of us who don't have a ready written manuscript, but have been meaning to put pen to paper for a long time!

  2. Yep, for everyone with a crime novel in the works, you now have a deadline for getting it finished, polished and submitted - two months from tomorrow.


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