Kalamalka Press seeks chapbook-length collections of poetry, short fiction or hybrids thereof for its fourth annual John Lent Poetry Prose Award! Entrants should be in the early stages of their writing careers, having not published more than two full-length books. The winning work will be published in a limited fine-press edition by Kalamalka Press. To check out full contest details and past winners, please visit kalamalkapress.ca.
$10 for each manuscript. Writers may enter as many times as they wish. Please make cheques out to the Okanagan College Foundation.
The winner receives $500.00 and ten percent of the book’s print-run.
Send submissions to
The John Lent Poetry Prose Award
c/o Kevin McPherson
7000 College Way
Vernon, BC V1B 2n5
Direct queries to the contest coordinator, Kevin McPherson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Her chapbook, Bloom and Martyr, was selected from nearly 40 manuscripts.
“The quality of submissions was stupidly high again this year. It was such a privilege to read them all and such torment to have to choose only one for the crown,” notes Kevin McPherson, managing editor of Kalamalka Press and English professor at Okanagan College. “But Helen’s work is singular in its courage to invent sounds and imagery that pulse across the page and plants itself right into a reader’s neural pathways.”
Hajnoczky’s first book, Poets and Killers, was published with Snare Books in Montreal, while her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies published across Canada. Magyarázni, her second full-length poetry collection, will appear next year from the illustrious Coach House Books.
“I'm so honoured that my work was chosen!” writes Hajnoczky. “Nikki Sheppy, whose chapbook Grrrrlhood: A ludic suite won the John Lent Poetry-Prose award in 2013, and Natalie Simpson, whose work received honourable mention that same year, were the biggest influences on this work, so it's especially thrilling to have part of Bloom and Martyr chosen this year.”
The award continues to be judged by the writerly triad, Laisha Rosnau, kevin mcpherson eckhoff, and Jake Kennedy, who recently published his third full-length poetry collection, Merz Structure No. 2 Burnt by Children at Play.
The judges also selected a runner-up, Biceps the Size of Tort Law in Singapore: The Minutes (XXV-XXXIII) by Alessandro Porco, and a shortlist of honourable mentions: Leather Heart by Trystan Carter, Ordinary Attrition by Cameron Anstee, and The Story from Here by Paul Hong.
Bloom and Martyr is now available to purchase directly from Kalamalka Press.
Kalamalka Press is ecstatic in the attic to announce that the third annual John Lent Poetry Prose Award goes to Montreal-based writer Nicholas Papaxanthos.
His work, Wearing Your Pants, was selected from over fifty manuscripts.
“We received the most submissions ever for this year’s award, which is a great sign that news of the award is viraling across the country, but it was also dang tough to narrow down so many supercharged contenders!” says Kevin McPherson, managing editor of Kalamalka Press.
For the past three years, the award’s three judges have been Kevin McPherson, Jake Kennedy, and Laisha Rosnau, who just finished touring with her latest poetry collection, Pluck.
“It’s a ludicrous honour to be able to consider so many beauty-filled poems and deliberate with such admirable peers. The winning manuscript is also such a playful, surreal wonder it puts a lot of joy in my chest thumper!” says Jake Kennedy.
The judges chose two additional standout manuscripts as honorable mentions: Sarah Burgoyne for her Saint Friend, and Alessandro Porco for his Biceps the Size of Tort Law in Singapore: The Minutes (XXV-XXX).
Papaxanthos has one chapbook published with Proper Tales Press, while his writing appears in numerous anthologies and journals, including Lake Effect 5, This Magazine, and Lemonhound. Of winning the award, he writes “What can I say? Such a thrill that the judges enjoyed my poetry.” And of previous winners and the award’s namesake, “I couldn’t have hoped for better company!”
Papaxanthos will receive an honorarium of $500, while his work will be printed as a letterpress chapbook designed by English professor and award-winning bookmaker, Jason Dewinetz, and made by students in Okanagan College’s Writing and Publishing Diploma program in the spring of 2015.
A handful of copies of last year’s winner, Nikki Sheppy’s Grrrrlhood: a ludic suite, as well as Okanagan College’s 3-Hour Short Story winner, Mary Bevan’s The Use in Usefulness, are still available for purchase through the press’s website, kalamalkapress.com.
For more information, please contact:
Kevin McPherson Department of English, Okanagan College
Kalamalka Press is heart-thrilled to announce that the second annual John Lent Poetry-Prose Award goes to Calgary writer Nikki Sheppy.
Her work, Grrrlhood: a ludic suite, was selected from nearly forty manuscripts.
“It was a wonderful and challenging process this time ’round,” says Kevin McPherson, one of the judges and editors of Kalamalka Press. “We had so many muscly entrees that the shortlist ended up being quite long.”
Honorable mentions go to Natalie Simpson for her work, Surge, and Ben Ladouceur for Telegram from the Seventeenth Arrondissement.
“Reading Sheppy’s poems ionized our molecules. They marble lived experiences within raw, fearless and playful linguistic calisthenics,” note the judges, three local writers and teachers, Laisha Rosnau, Jake Kennedy and Kevin McPherson.
Grrrlhood was written in a “spirit of derring-do” and by having “a really great time trying out different literary games and styles, allowing myself to go astray as much as possible,” says Sheppy.
This will be her first published collection of poetry, which she finished while attending the Banff Centre Writing Studio.
The honourarium for the winner has increased this year from $100 to $500. The chapbook will be designed by English professor and award-winning bookmaker, Jason Dewinetz, and letterpress printed by students in Okanagan College’s Writing and Publishing Diploma program.
Sheppy is familiar with Dewinetz’s work as a bookmaker through Greenboathouse Press and confesses, “I love the tactility and attentive design of letterpress books, which continue to seduce readers into an engagement with the materiality of literature.”
Last year’s winner, Ariel Gordon’s How to Make a Collage (see below), sold out within two weeks.
The inaugural winner of the John Lent Poetry-Prose award, How to Make a Collage, came to us from Winnipeg-based poet Ariel Gordon.
“The winning selection fearlessly wrestles the complexities of human relationships using emotionally dynamic lines and metaphors,” wrote the judges, Okanagan College English professors Laisha Rosnau, Jake Kennedy and Kevin McPherson.
The award is named after retired Okanagan College Regional Dean and English professor John Lent, who co-founded Kalamalka Press.
And it was Lent’s name in part, that drew Gordon to enter the contest.
“Three things were highly intriguing to me about this contest,” Gordon wrote on her blog Jane Day Reader when she heard the good news this week.
“John Lent not only had a very interesting career, but is also very generous to new writers, including me from the few times we’ve met.”
Gordon, who works as promotional/editorial assistant at the University of Manitoba Press, said there were other connections as well.
Kalamalka Press recently published Flight Calls by her close friend, writer Brenda Schmidt, and perhaps i should by Peter Midgley, with whom Gordon shared the stage at a recent reading in Winnipeg.
“Winning this prize seems like a convergence of all these different parts of my writing life,” said Gordon from her Winnipeg office. “But first and foremost, it’s an honour to be published with the press John founded, and, specifically, under the aegis of a prize named after him.”
With the award in hand, Gordon was even more thrilled to learn that the chapbook – her fourth – would be letterpressed by Jason Dewinetz, another English professor with Okanagan College.
“He’s brilliant,” she said. “I followed his Greenboathouse Books for years. He has such a fine eye for design so I’m greatly looking forward to what he and his students do with this text.”
Gordon was the 2010 recipient of the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer and the 2011 Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry / Le Prix Lansdowne du poesie for her first collection of poetry, Hump (Palimpsest Press, 2010). More recently, three of her poems have recently been selected for an upcoming ecopoetry anthology called Entanglements, to be published this fall by Scotland’s Two Ravens Press.
Over the years, Kalamalka Press books have been short-listed and nominated for numerous regional and national awards, including the Pat Lowther Award. The press has also been instrumental in launching the significant careers of Karen Connelly, Nancy Holmes, Sue Wheeler, and Dona Sturmanis.
A total of thirty-six manuscripts found their way into the competition. While the judges for the 2012 award, Laisha Rosnau, Jake Kennedy and kevin mcpherson eckhoff, were exhilarated by the range of subjects and aesthetic risks undertaken by most of the entries, they agreed that the winning selection fearlessly wrestled the complexities of human relationships using emotionally dynamic lines and metaphors. The judges also noted two strong honourable mentions: Documenting in the Brink by Kathleen Brown and Osteogenesis by Claire Caldwell, both of which demonstrated haunting/halting imagery and a profound attention to sound.
Although we're currently not accepting manuscripts for next year's competition, here are the details of the process so you can be ready for the next round.
The competition seeks chapbook-length works of poetry, short fictions or hybrids thereof. Entrants should be residents of Canada and in the early stages of their writing careers, having not published more than two full-length books. The winning chapbook will be published in a limited fine-press edition by Kalamalka Press.
$10 for each manuscript. Writers may enter as many times as they wish. Please make cheques out to Okanagan College Foundation.
The winner receives $500.00 and ten percent of the book’s print-run.
Direct queries to the contest coordinator,
Kevin McPherson: email@example.com.