Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Write an essay, win big

  Posted on: November 2, 2016

Writing 2,500 words could get you your first year of tuition free.

TRU is hosting one of the biggest literary contests in the country, open to unpublished writers. The prize is equivalent to one year’s tuition at TRU—up to $5,500*.

“The arts and particularly creativity, in whatever way that might be expressed, should be central to a university education and to a civilized society,” explained English and Modern Languages (EML) faculty member Dr. George Johnson. “By holding this competition, we want to demonstrate that at TRU we value creativity and want to help foster it among our students.”

English students in the senior editing class will be reading and longlisting all of the submissions. The faculty members and students alike are looking forward to reading the best of new voices from across the country. This will be a rare and ideal opportunity for young essayists to have their work read critically by more experienced writers.

“Being part of a writing community helps shape us as writers. For the advanced students who judge and edit the work, the contest will be an opportunity to practice and refine those necessary editing skills,” said EML faculty member Karen Hofmann.

The longlisted essays will also be published in a new TRU literary journal set to launch in the fall of 2017.

Why “the human experience”?

The theme was chosen for its breadth. Almost anything that is experience-based and reflective can fit under this topic. “We’re looking for a personal take that contains intent and meaning that go beyond the experience being described,” said Hofmann.

Why creative non-fiction?

Creative non-fiction allows for the display of techniques from all writing areas. This genre includes memoirs, biographies, humorous writing, personal essays and travel writing.

The contest at a glance

Contestants can be any graduate of a Canadian high school who qualifies for admission to a TRU program of their choice starting September 2017 or January 2018. Contestants must submit a self-written creative non-fiction essay of a minimum of 1,500 to a maximum of 2,500 words on the broad topic of “The Human Experience.” Submissions must be sent as an email attachment to before the deadline of 11:55 p.m. Dec. 15, 2016.

The contest judges will likely include Johnson, a critic, essayist and playwright, and Hofmann, a novelist and poet, both well-published and award-winning authors who teach creative writing at TRU.

Learn more about the rules and submission process.

More information

George Johnson
English and Modern Languages
Faculty of Arts

Karen Hofmann
English and Modern Languages
Faculty of Arts

*Nov. 4 amendment: the prize is a tuition credit at TRU in an undergraduate degree program such as the Bachelor of Arts is a maximum of $5,500, not $6,800 as previously stated.


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