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Susan Crean Award for Nonfiction

Surrey Muse Art & Literature Awards

Each year, Susan Crean Award for Non-Fiction will choose a Short List of six entries to determine First, Second and Third Place winners. The First-Place winner will receive $1000 award while the Second and Third Place winners will receive Honorable Mention.

The copyright for winning entries will remain with the writers while some of the winning entries may be published on SMAS webpages and social media outlets.

Eligibility Criteria

Surrey Muse Arts Society (SMAS) is committed to inclusivity and equality, and it wishes to create opportunities for everyone in the arts communities regardless of race, ethnicity, social or economic status, gender, disability, sexuality, religion, or any other similarly restrictive category. In accordance, we specifically encourage people of colour, LGBTQ+, disabled, and financially challenged writers to participate.

The SMAS is a secular organization that is neither against a religion nor it is in favour of any.

Works containing prejudice based on race, class/caste, gender, religion, sexuality, disability, and ageism will not be considered.

The Awards are open to Canadian citizens, members of Indigenous nations, landed immigrants, permanent residents, refugee applicants, and international students in Canada.

All applicants must reside in Canada at the time of submitting their work. Canadian citizens living, working, or studying outside Canada are not eligible to apply.

An applicant may apply to more than one Surrey Muse award. Multiple submissions to each award are allowed.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable.

Members of SMAS Board of Directors, Literary Advisors, this year’s volunteers, paid workers, and advisors to Surrey Muse Awards program are not eligible to apply.

Submissions in French and other languages are welcome when accompanied by their English translations.

Submission Guidelines

Send a maximum of 10 pages, not exceeding 2700 words, of your original, unpublished (print or online), writing such as memoir, creative essay, autobiography in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format.

Use 12pt Times New Roman, double-spaced, not exceeding 10 pages or 2700 words.  Submissions that go over the page limit or word count will be disqualified.

Scholarly, journalistic, children’s, young adult, or academic writings are not eligible.

When you submit:

• Your document should be labelled only with the title of the submission. Do not include your name or any personal details in the document’s file.

• The file name should be the title of your work.  

• Give your name, address and phone number in your email message.

• Pay the $25-$10-FREE entry fee as suggested at the following link:

• Copy the confirmation number in your email message, and enter the amount in the Subject Line of your message as follows:

– If you are financially comfortable, pay $25 and write: ‘Susan Crean Award – $25’

– If not as comfortable, pay $10 and write: ‘Susan Crean Award – $10’

If financially-challenged at present, do not pay and write: ‘Susan Crean Award – FREE’

• The entry fee will not be returned in any event.

Attach not more than 10 pages of text file to your email message and send to:

Please note that the judges will only receive your work, not the payment details.

By submitting to this award, you are accepting the requirements and guidelines as stated above.

Submissions open from: June 1, 2022
Submissions end on: August 15, 2022
Awards will be announced: October 28, 2022
Awards Ceremony: Friday, November 25, 2022

The First-Place winners of the five awards
will present their winning entries and will have
Q&A with the participants.
Out of town winners will participate via Skype.

The Judging Process

A member of SMAS Board of Directors will check all entries to determine compliance with Eligibility Criteria and Submission Guidelines. The compliant entries will be sent to an independent Judge and two Jury Members (a member of SMAS team, and a community volunteer, both familiar with and/or working in the field of nonfiction). The Judge and the two Jury Members will independently select six Short List entries each. The Judge, in consultation with the two Jury Members, will determine the First, Second and Third place winners. The Judge’s decision will be final and unchallengeable.
Judge and Jury Members
Myrna Kostash, Judge
Hebert Poll Gutierrez, Jury Member
SheLa-Nefertiti Morrison, Jury Member (SMAS)

Dedicated to Susan Crean

Susan Crean is a cultural critic, author, and activist working in British Columbia and Ontario for over 30 years. A pioneer of creative non-fiction in Canada, Susan’s expertise in Canadian history, art, and culture is evident in her essays, biographies, and memoir. She is the author of seven books, the first, Who’s Afraid of Canadian Culture, appeared in 1976 while her next major work, The Laughing One – A Journey to Emily Carr, was nominated for a Governor General’s award and won a BC Book Prize in 2001. Susan published her memoir, Finding Mr. Wong, in 2018, a work that recreates the life of her family’s cook, Wong Dong Wong. It reached the top 10 list of Best Canadian History books by Canada`s History magazine. We dedicate the Nonfiction Award to Susan Crean for her artistic expression that gives a warm and passionate voice to her factual narrative.

Surrey Muse Arts Society (SMAS)

Surrey Muse is an interdisciplinary art and literature presentation group that was founded by four artists of Color in Surrey in November 2011. Mandated to inclusivity and equality, it held 3-hour salon-style monthly gatherings featuring authors, poets and artist/performers, with discussions and open mic sessions till March 2019 when it went virtual due to COVID-19 restrictions. In 2016, for its fifth anniversary, two additional programs were introduced: Surrey Muse At Large and Surrey Muse Writers. The group registered itself as Surrey Muse Arts Society (SMAS) in 2019, and it operates from the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt, Tsawwassen, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

This document is developed in consultation with
Author/Mentor Elee Kraljii Gardiner
Author/Educator Laifong Leung

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