Vera Manuel Award for Poetry

Surrey Muse Art & Literature Awards

Each year, Vera Manuel Award for Poetry 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 poets 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 with this policy, we specifically encourage people of colour, LGBTQ+, disabled, and financially challenged poets 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, 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 abroad 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 of your original, never published anywhere before, poems in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format.

Use 12pt Times New Roman on a single-spaced page. Send one or more poems, each starting at a new page. Please add page numbers to the bottom right of the page.

When you submit:

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

• The file name should be the title of the first poem in your submission.  

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

• Pay the $25-$10-FREE entry fee as suggested at the following link:  https://surreymuse.wordpress.com/donate/

• 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: ‘Vera Manuel Award – $25’

– If not as comfortable, pay $10 and write: ‘Vera Manuel Award – $10’

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

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

Attach a maximum of 10 pages of text file to your email message and send to: surrey.muse@gmail.com

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

By submitting to this award, you are complying with the eligibility requirements and submission guidelines as outlined 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 Board, and a community volunteer, both familiar with and/or working in the field of poetry). 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
Cecily Nicholson, Judge
Malcolm van Delst, Jury Member
Sana Janjua, Jury Member (SMAS)

Dedicated to Vera Manuel

Vera Manuel (1948 – 2010), Butterfly Woman (Kulilu Paⱡki), a poet, playwright, and drama therapist in British Columbia, worked through the inter-generational trauma of Residential Schools and its impact on individuals and communities using her poetry, drama, stage craft, spoken word, and storytelling. ‘For years’, Vera said, ‘I used my poetry as a tool to help people to heal and never thought to publish it or to use it for any other purpose.’ Her play ‘The Strength of Indian Women’ was published in ‘Two Plays about Indian Residential Schools’ (1998/2018). Her writings were anthologized and published in magazines, however, most of her work was published posthumously in ‘Honouring the Strength of Indian Women: Plays, Stories, Poetry – Vera Manuel’ (University of Manitoba Press, 2019). We dedicate the Poetry Award to Vera Manuel to express our gratitude for her undying, healing, and passionate poetic voice.

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
Poet/Author Wanda John Kehewin
Author/Poet Kevin Spenst

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