Introducing the New Literistic


We just finished our new website, and with it, we’d like to introduce you to “Literistic on steroids.”

Our intention from the beginning has been to create a list of deadlines that’s short and sweet. You’re not going to respond to each of the 50+ deadlines that we send you every month. But you might respond to 10 – 15 that are actually relevant to the type of writing that you do. Being presented with a small list of a few highly-qualified deadlines should significantly reduce the amount of time that you spend managing submissions every month. It’s also typically a job preformed by most literary agents. This is what we want Literistic to be.

We’d like to introduce you to the Literistic “Longlist,” or Literistic on steroids as we’ve come to call it. The Literistic Longlist takes the free version of Literistic, offers 30% more deadlines and is tailored to your subscriber preferences. It’s your new literary agent. If you want to receive nothing but fiction deadlines for publications that pay for submissions and are located in the United States, well, you can do that now. If you’re interested in reading more about how you can customize what you receive every month, here’s a blog post for you.

Right now, the Literistic Longlist costs $4.83/month or $58/year (changed . If, after a month or two, you’re not satisfied, you can have your money back. But, if you’ve been keeping track of the amount of time you spend managing deadlines every month and you consider that time to be worth roughly the price of a cup of coffee, it’s an easy to decision to make. We’ll be raising the rate to $48 after a few months, after all of our current subscribers have had time to sign up, and after we’ve released a few more personalization features, so, if you’re interested, click this click to subscribe at the lower price.

There will still be a free version of Literistic (now dubbed “The Shortlist”), and we’ll still put love into it. But our focus will be on making something that sustains the work that we do every month. We want to make Literistic an indispensable tool for writers, and there’s still a lot of ground to cover.

If you have any questions about the Literistic Longlist, send us an email! We’ve also launched a handy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Thanks for listening. We’ll see you on the 1st!

How can I customize Literistic?

We’ve just released the full-featured Literistic, and with it, we’d like to introduce you to the all new subscriber preferences. Subscriber preferences let you tell us what you want to receive every month. If you’re a poet who doesn’t have any money and wants pay for poems, you’re going to love this. Preferences are available to anyone who has purchased a Literistic subscription. Let’s talk about how they work.


There are four groupings of checkboxes within your preferences: “Genre,” “Category,” “Money,” and “Geography.” The checkboxes within these groupings function as filters. By default, everything is turned on, which means that you’re receiving absolutely everything that we’re sending you.

The checkboxes under “Genre” allow you to filter out genres that you aren’t interested in. Don’t worry, you’ll still receive listings that have cross over (for example, publications that publish poetry, fiction and non-fiction will still appear if you only have non-fiction checked).

The checkboxes under “Category” allow you to filter out certain types of deadlines. Don’t want to see Grants and Fellowships? Uncheck that box. Think contests are just the worst? Uncheck that one too.

The “Money” section sounds ambiguous and believe us we tried our hardest to make it easy to understand. The Money section lets you filter out unpaid deadlines, deadlines with fees and paid deadlines (why would you want to filter those out?). This section functions a little differently than the others though: checking the “Fees” and “Paid” checkboxes while unchecking “Unpaid” will not show you deadlines that only have fees. Instead, it’ll show you deadlines that pay, and deadlines that pay and have fees. Got it?

The “Geography” section functions like “Genre”: this section allows you to filter out organizations by their location. This is not to be confused with being able to filter out deadlines that only allow work from a person who holds a certain type of citizenship. If a listing is going to exclude you based on where you’re from, we’ll note it in its description.

It’s important that you’re not too zealous with your preferences. You may find yourself only receiving a few listings. But hey— maybe that’s what you want. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. Alternatively, you can always send us an email.

Ready to subscribe? Well friend, here’s a conveniently placed link for doing just that.

Don’t know how to get to your preferences? Scour your inbox for a Literistic email, scroll to the bottom of it, and click the “Preferences” link in the footer. It’ll look like this.

Just the Stats: Diversity in Canadian Poetry Prizes (1981 – 2015) [Updated]

Screenshot 2015-03-01 11.26.16Following  the announcement that VIDA will include a “Women of Color VIDA Count” as part of their annual data, Canadian poet Colin Fulton is working on a damning piece of research that reveals the racial uniformity of poetry prize-winners in Canada. We’ll let you guess who comes out on top.

In such a culturally diverse country, it’s disappointing that such a bias still exists. Fulton’s research also shows the effect of such a bias: the majority of the judges of Canada’s most prestigious prizes are also white.

As long as prizes beget prestige, and prestige turns writers into gatekeepers, the bias is likely to continue, unconsciously or not.  Fulton’s research is still ongoing. We’ll update you as it progresses.

(March 2, 2015) We’ve updated the post with a preface by Fulton.


The image presented by this simple and cursory list – that prize culture in Canadian Poetry is explicitly white supremacist – should be unsurprising. It’s only been a week since I started to compile the opaque histories of poetic ‘excellence’ and its evaluation in this country, but carefully typing out white winner, white shortlist, white judge over and over again while trying to resist that confirmation becoming automatic makes the research slow-going. The suffocating ephemerality of this ‘excellence,’ decaying or lost in unmaintained lit-journal websites and cached press releases, is just as obvious as its whiteness. At the same time the names are very present in contemporary Canadian poetry. It’s difficult to name a ‘successful’ Canadian poet who hasn’t had some kind of contact with prize culture.

Yesterday I posted the beginnings of the list to my Facebook page and since then it has been shared, reposted, spread through Twitter, etc., in a manner reminiscent of work done by CWILA with gender and reviewing in the Canadian poetry context. Responses to the list from a variety of different audience (mostly white, like me) have seemed copy-pasted from that moment too. (The judge says: “Well most of the people submitting were white, so it’s no surprise the winners were white! We’re not racist, submissions are read blind!” The cynic says: “Well prize culture is inherently problematic anyway! I already knew about this. Get rid of awards and you get rid of the issue.” The reformer says: “Well all we need to do is attribute more value to diversity and tone down this false rhetoric of universality and absolute judgement, as allies.”)

I’m not interested in combatting pre-readings, and honestly part of the project was to draw them out. But some clarifications might help. First, not all of the prizes I’ve gotten around to looking at are open to submission, and not all of them make judges and the method of judge selection public. Second, the limitations (and ridiculousness) of the list’s ‘white/non-white’ categorization, the elision of names therein, is again part of the questions the project is trying to raise. Third, the image of prize culture’s racial purity should not be disentangled from wider issues concerning the way prizes are ‘necessary’ to finance austerity-struck publications, the way the university workshop system exists as a feeder into prize culture, and so on. All this aside, the bottom line is that these venues for poetry, especially longstanding awards that have NEVER had a non-white winner, nominee or judge, would be left unchanged if they blatantly stated “whites only” on the eligibility page. Would anyone notice if they did?

The list first and foremost articulates a game called “white people giving other white people money,” sometimes called ‘the Canadian poetry prize,’ which is undeniably a benchmark of the production of literary value and career-building. Not much more commentary than this is needed: it isn’t about poetry contests, and it’s not about moving towards an image of poetry more palatably diverse to a white audience – it’s about who gets to exist and who doesn’t, about who they exist for and who decides.


Griffin Prize (Canadian winners)

2015 – Judges: All White, Winner TBD
2014 – Shortlist: All White, Winner: White, Judges: All White
2013 – Shortlist: 2/3 White, Winner: White, Judges: 2/3 White
2012 – Shortlist: All White, Winner: White, Judges: All White
2011 – Shortlist: 2/3 White, Winner: Non-White, Judges: All White
2010 – Shortlist: All White, Winner: White, Judges: 2/3 White
2009 – Shortlist: All White, Winner: White, Judges: All White
2008 – Shortlist: All White, Winner: White, Judges: All White
2007 – Shortlist: 2/3 White, Winner: White, Judges: All White
2006 – Shortlist: All White, Winner: White, Judges: All White
2005 – Shortlist: All White, Winner: White, Judges: All White
2004 – Shortlist: All White, Winner: White, Judges: All White
2003 – Shortlist: 2/3 White, Winner: White, Judges: All White
2002 – Shortlist: All White, Winner: White, Judges: 2/3 White
2001 – Shortlist: All White, Winner: White, Judges: All White

Matrix Litpop Award (Poetry)

2014 – White Winner, White Judge, White Shortlist
2013 – White Winner, White Judge
2012 – White Winner, White Judge, White Shortlist
2011 – White Winner, White Judge, White Shortlist
2010 – White Winner, White Judge
2008 – White Winner

Robert Kroetsch Award

2015 – Winner TBA, White Judge (White Shortlist)
2014 – White Winner, White Judge
2013 – White Winner, White Judge
2012 – White Winner, Non-White Judge
2011 – White Winner, White Judge
2010 – White Winner, White Judge
2009 – White Winner, White Judge
2008 – White Winner, White Judge
2007 – White Winner, White Judge

Robin Blaser Award

4th Winner: TBD
4th Judge: White
3rd Winner: White
3rd Judge: White
2nd Winner: White
2nd Judges: White

bpNichol Chapbook Award

2014 – White Winner, White Judges
2013 – White Winners, White Judges (^)
2012 – White Winner, White Judges
2011 – White Winner, White Judges (^), White Honorable Mention

AM Klein Poetry Prize

2014 – Winner: White
2013 – Winner: White
2012 – Winner: White
2011 – Winner: White
2010 – Winner: White
2009 – Winner: White
2008 – Winner: White
2007 – Winner: White
2006 – Winner: White
2005 – Winner: White
2004 – Winner: White
2003 – Winner: White
2002 – Winner: White
2001 – Winner: White

Governor General Awards (Poetry)

2014: 4/5 White Shortlist, White Winner
2013: 3/4 White Shortlist, Non-White Winner
2012: White Shortlist, White Winner
2011: 3/4 White Shortlist, White Winner
2010: White Shortlist, White Winner
2009: 3/4 White Shortlist, White Winner
2008: 1/2 White Shortlist, White Winner
2007: White Shortlist, White Winner
2006: 3/4 White Shortlist, White Winner
2005: 3/4 White Shortlist, White Winner
2004: White Shortlist, White Winner
2003: White Shortlist, White Winner
2002: White Shortlist, Non-White Winner
2001: White Shortlist, Non-White Winner
2000: White Shortlist, White Winner
1999: White Shortlist, White Winner
1998: 1/2 White Shortlist, White Winner
1997: White Shortlist, Non-White Winner
1996 to 1981, 14/16 White Winners

Lemon Hound Poetry Prize

2014 – White Winner, White Judge

CBC Canada Reads (Poetry)

2014 – White Winner, 2/3 White Judges
2013 – White Winner, White Judges
2012 – Non-White Winner, White Judges
2011 – White Winner
2010 – (unknown)
2009 – White Winner
2008 – White Winner
2007 – White Winner

Montreal International Poetry Prize

2013 – White Winner, White Judge
2011 – White Winner, White Judge

Bronwen Wallace Award (Poetry)

2013 – Winner: White, Finalists: White
2011 – Winner: White, Finalists: 1/2 White
2009 – Winner: White, Finalists: White
2006 – Winner: White, Finalists: White
2004 – Winner: White, Finalists: White
2002 – Winner: White, Finalists: 1/2 White
2000 – Winner: Non-White, Finalists: White
1998 – Winner: White, Finalists: White
1996 – Winner: White, Finalists: White
1994 – Winner: White, Finalists: White

Malahat Review Prizes


2013 – Winners both White
2011 – Winners both White
2009 – Winners both White
2007 – Winners both White
2005 – White Winner; other no info
2003 – Winners both White
2001 – Winners both White
1999 – 1/2 Winners White
1997 – Winners both White
1995 to 1988 – Winners all White


2014 – Non-White Winner, White Judge
2012 – White Winner, White Judge
2010 – White Winner, White Judge
2008 – White Winner, White Judge
2006 – White Winner, White Judge


2014 – White Winner, White Judge
2013 – White Winner, White Judge
2012 – White Winner, White Judge
2011 – White Winner, White Judge
2010 – White Winner, White Judges

Trillium Awards (Poetry)

2014 – Non-White Winner, 1/3 Finalists White
2013 – White Winner, White Finalists
2012 – White Winner, White Finalists
2011 – White Winner, White Finalists
2010 – White Winner
2009 – White Winner
2008 – White Winner
2007 – White Winner
2006 – White Winner
2005 – White Winner
2004 – White Winner
2003 – White Winner

* (^) – the same judge used the following year

[Note: winners and shortlists/finalists within a given year are counted separately.]

What does Literistic actually look like?


We don’t have a FAQ yet and many people are asking for an example of what Literistic looks like. We’ve taken a huge screenshot of March’s list and pasted it below. The list is not totally representative of what we’re going to be sending in the future — this is our first list — but it should give you an idea of how the list is formatted and whether or not it’s something you want to see in your inbox every month. Remember, we query each subscriber about their tastes in publications and fellowships when they sign up, so the tastes reflected below may change in the future. Take a look:


Interested in subscribing? Head on over to

The Best Advice Neil Gaiman Got But Completely Failed to Follow

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech at the University of the Arts in 2012 is incredibly inspiring. Gaiman tells the story of getting his first few freelancing gigs (he lied about being published by a bunch of magazines in order to get employers to pay attention to him), about ignoring good advice, and about his publisher going insolvent and being unable to pay him. Sit back, grab a tissue box and prepare to get a little weepy:

Last Week in Literary Controversies: Raziel Ried Responds to Conservative Critic Barbara Kay


Every time a critic makes a statement like “I’d not have wasted tax dollars on this values-void novel” it is important to raise an eyebrow. Not only is this type of rhetoric completely false (it postures weakly at a civic good which it reveals itself to not understand), it demonstrates a profound conservatism, a conservative which is often antithetical to literature worth giving a damn about. Last week, Raziel Ried, author of When Everything Feels Like the Movies, a Governor General’s Literary Award–winning book, defended herself against the National Post’s Barbara Kay in an amazing op-ed published in The Walrus. The ensuing conflagration in the comments and elsewhere is well worth the read. Go and take a look.

Watch This Incredible Trailer for Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage


Who isn’t a fan of Haruki Murakami‘s novels? His latest book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, sold more than a million copies in the first week it went on sale in Japan. It looks like Knopf put together a trailer that almost no one noticed (a measly 15,000 plays on YouTube). Anyway, we thinks it’s brilliant. The music is performed by Knopf’s cover designer Peter Mendelsund. Check it out below:

Check out These Stunning Minimalist Book Covers by New Directions

Type and space— that’s all you need for a good book cover. The covers below are a testament to design minimalism and good sense. Thanks New Directions!

antwerp_cover_new_300_467Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 5.15.27 PM onbooze_300_420-1 The_Literary_Conference_300_478Red_Notebook_300_467

Watch Peter Mendelsund Play Liszt for Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki


Peter Mendelsund is one of my favourite designers. I have a copy of “Cover” sitting next to me on my desk right now — right next to my Bringhurst — and “What We See When We Read” is, well, a must read. Here Mendelsund performs Franz Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage, which is featured in the trailer for Murakami’s newest book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage.

Murder your Spreadsheets: introducing the editors who will keep you up to date on literary submission deadlines

Liam Sarsfield and Jessie Jones, your editors.

Liam Sarsfield and Jessie Jones, your tiny editors.

Most of my literary side projects have gone nowhere. First, it was a poetry blog. Then, it was a publishing company. After that, a magazine. There was an app. I’ve filled more space in my notebooks with writing about what kind of literary institution I want to build than actual “literary” writing.

Up until a few months ago, I had made peace with this impulse and had started the process of convincing myself that none of it would ever get built. Then, I observed a conversation between Jessie and our friend Garth Martens about the spreadsheets they’d created in order to keep track of deadlines for publications, contests and fellowships. They talked for at least twenty minutes while I stuffed myself with onion rings. By the end of it, I could tell that Jessie was envious: Garth had amassed what sounded like a colossal and definitive list and had worked himself into a lather generating the will to maintain it. Walking home, brainstorming ways to keep abreast of deadlines without having to be an ascetic, we had the idea for Literistic. We’ve been hammering away ever since.

A little about us: we met while we were both still lucky enough to be taking classes with Tim Lilburn and Steven Price. We currently work in technology. I’m a designer by trade. Jessie is a copywriter and support staffer. You can follow me on Twitter, and follow Jessie on Tumblr. You can read a little bit more about how Literistic works in our article, “Building Literistic: Humans, Robots & Juvenile Capitalists.” We’re hoping we can make your lives a little easier. Sign up for Literistic here.