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Unleash Work-in-Progress (WIP) Award 2024 

We aim to assist writers in the completion of an important literary project and vision. The Unleash WIP Award offers writers support in the amount of $500 to supplement costs to aid in the completion of a book-length work of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Writers will also receive editorial feedback, coaching meetings, and an excerpt/interview feature in Unleash Lit

This contest is designed to support writers who are just starting or who have been toiling away but need a little boost to keep going.

The Unleash Board of Directors will select the winner and provide individual support and mentorship. 

“This contest is designed to support an artist with a clear vision who would benefit from mentorship and support to finish a writing project.”  –Jen Knox, Executive Director, Unleash


Submit the first 25 pages of your WIP (.doc, .docx, PDF) and answers to the following questions in the same document:

  • Who are you as a creative person, and what is your creative vision? (No CV or resumes here)
  • Who is your intended audience for this project, and why?

​Entries will be judged on originality, emotional resonance, and the author’s vision of the work they'd like to create. Please keep your name off all attachments. Share who you are as a creative, without disclosing your name. 

  • Submissions will be accepted until July 15, 2024.
  • There are no refunds if you withdraw a submission.
  • Multiple submissions may be submitted as separate applications.
  • Please leave all identifying information off of the manuscript.
  • The maximum length of a sample from your manuscript is 25 pages double-spaced.
  • Genres accepted include fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and experimental/hybrid.
  • If guidelines are not followed, the manuscript will be automatically rejected (e.g., including identifying information on the manuscript).
  • Previously self-published works are accepted.
  • Previously traditionally published works are only accepted if the author received little to no support.

We abide by the CLMP Code of Ethics and pledge 

  • to conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors;
  • to provide clear and specific contest guidelines—define conflict of interest for all parties involved, and
  • to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. Namely, submissions are read without identifying information (see guidelines). All manuscripts are evaluated by at least two raters/readers.

The Unleash Creatives team is offering editorial feedback on flash fiction/creative nonfiction. All manuscripts should be double-spaced and formatted in 12-point font. The writing must be in a .doc or .docx format. 

Our turnaround time is one week (7 days) for flash fiction, short stories, and essays, 20 days for novella-length works, and 30 days for novels/collections. We do not currently provide editorial feedback on poetry. 

All manuscripts get feedback from both (2) editors, which includes in-depth developmental edits and feedback.

Flash fiction up to 1,000 words: $45 (3-day turnaround time: $75)

Short stories/essays up to 2,000 words: $100

Short stories/essays up to 6,000 words: $300 

For novellas and novels, email info@unleashcreatives.com with a summary of your project and the final word count for a quote.

About our editors:

After teaching creative writing for over a decade, Jen began to coach writers 1:1 and offer idea-to-publication services through Unleash Creatives, a holistic arts organization she founded and co-owns. Her own work can be found in over a hundred publications, including The Saturday Evening Post, Chicago Tribune, McSweeney's Internet Quarterly, and CutBank. She is the author of three short story collections: After the Gazebo (Rain Mountain Press), The Glass City (Press Americana Prose Winner), and Resolutions (AUX Media). Her first novel, We Arrive Uninvited, won the Steel Toe Books Award for Prose and was one of the top-rated projects of all time on Coverfly's Red List in family stories. More about Jen's is here: jenknox.com

Residing in Mohkinstsis, Ashley Holloway teaches healthcare leadership at Bow Valley College in Calgary, AB. She is a nurse with a Master's in Public Health, and a graduate degree in Global Leadership, with further studies in intercultural communication and international development. Ashley’s work has appeared in the Calgary Public Library Short Story Dispenser, The Nashwaak Review, The Globe and Mail, Magna Publications, The Prairie Journal, Alberta's CARE Magazine, and Unleash Press, with regular contributions to Lead Read Today; forthcoming publications include Flash Fiction Magazine (Jan 2023). Her writing has recently been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Unleash Press