Awards Submission Rules Unpublished

Unpublished Manuscripts

"Unhanged" submissions must be postmarked or courier-dated no later than October 15, 2014


2015 Unhanged Arthur Award
Submission Rules


Definition of a Crime Novel

“Crime novel” includes capers, detective, espionage, mystery, police procedural, suspense, thrillers and other crime-related sub-genres, and can be set in any time period.


The contest is open to all writers who fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

  1. You are a Canadian citizen, regardless of place of residence, or a writer, regardless of nationality, who has been granted Permanent Resident status in Canada.
  2. You have not had a novel, or novel-length work of fiction, of any kind published commercially, whether: in print or electronically (i.e., e-book or published on the Internet) or self-published in any genre, including literary fiction under your given name or a pseudonym, and/or written alone or jointly with another author.
  3. A novel that has an ISBN or ASBN is considered to be published commercially. If you currently have a contract from a publisher for your manuscript, you  are ineligible to enter this contest. However, anyone published in the areas of nonfiction, short stories, poetry, or short plays/screenplays is eligible to submit to the Unhanged Arthur.

Contestants must have a completed novel manuscript (50,000-110,000 words) at the time of entry.

This is blind competition. Therefore, you are welcome to submit the same manuscript in subsequent years, provided it was not shortlisted for a previous Unhanged Arthur Award (and that criteria 1 to 3 are still met) since shortlisted stories are publicly announced.

If you are uncertain whether your manuscript is eligible, contact us at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The decision of Crime Writers of Canada as to whether a manuscript is eligible for the Unhanged Arthur Award is binding.

Submission procedure

Entrants must submit:

  • Three (3) copies of the opening of their completed crime novel to a maximum of 5,000 words.
  • Three (3) copies of a 500-word synopsis of the novel. The synopsis should be of the entire novel. It must be double-spaced. The synopsis is a crucial part of the submission; it is the only way the judges can see the plot development, so take time to write it.
  • A completed entry form and $25 fee for each submission.

Manuscripts and synopses must be in English, typed double-spaced on 8.5" x 11" paper or A4 paper using 12-point Times New Roman or Courier, with 1 inch margins, and unbound.

Each page of the manuscript must have a header in the upper left-hand corner, containing the title of the manuscript. Do not include your name in the header because this is a blind contest. Make sure that each page is numbered. Do not include your name on the synopsis, just the title of the book.

Each submission must be accompanied by a completed entry form and an entry fee of $25.00. Only cheques or money orders, in Canadian funds, made out to Crime Writers of Canada can be accepted. We do not be accept international cheques or money orders. If you wish to pay via PayPal, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for instructions. Writers may submit any number of entries provided that each is accompanied by an entry form plus the entry fee of $25.00.

Entries must be postmarked or courier dated by the closing date of October 15, 2013.

The judges will come up with a long list from the initial submissions. These authors will be notified no later than January 15, 2014, but potentially as early as November 15, 2013, and be required to submit three (3) copies of their complete manuscript at that time or be immediately disqualified. Depending on the preferences of the judges, electronic files may be requested instead of one or more of the hard copies.

The judging is still blind at this point, so please only put your name on the cover letter. Do not advertise that you have made the long list, or publish excerpts from your manuscript, until the shortlist is announced. If you do, you may be disqualified.

The semi-finalists will also be asked to provide a 100-word book blurb, a 50-word bio and an author photo via email.

The Unhanged Arthur shortlist, along with the other Arthur Ellis Awards shortlists, will be announced in April at the Arthur Ellis Shortlist Events across Canada.

The winner will be announced at the CWC Arthur Ellis Awards Ceremony. All shortlisted authors will be sent details about both events.

The winner will receive a special Arthur Ellis Award as well as a cash prize from Dundurn. However, if there is no clear winner, none will be declared.

Dundurn will have first right of refusal on the work. The winner is required to allow Dundurn three (3) months to make an offer if they so choose, before the winning manuscript may be submitted elsewhere. There is no commitment on Dundurn’s part to publish the winning entry, nor is the winner obligated to accept Dundurn’s offer to publish. Copyright will remain at all times with the author.

Entries and manuscripts cannot be returned.
Entries are sent to:

Crime Writers of Canada, Unhanged Arthur
4C-240 Westwood Road
Guelph, Ontario
N1H 7W9

Submissions must be postmarked or courier dated no later than October 15, 2014.

We regret that entries postmarked after this date cannot be considered. If you are using a courier or priority post, the destination phone number is 519-826-9693. You will be emailed when your package has been received. For your own peace of mind, please request a delivery receipt from your courier or post office.

CWC has created a Style Guide for your reference. 


For information about the contest, please email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For information about Crime Writers of Canada, please email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Unhanged Style Guide

PDF Version of the Rules

Entry Form

Rules for Published Works