2023 Art Writing Prize

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2023 Art Writing Prize

The submission deadline has been extended until June 16, 2023.

Submissions are now open for the 2023 SAAG Arts Writing Prize.

This annual competition recognizes emerging arts writers, critics, poets, creatives and students, providing them the opportunity to expand their practice. For the purposes of the award, an emerging writer is defined as anyone who has not published more than one piece of writing in a recognized print or online publication, exclusive of student-run journals and magazines, as well as self-published works. Writers can submit to one or both of the following categories: Arts Writing and the Aruna D’Souza Award for BIPOC writers. The winners, as chosen by a jury, will receive a $1,000 prize, a two-week residency at the Gushul Studio Writer’s Cottage in the Crowsnest Pass, an editorial mentorship opportunity to write and publish a current exhibition review for Galleries West. All entries will be published in the SAAG Arts Writing Prize Reader 2023, made in-house at the Gallery’s Tiny Press bookbinding studio. Participants will receive a copy of the publication. This prize is offered in partnership with Galleries West Magazine.

Categories & Prizes

Arts Writing

  • Open format arts writing: critical essay, exhibition review, poetry, prose, experimental text, creative fiction, photo essay, etc.
  • Maximum 1,000 words.
  • $1,000 prize; Gushul Studio Writer’s Cottage residency (Blairmore, Alberta) for two weeks in August, 2022; editorial mentorship opportunity to write and publish a current exhibition review for Galleries West.

Aruna D’souza (BIPOC)

  • Open format arts writing: Critical essay, exhibition review, poetry, prose, experimental text, creative fiction, photo essay, etc.
  • Maximum 1,000 words.
  • Author self-identifies as Indigenous, Black, and/or racialized.
  • $1000 prize; Gushul Studio Writer’s Cottage residency (Blairmore, Alberta) for 2 weeks in August, 2022; editorial mentorship opportunity to write and publish a current exhibition review for Galleries West.


To be eligible, writers must be at least 18 years of age at the time of entry. The competition is open to anyone residing in Canada, regardless of citizenship status, and to Canadians living abroad. All submissions must be original and previously unpublished, inclusive of online publications. Images are welcomed to be included as part of the texts. The Gallery is committed to continually working towards more equitable systems and practices. We welcome applications from candidates who identify as Indigenous, Black, racialized, LGBTQ2S+, d/Deaf and disabled, and from poor and working-class backgrounds.

Submission Details

Electronic submissions are preferred. Email submissions, or any questions or accommodation requests to Heather Kehoe, Program & Event Coordinator. We ask that submissions include a brief biography for promotional use.

Writers retain all copyrights to their submitted work. Selected winners consent to the inclusion of their work in the SAAG Arts Writing Prize Reader 2023. All submissions are eligible to be included in this publication, however writers who have not been selected for an award may choose to opt out.

Participants may submit to multiple categories, but can only submit one work per category and will only be eligible to win in one category.

Submissions close June 2, 2023, at 5pm.


The SAAG Arts Writing Prize is judged by a jury of arts writing professionals. The 2023 Arts Writing Prize jury will include 2021 Arts Writing Prize winner Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Editor of Galleries West Magazine Portia Priegert, and the Gallery’s IBPOC Arts Leader Resident Bariyaa Ipaa.

Shazia Hafiz Ramji is the author of Port of Being. She was a finalist for the 2023 Alberta Magazine Awards and the Malahat Review’s 2022 Open Season Award for Fiction. Her poetry is forthcoming in the 2022 Montreal International Poetry Prize anthology. She is a PhD student in English at the University of Calgary.

Portia Priegert, Editor of Galleries West, is based in Victoria on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples. A former national news reporter with the Canadian Press, she holds an MFA from UBC Okanagan. She has taught arts writing at the University of Victoria and worked as director of the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art in Kelowna, B.C.

Yvonne Tiger is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and is also of Seminole, and Mvskoke descent. She is a PhD candidate (ABD) in the Cultural, Social and Political Thought Program at the University of Lethbridge. A first-generation college graduate, Tiger holds an AB from Smith College, and two MAs from the University of Oklahoma in 20th century U.S. History (Department of History) which focused on the federal government’s creation and implementation of Native American boarding school policies, and in Native American Studies—Native American Art History and Curating, studies conducted in the Department of Art History. She is a published Indigenous art historian and teaches at the University of Lethbridge, the University of Victoria, and Institute of American Indian Arts within the MFA-Studio Arts program in Santa Fe, NM. She has recently held fellowships at the Peabody-Essex Museum, the Momus Emerging Indigenous Critics Residency, and the Otsego Institute for Native American Art History. She was a Scholar-in-Residence at Smith College in 2021, a visiting scholar at Smith in 2022, and is a Cobell School since 2021 to Present. Currently, she is studying the creation of traditional Cherokee pottery.

Bariyaa Ipaa is an emerging Nigerian-Canadian Artist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. His art is shaped by his dual African Canadian Identity; as a refugee immigrant and first-generation Canadian, his artistic approach focuses on the continuous process of renegotiating and defining the liminal space that defines his diasporic identity. He is a founding member of We’re Here Too, a platform with the dual aim of celebrating the work of Black visual artists, writers, illustrators, photographers, videographers, and musicians and documenting the Black and Immigrant experience in Lethbridge. He is currently participating in a year-long residency at the Gallery where he will lead the design and implementation of programming to increase accessibility for IBPOC youth. This position is supported by a grant from the Rozsa Foundation.

The Arts Writing Prize and Aruna D’Souza Award will be assessed based on the following criteria:

Artistic Impact (40%): The submitted piece of writing is effective and interesting. The submitted piece of writing demonstrates a high level of skill and craftsmanship. The submitted piece of writing demonstrates a new and exciting contribution to the field of art writing.

Originality (30%): The submitted piece of writing shows imagination, creativity and individuality. The submitted piece of writing demonstrates a unique perspective.

Connection to art (30%): The submitted piece of writing provides a clear and insightful perspective on art, art history and/or artistic practice.

While we appreciate the time and effort taken to write and submit work to the prize, we may not be able to provide feedback or comments for all submissions.

If you have any questions about the jury criteria and process, please contact Heather Kehoe, Program & Event Coordinator, at 403.327.8770 x 29 or hkehoe@saag.ca.

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