The First Page Challenge

A writing contest for novelists

The First Page Challenge is a writing contest for novelists by Darling Axe Editing

If you want a reader to buy your book or an agent to offer you representation, then it only makes sense to have a stunning first page. That's what the First Page Challenge is all about—we're open to fiction or narrative nonfiction, short stories or full-length manuscripts. 

Our judge, Michelle Barker, will be asking herself one question:
how likely am I to turn this page and keep reading?

First place: $700 CAD
Second place: $200 CAD
Third place: $100 CAD

All three finalists win publication on the Chopping Blog
and receive complimentary access to one of our self-paced courses.

The Finer Points

• Entry is $5 CAD
• One page: double-spaced, 12-point font
• Multiple submissions accepted
• Original, unpublished, unrepresented work only
Once you've paid, send your docx/pdf to
• Submission deadline: September 30

Check out the 2019 winner here.
And the 2020 winner here
And the 2021 winner here.
And the 2022 winner here.
And the 2023 winner here.

Our contests are recommended by Reedsy!  Reedsy Best Writing Contests 2022

New: Optional Feedback

Would you like to know how your first page lands with our contest screeners? For an additional $40 CAD, we will send you brief feedback about your entry's strengths and snags. This will come in the form of an email with a few notes about what our screeners thought, a score out of five, and any relevant resources. Please note: this feedback will not be sent until after the contest closes and winners are announced—sometime in October.


Click here for entry only

A note on sincerity: some so-called editing websites host writing contests as a ruse to then up-sell contestants into paying to have their submissions edited. A shifty trick indeed! We attest that this is a legitimate annual writing contest, and if winning entries ever need some editing, we will gladly assist without charge.