First Page Challenge — A Writing Contest

First Page Challenge — A Writing Contest

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The First Page Challenge is currently closed

Check back in May 2021

Thanks for your interest in the Darling Axe First Page Challenge!

It's only $5 CAD to enter.

Once you have paid your entry fee, submit your story to

Current prize pot:

1st place: $200 CAD + publication 
2nd place: $100 CAD + publication
3rd place: $50 + publication (*now growing)

Each entry contributes to the prize, so after 40 entries, the prize pool starts to spill over... and trickle down! Here's how this will work:

  • Up to 40 entries: $200 for 1st prize
  • At 60 entries: $200 for 1st prize, $100 for 2nd prize
  • At 70 entries: $200 for 1st, $100 for 2nd, $50 for 3rd
  • Above 70: 1st place continues to increase – no limit!

Submission guidelines

  • Submissions must not exceed one page—12-point standard font, double spaced, and with unaltered margins (put your title in the header to save space)
  • Only original, unpublished, unrepresented work may be submitted
  • One entry per person
  • Word documents & PDFs accepted
  • Judging is anonymous: submission should not include entrant's name or contact information
  • The winning submissions will be published on the Chopping Blog
  • All entrants will be notified of winners and shortlist by email
  • Prize money will be awarded via Paypal
  • Conflict of interest: authors who have previously purchased a Darling Axe hook-assessment or other editing service are not permitted to submit an entry from a manuscript we have worked on
  • Contest closes September 30, 2020


Screening and judging will be done solely by Darling Axe editors. The entries will be screened by David Brown. The top submissions will be judged anonymously by Michelle Barker. 

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.


The Darling Axe is not be liable for any loss or damage or for any personal injury sustained as a result of entering this contest or receipt of a prize or Chopping Blog publication. The Darling Axe is the sole sponsor of this contest.


The contest winners convey first publication rights to the Darling Axe. Each author fully retains the copyright to his or her piece.

Express agreement

By entering this contest, participants expressly agree to the contest rules and guidelines.