Priscila Uppal Memorial Award for Poetry 



Named “Canada’s coolest poet” by Time Out London, Priscila Uppal was a tour-de-force and her poetry was anything but sit-down, tame, or by-the-book. She often used humour to confront darker issues head on, wasn’t afraid to laugh at our beautiful and messy world, and found joy in the glamorous through theatrical attire and performance. For this inaugural annual contest, we encourage submissions that tackle serious topics with a spirit of fun. Our hope is that this award will honour Priscila’s legacy as a mentor and friend to many.

FIRST PRIZE: $500 + publication in Canthius
RUNNER-UP: $250 + publication in Canthius

Entry fee is $25 and includes a one-year subscription to Canthius.

2019 Judge: Phoebe Wang


Phoebe Wang is a writer and educator based in Toronto, Canada and a first-generation Chinese-Canadian. She holds an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Toronto. Wang’s debut collection of poetry, Admission Requirements, was published with McClelland and Stewart in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Gerald Lambert Memorial Award, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, and nominated for the Trillium Book Award. She is also the author of two chapbooks and the co-editor of The Unpublished City anthology (Volume 2). In 2017, she co-hosted and organized Fuel for Fire: Professional Development for Writers of Colour in partnership with the Ontario Arts Council. Recently her work has appeared in the Copenhagen-based Sindroms Magazine, REFUSE: Canlit in Ruins (Bookhug, 2018), What the Poets are Doing (Nightwood, 2018) and is forthcoming in They Rise Like A Wave: An Anthology of Asian-American Women Poets (Blue Oak Press, 2020). She currently works with the organization Poetry In Voice and as a Writing and Learning Consultant at the Ontario College of Art and Design.



Priscila Uppal was a Toronto poet, fiction writer, and professor. Among her publications were nine collections of poetry, including Ontological Necessities which was shortlisted for the 2006 Griffin Prize. Her poetry is philosophical and lyrical, always defiant and rooted in the day-to-day of intimate and social life. Uppal’s writing crossed genres and her craft shifted to suit the distinctive insights of her many works of poetry, fiction, theatre, and criticism. Uppal taught at York University and was a mentor to many young poets. She died in 2018 after a long struggle with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Canthius is grateful to the executors of Priscila’s literary estate for their support of this award and for their guidance in its design and administration.

“She was, as anyone who knew her will tell you, one of the true, great lovers of story. Priscila was the kind of woman you did not know you needed until she arrived. And I know she will keep on arriving in everything she’s left behind.” – Canisia Lubrin



  • We accept submissions exclusively from women, trans, nonbinary, Two-Spirited, and genderqueer/gender non-conforming writers.

  • We are committed to publishing diverse perspectives and experiences and strongly encourage writers of colour, including Indigenous and Black writers, to submit to this contest.

  • International entries are welcome.


  • Submit online via Submittable here.

  • Entries must be unpublished and not simultaneously under consideration for any other contest or publication. Submissions can be withdrawn at any time.

  • Your submission may include up to three poems or a maximum of 150 lines of poetry.

  • Do not include your name on your submission attachment. Please enter your name and contact information in the form provided by Submittable. In the space reserved for a cover letter, please include the title of the piece(s) you have submitted and a line count.

  • If you require assistance submitting in an alternate format or require further accessibility assistance in order to submit to our contest, please send your request to canthiusjournal (at) gmail (dot) com and let us know how we can best assist you.

  • Contest winners will be contacted directly by email in February 2020. Please ensure that Canthius is designated as an approved sender to prevent our response from being caught in your email spam filters.

  • Once you have confirmed your submission, you will be directed to a page with payment instructions.

Submission Cost

  • The $25 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Canthius (two issues beginning with issue 08). Due to high international shipping costs, the international entry fee is $35 CAD.

  • Multiple entries are welcomed and may be submitted for an additional $10. Subsequent entries ($10) will not include additional subscriptions. 

  • We have reserved a limited number of free entries for those who require financial assistance. Please contact us at canthiusjournal (at) gmail (dot) com if the submission fee is prohibitive to your entry in this contest.