on the Verge Contest

The 2024 on the Verge contest has a deadline of February 16, 2024 and $1600 in prizes

Tell us your stories!

on the Verge writing and spoken word contest showcases and celebrates emerging UVic student voices. This year's theme is equity, diversity, and human rights. Submissions can touch upon any and/or all of these topics and is meant to be as inclusive as possible.The contest is co-sponsored by UVic Libraries and Equity and Human Rights (EQHR) with significant support from other units on campus.

Judging criteria

All entries will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Excellence and proficiency in writing and technique
  • Engagement with the theme in a meaningful way
  • Awareness of equity, diversity, and human rights dimensions related to the theme
  • Fit within the word/time limits for submission

Contest guidelines


  • Open to UVic students only
  • Only one entry per student will be accepted
  • Graphic novel/comic formats will be accepted
  • Visual and graphic works, as well as dramatic monologues, are eligible
  • Submissions must be original and unpublished

Enter one of the four categories below:

  • Poetry (150 lines maximum)
  • Fiction (1500 words maximum)
  • Non-fiction (1500 words maximum)
  • Spoken word (3-minute maximum; video or audio file formats accepted)


Contest winners will receive the following:

  • Cash prize in each category: $250 first place; $150 second place
  • Award certificate
  • Winning entries will be published in UVicSpace (UVic Libraries' open access institutional repository) and highlighted on other UVic sites, including EQHR

Guest judge

Thembelihle (Thembie) Moyo

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Thembelihile Moyo is one of eight children, and the mother of two daughters. After graduating from high school, she taught at her school for four years, using her creativity to write dramas for students to perform during assemblies and prize giving days. Thembie studied Journalism and Media at Amakhosi Arts Academy, and she enrolled in an evening course specializing in theatre, film, producing, and directing, graduating with a Diploma in Creative Arts in 2005, and a Diploma in Media Studies and Journalism in 2006.

Thembelihile's plays include Colour Blue (2010), Let it Out (2014), The Prophetic Place (Prophetic Place, publication University of Toronto Press, 2022) and the one-act play, Who Said I Don't Want to Dance, about a young widow and the challenges she faces after the death of her husband. The latter play was presented by Philadelphia's Pulley and Buttonhole Theatre in their 2018/19 season. Her play, I Want to Fly, about an African girl who wants to be a pilot, is anthologized in Contemporary Plays by African Women (Methuen, 2019) and Extracts- Cambridge University Press “Cambridge Lower Secondary English Stage 9 & Pakistan English Textbook, UK, 2020. It had its first Canadian reading online in February 2022, presented by Regina’s Globe Theatre. New Plays include “It’s Just Black Hair” (2022) and “The Dark Bridge” (2022). Virtual Bondage, full reading in March 2024 Belfry Theatre 2024. UnBroken Chains of Ndondo, 2023 Crafts Bite International reading.

Thembelihle is actively involved with Women Playwrights International (WPI) and the African Women's Playwrights Network (AWPN). She participated in the AWPN's first symposium for African women, “Breaking Boundaries: African Women Writing on the Edges of Race, Gender and Identity” in 2017, and her play, I Want to Fly, was presented at the AWPN's second symposium in 2019.

Thembie also writes for Zimbabwean television, with credits including Sibahle Nje (2011), winner of the Best Screenwriter 2012 Amakhosi Cultural Arts Award; Isipho Sami (2015); and Ezakomatshelela (2018). She has also written the feature film Nomhle (2011).

Thembelihile is the founder and creative director of Gitiz Arts Organization, which has developed Dance Zimbabwe and Dance Remedial Zimbabwe in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. This initiative feeds her passion to help nurture and mentor young performers. She has written two books about dance: Contemporary Dance in Zimbabwe (2016) and Total Traditional Dances (2016).

Thembie also directs. Select credits include Song of a Woman, It's Not Gold, and Voices of Solo Women. She also won the Bulawayo Arts Award for Directing and Producing, the award-winning TV drama, Ezakomatshelela, in 2019.

Visiting playwright and lecturer at the University of Victoria, 2022-2023. Working with both the Faculty of Fine Arts and Equity and Human Rights. She is currently Writer (Creative Action and Digital Content) Equity and Human Rights Office, 2023.

Rules and conditions

By entering this contest, each entrant agrees to release and hold harmless the University of Victoria, Instagram, Facebook, and any of their representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers, and directors from any liability, illness, injury, death, loss, litigation, claim, or damage that may occur, directly or indirectly, whether caused by negligence or not, from: (i) such entrant’s participation in this contest and/or his/her acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of any prize or any portion thereof; (ii) technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunction of any computer, cable, network, hardware, or software, or other mechanical equipment; (iii) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions, telephone, or Internet service; (iv) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Promotion; (v) electronic or human error in the administration of the Promotion or the processing of entries.

Thank you, sponsors!

A big thank you to the UVic Libraries, Equity and Human Rights (EQHR), VPAC, and our fabulous Faculty and Departmental sponsors: Business, Continuing Studies, Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Humanities, Human and Social Development, Law, Science, Social Sciences, and the UVic Writing Department.

Exploring Your Storytelling Voice: A creative workshop with playwright Thembie Moyo

Wednesday, March 13, 2024
4:00pm - 5:30pm
Register now

In this hands-on, 90 minute writing workshop, playwright Thembie Moyo will help you to explore your storytelling voice in your artistic practice and share creative methods and exercises that you can use to develop and strengthen your own unique voice for your creative projects.

on the Verge Student Writers Showcase

Come hear the winning pieces from this year's on the Verge student writing contest! 

Thursday, March 14, 2024
4:30pm - 5:30pm
Digital Scholarship Commons A308

Register for the event now!



Entries for the 2024 contest are now closed.

Contact otvcontest@uvic.ca for more information about the contest.