on the Verge Writing Contest

Submit to on the Verge writing contest by February 15, 2023

on the Verge Writing Contest showcases and celebrates emerging UVic student voices with an annual theme under the broad rubric of equity, diversity, and human rights. The contest is co-sponsored by UVic Libraries and Equity and Human Rights (EQHR) with significant support from other units on campus.



Dialogue is essential to navigating our world. As we connect, clash, collaborate, and encounter a dynamic range of ideas and ideologies, we shape the future through our engagement with each other. Sometimes our discussion produces deeper understanding and transformation of hearts and minds; other times, attempts at dialogue further the divide between people and groups, cementing ideas and divisions.

What impact does dialogue have on our relationships and vital social issues? How do our values and traditions influence the ways in which we engage in dialogue? How can dialogue surpass the boundaries of identity and belief? Where and why does dialogue fail? And how can we reconnect using the power of our voices to bridge the distances that divide us?

Guest judge

Johnny D Trinh

Johnny D Trinh is an interdisciplinary, spoken word artist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Johnny is the Artistic Director of Vancouver Poetry House and and Writer-in-Residence at the Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre. Johnny is also the Founder and Artistic Producer of Stage to Page Performance Society, bringing cross-disciplinary mentorship to help spoken word poets grow. Johnny’s pedagogy is rooted in the constant goal of fostering a sense of empowerment, agency, and compassion through socially engaged, community based art. Johnny recognizes that many of us are uninvited settlers on this Indigenous Turtle Island, and continually works to negotiate that through accountability, solidarity, and integrity of practice. Johnny holds a MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Regina, a diploma in Music Theatre Performance from the Randolph College for the Performing Arts, and Hon. BA in Drama from the University of Waterloo. Johnny is member of the League of Canadian Poets, and alumni of the Banff Spoken Word Residency and Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre Summer Intensive, and a TEDxSurrey Speaker and Coach. “It takes a community to build an artist ... whether we are nurtured by it, or resist against it.”

Photo credit: K. Ho

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 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

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.

Listen to the winners read their work at our 2023 on the Verge writing contest celebration.

Fiction, 1st place: Emily Clark, “Raccoon Makes it Right”

Fiction, 2nd place: Eva Haas, “Slurpees”

Non-fiction, 1st place: Daniela Rassvetaieff, “Unsaid”

Non-fiction, 2nd place: Jade Wildey, “Amber Ray – Girl in the Glass”

Poetry, 1st place: Xinhe Hu, “What I’ve Learned About Law School So Far”

Poetry, 2nd place: Maya Somogyi, “Fissures in Ceramic”

Spoken word, 1st place: Ashley de Kroon, “Thoughts of Used to Be”

Spoken word, 2nd place: Daniella Pope, “My Ability to Speak”

Read past winners of on the Verge and the UVic Diversity Writing Contest in the UVicSpace collection for the contest.



on the Verge Performance Workshop for Writers

Members of the UVic student community are invited to participate in a masterclass performance workshop for writers led by our 2023 OTV guest judge, Johnny D Trinh. The workshop will take place on March 23 from 9am to 12pm. 

As writers develop and promote their work, they are often invited to perform readings at various events, book launches, open mics, artist talks, and more. Utilizing techniques, and strategies from theatre, spoken word, and public speaking; Johnny D Trinh will offer coaching on:

  • How to engage an audience while maintaining your authentic self
  • How to use a mic and sound system to benefit your story telling
  • Practical physical, and vocal exercises/techniques that will improve your performance
  • Performance coaching on actual excerpts of your work
  • How to occupy and embody space on stage, with some tips on bantering and engaging audiences, and ways to keep the energy moving

How to prepare:

  • Bring yourself, and be in comfortable clothing that allows you to move within your ability
  • Bring a short excerpt of writing, between 1-3 minutes in length when read out loud

This a hybrid event, and will be offered both online and in-person. Not everyone will receive direct coaching on the floor, but everyone will have the opportunity to work on practical performance techniques and share their work.

Register for the workshop.

Entries for the 2023 contest are now closed.

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