The winners of the contest are announced annually at the final stop of the Authors on Eighth Walking Tour, which always concludes at Berton House Berton House during the 2018 walking tour. Anakana Schofield, writer-in-residence at the time, read to the assembled group.

The Klondike Visitors Association (KVA) and the Writers’ Trust of Canada have announced the theme for the annual Authors on Eighth Writing Contest. Between June 4 and July 21, interested contestants are encouraged to write a piece of prose or poetry that is inspired by northern weather. 

“The contest … invites participants to be inspired by the writings of Pierre Berton, Robert Service, Jack London and Dick North, all authors who themselves have allowed the North to influence their writings. Prizes include real Klondike gold nuggets!” Most pieces will also be published in the Klondike Sun, Dawson City’s bi-weekly newspaper.

In 2017, the contest had 29 entries. in 2018, it drew 30. Many were from locals or other Yukoners, but there were also lots from across Canada and the USA, as well as New Zealand. The winners were announced during the Authors on Eighth walking tour that is part of the Discovery Week events here during the third week in August.

“From the blazing midnight sun, to a frosty winter’s day, weather has been a topic in northern writing since the dawn of Gold Rush literacy. Authors on Eighth celebrates those historical writings while also showcasing current talented writers from around the world,” said Paul Robitaille, marketing and events manager for the KVA.

Pieces of writing can be submitted by sending an email to KVA@dawson.net. Submissions should include an attached word document of the work, as well as the writer’s name, pen name (if applicable), address and phone number. No names or addresses should be within the document itself, as this will insure unbiased judging.

For more information, visit DawsonCity.ca.  

Terry Hynes of Grand Forks, B.C., and David Thompson of Whitehorse, are two writers who have entered the contest nearly every year. They have been winners in both the poetry and prose categories and have subsequently published books containing some of their entries, along with other work.

“The Yukon and the Dawson region especially, have so much colourful history of which to write about,” said Hynes, who has visited the area a number of times since 1972. “I grew up reading all three authors and got introduced to Dick North in my later years, but I now have most of his books.

“It’s a genre in which I enjoy spinning yarns. The simple ballad-type rhymes that a lot of people still enjoy reading and are so much fun to write in.

“Kudos to the KVA and all for keeping it going year after year. It’s one of the few venues that appreciate and provide a platform for this style of writing.”

Thompson has written two books of humorous Klondike-inspired historical fiction since he first submitted and is currently working on two more.

“The Authors on Eighth contest gave me a tremendous boost and encouraged me in my writing.

“I’m not exaggerating when I say I never won anything in my life. When I won the contest, I could hardly believe it. My wife cried. 

“I’ve always had an affinity for the history and people of Dawson City. We lived there for about three years until 1975. I had a good glimpse of a passing era.

“The contest appeals to me because it is unique, I believe it is prestigious to win and it reflects the spirit of the Klondike, which I support wholeheartedly.

“Where else can you visit Robert Service and Jack London’s cabins, write a poem or story in their honour, and have a chance to win a gold nugget? Only in the Klondike, I say.”