Terms and Conditions

Terms Binding. By entering the competition, each Entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions.

Privacy. All personal information provided by the Entrant shall be used solely for the administration of The Secular Heretic. By providing such information, the Entrant consents to its use for such purposes.

Accuracy of Information. The Entrant guarantees that all personal information provided in their personal account and in the entry form is accurate. The Entrant assumes responsibility and liability for any and all consequences arising from human error, fraudulent information, and any information provided to The Secular Heretic that is inaccurate. Any false statement made by an Entrant is grounds for disqualification from the competition.

Limitation of Liability. The Secular Heretic and its directors, officers, and employees shall assume no liability resulting from losses, delays, fraudulent claims or statements, loss or theft of any data, damage to any equipment including software, computer errors, malfunctions related to information technology, or any other errors. The Secular Heretic and its directors, officers and employees shall assume no liability whatsoever for any event, act, or situation beyond their control.

No Refund. Entries will not be refunded under any circumstances.

Ineligibility. Entries not conforming to these terms and conditions shall be ineligible. Only entries meeting all the present terms and conditions and the online entry requirements, including payment of relevant entrance fees, shall be considered.

Decisions Final. By entering, each Entrant agrees to abide by The Secular Heretic rules. All decisions made by The Secular Heretic directors or authorized agents, including subeditors, editors, and judges, as the case may be, are final. The Secular Heretic does not respond to correspondence concerning final decisions.

Jurisdiction. This Agreement is governed by and shall be construed in accordance with the laws of the Province of Ontario. The parties hereby attorn to the jurisdiction of the courts of the Province of Ontario.

Confirmation. Telephone confirmation of receipt of any entry is not available. The Secular Heretic will not confirm the content of entries. Acknowledgement of receipt will be sent via email to those who provide a valid email address in the personal information section of their online account with The Secular Heretic.

Retrieval of Entries. Entrants are responsible for keeping their own drafts. Once entered, the text of a poem cannot be retrieved for the Entrant. The Secular Heretic is not responsible for tracking entries and will not retrieve entries from its database at any time. The Secular Heretic uses a restricted, anonymous entries platform that ensures anonymity, making individual entries difficult to retrieve.

Contact. Unsuccessful Entrants will not be contacted.

Competition Closure. Should participation levels fail to meet the minimum set by The Secular Heretic, The Secular Heretic may close the competition and refund all Entrants their Entry Fees. In such a case, all Entrants will be informed by email using the email provided in the Entrant’s account information. The current minimum number of entries is 100.


Age Restriction. All Entrants shall be of the age of majority in their legal jurisdiction of residency at the time of entry submission.

Topic. Entries must be on the following topics: COVID-19 Experiences / Lockdown Experiences / Vaccination Experiences. Entries may be true accounts or fictional accounts or a mixture of truth and fiction. Entries on other topics will be disqualified.

International Entries. Entries may be submitted from anywhere in the world. Each entry must be submitted with the author’s legal name. A pen name may be added to a submission.

Length. Entries may be any length not exceeding 8500 words.

Language. All entries must be primarily in English. The inclusion of a few non-English words or phrases is acceptable.

Simultaneous Submission. No simultaneous submissions. Simultaneous submission (submission of an entry to both The Secular Heretic’s Covid Stories Competition and to another prize or publication during the entry and judging period of The Secular Heretic’s Covid Stories Competition) is not permitted.

Publication Defined. Any work that has appeared on the Internet or in print, or has been broadcast in any format is considered published and is therefore ineligible for The Secular Heretic’s Covid Stories Competition.

Previous Publication. Entries must be unpublished and original works of the Entrant. Each entry must be the work of a single author, not including a company or organization. Each entry must not infringe upon any right or copyright of any person or entity.

Translation. Translations are not eligible for The Secular Heretic’s Covid Stories Competition, except a translation made by the Entrant of a story written by the Entrant.

Prior Contract. Entries cannot be under contract, including for publication and/or broadcast in any medium. If an entry is placed under contract or made public after it is entered, it is rendered ineligible, and it is the responsibility of the Entrant to inform The Secular Heretic of such ineligibility by sending an email to marko@thesecularheretic.com.

Publication Following Entry. If an entry is published at any time before the selections for The Secular Heretic’s Covid Stories Competition are made, it will be rendered ineligible. Entries that are selected for publication in The Secular Heretic and/or its anthology are subject to specific publishing rights outlined elsewhere in these rules.

Entry. All entries must be entered exclusively using the entry system on The Secular Heretic website. No other form of entry, by conventional mail or otherwise, shall be considered, and any such entry will not be returned. Entries must not include the Entrants name in the text.

No Changes. All entries are final: no changes are allowed after submission. New drafts will have to be entered as separate and new entries, entailing entry fees.

Entry Restrictions. The Secular Heretic directors, officers, employees, representatives or agents, including the subeditors, editors and prize judges, as well as any of their immediate family members or persons with whom they are domiciled, are not eligible to enter The Secular Heretic’s Covid Stories Competition.

Entry Fee. An entry fee is required for each entry. The fee is $10.00 CAD per entry.

Deadlines. The competition begins 30 July, 2021 at 24:00 ET. The final entry deadline is 30 November, 2021 at 23:59 ET.

Right to Extend Deadline. The Secular Heretic reserves the right to extend deadlines as it sees fit.

Fee Payment. Entries will not be eligible until payment has been received and confirmed. If payment is withdrawn, the relevant entry will be rendered ineligible. All entries are final, and entry fees are non-transferable and non-refundable.

WARRANTY. Entrants warrant they have created the entry they are submitting, that they own all rights to it, that all intellectual property, including copyright, in the entry belongs to the entrant and remains solely and exclusively with the entrant, and that the entry shall not violate any laws of any country and shall not infringe any other party’s copyright, trademark or other rights. Entrants will indemnify and hold The Secular Heretic and its directors, officers, and employees free of harm from and against any and all loss, damage, costs and other expense arising out of claims, whatever their nature, resulting directly or indirectly from breach of this warranty.

Publication Rights

Copyright. Copyright remains with the authors. By submitting an entry, the Entrant grants worldwide licences to The Secular Heretic for the following, in the case that the entry is selected for publication:

(i) the right to publish the entry online as part of the shortlist and (if so selected) in print in an anthology;

(ii) the right to insert a hyperlink to The Secular Heretic website where the entries will be stored.

Reprint. For any entry that is published online as part of the shortlist and in an anthology, any requests from outside The Secular Heretic for permission to reprint or photocopy an Entrant’s work shall be referred to the Entrant.

Name and Likeness. All Entrants whose entries are selected for the anthologies shall agree to have their name or pen-name and/or picture, including their photograph, and/or their voice used for promotional purposes related to this competition, free of charge. Each Entrant who has an entry selected for either publication and/or the prize agrees to take part in reasonable publicity after publication and the awarding of the prize and to the use of their names, title of work, biographies, and photographs in such publicity.

Selection Process

Selection by Jurors. All entries will be selected and judged anonymously. Each entry will be randomly allocated to a juror, who will select from their allocated entries a number of entries for the anthology.

Judging. The prize judge will select the prize winner, also anonymously, from the entries selected for the anthology.

Pre-editing. In the case that The Secular Heretic decides that too many entries have been entered for the editors to assess, the entries will be screened by filter editors selected by The Secular Heretic to reduce the number of entries to a number that the editors have agreed to assess. If an Entrant enters multiple versions of what is substantially the same work, The Secular Heretic may choose to cull all but one of them.

Correspondence. No editorial feedback will be provided to Entrants. There will be no correspondence to Entrants regarding the selection process.

The Prize and the Publications

Prize and Publishing. The jury will choose approximately twenty-five (25) works for publication in the anthology. Of these, the judge will select one as winner of the single prize of one thousand dollars in Canadian funds ($1,000 CAD). To have an entry included in the anthology, and/or to be declared the winner of the prize, Entrants must meet all the present terms and conditions.

Complimentary Copy. Entrants published in the anthology will receive one free copy of the anthology.

Winner Announcement. The winner of The Secular Heretic’s Covid Stories Competition will be announced by the end of February of the relevant year.

No Transfer. The prize may not be exchanged or transferred. No substitutions are allowed.

Refusal. Refusal to accept the prize or publication in the anthology releases The Secular Heretic and its directors, employees, sponsors, partners, and affiliates of any obligation towards the Entrant.

Method of Award. The prize winner will be notified by telephone or by email. The method for delivering the prize to the prize winner will be agreed upon between The Secular Heretic and the prize winner. Payment of any transaction fees, including currency exchange fees, associated with the method for delivering the prize to the prize winner, are the responsibility of the prize winner.

Time of Announcement. The prize winner will be named online, on The Secular Heretic website, by the end of February of the relevant year.

Deadline for Claim. The deadline for claiming the prize will be thirty (30) days from the time of announcement. Should the winner fail to claim the prize, they will forfeit the prize and another winner will be selected.