Congratulations to the winners of the 2022-2023 writing and design contest: Mimi Toma and Talel McBriar

Mimi Toma

Mimi Toma is of Assyrian heritage and is an admirer of her mom’s Middle Eastern recipes. Mimi currently studies in the Legal Administrative Assistant program at Capilano University and is a recent graduate of the Acting for Stage and Screen Diploma at Capilano University. She is currently a lifeguard and swim instructor and plans to direct her attention to writing and acting following her graduation. Mimi uses writing as an outlet to translate her personal experiences in a form that people can connect to in their own way as they read. Her poem, Routineis inspired by her mother who raised both Mimi and her younger sister on her own despite having her own health issues and no support system in her life. 

Talel McBriar

Talel McBriar is a multimedia artist who uses visual art and music as creative expression. A self-taught painter, Talel primarily finds interest in painting human crowds and figures with acrylic paint. Painted during the beginning of the pandemic, this artwork reflects on being on a subway in New York City and represents the appreciation and nostalgia of being in a crowd, surrounded by others.  


A Note from the 2022 -2023 Liar Writing Contest Judge 

Reading the ten finalists for this award has been eye opening and rewarding. There were moments in which each of the ten shortlisted pieces made me stop and catch my breath at a powerful image, a stunning turn of phrase, the deft handling of the language.   

I want to thank the ten finalists—whose poems and prose pieces resonated so deeply with me and were a pleasure to read. Finalists: you should know that contest’s readers (a class dedicated to the production of the Liar Magazine) were asked to select five final pieces. Know that your readers fought for a longer list, and that each and every one of you on the short list had one or more champions in that room.   

 Contests are slightly arbitrary, and not all of the pieces that individual students fought for made it onto the shortlist. Alongside the finalists, I am told, were many deeply powerful pieces that simply didn’t make the list owing to space alone. With a slightly different group of first readers, an entirely different group of finalists could have been set before me. Had a different writer been asked to adjudicate this contest, they might have chosen another of the ten finalists entirely.   

I like to think that out there, in the multiverse, every piece submitted to this contest is being read by its ideal reader—and, in turn, recognized for its particular power.  

In this corner of the multiverse, the piece I’ve chosen to celebrate is “Routine” – a poem that is as understated as it is powerful, a work that evokes a heartbreak occurring just outside of the poem’s frame. The poem takes a quiet approach to unfolding the story of the speaker’s mother, who struggles to do the basics during chemotherapy, and yet, finds small and imperfect ways to care for her child, the speaker of the poem. The poem is a monument to what it costs to dwell with illness, to witness a loved one struggle, and more particularly, the love between a child and a mother. The most difficult truth of this poem is unfolded quietly: the mother of the poem, the reader realizes, is no longer able to carry on what was once routine.  

 Thank you for the gift that is this poem.  

Thank you to all who submitted—and took the risk of sharing their work—because your work richly deserves to be read. – Anne Stone


The winners of the writing contest held in 2021-2022 have been decided

Megan Vaghy

Megan spent much of her childhood moving internationally, armed with a suitcase, a notebook, and a wild imagination. Writing got her through the doldrums of airport layovers and the endless slog of long-haul flights, back in the dark ages when we all had to watch the same movie on the same aisle-mounted screens. These days, she’s a mostly stay-at-home mum, a part-time sales associate at a specialty wine shop, and champion Cap U ABE math procrastinator. Megan is also a former flight attendant, with a Diploma of Wine (it’s a real thing—not just code for ‘heavy drinker’), and she’s upgrading courses so she can go to nursing school. Her dream is to one day have a fold-out business card that contains a series of totally unrelated credentials. 

Writing Contest Winner – “Impractical Magic” by Megan Vaghy

Impractical Magic By Megan Vaghy  I stopped watching the news ages ago. I had to. A person has a limit on how many times they can stomach the word, ‘Unprecedented.’ “Did you hear the latest about what happened down here?” my mum asks me one morning. My parents are...


The results of our design contest held in 2021-2022 have been decided



Celina Zhong is a second year IDEA student studying graphic design and illustration. Her illustration for The Liar stems from surrealism and the concept of escaping the mundane nature of reality.

Feel free to visit her Instagram @celinaa.jpg

Our mission

The Liar, is an independent annual literary zine
published and edited by students.
Since the 1980s, the Liar has featured work from emerging and international authors such as Margaret Atwood, Charles Bukowski, Juliane Okot Bitek, among others

Latest From Our Blog

A sneak peak into the prose and poetry published annually in our magazine 

2022 – 2023 Writing Contest Winner – ROUTINE by Mimi Toma

Routine With the strand of hair hanging from my mouth, holding onto the piece of bread I just chewed. I think of when mother would wrap her hair in a scarf each morning. Still, her red velvet hair would always make it into my greek salad. It happened so often that she...

2023 Writing Contest Finalist – YOU by Thea Lutters

YOU (Content Warning: Suicide)   I place the key into the ignition and turn it; my dad’s old ‘67 Camaroroars to life. It was his prized possession, navy blue with two white race stripes right down the hood. Now, dirt suffocates him six feet under. I’m going to...

2023 Writing Contest Finalist – THE PROMISE OF A THOUSAND KISSES by Ethan Sauer

The promise of a thousand kisses:   has always been a lie. Slipping away into momentary bliss. Slipping away into a single, sultry night sky. I’ve always hidden the colour of my heart. Tucked away its rose-filling, its pink catastrophe routed in desire. Tucked it...

2023 Writing Contest Finalist – this cigarette, i forgot i lit it by Kat Savard

this cigarette, I forgot I lit it When Papa’s cough didn’t stop after the medicine, we knew it was bad. He was a big man, larger than life, and so to see him, curled up small in his bed felt like a knife in the ribs. We tried for days to bring the fever down, but like...

2023 Writing Contest Finalist – THE DESIRE OF TIME by Raquel Adrian

Something that I want more than anything is the ability to pause time. On a rainy day, to stop the droplets in their flight and see my reflection in them, walk about and around, into them even. Or snowflakes on their journey down from the sky, to examine their...

2023 Writing Contest Finalist – THE IRON ARM by Jasper Gillard

The iron arm sat patiently upon a rusty trash can, surrounded by bright neon lights that reflected off its silver outline. A man with one arm stared at the device, unsure of what mysterious functions this iron arm might have. Around them, the alley was desolate. Not a single human dared travel into such a filthy place. They preferred to stick to the gutted street, floating like ants in a large field of weeds.

2023 Writing Contest Finalist – ECLIPSE by Elishiva Phillips

Eclipse Alone with strangers, I melt into gravel. Their boots make a satisfying crunch as they grind me down into earth. Plastered in vinyl, we peel persimmons and black out the sun with fistfuls of ash as the train screams and cheap bourbon consecrates the tracks....

2023 Writing Contest Finalist – DREAMLAND by Manpreet Kaur

  Dreamland It was—5am—in my head                                                                                                                                 and I was lost no destination, no idea of where I was; nostalgia of a place that kept changing until...