Reading Service for Writers

Are you a new or seasoned writer challenged by a troublesome manuscript?

Every year EVENT receives hundreds of online submissions through Submittable. Many are good, but since we can’t publish them all and are always pressed for time, we decline the vast majority without any feedback.

Since 1993, EVENT’s Reading Service for Writers has provided writers with the opportunity to receive in-depth commentary and recommendations on their manuscripts.

How Will EVENT’s Reading Service Help Me?

  • EVENT’s editors provide you with a 700 to 1,000 word assessment of your manuscript, focusing on such aspects of craft as voice, style, structure, point of view, rhythm, credibility and characterization.
  • The assessment details the strengths and weaknesses of the writing, with specific recommendations on how to proceed.
  • You will also receive an edited copy of your manuscript.
  • Hear what experienced, professional editors have to say about your work.

What Genres Can You Help Me With?

  • Poetry — up to a maximum of 10 pages of poetry, either individual poems or a sequence. The writer may ask specific questions (up to five) about the manuscript to focus the reading, if desired.
  • Short fiction and creative non-fiction under 5,000 words. Please indicate in your email or cover letter whether the submission is fiction or non-fiction.

How Much Does the Service Cost?

EVENT’s Reading Service for Writers costs $125 (includes taxes, and a one-year subscription or renewal so you can check out EVENT’s award-winning mix of writing).

Pay the fee on our Buy page and email your manuscript to (subject line: Reading Service Submission); or attach a cheque or money order, payable to EVENT, for each manuscript and mail the submission to:
Attn: Reading Service Editor
PO Box 2503, New Westminster, BC
V3L 5B2 Canada

All manuscripts read by EVENT’s Reading Service for Writers are considered for publication. You should expect to wait four to six weeks for the commentary to arrive. For more information, call 604-527-5293 or email us at

What Writers Have to Say About EVENT’s Reading Service

“EVENT’s Reading Service is a godsend!”
— Joan MacNeil

“The commentary told me what worked and that information guided my revisions of the piece. The weaknesses in my work were clearly identified…. I was able to see how the piece could be improved. The commentary was both detailed and general. I liked the overview you provided in the letter as well as all of the editing and comments in the text…. The best $100 I ever spent! I appreciate the care and time you gave to my writing. I felt that I was in good hands as I read your extensive notations. Many thanks.”
— Gail Benick

“The service has become an important part of the learning and writing process…the feedback has allowed me to proceed with the process that I enjoy. I appreciate this very much. I have found the criticism very constructive and helpful every time.”
— Toni Atkinson

“Very comprehensive—attention paid on all levels to each poem. I especially appreciated the overall impression and assessment…. I was very pleased overall with the careful attention those few poems were given. Since I am self-taught, the view from a professional eye is important and necessary to my growth as a poet. Thank you!”
— Lynne Burnett

“Just wanted to thank you for the excellent Reading Service critique. Both the summary and the manuscript mark-up are brimming with useful advice and suggestions, which will certainly guide me through the rewrites…. And what a neat experience, as an editor, to be edited by another professional editor. I won’t hesitate to use this service again in the future, and have already recommended it to a couple of the writers I work with.”
— Jacqueline Argent

“It was a good balance of positive and critical comments and suggestions… I was pleased with the critique—it was clear and made sense to me… The combination of edited copy and an overall summary helped me sort through the recommendations easily.”
— Janet Hepburn

EVENT’s Reading Service Editors

gillian harding-russell is a poet, editor and reviewer. She has published five poetry books, most recently Uninterrupted (Ekstasis Editions, 2020) and In Another Air (Radiant, 2018), both short-listed for Saskatchewan Book Awards; and six chapbooks, the latest Megrim (Alfred Gustav Press, 2021). Her work has been short-listed three times for Exile‘s Gwendolyn MacEwen chapbook award; and in 2016, the sequence “Making Sense” was chosen as Best Suite by a Poet at Any Time in Her Career. Her work has also been anthologized in 18 poetry collections and published in journals across Canada, and she has written numerous book reviews. She received an MA from McGill, and a PhD from the University of Saskatchewan, completing her dissertation on postmodern Canadian poetry. She has been poetry editor for EVENT, SPRING magazine and Windscript, and has mentored emerging poets both privately and through the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild.

Ian Cockfield is the Managing Editor of EVENT magazine. He also runs EVENT’s Reading Service for Writers, is a past Fiction Editor of PRISM international and has a MFA in Creative Writing from UBC. His fiction, non-fiction and poetry have appeared in various Canadian journals, including Prairie Fire, Descant, PRISM international, EVENT, Rampike and the Carleton Arts Review, and in the anthology Exact Fare Only II (Anvil Press, 2003), which he also edited. From 2005 to 2007, he served as President of the BC Association of Magazine Publishers (now MagsBC). He has been a freelance editor for two decades, editing for UBC Press, Anvil Press, the Vancouver School Board, Douglas College, the UBC Creative Writing Department, and many individual authors.