20 students from across Canada shortlisted for The First Page student writing challenge
Thousands of students wrote about topics ranging from the climate crisis to A.I. and gene manipulation
Twenty young writers from across Canada have been chosen as the finalists for The First Page student writing challenge, which asked students in Grades 7 to 12 to write the first page of a novel set 150 years in the future.
Students imagined how present-day trends — from climate change to artificial intelligence and gene manipulation — have played out in the year 2170.
The 20 finalists were chosen from over 2,000 entries submitted in the fall of 2020 — 1,601 entries were collected from the Grades 7 to 9 category and 403 entries from the Grades 10 to 12 category.
A team of readers at CBC Books chose the finalists.
You can read the shortlisted entries below.
Grades 7 to 9 category finalists
- The Earth Odyssey by Enya Fang, 13, from Surrey, B.C.
- Finding Home by Anne Gibson, 12, from Bedford, N.S.
- The Son Leaves in November by Sasha de Leon, 14, from Winnipeg
- The Tainted Land by Annabel Li, 14, from North Vancouver
- In the Storm by Hao Lun Li, 13, Coquitlam, B.C.
- Pollinator by Sophie McGowan, 12, from Burnaby, B.C.
- Les Avions en Papier by Irisa Rao, 13, from Victoria B.C.
- Last Soul on Earth by Madison Schettler, 14, from Winnipeg
- Timeless by Sherry Xiong, 13, from Surrey, B.C.
- Interdependent by Katie Yu, 14, from Iqaluit
Grades 10 to 12 category finalists
- A Weeping Warrior by Nida Almas, 17, from Windsor, Ont.
- Lobster by Samuel Budge, 15, from Ottawa
- Mission Genesis by Clayton Burrows, 17, from Sechelt, B.C.
- Happy Rebirthday by Jessie Chen, 15 from Toronto
- Destination Simulation by Jasmine Farah, 16, from Bowen Island, B.C.
- Everything We Want by Natalia Koss, 16, from Vancouver, B.C.
- Goodbye April Rowan by Enya Law, 15, from Toronto
- Above the Orange River by Cole Petersen, 18, from North Vancouver
- My Future for Our Future by Saadia Saqib, 16, from Winnipeg
- Chasing 1% by Caris Simmons, 17, from Calgary
Award-winning YA and children's author David A. Robertson will pick a winner in each of the categories.
Robertson is a Cree writer from Winnipeg who writes books for readers of all ages — including the Governor General's Literary Award-winning picture book, When We Were Alone and the Reckoner YA series. He also won the 2021 Freedom to Read Award.
Both winners will receive a one-year subscription to OwlCrate, which sends fresh boxes of books to young readers across Canada on a monthly basis, plus an additional 50 books for their school libraries.
The winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.
The First Page student writing challenge will return in the fall of 2021.
If you're interested in other writing competitions, check out the CBC Literary Prizes.