Books·The First Page

21 students, 24 dystopic futures: finalists for The First Page speculative fiction challenge revealed

CBC Books asked Grades 7 to 12 students across Canada to write the first page of a novel, set 150 years in the future, imagining how current affairs events and trends have played out. The winners will be announced on May 31!

Grades 7 to 12 Canadian students wrote about topics ranging from the ethics of technology to climate change

The 21 finalists for The First Page student writing challenge in 2022. (Submitted by finalists)

Twenty-one young writers from across Canada have been chosen as finalists for The First Page student writing challenge, which asked Grade 7 to 12 students to write the first page of a novel set 150 years in the future.

Students imagined how current affairs events and trends — from the ethics of advanced technology to climate change — have played out in the year 2172.

The 21 finalists were chosen from over 1,800 entries submitted in the winter of 2022 — 1,309 entries were collected from the Grades 7 to 9 category and 530 entries from the Grades 10 to 12 category. 

The First Page student writing challenge asks students in Grades 7 to 12 to write the first page of a novel from 150 years in the future. (Ben Shannon/CBC)

See this year's finalists and read their entries below.

Grades 7 to 9 category finalists

Grades 10 to 12 category finalists

The shortlist was selected by a team of writers across Canada. The winners will be selected by bestselling YA writer Sarah Raughley.

From top to bottom, left to right: Marty Chan, Sarah Raughley, Gabrielle Prendergast, Andre Fenton, Nadine Neema, Tash McAdam, Angela Ahn, MJ Lyons, Alex Lyttle, Brett D. Huson, Angela Misri, Shane Arbuthnott and Regina Hansen. (Individual photo credits below)

The winners will be announced on May 31, 2022. Each will receive a donation of 50 books for their school libraries and a year of OwlCrate, a Canadian book subscription service.

Last year's winners were Burnaby, B.C.'s Sophie McGowan in the Grade 7 to 9 category for Pollinator and Calgary's Caris Simmons in the Grade 10 to 12 category for Chasing 1%

Special thanks to publishers Penguin Random House, Raincoast Books, Scholastic Canada, Annick Press, KidsCan Press, Groundwood Books, Orca Books and Simon & Schuster for donating books for the prize.

If you're interested in other writing competitions, check out the CBC Literary Prizes. The CBC Poetry Prize is accepting submissions until May 31, 2022.

Meet the readers

Thank you to all the readers who participated in narrowing down over 1,800 entries to 24:

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