Books

A guide to writing prizes for young Canadians

Creative writing opportunities for Canadians in primary, junior or secondary school.
Student writing challenges are available from coast to coast. (CBC)

CBC Books has compiled a list of some of the writing contests open to young Canadians. 

Below, where prizes are listed, the amount cited is for the grand prize — other prizes may be available. Information is subject to change — please see the contest's official site for more details.

Do you run a writing competition that is open to youth in Canada? Email us at cbcbooks@cbc.ca to let us know.

Prose | Poetry

Prose

Alberta Champions

Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Grade 4 to 9 students in Alberta
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $500 Visa gift card and $500 bookstore gift certificate for teachers

Alice Munro Festival Short Story Competition

Entry period: Winter/Spring
Eligibility: Canadians up to 19 years of age
Entry fee: $10
Prize: $500

Amazon Youth Short Story Competition

Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Canadians between the ages of 13 and 17
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $5,000 and a mentorship lunch with editors of The Walrus

CBC's The First Page

Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: Grade 7 to 12 students in Canada
Entry fee: Free
Prize: One-year OwlCrate subscription and 50 books for your school library

Dandelion Press Microfiction Contest

Entry period: Contests are run every few months
Eligibility: Open to all ages worldwide
Entry fee: Free
Prize: Publication on Dandelion Press's website and $100 gift certificate for Dandelion Press merchandise.

Habitat for Humanity's Meaning of Home Contest

Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Grade 4 to 6 students in Canada
Entry fee: $10
Prize: $25,000 grant to direct to a local Habitat build of their choosing, an iPad and a pizza party for their classroom

Indigenous Arts & Stories

Entry period: Winter/spring
Eligibility: Open to Canadians of Indigenous ancestry between the ages of 6 and 29
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $2,000 for the winner of the ages 14-18 category, $100 for the winners of the ages 6-9 and 10-13 categories

James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Creative Writing Awards

Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Indigenous writers under the age of 18 in Ontario
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $2,500

Submissions can be short stories, poems, essays or songs

Kids Write 4 Kids Contest

Entry period: Fall to spring
Eligibility: Grade 4 to 8 students in Canada
Entry fee: Free
Prize: Winning entry or entries will be published as an e-book, produced at the expense of Ripple Publishing. Proceeds of the sale of the e-book will go to a charity of the writer's choosing.

Lives that Make a Difference Essay Contest

Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Grade 5 to 12 students in Canada
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $3,000

Martyn Godfrey Young Writers Award

Entry period: Winter/spring
Eligibility: Grade 4 to 9 students from Alberta
Entry fee: Free
Prize: Author visit to school and books

Penguin Random House Canada/First Book Canada

Entry period: October 2019
Eligibility: Grades 5 to 8 classrooms registered with First Book Canada
Entry fee: Free
Prize: One class in each province or territory will win 40 copies of Greta Thunberg's No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference

Polar Expressions Short Story Contest

Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Canada
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $100 for Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 winners, $80 for Grades 5, 6, 7, 8 winners and $60 for Kindergarten and Grades 1, 2, 3, 4 winners

QWF Prize for Young Writers

Entry period: Spring/summer
Eligibility: Quebec residents between 16 and 24 years old
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $1,000 for first prize

Submissions can be a short story, poem or work of creative nonfiction or narrative journalism written in English and published in a literary publication the previous year.

ReaderWriterLounge

Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: Anyone 16 years and over
Entry fee: None
Prize: £50 GBP

Rotary Get to Know

Entry period: Spring to fall
Eligibility: Canadian residents under 19
Entry fee: Free
Prize: The prize amount fluctuates year to year

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Anyone over the age of 13 in Grade 7 to 12 from Canada, the U.S. or a U.S. territory
Entry fee: $5 U.S.
Prize: Scholarships range from $1,000 to $10,000

There are 29 categories that young writers and artists can enter.

Stephen Leacock Student Humorous Short Story Competition 2020

Entry Period: Spring (deadline March 31)
Eligibility: Ontario students aged 14 to 19
Entry Fee: $5.00
Prizes: $1,000, $700 and $300, plus two tickets to the Laugh with Leacock soiree.

Talking Back Awards (Shameless)

Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: Open to female/trans-identified writers ages 13-19, internationally
Entry fee: $15
Prize: $200

Vancouver Writers Fest Youth Writing Contest

Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Grade 8 to 12 students in B.C.
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $200

Young Writers Creative Writing Contest

Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Canadians aged 5-18
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $250

Poetry

CBC's Shakespeare Selfie

Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Grade 7 to 12 students in Canada
Entry fee: Free
Prize: One-year OwlCrate subscription and 50 books for your school library

Eden Mills Writers' Festival Poetry Contest for Teens

Entry period: Spring/Summer
Eligibility: Grade 9 to 12 students in Canada
Entry free: Free
Prize: $50 and a family pass to the festival

Eden Mills Writers' Festival Poetry Contest for Children

Entry period: Spring/summer
Eligibility: Grade 1 to 8 students in Canada
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $25 and a family pass to the festival

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award

Entry period: Spring/summer
Eligibility: Open world wide to poets aged 11 to 17
Entry fee: Free
Prize: The top 15 winners have their poems printed in an anthology & the opportunity to attend a writing residency or receive mentorship from a professional poet

Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize

Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Grade 7 to 12 students in Canada
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $400

Open Ages Poetry

Entry period: Summer
Eligibility: Open worldwide to all ages
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $100

Polar Expressions Poetry Contest

Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: Kindergarten to Grade 12 students
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $100 for Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 winners, $80 for Grades 5, 6, 7, 8 winners and $60 for Kindergarten and Grades 1, 2, 3, 4 winners

Power of the Pen

Entry period: Spring to fall
Eligibility: Hamilton residents or residents of a neighbouring city, ages 12 to 18
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $100

QWF Prize for Young Writers

Entry period: Spring/summer
Eligibility: Quebec residents between 16 and 24 years old
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $1,000 for first prize

Submissions can be a short story, poem or work of creative nonfiction or narrative journalism written in English and published in a literary publication the previous year.

River of Words

Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Open internationally to writers between the ages of 5 to 19 who are still in school
Entry fee: Free
Prize: Winning entries are published in the River of Words anthology, published every other year. Finalists and winners receive free copies of the physical anthology. Winners also receive a prize package that often comes with books, art supplies and a medal.

Talking Back Awards (Shameless)

Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: Open worldwide to female/trans-identified writers ages 13-19
Entry fee: $15
Prize: $200

The Betty Award

Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Open worldwide to children aged 8 to 12
Entry fee: $15 U.S.
Prize: $300 U.S.

Young Writers Poetry Contest

Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: Canadians aged 5 to 18
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $60

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