Books·The First Page

My Fault by Ariadni Lianidaki

My Fault by Ariadni Lianidaki is a finalist for The First Page student writing challenge of 2022.

2022 finalist: Grades 7 to 9 category

Ariadni Lianidaki, 15, is a finalist in the Grades 7 to 9 category of The First Page student writing challenge 2022. (Submitted by Ariadni Lianidaki)

My Fault by Ariadni Lianidaki is one of 13 stories shortlisted for The First Page student writing competition in the Grades 7 to 9 category for 2022.

Students across Canada wrote the first page of a novel set 150 years in the future, imagining how a current-day trend or issue has played out. More than 1,800 students submitted their stories.

The shortlist was selected by a team of writers across Canada. The winners will be selected by bestselling YA writer Sarah Raughley and be announced on May 31.

Lianidaki, 15, a student at Centennial Regional High School in Brossard, Que., writes about victim blaming.


I was taking a walk down the street as I saw the flaming evening sky. Painted with purple and pink hues that blended with the blazing orange of our sun. The moon was slowly rising, leaving a ghostly trail of light on my dull face. It was getting late, and I still had 11 blocks to my empty apartment.

My steps usually started speeding up by this point but not tonight. I did not want to get arrested but I could not resist this breathtaking view. I got lost in the infinite sky, just for one minute, but as the sun fell lower and lower, I got dragged into reality. All the women around me were rushing to their homes. Working mothers running while lifting their weight in groceries. Innocent schoolgirls leaving their male friends alone at the park and skipping to their families.

In a few seconds, the city was suffocating with men.

I had never set foot outside past curfew. Never.

Everyone seemed to believe that the dark was dangerous for women, as if the dark ever hurt us.

I continued strolling through foggy, hushed alleys. The rapid clicking of my heels echoed with the subtle whistle of the clouds peaking behind tall and decrepit buildings. I could not stay out for long though. If a cop saw me, I doubt he would let me walk carelessly around scary pathways. Not that he would fear for my well-being, that would be unheard of, but rape numbers had stay low one way or another. I was used to people taking the easy route, and this time the most predictable one. Victim blaming. I should never be wandering around at this time. It was irresponsible, stupid, weirdly... inviting, and it was now a criminal act.

Everyone seemed to believe that the dark was dangerous for women, as if the dark ever hurt us. The dark never left a woman bruised like a soft ripe plum or as fragile as a bubble, collapsing with a single touch.

I finally reached the entrance of my weather-beaten building. After many tries, I couldn't open the metal front door. The lock was still the same rusty one I had unlocked this morning and my key had been in my back pocket for the entire day. My arms were pulsing from the cold, and I just didn't have the strength to try. I was helpless and alone. But I deserved it. I should have known.

It will always be, my fault


About The First Page student writing challenge

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)

CBC Books asked students to give us a glimpse of the great Canadian novel of the year 2172. They wrote the first page of a book set 150 years in the future, with the protagonist facing an issue that's topical today and set the scene for how it's all playing out in a century and a half.

Two winning entries — one from the Grades 7 to 9 category and one from the Grades 10 to 12 category — will be chosen by bestselling author Sarah Raughley. 

A writer and lecturer from Southern Ontario, Raughley is the author of the YA Effigies series — which includes Fate of FlamesSiege of Shadows and Legacy of Light — and the fantasy historical novel The Bones of Ruinfor ages 14 and up.

The shortlist was selected by a team of writers across Canada:

The winner will be announced on CBC Books on May 31, 2022.

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. In addition, each of the winners' schools will receive 50 free YA books. Special thanks to Penguin Random House, Raincoast Books, Scholastic Canada, Annick Press, KidsCan Press, Groundwood Books, Orca Books and Simon & Schuster for donating books for the prize.

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