The First Page student writing challenge is now closed

The First Page student writing challenge is closed for submissions.
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)
David A. Robertson is a Governor General's Literary Award-winning author and judge of the 2020 First Page student writing challenge. (Amber Green)

The First Page student writing challenge is now closed for submissions.

Got questions? Email and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

The judging process is ongoing. Ten finalists from each category will be selected by a team of readers at CBC Books. Finalists will be notified by email in February 2021.

David A. Robertson will select two winners, one from each category, from the shortlists. Robertson is a Cree writer from Winnipeg who writes books for readers of all ages. He has published 25 books across a variety of genres, including the graphic novels Will I See? and Sugar Falls, a Governor General's Literary Award-winning picture book called When We Were Aloneillustrated by Julie Flett, and the YA book Strangers

He published three books in fall 2020: the memoir Black Water, the graphic novel Breakdown and the middle-grade novel The Barren Grounds.

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 winners' school libraries will receive 50 free books.

Last year's winners were Greenfield Park, Que.'s Juliana Narváez Gutierrez for No Choice  and Kamloops, B.C.'s Leonardo Mete for Below Zero, Above Thirty-Two. You can read all the 2019 finalists' entries here.

THE CHALLENGE: We asked Grades 7 to 12 students to give us a glimpse of the great Canadian novel in the year 2170. Your challenge is to write the first page of a novel set 150 years in the future, with your protagonist facing an issue that's topical today and setting the scene for how it's all playing out in a century and a half.

TEACHER GUIDES: Visit for discussion questions and writing tips from Canadian writers, like Cory DoctorowLinwood BarclayFonda LeeCherie DimalineErin BowKatherena Vermette and M.G. Vassanji.

WANT MORE STUDENT WRITING CHALLENGES? Sign up for our newsletter below to find out about our creative writing challenges for students in 2021 and beyond!

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