The League of Canadian Poets
Markets for Young Writers
Writing Contests Especially for Students
- Essay Tips for Student Writers
An article for classroom use to help young people overcome writer's block and express their ideas more clearly.
- Poetics Notes
Further thoughts on the art, after publication of A Magical Clockwork.
- Ten Ways to Tighten Your Prose
A systematic approach to improvement, reproduced from the 1994 print guide by Susan Ioannou.
Books and Free Downloads for Writers and Teachers
- A Magical Clockwork: The Art of Writing the Poem
The critically praised book by Susan Ioannou for better understanding and writing Canadian poetry. (Perfectbound paperback, sent by mail.)
- A Real Farm Girl
A children's novel about rural life on an old-fashioned farm.
- Canadian Books on Teaching Poetry
- Canadian and Other Books on Writing Poetry
- Canadian Poets and Fiction Writers on Their Art and Writing Life
- Poetry Anthologies Reflecting the Canadian Mosaic
- Free downloads of earlier Susan Ioannou books, including
The League of Canadian Poets
- Poets in the Schools
Information about how to bring a live poet into your classroom to inspire students to write, answer questions about the art, and perform their work.
- Student Memberships
For high school and post-secondary students to be part of the poetry community. Student members receive the League's online newsletter listing poetry news, members' news, with the latest contests, awards, and market information. Students are welcome to come to the League's Annual General Meeting, attend its events and readings, and share ideas and socialize with other members.
Markets for Young Writers
- Launch Pad
Chooses stories, poems, and nonfiction that are creative and well written by kids and teens ages 6 through 14.
- Wet Ink Magazine
A literary, visual arts and multimedia magazine for and by Canadian youth aged 13 to 19. "Our mandate is to motivate Canadian young people to become involved in the arts, to present their projects to the greater public and to be accessible. Our hope is that our contributors and readers will continue as artists and art patrons and thereby bring a fresh perspective to the Canadian cultural landscape."
- Youthink: The Magazine
Young, fresh and fun, Youthink is a monthly magazine written by teens for teens. "Apply for the experience of a lifetime! Is journalism/writing your passion? Are you persistent? Are you reliable? Are you deadline-oriented? Do you have a positive attitude? Do you get high marks in English and Writing classes? Do you check your e-mail almost every day? If so, please apply to be a regular writer for Youthink. You'll write all kinds of stories and interview some of today's hottest actors and movie stars!"
- Canadian Links of Interest to Writers
An extensive list of Canadian writers' resources, organizations, arts councils, and advice.
- The Haiku
An excellent starting point by poet George Swede for learning about this ancient and popular form, with an extensive list of periodicals, newspapers, publishers, radio, and television interested in haiku.
- Writers in Electronic Residence (WIER)
Connecting students across Canada with writers, teachers and one another in an animated exchange of original writing and commentary. The writers, who are all well-known Canadian authors, join classrooms electronically to read and consider the students' work, offer reactions and ideas, and guide discussions between the students.
Writing Contests Especially for Students
- Although many contests are repeated annually, "2016" in the deadline confirms the contest for that year. Since changes may occur without notice, for the most up-to-date information always contact the contest directly to view its latest rules.
- Contests below are arranged in deadline order. The deadline given is the date by which the entry must be received (not just postmarked).
- Unless otherwise noted, all contests are for original and unpublished work, and copyright remains with the writer.
- Blind judging means that your name, address, telephone number, and poetry title must appear on a separate page, not on the manuscript itself, to ensure anonymity and fairness.
- E-mail and fax are given for enquiry purposes. Many contest entries must still be submitted only by regular mail.
- Subscription means that your entry fee also brings you a one-year (unless otherwise stated) subscription to the sponsoring magazine.
- SASE is the abbreviation for a self-addressed, stamped envelope. A SASE of suitable size, with enough postage, is required to mail you the contest rules, an entry form, or a list of winners, and to return your manuscript.
- Format entries in the standard manner, unless contest rules state otherwise: typed, on one side only of 8 1/2" x 11" paper, poetry single spaced, and prose double spaced, with pages sequentially numbered.
Contest Details 2016
January 15, 2016: Pandora's Annual Poetry Contest. For previously unpublished poems to 50 lines each by teens ages 14 to 19 and children age 13 and under. Teen prizes $75, $35, and website publication; children's prizes $40, $20, and website publication. Teen entry fee $4.00 per poem; children $3.00 per poem. Submit three typed copies of the work (please divide poems into three piles, not stapled, for three separate judges). Place name, address, telephone number and/or e-mail address, and poem title in a single covering letter only. Blind judging. No manuscript return. Winners announced on the website on February 15. Pandora's Annual Poetry Contest, Pandora's Collective (Poetry Contest Submission), 5505 Main Street,Vancouver, BC V5W 2S3, Canada, online http://www.pandorascollective.com/what-we-do/contests, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 31, 2016: The Brucedale Press Acrostic Story Contest. For an acrostic story no longer than 26 sentences. The first sentence must begin "Adept at manipulating. . . ." Following sentences must begin with words in the sequence of the English alphabet. Any subject or theme is acceptable, provided there is no profanity, obscenity, ageism, racism or sexism. First prize 25% of the entry fees, second prize 15%, third prize 10%, up to three honourable mentions, and publication in the next edition of The Leaf. Entrants under the age of 18 must have a parent or responsible adult sign their entry form. Entry fee $5.00 per story, cheque or money order payable to The Brucedale Press. Submit two copies of each story by postal mail only, with an official entry form (available online or for SASE) attached to one copy. Blind judging. SASE for manuscript return. Winners announced in March 2016. The Brucedale Press Acrostic Story Contest, Box 2259, Port Elgin, ON N0H 2C0, online http://www.brucedalepress.ca/html/Contest.htm, e-mail (for enquiries only) email@example.com.
February 4, 2016: Annual Muriel Morrison Young Authors and Poets Awards. For Junior Scribes ages 6 to 11 and Senior Scribes ages 12 to 15. The Young Authors Award is for an original tale drawn from an event or adventure from your own experience or that of someone you know, with your own ideas and twists added, and interesting characters, plot, and setting to make it more creative nonfiction. Length 250 to 400 words for Junior Scribes and 400 to 800 words for Senior Scribes. Prize from a $15 to $25 certificate. The Young Poets Award is for two contrasting poems, maximum 25 lines each, rhyming and/or non-rhyming (free verse). No acrostic poems, please. Prize is a $15 certificate. Tips: consider the senses in your poetry, feelings (happy, sad, humorous, thoughtful) that appeal to readers, onomatopoeia, alliteration, and the effect and musicality of words. The author's name should not appear on the manuscript, but be enclosed in a sealed envelope with the story or poem titles written on the outside. Send copies only, not originals, typed double spaced. Results in the spring. For further details, telephone 1-705-652-0272, or for questions only, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. No e-mail submissions. Submissions must be mailed by Canada Post to: Muriel Morrison Young Poets and Authors Awards, c/o Kerry Lynn Parsons, 2022 DouroThird Line, Douro-Dummer, ON K0L 2H0.
Deadline extended to February 15, 2016: The Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Contest for Canadian Youth (formerly The Poetic Licence Contest for Canadian Youth). Sponsored by The League of Canadian Poets and funded through a generous donation from the Stursberg family and other donors in honour of Jessamy Stursberg, for whom poetry was the deepest way of understanding the world. For previously unpublished poems to 50 lines, limit two per poet, any type or style, on any subject. Two age categories: Junior (Grades 7 to 9) and Senior (Grades 10 to 12, up to age 19). Cash prizes of $400, $350, and $300 in each age category. All winners will receive Poetic Licence certificates and student membership in the League of Canadian Poets for one year. In addition, all winning entries will be posted on the League of Canadian Poets’ website http://www.poets.ca. Include your name, age, grade, school, home address, and telephone number, and e-mail, along with the titles of the poems entered. Members of the League's National Council, staff, or judges, and their families may not enter. No entry or other fees. Submit poems as WORD or PDF attachments and send to email@example.com, with the subject line Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Contest for Canadian Youth. After entry, no revisions accepted. If an entry becomes published elsewhere, please notify the League immediately. Judges' decisions are final. Winners will be announced during National Young Poet’s Week in April. Full guidelines at http://poets.ca/jessamy-stursberg-poetry-contest-for-canadian-youth/.
February 17, 2016: Valerie B-Taylor Youth Writers Awards, sponsored by The Federation of British Columbia Writers. For young writers (29 and under). No more than three poems per entry, maximum 50 lines each (including spaces). One story or one article, maximum 1,500 words, double spaced (indicate word count on front page). Winners receive publication in the Fed’s quarterly magazine WordWorks, as well as a year’s membership in the FBCW and $100 in cash. All submitted work must be original, unpublished, and not awaiting publication anywhere (i.e., in print or online). All submissions are to be formatted in a serif or sans serif 12 pt font, with at least one-inch margins. Acceptable file formats are .doc, docx, and pdf. Blind judging: your name/e-mail must not appear anywhere on the manuscript. On a separate cover page (attachment), provide the following contact information:
1. Header: FBCW Valerie B-Taylor Youth Writing Awards
2. Age category and genre of your submission
3. Title(s) of your submission
4. Word or line count
5. Your name, age, snail mail address, and e-mail
6. Your telephone number.
Please identify your submission e-mail by your full name, contest ID, and genre, e.g.: BillSmith-VTPoetry. Send entry as two attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org. For complete details, visit http://bcwriters.ca/literarywrites/.
February 27, 2015: Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry Contest. For poetry. First prize $300, second $200, and third $100, plus honourable mentions of $50, and judges' choice of $25 awards. and one copy of the winners' anthology. Poems must be titled, not published before, and typed on a blank white 8.5" x 11" paper, no longer than 50 lines, and no wider than 44 characters. Do not put your name on the same page as your poem. Enclose a cover page with your poems, showing your name, address, telephone, and e-mail. Entry Fee $10.00 per poem, payable to Spring Pulse Poetry Festival. Mail your entry and fee to: Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry Contest, Box 247, Cobalt, ON, P0J 1C0, http://www.springpulsepoetryfestival.com/poet.pdf. Address queries to email@example.com.
March 15, 2016: The Claremont Review Annual Poetry and Fiction Contests. For ages 13 to 19. Up to three poems, or three postcard stories (to 500 words each), each on a separate sheet of 8.5" by 11" paper, or one longer story (to 5,000 words). Prizes $500, $300, $200, plus winning entries published on the http://www.abebooks.com website. Entry fee is $20.00 for up to three poems or one story, or to submit both genres (poetry and fiction) is $25.00, and for both includes a one-year subscription. Blind judging. Enclose a separate cover letter including your name, address, telephone, e-mail, categories entered, titles of your pieces, and a short bio. SASE for results only. Annual Poetry Contest, Editors, The Claremont Review, 4980 Wesley Road, Victoria, BC V8Y 1Y9, online http://www.theclaremontreview.ca/html/annualcontestsubmissions.html
March 31, 2016: International Junior Authors Poetry Contest. For any student between 9 and 21 years old as of March 31, 2016 (proof of age may be required). Category I: Ages 19 to 21, Category 2: Ages 17 to 18, Category 3: Ages 15 to 16, Category 4: Ages 13 to 14, Category 5: Ages 11 to 12. One poem per person, maximum 50 lines (not counting the title), in English, prefereably typed in Times New Roman 12 pt. All subjects and all forms of poetry are welcome. Go crazy and have fun. But submit your best work and choose a form of poetry that suits your subject. Prizes include a copy of Laura Thomas' book Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published, mention on the website, cash awards, and more. No entry fee. Complete all the information and upload your poem using the Entry Form, available online as of January 4, 2016. For further information, visit the website http://laurathomascommunications.com/junior-authors-poetry-contest/ or e-mail Laura Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org (for enquiries only).
May 1, 2015: Refugees and Human Rights Child and Youth Poetry Contest. For poems written in English up to 24 lines on the subject “Refugees and Human Rights”, in any style. Open to students in Grades 4 to 12 and attending schools in the Greater Toronto Area. Group I: Grades 4, 5, 6. Group II: Grades 7, 8. Group III: Grades 9, 10, 11, 12. Current employees or relatives of UNHCR Canada or COSTI Immigrant Services are not eligible to enter the contest. Three First Prizes of $200.00 each, three Second and Third Prizes of $100.00 each, plus Honorable Mentions. To download the PDF Entry Form, go to http://www.costi.org/sys/anno_detail.php?id=41341 and click on PDF. No entry fees, no subsidy payments, and no purchases of any kind required to enter and win the contest. All poems remain the property of the artist. By submitting a poem for this contest, the artist grants permission to UNHCR Canada and COSTI Immigrant Services to publish the poem, profile contest participants, and use submitted materials in any manner related to refugee and human rights promotion, including for World Refugee Day. UNHCR Canada and COSTI Immigrant Services are under no obligation to publish any contest entries. The artist is under no obligation to purchase a copy of the publication in which the poem may appear. Winners will be invited to an open ceremony for prize awards and a photo and interview opportunity. Children younger than age 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult who can authorize and sign on their behalf. All prize winners will be notified by mail and posted at http://www.costi.org. For further information, please contact Mary Pam Vincer at email@example.com or (416) 534-8437. Send your poem and Entry Form by mail to Poetry Contest, 1710 Dufferin Street, Toronto, ON M6E 3P2, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 13, 2015: James McIntyre Poetry Contest. Open to all ages, including Junior and Senior Kindergarten. For up to three original, unpublished poems on any subject. In 2015, Special Awards will include three new subjects: 1. Chaucer Cheese Award creatively penned to be the “Worst Cheese Poem” in honour of renowned poet James McIntyre, 2. Best Poem commemorating the 100th Anniversary of World War I, 3. Best Poem commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Sir John A. Macdonald. Other awards include Best Dairy Ode, J.C. Herbert Award for the best long poem about Ingersoll Past or Present, and the Bonnie Mott Award for poems about Famous Local People. Poetry categories: Acrostic, Diamante, Epic, Free Verse, Haiku, Limerick, Refrain, Rhyming Verse, and Other. Entries must be typed or neatly printed and attached with the Entry Form. When submitting poetry by e-mail, please send as an attachment in doc, or rtf, or pdf format. Prizes: class pizza party, commemorative medal and certificates, publication in the Ingersoll Times newspaper and a later anthology, and being honoured at the James McIntyre Poetry Award Ceremony. The decision of the judges is final. For complete, detailed guidelines and entry form visit http://www.ingersoll.ca/residents/james-mcintyre-poetry-competition.
June 30, 2016: Junior Authors Contest 2015. For any student between 9 and 20 years old as of June 30, 2015 (proof of age may be required). Category I: Ages 18 to 20, Category 2: Ages 15 to 17, Category 3: Ages 12 to 14, Category 4: Ages 9 to 11. Entries from any country are welcome. First place winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card and be published on the http://www.juniorauthorscontest.com/ website. The next five winners in each category will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and a certificate of achievement. Submit one story, which must be in English, but can be about anything you like. Be creative and have fun, maximum 1,000 words, double spaced. No entry fee. Put your name and the story title on the first page. Print and complete the online entry form, which will be available on February 1, 2015 (no entries will be accepted earlier) and e-mail it in doc, docx, or pdf format to the address on the entry form. For enquiries, contact Laura Thomas at email@example.com.
July 8, 2016: History + Art = Peace Contest, sponsored by the NGO ALPHA Education, for creative writing and visual arts by students (ages 14 to 25)), as well as an open competition, this year on the theme "sustaining hope", to affirm the values of justice, peace, and reconciliation from a humanity perspective. The intention is not to lay blame, but to promote reconciliation, healing, closure, and cross-cultural understanding of the history of WWII in Asia. Even though 70 years have passed since the end of the war, there are still many untold stories from those that suffered in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as in Canada. We hope to engage youth and the wider community on those human rights' issues through various types of arts to foster a deeper understanding of history and humanity, as well as to inspire others to be socially responsible. Prizes range from $100 to $1,000. For complete details on themes and submissions and entry forms, visit http://www.alphaeducation.org/#!contest/c12tk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 10, 2015 (opening October 1): Meaning of Home Writing and Video Contest, sponsored by Genworth Financial Canada, in support of Habitat for Humanity Canada, forstudents in Grades 4, 5, and 6. Make a difference by creating a short composition, essay, or poem that explains what you "love" most about your home! First Place winner will take part in the ultimate gifta $60,0000 contribution to a new Habitat home for a deserving family in or near the winner’s community. The winner also receives a pizza party for her/his school. A commemorative book will highlight the past five years of winning entries and finalists. Also, in the “Dollars for Essays” program, $5.00 will be donated to a local Habitat for Humanity affiliate for each entry submitted. Teachers can download a complete, ready-to-go Education Moduleincluding a lesson plan, activity ideas, writing tips, and a Habitat for Humanity fact sheet, plus full contest details and official rules from the website http://www.meaningofhome.ca
November 24, 2015 (postmarked mail), December 1, 2015 (e-mails or faxes): Polar Expressions Publishing National Student Short Story Contest and National Student Poetry Contest. For Canadian students in Kindergarten through Grade 12. Send one English original short story 450 words or less, and/or one poem 32 lines or less, any style or subject, not previously published, online, or submitted elsewhere. Entry form must be signed by the student’s parent or guardian. Several topic ideas are suggested on the Polar Expressions Publishing website http://www.polarexpressions.ca/StudentContests.html. School First Prize $500, School Second Prize $250, School Third Prize $125. Student First Prizes range from $80 for Kindergarten to $140 for Grade 12. All First, Second, and Third Prize winners will receive a free copy of the collection featuring their entry. Every participant will receive a small gift once all of the entries have been short-listed. Mail entries to Polar Expressions Publishing, P.O. Box 500 Station Main, Maple Ridge, BC V2X 3P2, or fax to 604-465-0756. To submit via e-mail, please print and complete an entry form, scan it, and send it as an attachment to email@example.com
November 20, 2015: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Arts and Letters Awards. Junior Division has two categories: ages 12 to 14 and 15 to 18, for young writers ordinarily residents in the province. Poetry awards $350. Prose awards $350 (for short story, essay, or dramatic script to 5,000 words). Entries must be individual effort. No group work. One entry only per section. Typed, double-spaced entries preferred, but neatly handwritten entries also accepted. Blind judging: entrant's name, address, and telephone number given only on a separate sheet and not on the entry itself. Application form required with a statement signed that the work is original, completed within the past 12 months, not published previously, and not submitted to another competition. No faxed or e-mailed entries. SASE for manuscript return. Brief written adjudication sent to each entrant. Results announced in April 2016. Arts and Letters Awards, P.O. Box 1854, St. John's, NF A1C 5P9, telephone (709) 729-5253. Details at http://www.tcr.gov.nl.ca/tcr/artsculture/artsandletters/artsandletters_rules.pdf.
Other Contests Open to Writers of All AgesThe Canadian Writers' Contest Calendar
A print directory of more than 350 Canadian and international writing contests for all ages, originated by Wordwrights Canada, and currently produced by White Mountain Publications.
Updated February 2016