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.
- Making Your Poem Better: How to Edit
A helpful article by John Oughton (poet and Sheridan College writing teacher) outlining key ways to make the language of a poem tighter and more effective.
- 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 a subscription to the League's 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.
- Youth Poetry Forums
Log on as a user at and discuss all things poetic with other young poets and professionals. Topics include everything from where to send your work to "Ask a Poet." There is also a place to post poems and receive feedback on your work.
- Young Poets
The League's special website providing students with an opportunity to publish (see Re:verse below), writing contests, chat, readings, Young Soul Rebels (great poets in their teens), games, quizzes, A Digital History of Canadian Poetry, tips on writing and editing poetry, and for teachers, numerous resources and an online discussion list"There'll always be something new."
Markets for Young Writers
- Launch Pad
Chooses stories, poems, and nonfiction by kids and teens ages 6 through 14 that are creative and well written.
An ezine that invites submissions from young poets, each issue on a different theme (check the website for the latest).
- 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.
A student-run free service for Toronto post-secondary students to buy, sell, or exchange their used books online.
- 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, "2013" in the deadline confirms the contest for that year. Since changes may occur without notice, for the most up-to-date information 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. Normally contest entries are 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 2013
January 15, 2013: The Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Contest for Canadian Youth (formerly The Poetic Licence Contest for Canadian Youth). Sponsored by The League of Canadian Poets Young 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 $350, $300, and $200 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 published in the League of Canadian Poets’ e-zine Re:verse at http://www.youngpoets.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 all poems not as attachments, but as plain text files in the body of an e-mail message. Send poems to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line Poetic Licence 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/wordpress/contests-awards.
January 31, 2013: The Brucedale Press Acrostic Story Contest. For an acrostic story no longer than 26 sentences. The first sentence must begin, "Audiences are as fickle as. . ." 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 spring 2013. 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 1, 2013: Book Week 2013 Writing Contest. For Canadian students in Grades 4 to 12. For an original story or poem in English up to 1,500 words. Prizes of one $250 gift certificate to the bookstore of his or her choice for one winner from each grade, and two honourable mentions from each grade category will also receive $50 gift certificates, and posting on the Book Week on May 8, Entry form required http://www.bookweek.ca/files/Writing_Contest_2013_Entry_Form.pdf. Mail entries and entry form to Writing Contest, c/o The Canadian Children's Book Centre, Suite 217, 40 Orchard View Blvd., Toronto, ON M4R 1B9. For more information contact Shannon Howe Barnes at 416-975-0010, ext. 227, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 4, 2013: Annual Muriel Morrison Young Authors and Poets Awards. For Junior Scribes ages 6 to 11 and Senior Scribes ages 12 to 15. 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-non-fiction. Length 250 to 400 words for Juniors, and 400 to 800 words for Seniors. Prize from $15 to $25 certificate. 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 email@example.com. 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 Third Line, RR 4, Lakefield, ON K0L 2H0.
March 15, 2013: 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 3 poems or 1 story, or to submit both genres (poetry & 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
April 15, 2013: Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry Contest. For poetry. First prize $100, second $75, and third $50, plus honourable mentions of $50, nd judges' choice of $25 awards. and one copy of the winners' anthology published. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 7, 2013: 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 15, 2013: Kisses and Popsicles Spring Poetry Contest. For previously unpublished poems to 40 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 in June. Kisses and Popsicles Spring Poetry Contest, Pandora's Collective (Poetry Contest Submission), 5505 Main Streetm Vancouver, BC, Canadam V5W 2S3, online http://www.pandorascollective.com/what-we-do/contests, e-mail email@example.com.
June 30, 2013: Junior Authors Contest 2013. For any student between 9 and 20 years old as of June 30, 2013 (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. Top six winners in each category receive Amazon gift cards and a certificate of achievement. First place winner will be published on the http://www.juniorauthorscontest.com/ website. Plus, a press release about your win will be sent to your local community newspaper. 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. Put your name and the story title on the first page. Print and complete the online entry form, which will be available on January 1, 2013 (no entries will be accepted earlier), and send it by snail mail with three copies of your story.to the JA Short Story Contest, Delta BC, Canada. (The complete address will be posted on the website on January 1, 2013.)
July 3, 2012: Eden Mills Writers' Festival, Elementary and High School Student Poetry Contest. For Canadian students from Grades 1 to 12. Sumit one poem (one page maximum), with your name, address, phone number, age, grade, teacher’s name, and your school’s name on one copy, along with four more copies with no name, etc. Cash prizes in each category: Primary (Grades 1 to 3), Junior (Grades 4 to 6), Intermediate (Grades 7 to 8), Junior High (Grades 9 to 10), and Senior High (Grades 11to 12). Mail your entry to Eden Mills Poetry Contest, c/o Susan Ratcliffe, 57-295 Water Street, Guelph, ON N1G 2X5 For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://edenmillswritersfestival.ca/EMWF/contests.
September 15, 2012: The Summer Dream Poetry Contest. For previously unpublished poems to 40 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. Place name, address, telephone number and/or e-mail address, and poem title in a covering letter only. Blind judging. No manuscript return. Winners announced on the website. The Summer Dream Poetry Contest, Pandora's Collective (Poetry Contest Submission), 5505 Main Streetm Vancouver, BC, Canadam V5W 2S3, online http://www.pandorascollective.com/what-we-do/contests, e-mail email@example.com.
September 15, 2011: BC Kids Writing Contest. For children ages 8 to 12, living in British Columbia. Submit a story, poem, play, or other piece of writing, illustrated if you wish, up to 300 words, that includes the six words Zest, Key, Dark, Book, Chair, and Library in any way and any order you want. Winners will be announced in October, Library Month. Prize is book and possible website publication http://expressyourself.bclibraries.ca/. Send your completed entry form and writing by Canada Post to British Columbia Library Association, #150 - 900 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2M4, Attention: Express Yourself , or e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 5, 2012: The Children's Fiction Writing Award. Presented by the Calgary Children's Book Fair and Conference. For ages nine/ten, eleven/twelve (1,000 to 2,000 words), and thirteen/fourteen (1,500 to 3,000 words). Science fiction (secret experiments and fantastic technology, time travel and time machines, alien beings and other planets, or superheroes and villains, but it's really up to you). Fantasy (dragons and other mythological creatures, magical kingdoms and realms, wizards and magic, kings and queens, princes and princes, castles and palaces, enchanted objects, and fabulous quests), and Mystery (ghosts or the supernatural, a mysterious object or valuable artifact, an investigation into a long forgotten crime, or create your own team of young detectives). The winning stories in each age group will be professionally edited, then collected into an anthology, and the author will receive 10 complimentary copies for friends and family. Winners will be announced at the Calgary Children's Book Fair and Conference on November 3, 2012. Complete the Registration Form at http://www.calgarybookfair.com/childrenscontest.php and submit stories in Word document format, text only, in Times 12 point font, as attachments by email.
October 10 to November 9, 2012: Meaning of Home Writing Contest, sponsored by Genworth Financial Canada, in support of Habitat for Humanity Canada, for students 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 laptop and a pizza party for her/his entire school, while each runner-up will be given an iPod Touch! 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 14, 2011: Writers' Federation of New Brunswick Literary Competition, Sheree Fitch Prize for ages 14 to 18. Short Fiction to 4,000 words and Individual Poems up to five poems or 100 lines. Cash prizes. First-prize winners from previous two years may not re-enter the same category in which they won. SASE for rules and manuscript return. Blind judging. Writers' Federation of New Brunswick Literary Competition, P.O. Box 306 Moncton, NB E1C 8L4, telephone (506) 459-7228, online http://www.umce.ca/wfnb/litcomp.htm, e-mail email@example.com.
November 21, 2012 (postmarked mail), November 30, 2012 (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 etntires 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
November 25, 2011: 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 $250. Prose awards $250 (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 2011. Arts and Letters Awards, P.O. Box 1854, St. John's, NF A1C 5P9, telephone (709) 729-5253. Application Form at http://www.tcr.gov.nl.ca/tcr/artsculture/artsandletters/application_2012.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 April 2013