Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers<br>La société canadienne des auteurs, illustrateurs et artistes pour enfants

Writing for Children Competition (DEADLINE for entries May 31)

  • Tuesday, March 13, 2018
  • Thursday, May 31, 2018
  • 11:59 PM
  • n/a




ENTRIES WELCOME: Writing for Children Competition 2018 

Deadline MAY 31, 2018

CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) welcomes entries by unpublished writers for the 21st annual Writing for Children Competition. The deadline for entries is May 31, 2018.

Two winners will be awarded $750 for a picture book/early reader entry and a chapter book/middle grade/young adult entry. Eight finalists will also be selected

The readers and juries who volunteer to evaluate the entries are all published CANSCAIP Members. All writers will receive feedback from the readers who evaluate the entries. The feedback is generally a few sentences or a short paragraph, and is a unique benefit of entering the Writing for Children Competition

CANSCAIP submits the winners and finalists to publishers Annick Press, Kids Can Press, and Scholastic Canada for their consideration. Some Writing for Children Competition winners and finalists have been published.

A goal of the Writing for Children Competition is to discover, encourage, and promote new writers of children's literature across Canada. The Writers' Union of Canada initiated the Competition in 1996, and in 2014 CANSCAIP took on this initiative.  


    • Unpublished writers who do not have a published book or e-book in any genre*, and who do not have a contract with a publisher for a future book
    • Self-published writers whose book has sold fewer than 100 copies  
    • Writers who are over the age of 18, and are citizens or permanent residents of Canada
    • Writers with an entry in a previous Writing for Children Competition can re-submit that entry, and/or submit a new entry.
    *Writers with stories, articles, poems etc. published in anthologies, textbooks, magazines, journals, etc. (publications with content by multiple writers) are eligible to enter.


      • Fiction or non-fiction, in English, 1,500 words maximum 
      • For chapter book, middle grade, or young adult, send the first chapter plus other chapters/excerpts, up to 1,500 words 
      • For a picture book or early reader (usually shorter than 1,500 words in total), send the complete story
      • For all entries in all age groups, send text only (no illustrations) 
      • Word document or PDF, 12-point font, double-spaced  
      • Each entry must be sent as an attachment to an email; for multiple entries, send each with a separate email
      • Entries for a previous Competition can be re-submitted 
      • Printed entries are not eligible
      • Registering your entry includes selecting a reading age category from the five options below. 
      • Although not all entries will exactly fit the parameters, select the one reading age option that best fits. 
      • The entries for each reading age are evaluated by the Competition's volunteer readers. The readers are CANSCAIP Members with published books for that reading age. The evaluation process is delayed when an entry's reading age category doesn't fit, because that entry will have to be rerouted to another reader.
      • Use the following information about reading age categories as a guide to selecting the right category for your entry. (However, although a book's total length may be much longer, the maximum length for a Competition entry is still 1,500 words.) 

      PICTURE BOOK (age 2 to 6): For kids who don't yet read on their own. Picture books can be about 500 to 750 words in total, from 28 to 32 pages, with a few lines of text on a page, and with illustrations on every page.

      EARLY READER (age 5 to 8): For kids who have started reading on their own. Early reader books can be less than 1,000 words in total, with a few sentences or short paragraphs on a page, and illustrations on every page.

      CHAPTER BOOK (age 7 to 10): For kids making the transition from pictures to text, who can read completely on their own. Chapter books can be 5,000 to 10,000 words, with short chapters, and an illustration or two per chapter. 

      MIDDLE GRADE (age 9 to 12): For kids who are ready for longer and more complex stories. Middle grade books can be 20,000 to 50,000 words, with longer chapters and no illustrations. 

      YOUNG ADULT (age 13 and up): For teens who are familiar with mature concepts. Young adult books can be 50,000 to 80,000 words. 


      • To participate in the Writing for Children Competition, the fee is $30 for one entry, $50 for two entries, $75 for three entries.
      • Please pay the entry fee before emailing us your entry.
      • Online payment is by Visa or MasterCard, processed via PayPal. Entrants don't need to have their own PayPal account.


        • An entry is up to 1,500 words PLUS a one-page cover letter in one document
        • Save the entry as a single document in PDF or Word, cover letter first, followed by the story
        • In the cover letter please include: 
        1. Name, e-mail, phone, address, title of the entry
        2. Summary of your story in one paragraph
        3. Summary of your writing experience in one paragraph
        • For chapter book, middle grade, or young adult entries, you can send the first chapter plus other chapters/excerpts, up to a total of 1,500 words 
        • Since a picture book or early reader is usually shorter than 1,500 words, you can send the complete story
        • For all entries in all age groups, send text only (no illustrations) 
        • DOCUMENT NAME with this information in this format: 
          Reading Age - Your Name - Title of Entry  
          EXAMPLE: Picture Book - Mary Smith - The Little White Duck 
        • Attach your entry to an email to
        • EMAIL SUBJECT LINE with this information in this format: 
          Reading Age - Your Name - Title of Entry
          EXAMPLE: Picture Book - Mary Smith - The Little White Duck 
        • For MULTIPLE ENTRIES, attach each entry to a separate email
        • Send the entry to


        • The deadline for entries is midnight May 31, 2018


        • The readers and juries for the Writing for Children Competition are published CANSCAIP Members who have written books in the reading age categories they are evaluating. 
        • First-round readers evaluate all the entries, and select the entries that will proceed to the second-round readers. 
        • Second-round readers evaluate those entries and select a longlist of entries to proceed to the jury. 
        • A three-member jury selects their top choices; a consensus of the jury's selections determines the finalists and winners.
        • There is a jury for picture book/early reader and a jury for chapter book/middle grade/young adult.  
        • The finalists and winners are submitted to three Canadian children's publishers (Annick Press, Kids Can Press, Scholastic Canada) for their consideration. 


        • MAY 31: Deadline for submissions
        • JUNE: First-round readers evaluate all entries 
        • JULY: Second-round readers select longlist  
        • AUGUST: Juries evaluate longlist of entries 
        • SEPTEMBER: Longlist announcement sent to entrants
        • OCTOBER: Winner and finalist announcement sent to entrants   
        • DECEMBER: Feedback sent to entrants

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