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  • Writing for Children Competition (DEADLINE for Entries May 31)

Writing for Children Competition (DEADLINE for Entries May 31)

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


Registration is closed


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CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) welcomes entries by unpublished writers for the 21st annual Writing for Children Competition.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 of the previous Writing for Children Competition winners and finalists have had their work 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  • Unpublished writers* who have not been professionally published in book or e-book, in any genre or for any age, and who do not currently have a contract for a future book
  • Self-published writers whose book has sold fewer than 200 copies  
  • Writers must be over the age of 18
  • Writers must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents 
*Writers with stories, articles, poems etc. published in anthologies, textbooks, magazines, journals, etc. (publications with content by multiple writers) are eligible.


  • English text, fiction or non-fiction, no illustrations (text only)
  • Entry is maximum 1,500 words
  • One-page cover letter with each entry (not counted in the 1,500 words)  
  • Entry and cover letter in 12-point font, double-spaced 
  • Word document or PDF attached to an email to
  • NOTE: Entries for a previous Competition can be re-submitted 


  • The entry fee for the Writing for Children Competition is $30 for one entry, $50 for two entries, $75 for three entries. Pay before sending your entry.
  • Online payment is by Visa or MasterCard. CANSCAIP's online payments are processed via PayPal, but entrants don't need their own PayPal account.
  • When your payment has been processed, you'll receive an automatic email confirmation. 
  • NOTE: You don't have to submit your entry at the same time as you pay the entry fee. After the entry fee is paid, send your entry whenever you like, up to the deadline. 


  • For longer books, such as Chapter Book, Middle Grade, or Young Adult, send the first chapter plus other chapters/excerpts, up to 1,500 words. For short books, such as Picture Book and Early Reader, send the full story if it is less than 1,500 words
  • For your entry's DOCUMENT NAME, use this information sequence: 
    Reading Age Category - Your Name - Title of Entry  
    EXAMPLE: Picture Book - Mary Smith - The Little White Duck 
  • Provide a one-page COVER LETTER (cover letter not counted in 1,500 word maximum) with this information
  1. Your name, e-mail, phone, address, title of the entry
  2. Summary of your full story in one paragraph
  3. To provide context, include information about the entry's place in the story (e.g., "My entry is the first chapter, the fourth chapter, and an excerpt from the last chapter.") 
  4. Summary of your writing experience in one paragraph
  • Attach your ENTRY and COVER LETTER to an email addressed to
  • In the EMAIL SUBJECT LINE, provide this information in this order: 
    Reading Age Category - Your Name - Title of Entry
    EXAMPLE: Picture Book - Mary Smith - The Little White Duck 
  • For MULTIPLE ENTRIES, attach each entry and a cover letter to a separate email
  • NOTE: CANSCAIP will not be able to confirm that we have received each entry (although our database does issue an automatic email when you register). The Writing for Children Competition generates hundreds of emails with entries, and CANSCAIP is a small organization. We just don't have the resources to individually respond to each email to confirm receipt. After the deadline, we cross-reference the entries registered with the entries received, and we contact any writers whose entry has not been received.


  • The deadline for entries is midnight May 31, 2018
  • NOTE: The volume of entries on the deadline date can overwhelm the online payment system and slow down the processing of payments, sometimes by a few hours. In this happens, email your entry before you get confirmation that your payment has been completed. We will notify you if there is a problem.


  • Registering for the Writing for Children Competition includes selecting ONE reading age category for your entry 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 CANSCAIP Members with published books for that reading age. Evaluation is delayed when the reading age category doesn't fit the entry, because the entry must be rerouted to another reader.
  • Use the following guidelines to help select the reading age for your entry. 

PICTURE BOOK (age 2 to 6): For kids who don't yet read on their own. Picture books are usually 28 to 32 pages, with a few lines of text per page, and illustrations on every page.

EARLY READER (age 5 to 8): For kids who have started reading on their own. Early reader books are usually 28 to 32 pages or a bit longer, with a few sentences or short paragraphs per 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 have 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 have longer chapters and no illustrations. 

YOUNG ADULT (age 13 and up): For teens who are familiar with mature concepts. Young adult books can be as long as most adult novels. 


  • The deadline for entries is midnight May 31, 2018
  • NOTE: The volume of entries on the deadline date can overwhelm the online payment system and slow down the processing of payments, sometimes by a few hours. In this happens to you, email your entry anyway, even if you haven't received confirmation that your payment has been completed. We will notify you if there is a problem.


  • The Writing for Children Competition readers and juries are published authors of books in the reading age categories they evaluate. 
  • First-round readers evaluate all the entries, and select the entries that will proceed to the second-round readers. 
  • Second-round readers evaluate those selected entries and choose a longlist of entries to proceed to the jury. 
  • A three-member jury selects their top choices from the longlist; 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 evaluate selected entries and choose longlist 
  • AUGUST: Announcement of longlist sent to entrants
  • SEPTEMBER: Juries evaluate longlist and select winners and finalists
  • OCTOBER: Announcement of winners and finalists sent to entrants   
  • NOVEMBER or DECEMBER: Reader evaluation feedback sent to entrants

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