Information about the Writing for Children Competition
The goal of the Writing for Children Competition is to encourage and promote not-yet-published kid lit writers across Canada. Initiated in 1996 by The Writers' Union of Canada, the Competition was taken on by CANSCAIP in 2014. About 600 entries are received each year.
A unique benefit of entering the Competition is that all entries receive written evaluations, which can be helpful and even inspiring for writers who are working on their craft. Many writers enter the Competition each year to get feedback on previously submitted and new stories. Previously submitted entries can be re-submitted.
Four writers will receive $500 for their winning entry of a Picture Book, Chapter Book, Middle Grade, or Young Adult; two finalists for each of these categories will also be selected.
CANSCAIP sends the entries of the winners and finalists to Annick Press, Kids Can Press, and Scholastic Canada. Although over the years entries in the Competition have become published books, please note that being a winner or finalist does not directly lead to publication.
- For Friends of CANSCAIP, registration fees are $30 for one entry, $50 for two entries, $75 for three entries.
- For non-members, registration fees are $40 for one entry, $60 for two entries, $90 for three entries. (If you're committed to writing for children, we encourage you to Join CANSCAIP. A Friend membership is just $45 a year, and Friends have many benefits beyond lower registration fees.)
- Register first before sending us your entry. (The link to registration is in the red box above. )
- NOTE: You don't have to send your entry as soon as you register. After you've registered, you can send your entry whenever you want, right up to the May 31st deadline.
- If you have a question, please don't include it in your entry email. Entry emails are moved into folders as they come in, and if you've included a question in your email, we won't see it.
- Send your question in a separate email with a different subject line to email@example.com. We get lots of questions, and we don’t want to inadvertently miss yours.
- Canadian citizens or permanent residents over the age of 18
- Unpublished writers, with no professionally published books for any age, and not currently under contract with a publisher
- Writers are eligible if publication is limited to stories, articles or poems in collections, anthologies, textbooks, magazines, etc.)
- Self-published authors are eligible
- Up to 1,500 words in English, fiction or non-fiction
- Text only; no illustrations
- Entry is a Word or PDF document; 11-point or 12-point font, double spaced
- Select a category for the entry: Picture Book (ages 2 to 8), Chapter Book (ages 7 to 10), Middle Grade (ages 9 to 12), Young Adult (ages 13 and up)
- Submit the first chapter plus additional chapters/excerpts up to 1,500 words for a Chapter Book, Middle Grade or Young Adult
- Submit the complete text for a Picture Book, or up to 1,500 words
- Previously submitted entries can be resubmitted
HOW TO SET UP YOUR ENTRY
- FILE NAME of your Word or PDF entry has this info in this order: Age Category - Your Name - Title of Entry (e.g., Picture Book - Mary Smith - The Little Duck)
- On the FIRST PAGE of your entry provide this info in this order:
- Contact information including your name, e-mail, phone, mailing address
- Story summary (up to 250 words): key characters, plot points, ending (up to 250 words)
- Where your entry content fits in your story (e.g., "My entry is the first chapter, the fifth chapter, and an excerpt from the final chapter."
- Summary of your writing experience (up to 100 words)
- On the SECOND PAGE of your entry start your story/first chapter, and continue on subsequent pages up to a total of 1,500 words (NOTE: Your contact/summary info is not counted in the 1,500 words)
HOW TO SEND YOUR ENTRY
- Attach your Word or PDF entry to an email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
- EMAIL SUBJECT LINE has this info in this order: Age Category - Your Name - Title of Entry (e.g.: Picture Book - Mary Smith - The Little Duck)
- For MULTIPLE ENTRIES, attach each entry to a separate email
- NOTE: Do not send a link to Entries on a file sharing site--each entry must be a Word or PDF document attached to an email
WE CAN'T CONFIRM RECEIPT OF YOUR ENTRY
- When your entry arrives, we won't be able to confirm that we've received it. Over 600 entries come in, CANSCAIP has one staff person, and we aren't able to respond to 600 individual emails.
- However, if we haven't received your entry, or if there's a problem with your entry, you'll hear from us.
- After the Competition deadline, we cross-reference all the registrations with all the entries we've received. If your entry is missing, we'll contact you.
EVALUATIONS, READERS & JURIES
- All entries get evaluations from the first round of reading. Evaluations are about a paragraph, and sometimes longer.
- Entries proceeding to the second round get evaluations from those readers. Second-round readers also select entries for the longlist.
- Entries on the shortlist get evaluations from the jury members.
- The evaluations sent to the writers don't include the names of the readers or jurors.
- Published CANSCAIP Members volunteer as readers and jurors, and they evaluate entries in the categories of their published books; e.g., Picture Book authors evaluate Picture Book entries.