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Writing for Children Competition

Registration is Open!

Writing for Children Competition 2021

Deadline for entries May 31


Discounted rates for CANSCAIP Friends


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Past Finalists and Winners

Congratulations to past finalists and winners!

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. The Competition was initiated in 1996  by The Writers' Union of Canada, and CANSCAIP took it on 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 winners and finalists entries to Annick Press, Kids Can Press, and Scholastic Canada. Although some entries in the Competition have become published books, 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. 


  • 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  • Unpublished writers, with no professionally published books for any age, and not currently under contract with a publisher 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


  • Maximum 1,500 words in English, fiction or non-fiction
  • Text only; no illustrations   
  • 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 first chapter plus other chapters/excerpts up to 1500 words for a Chapter Book, Middle Grade or Young Adult 
  • Submit complete text for a Picture Book, or up to 1,500 words 
  • Previously  submitted entries can be resubmitted 


  • All entries get evaluations from the first round of reading. Evaluations are at least a paragraph, and sometimes longer.
  • Entries proceeding to second round get evaluations from those readers.
  • Entries proceeding to the longlist get evaluations from jury members.  
  • CANSCAIP sends the evaluations to the writers, without identifying the readers or juries
  • Published CANSCAIP Members volunteer as readers and juries for the Competition and evaluate entries in the categories of their books; e.g., Picture Book authors evaluate the Picture Book entries.  


  • 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)
  • FIRST PAGE of your entry has this info in this order: 
  1. Contact: your name, e-mail, phone, mailing address
  2. Short summary (up to 250 words) of the story: characters, key plot points, ending
  3. Where the entry fits in your story (e.g., "My entry is the first chapter, the fifth chapter, and an excerpt from the last chapter.") 
  4. Short summary (up to 100 words) of your writing experience
  • On the SECOND PAGE of your entry begin your story, followed by additional pages up to a total of 1,500 words (NOTE: The first page contact/summary info is not counted in the 1,500 words)


  • Attach your Word or PDF entry to an email addressed to office@canscaip.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: Entries on a file sharing site are not eligible--each entry must be a Word or PDF document attached to an email 


    CANSCAIP is a small (but mighty!) organization, the readers and juries for the Competition are volunteers, and sufficient time is required to distribute and evaluate the 600+ entries received.  Please note the months scheduled for each stage.

    MARCH:   Writing for Children Competition opens

    MAY 31:   Deadline for entries
    JUNE:   First-round readers evaluate all entries, and select those entries that proceed to second-round
    JULY:   Second-round readers evaluate that smaller group of entries, and select those that proceed to the longlist
    AUGUST:   Announcement of longlist sent to all the writers  
    SEPTEMBER:   Juries  evaluate entries on the longlist, and select winners and finalists 
    OCTOBER:   Announcement of winners and finalists sent to all the writers
    NOVEMBER:    Evaluations of entries sent to all the writers 
    DECEMBER:   Finalists and winners  entries sent to Annick Press, Kids Can Press, and Scholastic Canada

    CANSCAIP office is located within the Centre for Social Innovation, Annex.
    720 Bathurst St., Suite 503, Toronto, ON M5S 2R4

    Email: office@canscaip.org
    Phone: 1-416-515-1559

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