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Writing for Children Competition


CANSCAIP's 2020 Writing for Children Competition is open

Deadline MAY 31, 2020

The Writing for Children Competition for 2020 is now open for entries by unpublished writers.  The Competition launched in 1996  with the goal to encourage and promote new writers.  A unique benefit for writers who enter the Competition is that all entries receive evaluation comments by published authors. 

Entry length is  a maximum of 1,500 words . The entry deadline  is May 31, 2020.  

The registration fee for the Writing for Children Competition is $30 for one entry, $50 for two entries, $75 for three entries.  

REGISTER: https://www.canscaip.org/event-3777933   

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. 

Published CANSCAIP Members volunteer as readers for the Competition; the readers have been published in the age categories they evaluate. A group of first-round readers evaluate all the entries, and selects which entries will proceed to the second round. A different group of second-round readers evaluates those entries, and decides which ones will proceed to the longlist. The jury members evaluate entries on the longlist, and decide which will be the finalists and winners.  All the readers evaluate each entry on their own, and they don't receive the evaluations of the other readers.

All entries receive evaluation comments from the first-round readers.  Entries that proceed to second round will also receive evaluations from the second-round readers. Entries that proceed to the longlist will receive evaluations from each  jury member.  Evaluations are generally a few sentences or a short paragraph.

CANSCAIP sends the winners and finalists to Annick Press, Kids Can Press, and Scholastic Canada, and the publishers also provide evaluations for these entries.  The publishers' evaluations reflect the skills and book market perspectives of experienced editors. Over the 25 years the Writing for Children Competition has been held, some of the writers have had their stories published -- however, being a winner or finalist isn't a direct path to publication. 


  • Unpublished writers: no books published in any genre or for any age, and not under contract for a future book 
  • Self-published authors with sales below 200 copies 
  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents over the age of 18

NOTE: Writers are eligible if their published work has been stories, articles or poems in anthologies, textbooks, magazines, journals, etc. 


  • Maximum 1,500 words in English
  • Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult entry is  first chapter plus other chapters/excerpts; Picture Book entry is the complete story if 1,500 words or less
  • Text only; no illustrations (this applies to all categories, including Picture Book)  
  • 11-point or 12-point font, double-spaced 
  • Word or PDF document 
  • You can re-submit entries previously submitted to the Writing for Children Competition, or submit entries sent to other writing contests. 


    • Register online and pay the entry fee before emailing your entry. 
    • Online payment is by Visa or MasterCard.  Although PayPal processes CANSCAIP's online payments, you don't need to have your own PayPal account.
    • When your payment has been processed, you'll receive an email confirmation. 
    • After the entry fee has been paid, you can send your entry whenever you like, right up to the deadline. 

    REGISTER: https://www.canscaip.org/event-3777933    


      • When you register an entry, you select one of these reading age categories.  Although your entry may not exactly fit the parameters, select the one option that fits best.  The reading age categories are used to assign entries to readers.
      1. PICTURE BOOK (ages 2 to 8):  Usually a few words or sentences on each page, shorter than 1,500 words in total; for children not yet reading on their own.  
      2. CHAPTER BOOK (ages 7 to 10):  Short chapters; for readers ready to read on their own. 
      3. MIDDLE GRADE (ages 9 to 12):  Longer chapters; for readers ready for complex stories. 
      4. YOUNG ADULT (ages 13 and up):  Can be as long as adult novels; for readers  ready for mature concepts. 


      • The FILE NAME of your Word or PDF document has this info in this order:  
        Age Category - Your Name - Title of Entry  (e.g., Picture Book - Mary Smith - The Little Duck)
      • ENTRY CONTENT:  Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult entries are the first chapter plus other chapters/excerpts up to 1,500 words;  Picture Book entries can be the complete story if 1,500 words or less;  all entries are text only--no illustrations 
      • On the FIRST PAGE of your document provide this info in this order: 
      1. Contact: your name, e-mail, phone, mailing address
      2. Short summary of the full story (up to 250 words): characters, plot points, ending
      3. Where your 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 of your writing experience (up to 100 words)
      • Start your story on the SECOND PAGE of your document, followed by the rest of the story, up to a total of 1500 words (the information on the first page isn't part of the 1500 word total)


      • 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) 
      • Don't send a link to your entry on a file sharing site--each entry must be a Word or PDF document attached to an email 
      • NOTE: CANSCAIP will not be able to confirm receipt of your entry;  we don't have the resources to respond to the hundreds of Competition emails we receive. After the deadline, we cross-reference the registered entries with the entries received, and if a registered entry has not been received, we contact the writer. 


      • The deadline for entries is midnight May 31, 2020

      NOTE: The volume of registrations on the final day of the Writing for Children Competition can slow down payment processing, and confirmation might take several hours. If this happens to you,  email us your entry before you get the payment confirmation, and we'll notify you if there was a problem with your payment.

      REGISTER: https://www.canscaip.org/event-3777933   


        • MARCH: Competition opens
        • 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 
        • SEPTEMBER: Juries evaluate longlist and select winners and finalists
        • OCTOBER: Announcement of winners and finalists  
        • NOVEMBER: Reader evaluations sent to all entrants 
        • DECEMBER: Entries of finalists and winners sent to publishers
        • FEBRUARY or MARCH 2021: Publishers evaluations sent to finalists and winners

        Reader feedback for each entry is a unique element of CANSCAIP’s Writing for Children Competition. All the writers receive feedback by the readers who evaluated their entries.

        The Writers' Union of Canada initiated the Writing for Children Competition in 1996, and in 2014 CANSCAIP took on this initiative. A goal of the Competition is to discover, encourage, and promote not-yet-published writers of children's literature across Canada.

        CANSCAIP was founded in 1977. We’re a national membership-based, volunteer-run organization, offering opportunities for professional development for our community of Canadian authors and illustrators of children's books, and children’s performers.

        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

        Copyright Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers

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