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

Writing for Children Competition 2017 

Deadline June 30, 2017

CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers), in partnership with The Writers' Union of Canada, is pleased to accept entries by unpublished writers for the 20th annual Writing for Children Competition. The deadline for entries is June 30, 2017.

Two winners will be awarded $1,000 for a picture book/early reader entry and for a chapter book/middle grade/young adult entry. Eight additional finalists in these categories will also be selected. 

CANSCAIP will submit the entries of the winners and finalists to three Canadian children's publishers for consideration. Some winners and finalists in the Writing for Children Competition have had their entries published.

All entrants will receive feedback from the readers who evaluate the entries. This feedback is a unique benefit of entering the Writing for Children Competition. 

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.  


  • Writers who have not been published* in book or e-book format in any genre 
  • Writers of self-published books** (exceptions noted)
  • Writers who do not have a current contract with a publisher
  • Writers must be citizens or permanent residents of Canada
*Writers who have had a story, essay, article or poem published in an anthology, collection, textbook, magazine or periodical (i.e., publications with content by multiple writers) are eligible to enter.

**Writers of self-published books that have been sold in substantial quantities in bookstores, institutions or online are not eligible to enter. 


  • Up to 1,500 words, fiction or non-fiction, English text***
  • Submit text only; no illustrations 
  • Submission in 12-point font, double-spaced (cover letter can be single-spaced)
  • Entries that were submitted for a previous Writing for Children Competition can be re-submitted 
  • Select a reading age category for each entry: 

Picture Book (age 2 to 6) 
Early Reader (age 5 to 8)
Chapter Book (age 7 to 10)
Middle Grade (age 9 to 12)
Young Adult (age 13 and up)

*** For a longer work such as a novel, 1500 words may be the first chapter and/or other chapter(s). For a shorter work, such as a picture book, the entire text may be 1500 words or less.  


  • The entry fee is $30 for one entry, $50 for two entries, and $75 for three entries.
  • Please pay the entry fee before emailing us your entry.
  • Online payment is by Visa or MasterCard. Although CANSCAIP processes online payments through PayPal, entrants don’t need their own PayPal account.
  • Although you don't have to be a member of CANSCAIP to enter, we invite you to join as a first-time Friend for $35 (regular $45). (This offer is for those who haven't previously been members of CANSCAIP, not renewing.)           


  • Each entry is a writing submission up to 1,500 words PLUS a one-page cover letter
  • In the cover letter please include: 
  1. your name, e-mail, phone, address
  2. title and reading age category (e.g., Picture Book)
  3. one paragraph synopsis of the story 
  4. submission's place in the story (e.g., chapter 1 and excerpt from chapter 4) OR if submission is entire text 
  5. summary of your writing experience
  • Save the entry as a single PDF or Word document, with the cover letter first, followed by the writing submission
  • NAME YOUR DOCUMENT with this sequence and spacing: 
    Reading Age Category (e.g., Picture Book) - Your Name -Title of Submission
  • EMAIL SUBJECT LINE with this sequence and spacing: 
    Reading Age Category (e.g., Picture Book) - Your Name - Title of Submission
  • Attach your entry to the email. For multiple entries, please send each entry in a separate email. 


  • The deadline for entries is midnight on June 30, 2017


  • First-round readers evaluate a large group of entries in a reading age category, and select a smaller group of entries to proceed to the second-round readers. The first-round readers are published writers with experience in the reading age category they are evaluating. 
  • Second-round readers evaluate a smaller group of entries and select entries to proceed to the jury. The second-round readers are published writers with experience in the reading age category they are evaluating.
  • There is a jury for Picture Book/Early Reader and a jury for Chapter Book/Middle Grade/Young Adult. Each jury has three published authors who evaluate and select the finalists and winners. 
  • The finalists and winners selected by the juries will be submitted to three Canadian children's publishers for consideration.


  • JUNE 30: Deadline for submissions
  • JULY: Submissions evaluated by first-round readers
  • AUGUST: Submissions evaluated by second-round readers
  • SEPTEMBER:  Winners and finalists selected by jury
  • OCTOBER: Press release announcing winners and finalists sent to all entrants
  • DECEMBER: Feedback from first-round readers sent to all entrants; feedback from second-round readers sent to selected entrants


Announcing winners and finalists of 2016 Writing for Children Competition 

Two $1000 prizes presented

November 30, 2016: CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers), in partnership with The Writers' Union of Canada, is pleased to announce the winners and finalists of the 19th annual Writing for Children Competition.  A cash prize of $1,000 will be presented to each of the two winners. 

CANSCAIP will submit the winners and finalists to three Canadian children’s book publishers (Annick Press, Kids Can Press and Scholastic Canada) for consideration; some past finalists and winners have had their entries published.

Only unpublished writers are eligible to enter. CANSCAIP received close to 300 entries in 2016. A unique and very beneficial element of the Writing for Children Competition is that everyone who enters gets feedback by the Competition’s evaluation readers. The readers and juries evaluating Competition entries are all published authors and CANSCAIP Members. 

All the Competition entries were initially evaluated by first-round readers, who selected which entries would proceed to the next step of second-round readers. When the second-round readers evaluated those entries, they selected which ones would proceed to the jury. The jury then selected the following entries as the winners and finalists:

WINNER Picture Book / Early Reader

  • Ann Marie Stasiuk – A Wintry Wait  (writer lives in Stratford, Ontario) 
JURY COMMENTS: ... spare and simple story depicts a universal event for many children - waiting for a late parent and how the child can cope with a positive resolution. 

WINNER Chapter Book/ Middle Grade/ Young Adult

  • Marci McAdam – Creep School (writer lives in Calgary, Alberta)
JURY COMMENTS: Kids will like the monster subs for stock human characters ...  a beautifully realized world ... fast and funny.  

FINALISTS Picture Book / Early Reader

  • MaryLou Driedger – Why Are They Naked? (writer lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba)
  • Cynthia Ford – The Fiddle Man (writer lives in Vancouver, BC)
  • Catherine Jansen – Lavender (writer lives in Oakville, Ontario)
  • Kirsten Pendreigh – Hamish McFluff and the Baby Birds (writer lives in Vancouver, BC)

FINALISTS Chapter Book / Middle Grade / Young Adult

  • Corinne Clark – Charlotte's Ghosts (writer lives in Mississauga, Ontario.)
  • Donna Hughes – Bright Shiny Things (writer lives in Toronto, Ontario)
  • Jennifer Irwin – The Truth About Love, Hockey and Ballroom Dancing (writer lives in Pointe Claire, Quebec)
  • Cheryl Stewart – Renegade Heart (writer lives in Kanata, Ontario) 

The first-round and second-round readers were Beverley BrennaLena CoakleyCharis CotterTheo HerasSharon JenningsJessica Scott KerrinSheryl McFarlaneJanet McNaughtonSylvia McNicollJennifer Mook-Sang,Lorna Schultz NicholsonBev Katz Rosenbaum and Jocelyn Shipley. The members of the juries are Anne Laurel CarterMaggie de VriesKathy StinsonArthur Slade and Ted Staunton. CANSCAIP is grateful for the support and participation of these Members.

The Writing for Children Competition for 2017 will be announced in March. 

The Writers' Union of Canada initiated the Writing for Children Competition in 1996. The competition has grown in popularity since its inception, and in 2014 CANSCAIP took on this initiative as a partnership with TWUC. A goal of the Competition is to discover, encourage, and promote not-yet-published writers of children's literature across Canada. CANSCAIP is a national organization representing Canadian authors and illustrators of children's books and children’s performers. 

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