Youth Writing Contest

The Vancouver Writers Fest’s annual youth writing contest is held in spring every year and is open to all students enrolled in grades 8-12 in British Columbia. The 2020 contest is now closed. It ran from March to May, 2020 and was judged by Shannon Ozirny, the Head of Youth Services at the West Vancouver Memorial Library.

Thank you to all the students who submitted their stories. We were truly impressed by your creativity and flair for writing. This is what our judge had to say about the submissions we received: There were lines and perspectives in many of these submissions that moved me deeply and that I would have highlighted on my e-reader if I was reading as part of a novel or short story collection. I won’t be surprised if, in five or ten years, I hear that some well-established, beloved writer contributed to this contest and lost—that is how much potential there was in this pool!

2020 Winners

1st Prize:

Verdant, by Eva Eusanio (Nanaimo District Secondary School)
Judge’s verdict: “Such a beautifully written and seemingly unassuming story this is, with a wonderful little twist in the middle that gives you more insight into the main character. I felt like I was reading an excerpt from a major literary award winner. So much bubbling under the surface and such a true-to-life portrayal of how real children interact, portrayed with maturity and a restraint.”

2nd Prize:

The Savage Song of Monsters Scorned, by Margaret Peters (Point Grey Secondary)
Judge’s verdict: “This is a gripping, feminist, self-aware fairy tale/legend/thriller that made me want to stand up and cheer for the unexpected heroes at the end. Revenge done right—wonderfully paced and executed as a short story, but still made me wish this was a prologue for an entire novel to read by this writer. Fantastic.”

Submissions are now closed. Thank you for your interest.

Contest Rules:

1. The contest is open to all writers in grades 8-12 who are attending a school or being taught in a home-school environment in British Columbia.

2. Entries will be accepted for previously unpublished short stories and personal essays: 1,500 word limit.

3. Entries are judged blind. Please do not put your name on your story, in the file you have uploaded or in the file name.

4. Entries must be submitted in MS Word or PDF formats. Please use standard margins, 12-point font and double spacing.

5. The deadline for submissions is May 29, 2020.

Sign-up here for more information on the Vancouver Writers Festival youth programs.

Click here to download a poster for the 2020 Youth Writing Contest.