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 2021 contest is now closed. Thank you for your interest. Winners will also be published in our online newsletter, Books & Ideas, which has a readership of over 17,000. Please read the Contest Rules before submitting your application!

Shannon Ozirny, the Head of Youth Services at the West Vancouver Memorial Library, will return as our judge for this year’s submissions. Ozirny has taught a children’s materials course as an adjunct at the UBC iSchool, reviewed young adult books for The Globe and Mail and contributes regularly to Quill & Quire as a feature reviewer of picture books. She has served as a juror for the BC and Yukon Book Prizes, Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books and Odyssey audiobook awards and moderates kidlit events for the Vancouver Writers Fest and Kidsbooks.

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.”

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 Entries will be accepted for previously unpublished short stories and personal essays: 1,500 word limit.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 31, 2021.

The 2021 contest is now closed.

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