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

Writing for Children Competition 2016 

Deadline July 31, 2016

CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers), in partnership with The Writers' Union of Canada, is pleased to accept submissions by unpublished writers for the 19th annual Writing for Children Competition. 

The deadline for submissions is July 31, 2016.

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, useful and potentially important 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 format in any genre including e-book and self-published** 
  • Writers who do not have a contract with a book publisher
  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada
*Writers with a story, essay, article or poem published in an anthology, collection, textbook, magazine or periodical (and other publications with content by more than one writer) are eligible to enter.

**Writers of self-published books created only for family and friends are eligible to enter.  Writers of self-published books created for public, institutional or other sales are not eligible to enter. 


  • Up to 1,500 words, fiction or non-fiction, English text
  • For a longer work, like a novel, 1500 words may be a few chapters; for a shorter work, like a picture book, the entire text may be less than 1500 words 
  • Submit text only; no illustrations 
  • Type in 12-point font, double-spaced (cover letter can be single-spaced)
  • Select the reading age category for the 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)


  • The entry fee is $30 for one entry, $50 for two entries, and $75 for three entries.
  • Entry fees can be paid online. Online payment is by Visa or MasterCard; CANSCAIP processes credit card 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 only for those who haven't previously been members of CANSCAIP)         


  • Each entry is a writing submission up to 1,500 words PLUS a one-page cover letter
  • In the cover letter include: 
  1. your name, e-mail address, phone number
  2. title of submission, reading age category (e.g., Picture Book), fiction or non-fiction
  3. submission's place in the story (e.g., first and second chapters)
  4. synopsis of the story 
  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 in this order: 
    Reading Age Category (e.g., Picture Book) - Your Name -Title of Submission
  • EMAIL SUBJECT LINE in this order: 
    Reading Age Category (e.g., Picture Book) - Your Name -Title of Submission
  • ENTRY FEE must be paid before emailing your entry  
  • Attach your entry to the email
  • Email your entry to
  • For multiple entries, send each entry in a separate email
  • Only email entries are eligible; printed entries cannot be included, acknowledged or returned


  • The deadline for entries is midnight on July 31, 2016


  • 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 Readers and a jury Chapter Book /Middle Grade/Young Adult. Each jury has three published authors who evaluate and select the finalists and winners. 
  • The entries selected by the juries will be submitted to three Canadian children's publishers for consideration.


  • JULY 31: Deadline for submissions
  • AUGUST: Submissions evaluated by first-round readers
  • SEPTEMBER: Submissions evaluated by second-round readers
  • OCTOBER:  Winners and finalists selected by jury
  • NOVEMBER: 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

Winners and finalists 2015 Writing for Children Competition 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 29, 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 18th annual Writing for Children Competition.  

A cash prize of $1,000 will be presented to two winners: for a Picture Book / Early Reader and for a Chapter Book / Middle Grade / Young Adult.  Eight additional finalists have also been selected. CANSCAIP will submit the winners and finalists to three Canadian children’s book publishers for their consideration. Some of the previous finalists and winners of the Writing for Children Competition have had their entries published.  

WINNER PICTURE BOOK / EARLY READER: Shelley Motz – Solomon's Football  
A young Muslim boy is whisked away from Pakistan and plunked down in a Canadian suburb. His first tentative steps into this strange, new world are eased by his love of soccer. The daughter of a refugee, Shelley Motz writes about and works on immigration issues.

A teen boy tries to save his father from the gallows during Ontario’s Rebellion of 1837. Rita Bailey is a teacher, and began Rebel Moon in a novel-writing class. She continues to take courses, attend conferences and work with a critiquing group.

Saumiya Balasubramaniam –When Grandma Wore a Baseball Cap       
Loretta Garbutt  –The Riding Lesson     
Jodie Robulak –Piggies on Parade         
Ann Severn Benedek –Fred No Matter What    

Sylvia Chiang –Cross Ups 
Kristen Ciccarelli –In the World to Come
Ruth Deakin-Nobes –The Gadget Meddler
Tanya Trafford –St. Govan's Chapel

CANSCAIP received close to 400 entries for the 2015 Writing for Children Competition. All the entries were evaluated by a group of first-round readers who selected entries that would proceed to second-round readers, who then selected entries to proceed to the final juries. The juries were comprised of bestselling authors Anne Laurel Carter, Ruth Ohi and Kathy Stinson (Picture Book / Early Reader Jury) and Barbara Greenwood, Susin Nielsen and Arthur Slade (Chapter Book / Middle Grade / Young Adult Jury). The first-round and second-round readers were: Karen Autio, Lena Coakley, Don Cummer, Aubrey Davis, Theo Heras, Susan Hughes, Sharon Jennings, Janet McNaughton, Jennifer Mook-Sang, Bev Rosenbaum, Valerie Sherrard, Jocelyn Shipley and Ted Staunton. CANSCAIP is grateful for the support and participation of these Members.

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 new 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. For more information, please


For additional information contact: Helena Aalto, Administrative Director
416 515-1559

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