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Awesome Authors youth writing contest

Young poets and authors - On your mark! Get set! Write!

The Ottawa Public Library invites you to participate in the 21st annual Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest, a contest for aspiring young poets and short story authors.

About the contest

  • The contest starts December 1, 2015
  • Submissions will be accepted until February 15, 2016.
  • Contest open to youth between the ages of 9 and 17
  • Participants must have an OPL card.
  • There is a limit of one (1) entry per person, per category. (i.e. English Poetry, English Short Story, nouvelle français et poésie français).
  • No co-written entries will be accepted.
  • Local authors Catherine Austen, Caroline Pignat and JC Sulzenko will judge the submissions.

Preparing your entry

  • Poems and short stories must:
    • be 1000 words or less
    • be submitted electronically or computer-generated
    • be one side of each 8½" x 11" page
    • include the title of the piece on each page
    • be new, original, previously unpublished work
    • be in French or English
  • Do not put your name on your work.
  • Include one entry form per poem or story submitted.

Get writing tips

Register for a workshop hosted by a local author, and contest judge! They will share their knowledge and experience with you!

For ages 9-12

  • January 22: Poetry (JC Sulzenko) - Beaverbrook
  • January 22: Short story (Catherine Austen) - Carlingwood
  • January 29: Poésie et nouvelles (Sylvie Frigon) - North Gloucester

For ages 13-17

  • February 6: Poésie et nouvelles (Sylvie Frigon) - St-Laurent
  • February 13: Poetry and short story (Caroline Pignat) - Greenboro 

Submitting your entry

  • Submit your work online or in person at your local OPL point of service (branch or Bookmobile stop - while an employee is present).
  • If you choose to submit your work in person, please make two copies of your entry, print and complete a entry form and drop by to submit your entry.
  • If you do not receive confirmation that your entry has been received, please contact Sheri Riviere at or 613-580-2424 x32163.
  • If you are submitting in French, please use the French version of the website.

About the entries

  • Entries will not be returned.
  • All winning entries will be checked for plagiarism. Any time you use someone else’s words or ideas and pass them off as your own it is considered plagiarism and is strictly prohibited.
  • Entries that are plagiarized, previously published or that do not follow guidelines will be disqualified.


Contest winners will be announced, and prizes awarded, during a ceremony to be held on March 29 at 7:00 p.m. at the Centrepointe Theatre. This event is open to the public.