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Awesome Authors youth writing contest

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The Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest gives young writers, between the ages of 9 and 18, the chance to win awesome cash prizes, get published and share their talent with the world!

This contest would not be possible without the generosity of the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association.

Awesome Authors 2024

Contest rules and regulations

  • The contest starts January 9, 2024. 
  • Submissions will be accepted until February 23, 2024, 11:59 pm. 
  • Open to all youth residing in Ottawa, ages 9 to 18 (must not yet have completed high school) with a valid library card. 
  • Submission by outside residents with a non-resident card (family membership) will be accepted. 
  • There is a limit of one (1) entry per person, per category. The seven categories are: short story, poetry, comic, nouvelle, poésie, bande dessinée and book cover. 
  • Winners will be notified by email in April. Please use an email inbox that you are monitoring regularly. 

All submissions must:

  • include the title of the piece on each page;
  • be new, original, previously unpublished work;
  • be in French or English.

Please remember:

  • Include one entry form per submission. 
  • All winning entries will be checked for plagiarism. Entries that are plagiarized, previously published or that do not follow guidelines will be disqualified without notice.

Poems and short stories must be:

  • 1000 words or less.
  • typed and submitted electronically directly on this webpage or as a print copy.
  • written by a single author.

Comics must be:

  • drawn on one of the OPL templates (in order to offer a better printing quality) And drawn on one side of an 8.5” x 11” page (in order to offer a better printing quality); OR created with a computer software using 8.5" x 11" format and following the OPL templates. Original drawings only
  • one to three pages maximum
  • scanned (must be at least 400X400dpi - photo will not be accepted) and/or saved as a PDF, JPG or PNG files and submitted electronically or as a print copy.

Book covers must be: 

  • drawn or digitally created to fill an 8.5” x 11” page 
  • include the book’s title: pot-pourri 2024 
  • designed by a single illustrator
  • scanned (must be at least 400X400dpi - photo will not be accepted) and/or saved as a PDF, JPG or PNG files and submitted electronically or as a print copy

Get writing tips

Register for a workshop hosted by a local author, and contest judge! They will share their knowledge and experience with you! You can also visit our YouTube Channel to discover other tips from our judges.

For ages 9-12

Saturday, January 20 

11:00am Poetry Workshop with spoken word artist Apollo The Child 

2:00pm   Short Story Workshop for children with author Catherine Austen  

 Saturday, February 3 

11:00am How to become an awesome comic book writer with author Éric Péladeau 

2:00pm Comment devenir un super bédéiste avec l’auteur Éric Péladeau 

Saturday, February 17 

10:30am Comment devenir un super auteur, avec l’auteur Pierre-Luc Bélanger

For ages 13-18 

Saturday, January 20 

2 :00pm  Poetry Workshop with spoken word artist Apollo The Child 

Saturday, February 3 

11:00am How to become an awesome comic book writer with author Éric Péladeau  

2:00pm Comment devenir un super bédéiste avec l’auteur Éric Péladeau  

Saturday, February 10 

2:00pm Short Story Workshop with author Amelinda Bérubé  

Saturday, February 17 

2:00pm  Comment devenir un super auteur, avec l’auteur Pierre-Luc Bélanger  

Meet the judges

Our awesome judges are all local authors, and you will have the opportunity to connect with and learn from these mentors through the workshops.  

Catherine Austen

Catherine Austen writes for children, teens, and adults. Catherine’s books have won multiple awards. She has given writing workshops and presentations from coast to coast. You can find more about her on her website, and you can listen to her podcast of spooky stories here.

Apollo the Child

Apollo the Child is a Spoken Word poet, Hip Hop Artist, Radio Host, youth worker, events organizer and the current co-director of the Urban Legends Poetry Collective. Apollo is one half of the Hip Hop duo Poetic Elements with rapper/producer Masai. He has been active in the Ottawa arts scene since he was a teen.

Amelinda Bérubé

Amelinda Bérubé writes about ghosts and monsters and other things that go bump in the night. She is the author of two novels for young adults, The Dark Beneath the Ice and Bram Stoker Award nominee Here There Are Monsters. In her other lives, Amelinda is a mother of two and a passionate gardener. Find more about her on her website.

Pierre-Luc Bélanger

Pierre-Luc Bélanger is an Ottawa-based author. He started writing when he was in grade 8. However, it took many years before he was able to realize his dream of being an author. Since 2013, he has published five young adults’ novels. Travel and outdoor sports are his passion and inspire him to write books. To learn more, check out his website.

Éric Péladeau

To this day, Eric Péladeau published over a hundred books and has collaborated to many magazines. Many of them were nominated or winners for awards. A writer, an illustrator and a graphic designer, public speaker and stand-up comedian, Éric is not afraid to take on new challenges. Visit his website, to find out more.

Prizes

  • Winners will see their work published in pot-pourri, an anthology featuring the winning entries, and will receive cash prizes:
    • 1st place: $60
    • 2nd place: $40
    • 3rd place: $30
    • Honourable Mention: $20
  • If they win a prize, the co-authors (comic book authors only) will have to share the cash prize received.
  • A participant can submit one work in each category and can win several prizes (for example, a prize of 1st place in the BD category and 1st place in the Short Story category)

Submitting your contest entry via this webpage is encouraged. If you would like to submit your contest entry on paper, you are welcome to visit your local OPL point of service (branch or Bookmobile stop) during opening hours to drop off your entry. You can print the entry form here or request the form at your local branch or Bookmobile stop. If you are under the age of 16, permission from a parent/guardian is required to participate.