Writing for Children 2012 Winner


The Writers' Union of Canada is pleased to announce that Don Cummer is the winner of the 16th annual Writing for Children Competition, for his story, “The Burying Grounds.” The author will receive a $1,500 cash prize. In addition, the Union will submit the winning story, together with the stories of eleven finalists, to three Canadian publishers of children’s literature for their consideration. 

The Union initiated the Writing for Children competition to discover, encourage, and promote new writers of children’s literature. This year, 27 Union members donated their time and expertise to read over 870 outstanding submissions of up to 1,500 words, distilling the entries to a long list of 138 stories. These stories went on to a second round of 21 readers who selected the finalists to pass on to the 2012 jury: Don Calame, Hazel J. Hutchins, and Rene Schmidt.

WINNER: “The Burying Grounds” by Don Cummer

In “The Burying Grounds,” two youths visit the gravesite of one’s mother and newborn sister. The jury remarked that the story “is a deep piece of pure writing with evocative language and an extraordinary sense of time and place. The characters are well differentiated. The unique touches needed to write strong historical fiction (specific smells, observations that feel personal, appropriate dialogue) are richly present. The judgement references to Dominie Burns recall a different era and the Jean François’ song (“Boney was a Warrior”) confirm the piece authentically.” They went on to “encourage the author to sustain this level of writing while moving into a longer form with a fully realized plot. The end result will be a strong story indeed.”

Don Cummer was born and raised in Calgary but makes his home in Ottawa, where he is a professional speechwriter.  He is working on a novel about the War of 1812 through the experiences of children who witness the ways in which it tears apart their community in the Niagara Peninsula.


Where Marvin’s From, Susie Coyne, Greenfield Park, QC
Leonard Howard Krainski, Jaclyn Evaschyshyn, Calmar, AB
The Red Canoe, Anne Yvonne Gilbert, Toronto, ON
A Melody of Memory and Forgetting, Janna Gorham, Toronto, ON
Desert Magic, Adelee MacNevin, Charlottetown, PE
No Way, Alex May, Alexandra May & Amy Elizabeth, Calgary, AB
Rhino and Egret, Helen May, Vancouver, BC
The Hotdog Bun, Lindsey Morris, Amherstberg, ON
How Does One Hibernate, Pearl Myers, Revelstoke, BC
Samantha & Harriet: The Girls Who Would Be Knights, Stephanie Roe, Debert, NS
Sir Regis and the Dragon, Paul Sammartino, Port Moody, BC


Jane Barclay, Andrea Beck, Ann Birch, Yvonne Blackwood, Brenda Brooks, Edward Brown, Elspeth Cameron, Donna Caruso,
David B. Clark, Deborah Cowley, Betty Cullen, Lynda Curnoe, Richard deMeulles, Sharon Doyle Driedger, Timothy Dugdale,
Virginia Edwards, Ramabai Espinet, Priscilla Galloway, Lian Goodall, Carolyn Gossage, Nancy Graham, Lori Hahnel, Jane Harris-Zsovan,
Margaret Hastings-James, Ruth Latta, B.M. Lloyd, Mark R.C. Lovell, Nicole Markotic, Charis Marsh, Rich Meyrick, Michelle Mulder,
Terry Murray, Iris Nowell, Sara O'Leary, Joe Ralko, Edeet Ravel, Raquel Rivera, Barbara Wade Rose, Adira Rotstein, B.L. Sauder, J.L. Scharf, Vanessa Shields, Audrey Thomas, Shirley Jean Tucker, Ruth E. Walker, Judy Wearing, Janice Weaver, Catherine M. A. Wiebe, Morris Wolfe


Don Calame, Hazel J. Hutchins, and Rene Schmidt.

The Writers' Union of Canada is our country's national organization representing professional authors of books.  Founded in 1973, the Union is dedicated to fostering writing in Canada, and promoting the rights, freedoms, and economic well-being of all writers.  For more information, please visit www.writersunion.ca.

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For additional information:
Nancy MacLeod, Coordinator, Readings and Competitions
The Writers’ Union of Canada
416.703.8982 Ext. 226, nmacleod@writersunion.ca