Writing for Children Competition 2016: Deadline July 31

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Illustrators and Performers), in partnership with The Writers' Union of Canada, is pleased to accept submissions by unpublished writers for the 19th annual Writing for Children Competition.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 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 (or 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 the purpose of sale to the public, institutions or other sales are not eligible to enter. 


  • Up to 1,500 words, fiction or non-fiction, English text*
  • Submit text only; no illustrations 
  • Submission in 12-point font, double-spaced (cover letter can be single-spaced)
  • Entries submitted for a previous Writing for Children Competition can be re-submitted 
  • 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)

* For a longer work, like a novel, 1500 words will be an excerpt which usually includes the first chapter. For a shorter work, like a picture book, the entire text may be less than 1500 words.  


  • 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 office@canscaip.org
  • 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 Reader and a jury for Chapter Book/Middle Grade/Young Adult. Each jury has three published authors who evaluate and select the finalists and winners. 
  • The finalists and winners 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