Writing for Children Competition 2017

CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers), in partnership with The Writers' Union of Canada, is pleased to accept entries by unpublished writers for the 20th annual Writing for Children Competition. The deadline for entries is June 30, 2017.

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 or e-book format in any genre
  • Writers of self-published books** (with exceptions noted below)
  • Writers who do not have a current contract with a book publisher
  • Writers must be citizens or permanent residents of Canada

*Writers who have had a story, essay, article or poem published in an anthology, collection, textbook, magazine or periodical (i.e., publications with content by multiple writers) are eligible to enter.
**Writers of self-published books that have been sold in substantial quantities in bookstores, institutions or online are not eligible to enter.


  • Up to 1,500 words, fiction or non-fiction, English text (For a longer work such as a novel, 1500 words may be the first chapter and/or other chapter(s). For a shorter work, such as a picture book, the entire text may be 1500 words or less.) 
  • Submit text only; no illustrations
  • Submission in 12-point font, double-spaced (cover letter can be single-spaced)
  • Entries that were submitted for a previous Writing for Children Competition can be re-submitted
  • Select a reading age category for each 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.
  • Please pay the entry fee before emailing us your entry.
  • Online payment is by Visa or MasterCard. Although CANSCAIP processes online 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 is for those who haven't previously been members of CANSCAIP, not renewing.)      


  • Each entry is a writing submission up to 1,500 words PLUS a one-page cover letter
  • In the cover letter please include:
    1. your name, e-mail, phone, address
    2. title and reading age category (e.g., Picture Book)
    3. one paragraph summary of the story
    4. the entry's place in the story (e.g., chapter 1 and chapter 4) OR if submission is entire text
    5. summary of your writing experience (a sentence or two)
  • Save each entry as a single PDF or Word document, with the cover letter first, followed by the writing submission; NAME YOUR DOCUMENT with this info: Reading Age Category (e.g., Picture Book) - Your Name - Title of Submission
  • Attach your entry to an email and include the following information in the EMAIL SUBJECT LINE: Reading Age Category (e.g., Picture Book) - Your Name - Title of Submission
  • For multiple entries, please send each entry in a separate email.
  • Email your entry to office@canscaip.org


  • The deadline for entries is midnight on June 30, 2017

REGISTER: https://www.canscaip.org/event-2509057


  • 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 another 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.


  • MARCH 28 to JUNE 30: Open for submissions
  • JUNE 30: Deadline for submissions
  • JULY: Submissions evaluated by first-round readers
  • AUGUST: Submissions evaluated by second-round readers
  • SEPTEMBER:  Winners and finalists selected by jury
  • OCTOBER: 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