Teen Writing Contest

BPL's annual writing contest for teens is an opportunity for local young people to explore their world through storytelling. Congratulations to everyone who participated in this year's contest! The Library gratefully acknowledges and thanks this year's panel of judges who took on this difficult task with such great enthusiasm: Jennifer Mook-Sang, Tomy Bewick, and Christopher Chamberlain. We invite teens to get inspired by reading the recent winning entries linked below and to take part in our contest next year. All creative works are the property of the writers; no portion of any story or poem may be published in any format without prior consent of the writer.

Jennifer Mook-Sang

Jennifer Mook-Sang grew up with a book in each hand in Guyana. While reading bedtime stories to her two sons, she decided that writing a book for children would be the best thing ever! Her humorous middle-grade novel Speechless (Scholastic) was nominated for a slew of awards. It was named a ‘Best Book of the Year’ by the CBC. Jennifer lives in Burlington and loves to read, and cook (and eat), and talk about writing.

Tomy Bewick

Tomy Bewick has been writing and performing since 2004. Having competed on national and international poetry slam stages, he started the Burlington Slam Project (BSP) in 2008. Tomy has featured across Canada, self-published several books of poetry, released 2 CDs of spoken word, and won the 2016 Ontario International Poetry Slam. He continues to facilitate writing workshops for youth and produce commissioned works.

Christopher Chamberlain

Christopher Chamberlain is the co-creator of the comic Kid Robo, the illustrator of “How Aubey & Big Al Became Mascots” and the chalk painter of the mural you can see in Burlington’s The Hood Restaurant. His licensed and creator designed trading cards have been published by Perna Studios, Island Dreams, 5Finity, Cryptozoic and others. You can find him facilitating a Creating Comic class at the library, or giving an Intro to Drawing class at the Barnschool. His art has been featured in gallery hangings around the world and he is often commissioned as an artist.

  • Entrant must be a resident of Burlington or attend a school in Burlington.
  • All short stories, comics and poems must be unpublished, original work of the entrant. Fan fiction is not accepted.
  • Only one entry per category will be accepted.
  • Due to the Library's pandemic-related closure, entries must be submitted only via email.
  • The decision of the judges is final.
  • All participants will receive a copy of the judges’ comments on their submission(s).
  • Contest winners will be notified in May and their submissions will be posted on the library website.
  • By entering this contest, you are giving permission to use your name for promotion purposes, including the Library’s print, visual, or electronic/online media.
  • Burlington Public Library subscribes to the basic principles of intellectual freedom and the open exchange of information. Teen Writing Contest is an open forum for young writers to express their ideas and creativity.

Judging categories & awards

  • Short story: Grades 7 to 9, 10 to 12
  • Poem: Grades 7 to 9, 10 to 12
  • Comics: Grades 7 to 9, 10 to 12
  • 1st and 2nd prize winners are selected for each category.

Submission details

Short story:

  • Maximum 1,500 words
  • Typed, double-spaced, with a white 8- 1/2” x 11” page layout.
  • Title must be on first page of work only.
  • Do not include title pages or images.
  • Number the pages.
  • Entries are judged anonymously; do not put your name anywhere on your work.

Poem:

  • Maximum 25 lines
  • Typed, double-spaced, with a white 8- 1/2” x 11” page layout.
  • Title must be on first page of work only.
  • Do not include title pages or images.
  • Number the pages.
  • Entries are judged anonymously; do not put your name anywhere on your work.

Comics:

  • Maximum 8 pages
  • Entry must be complete in itself, and not a fragment of a larger work
  • No more than eight pages
  • Work can be with or without words, in black and white or color.
  • It could be fiction or non-fiction
  • Computer generated images are acceptable as long as they are original works (no clip art).
  • Use 8 ½ by 11 paper and submit as flat work and not as a booklet.

Email instructions

  • Attach a completed official entry form to each submission (see below). 
  • Email entries must be emailed as attachments to teencontest@bpl.on.ca with a subject line stating the category, for example, Poetry Grade 7-9.
  • Send a separate email for each submission. Each email will include two attachments: 1. a completed entry form, and 2. one story or one poem or one comics.
  • Each submission will be confirmed by email when received.

Teen Writing Contest 2020 winners

Teen Writing Contest 2019 winners

Inspired Teen Reads Booklist