Teen Writing Contest

BPL's annual writing contest for teens is an opportunity for local young people to explore their world through storytelling and get feedback from published writers on your work. Tackle themes that are important to you, such as love, war, relationships, sexuality, relocation, isolation, poverty, illness, death. Teen Writing Contest is an open forum for young writers to express their ideas and creativity through poetry, short stories, or comics. Open to students in grades 7 - 12. Deadline for submissions is Fri Apr 16.

Congratulations to our 2020 winners: Conor Gross, Kaiya Shaw, Eniola Qlutunfese, Katrine Stulikova, Emilie Lemmer​, Melissa Er, Arlette Mamo, Trinity Svoljsak, Shifa Zubairi, Melissa Er, Jordan Kurpita and Minahil Taufiq​. You can check out their entries in the link below. Thank you to everyone who participated!

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.

Joe Ollmann

Cartoonist Joe Ollmann self-published his first 3-issue comic book series, Dirty Nails Comics, beginning in 1988. He contributed cartoons to The Hamilton Spectator in the early 1990s, and had a long-running strip in Exclaim! magazine. His third collection of short stories, This Will All End in Tears, won the Doug Wright Award for Best Book in 2007. Ollmann's newest book, Fictional Father, will be published this May.

  • 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  • All short stories, comics and poems must be unpublished, original work of the entrant.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.
  • 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 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.
Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: pdf docx.