The Ottawa Public Library’s annual Awesome Authors contest is now accepting poems and stories from Ottawa-area youth aged 9-17. Deadline February 16th.
Not in Ottawa? No worries. If you’ve got your act together RIGHT NOW, you can enter the Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Contest for Canadian Youth in one of two age categories: junior (grades 7-9) and senior (grades 10-12). Winners receive cash prizes and publication in the League of Canadian Poets’ magazine, Re:verse. Contest deadline January 15th.
If you can’t swing a submission in a week, you might still make it into the Book Week 2015 contest for young writers in grades 4-12. English entries up to 1500 words must be postmarked by January 31st.
The River of Words environmental artwork and poetry contest for writers aged 5-19 is open to young writers anywhere in the world. (The US deadline was December 1st; the International deadline is coming up on February 1st.)
If poetry and fiction are not your thing, you could write an essay for the National Student Writing Competition, a contest open to students in the US and Canada via their teachers. The deadline for student essays is February 18th but teachers must register their classes by January 14th. Seriously. Tell your teacher to get a move on. This is a great teaching activity.
There’s a bit more time to get your teacher into Dupont’s awesome science contests for students in Canada and the US. Take the Dupont Challenge for great prizes. Kids in grades 6-12 can submit science essays to this contest by January 31st. Kids in grades K-5 can submit science stories by March 1st.
Americans get extra chances to win:
- The 2015 PBS Kids contest is now open to young US writers in grade K-3.
- Scholastic’s Kids Are Authors contest for US students in grades K-8, working with an adult Project Coordinator, has a deadline of March 15th.
- The Pets Add Life poetry contest for US students in grades 3-8 is on now with a deadline of January 31, 2015.
What about the adults with pen in hand?
If you missed all those kids’ contests by, say, twenty or thirty years, don’t fret. There are writing contests for adults, too:
- Ottawa Magazine’s Short Fiction Contest is open to local writers with a deadline of March 1, 2015.
- The Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Contest is open to anyone who likes to write sci-fi. Deadline February 1st.
- Highlights Fiction Contest is open to adult writers of stories for children. The contest is open all month, closing January 31st.
- The Transitions Abroad Narrative Travel Writing contest is just about to close. This contest for professional, freelance and aspiring travel writers around the world has been ongoing since last April with a deadline of January 15th, 2015.
- The Reader’s Digest poetry contest is open to US residents over 18. Deadline January 30th.
These are all contests with NO ENTRY FEES with deadlines coming up very soon.
(FYI, it’s best to enter a contest early. Don’t wait till the deadline. The readers are sick to death of entries by then. They will approach your story with loathing. If you enter early, it’s like, “Hey, somebody got their story in already! Awesome!” If you enter in the eleventh hour, it’s like, “Bloody hell, will they never stop?”)
There are oodles of writing contests you have to pay to enter. Those held by literary journals (e.g., The Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize, open right now with a deadline of February 1st) usually come with a year’s subscription, which cancels the entry fee and makes it all win-win. Your favourite journal probably has an annual contest worth entering.
As for those contests with entry fees that don’t come with journals… I feel for those on the receiving end of any writing contest. But it just feels dirty to recommend that someone pay to enter. So I leave it up to you to search those out, if you’re so inclined.