Teen Writing Contest

Explore your world through storytelling and show off your creative talents. Tackle themes that are important to you, such as love, war, relationship, sexuality, relocation, isolation, poverty, illness, death. Teen Writing Contest is an open forum for young writers to express their ideas and creativity.

Contest judges, themselves published writers, provide feedback on your stories, poems, and comics. Cash prizes. Get contest details and the official entry form at your local branch or download online February 1 through mid-March annually. Open to students in grades 7-12.

At a special celebratory event in May, family and friends of all contest participants have the opportunity to hear these creative young people read from their original works at our annual Teen Writing Contest Coffeehouse.

Teen Writing Contest was formerly called Take Flight & Write Teen Writing Contest.

The judges for 2019 were Jennifer Mook-Sang for short stories, Tomy Bewick for poetry, and Paul Barrington for comics.

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.

Paul Barrington 

Paul Barrington is a former English teacher who loves comics and sees them as pieces of literature. Currently the general manager of Conspiracy Comics, he's been part of the local comics scene for 15 of the store's 25-year history.

  • 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  • All short stories,comics and poems must be unpublished, original work of the entrant.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.
  • Entries can be submitted online on the library’s website, via email, or in person at any location.
  • 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 April and their submissions will be posted on the library website in May.
  • The library will host a celebration in May where entrants have an opportunity to present their work.
  • 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.
  • 1st prize: $50; 2nd prize: $25

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.
  • 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 2019 winners