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.
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.
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.