Awesome Authors is on!

MAY 2021 Update: The Library has just announced the winners of the this year’s Awesome Authors contest! Check out the announcements on YouTube. You can watch right here (below) or visit the OPL’s YouTube channel and view the Ages 9-12 results or the Ages 13-18 results.

This year’s winners in the 9-12 age category
This year’s winners in the 13-18 age category

MARCH 2021 update: The deadline for the Ottawa Public Library’s Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest has passed and the judges are busy reading all the fabulous submissions. I have 171 short stories to consider from writers aged 9-12 — and I can only choose six finalists! That means MANY great stories will be rejected. Such is the nature of publishing. If your story does not win, it doesn’t mean the story is not good. So keep writing.

Winners and Honourable Mentions will be announced at a virtual ceremony this spring. I’ll post details when I have them….

[From January 2021]…The Ottawa Public Library’s Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest is back! Young writer, get ready to write your best poem, short story, or comic ever. The Ottawa Public Library is inviting you to share your talent with the world, and you could win cash prizes and publication. 

Learn all the details from the Awesome Authors page on the OPL website.

I’ll be judging fiction in the 9-12 age category again this year — and I want to read your story!

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Author Interview with Jan Coates

A 15-minute episode of interview snippets with children’s author Jan Coates from Nova Scotia.

A transcript is available at

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Author Interview #1: Caroline Pignat

The first of a season of author interviews featuring creative writing advice and anecdotes not included in the core Cabin Tales Podcast. Heard today: Caroline Pignat.

A full transcript is available at

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The Spirit of Sharing

If you’re Canadian and a reader, you’ve probably heard of Blue Met (Metropolis Bleu). It produces a renowned international Literary Festival in Montreal every spring, along with a slightly-less-well-known Children’s Literary Festival. But Blue Met is so much more than an event!

Blue Met logo

A non-profit arts foundation, Blue Met is dedicated to bringing people from different cultures together to share the pleasures of reading and writing. It offers educational and social programs year-round, for all ages, in and out of classrooms, to promote mental health, encourage academic perseverance, and fight against poverty and social isolation.

For more than 20 years, Blue Met has been providing face-to-face creative experiences. But this year — like everyone has had to — they’ve focussed on virtual projects.

I was one of the authors slated to participate in the 2020 Blue Met Children’s Festival last spring, cancelled due to the pandemic. So I was very pleased to be part of Blue Met’s “Writers as Gifts” project this fall/winter. (No, I don’t get to go to Montreal and meet actual humans. But it’s nice to be part of something.)

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The Never-ending Story (Episode 8: Revision)

Listen at:

The final fall episode of Cabin Tales is about the final stage of creative writing: revision. You’ll hear 26 Canadian authors talk about their revision process, and their recommendations to young writers who want to improve their first draft. 45 minutes. All ages.

A transcript of this episode is available at

Show Notes

[0:00] Intro

[1:30] Commentary on Revision

If you don’t want other people to read your work, you don’t have to revise it. But if you do want others to read it and enjoy it, and if you want someone to publish it, then you must revise.

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