WCDR Announces Top 20 Phoenix Short Story Finalists

The Writers’ Community of Durham Region congratulates the top 20 finalists of this year’s Phoenix short story contest and all other participants. This year’s finalists are:


After School Steve Lloyd
Birds of a Feather Derek Mascarenhas
Bittergreen My Life Sarah Van Goethem
Burnout Linda Kingston
Constellations Bill Zaget
Eternity Elizabeth Girard
Full Time Steve Lloyd
How Merrill Got Her Groove Back Maaja Wentz
Mahkenuk Maureen Curry
Mahogany Red Kathy Stinson
Out of the Ashes Lynda Allison
Phoenix Elaine Jackson
Seven Ravens Jessica Moore
Summer Apples Sally Moore
The Fortunate Man Ann Rocchi
The High Way Sally Moore
The House from Turk’s Cove Alison Dyer
The Steps You Take Vera Constantineau
U-Bahn Sylvia Chiang
You Lift Me Up Margaret Alexander

Canscaip 18th annual Writing for Children Competition

Call for submissions: 18th annual Writing for Children Competition

Deadline September 30, 2015

CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers), in partnership with The Writers’ Union of Canada, is pleased to accept submissions by unpublished writers for the 18th annual Writing for Children Competition. A goal of the competition is to discover, encourage, and promote new writers of children’s literature across Canada. The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2015.

In previous years, the Writing for Children Competition awarded one cash prize. This year, there will be two $1,000 winners: for a picture book/early reader and for a chapter book/middle grade/young adult.  Eight additional finalists in these reading age categories will also be selected

The entries of the eight finalists and two winners will be submitted to three Canadian children’s publishers for consideration. Some previous finalists and winners of the Writing for Children Competition have had their entries published.

The Writers’ Union of Canada initiated the Writing for Children Competition in 1996. The competition has grown in popularity since its inception, and in 2014 CANSCAIP took on this initiative as a partnership with TWUC.


  • Writers who have not had their writing published in book form (including e-book and self-published) 
  • Writers who do not have a current contract with a book publisher before the competition winner is announced
  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents


  • Up to 1,500 words, written in English 
  • Not previously published in book form (including e-book or self-published)
  • Fiction or non-fiction
  • Reading age categories: picture book (ages 2 to 6), early reader (ages 5 to 8), chapter book (ages 7 to 10), middle grade (ages 9 to 12), young adult (ages 13 and up)
  • Typed in 12-point font, double-spaced, pages numbered   
  • Submission emailed as PDF attachment
  • Hard copy entries are not eligible and will not be returned.                         


  • An entry consists of a writing submission of up to 1,500 words PLUS a one-page cover letter.
  • Each page of the writing submission should be numbered, with your name and the title on the top of each page. 
  • Include in the cover letter: 
  1. your name, address, phone number, e-mail 
  2. summary of your writing experience
  3. title of submission, genre, reading age category (e.g. picture book, chapter book), fiction or non-fiction
  4. submission’s place in the story (e.g. first chapter)
  5. summary of the complete story
  6. additional information as needed
  • Submit writing submission and cover letter as a single PDF: cover letter first, followed by writing submission.
  • For multiple entries, send each entry in a separate email.
  • In email subject line include: WFC 2015 – Your Name – Title of Entry – Reading Age Category 
  • Email submissions to office@canscaip.org.
  • NOTE: Register and pay the entry fee before emailing your entry.


  • The entry fee is $30 for one writing submission, $50 for two submissions, and $75 for three submissions.
  • If not already a Friend member of CANSCAIP, you can join for just $35 (regular $45 per year)
  • Entry fees can be paid online as part of the submission process. Online payment is by Visa or MasterCard, with credit card payments processed through PayPal (entrants don’t need to have a PayPal account).
  • Go to the CANSCAIP website to REGISTER and pay entry fee online.
  • Entry fee can also be via cheque made out to CANSCAIP and mailed to:

Writing for Children Competition
720 Bathurst Street, Suite 503
Toronto, ON M5S 2R4


  • The first readers for the entries will be a group of published writers with experience in the genre of the submission. These first readers will select and recommend a shortlist of the best submissions. These shortlisted submissions will be sent to the jury panels.
  • There will be a jury panel comprised of three published authors to evaluate and select from the shortlisted submissions for chapter books/middle grade and young adult. There will also be a jury panel comprised of three published authors to evaluate and select from the shortlisted submissions for picture books/easy readers. 
  • Each of the jury panels will determine five finalists, including one winner. 
  • The selected entries of the ten finalists will be submitted to three Canadian children’s publishers for consideration.


  • Only the finalists and winners will be contacted.
  • Results will be posted in November 2015.


  • Deadline for entries is September 30, 2015

PHOENIX – WCDR Short Story Contest

PHOENIX – WCDR Short Story Contest


Final Judge – Award-Winning Author Alissa York



1st Place $750

2nd Place $500

3rd Place $250


Submission Deadline date:  Sunday, October 2th, 2015

Submission Fee – $20 


The 2015 WCDR’s Short Story Contest, PHOENIX, will offer 20 longlisted entrants the opportunity to have their work read by lauded Canadian author, Alissa York. Submitted stories need not mention a Phoenix, but must echo a theme or image that represents either the mythological phoenix or what it represents.

Before you send your work, make sure that it follows our submission guidelines stated below:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older to enter the WCDR Short Story Contest.
  • Fiction only, please. Works of poetry or non-fiction will automatically be disqualified.
  • Entries must be original and unpublished elsewhere. This means that an entry must not be under consideration elsewhere for publication or broadcast, accepted elsewhere for publication or broadcast, or entered in any other contest. Work that has appeared on the Internet is considered published and is ineligible.
  • Judging is blind. Entries should not identify the contestant. You will identify yourself on a separate form when you submit your story or stories. Any contestant who identifies themselves on their entry will automatically be disqualified.
  • Submission to the contest must be follow the standard contest format: 12 point, serif typeface (such as Times New Roman), double spaced, with 1-inch margins on either side. File formats accepted: .doc and .docx.
  • The maximum word count is 2,500 words. Any entries longer than 2,500 words will automatically be disqualified. There is no minimum word count.
  • The Contest opens at noon on Saturday, March 21, 2015, and closes at midnight on Sunday, October 25, 2015.
  • International entries are welcome.
  • An entry consists of one story. The entry fee is Cdn$20 for Canadian entries, and US$30 for international entries. Contestants may enter as many times as they like, but each entry attracts the same entry fee.
  • Entries received after the contest has officially closed will be ineligible. In the event of late submission, your submission fee will not be refunded.
  • A single writer may only win ONE prize.
  • Contest winners will be contacted directly, either by email or by telephone.
  • Winners will be announced at the WCDR’s February Roundtable, Saturday, February 15, 2016 (and online that same day).
  • No entries will be returned.
  • The submission fee is non-refundable.
  • By entering this contest you agree to grant WCDR (and its sponsors) first publication rights to the entry. Short-listed stories will be included in the contest anthology.  This right is automatically waived if your entry does not make the shortlist.

**Members of the 2015 WCDR Short Story Committee are ineligible to enter.




Your First Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Street (required)

Your City (required)

Your Province (required)

Your Country (required)

Your Postal/Zip Code (required)

Your Telephone(required)

Are you a WCDR member? **


Upload Submission doc or docx (Maximum file size: 1 MB)


WCDR Short Story Contest Winners Announced and Cover Contest Winner Unveiled!

Sarah Selecky has announced the final results of the WCDR 2014 Short Story Contest. The WCDR congratulates the winners, and we look forward to seeing your entries published in Renaissance, our short story anthology due out later this year.  We thank all who entered and are pleased to see so many WCDR members take top prizes.

The winners are:

1st Place- prize $1,000

Allergies Stephanie                 Phil Dwyer

2nd Place- prize $400

Before and After                     Corrie Adams

3rd Place- Prize $200

Pearl Earbobs             Gwen Tuinman


Honourable Mentions- Prize $25 and publication credit

Black As Sin                           Anne MacLachlan

The Night Traveller                 Jennifer Sutton

Here’s what Sarah had to say about the winning entries:

Allergies Stephanie

I chose this arresting story as the contest winner because it took big risks – and they worked!  The second person point of view, the obsessive narration and fixation on font design, the compulsive repetition in language — this story uses language sculpturally, and form and content work together to create a consciousness that lifts off the page and becomes real. It was a pleasure to find this story in the entries, as one would feel delight at discovering a gemstone.

Before and After

I was enchanted by the gorgeous language in this story – the writing evokes a humid summer evening with emotions gathering like rainclouds, so thick you can taste them. The story occurs just before a major transition in the narrator’s life, and everything feels pumped up and tingly before the drop. The language is luminous and embodied: these sentences radiate.

Pearl Earbobs

This story is beautifully written, and I read it several times, admiring the craftsmanship – confident, strong, with sophisticated depth and design. I recognized the first sentence, of course (the prompt) but it was the rest of the opening paragraph that gripped me. The stakes are life and death, the voice is honest and authentic, the language sepia-tinted from history, and the drama is real.


Honourable Mentions

Of all of the sci-fi and fantasy entries, the following two stories stood out.  I loved reading these two, because in both cases, they made me forget I was reading for a contest, and I enjoyed losing myself in the stories themselves. I’d like to give them honourable mentions, because they certainly were fresh and exciting to me:

Black as Sin

This story changed my perspective on the classic tale: I’ve never thought about Snow White this way before, and the writing transported me to another time and place.

The Night Traveller

The attention to detail is wonderful! The language – and the verisimilitude it evokes — make this story feel chilling and real. Again, I was transported — I lost myself in this other world.

Thank you for inviting me to judge this contest! I send congratulations and high-fives to all of the writers who submitted stories this year.

Winner of the $250 prize for the 2014 Contest for the cover of our Renaissance Anthology is:

Ingrid Ruthig, with her innovative take on rebirth and reimagining: Weaving Stories.

“One particular word in this year’s anthology title struck a chord – “Renaissance.” It was that historic cultural movement signalling the rebirth of curiosity and freedom of the imagination. It was discovery and learning. It was knowledge spread far and wide, thanks to the Gutenberg press. It was possibility. And it continues to encompass all that, and more. Situated as it is in this title, the word suggests a reawakening to the pleasures of short fiction, maybe even a re-seeing, reinvention, or reimagining. The artwork I chose to represent that feeling is a detail from the prototype of a new textwork series I’ve begun. It, too, is a reimagining, of sorts. Based on two portraits of Marie Antoinette, the image suggests that what we think we know of any person’s story is based on a weaving of fact and fiction. At best, it’s an incomplete tale. At worst, a serious manipulation. By revisiting the picture, or the story, or the short fiction form, we open up to the possibilities of what it might be. And rediscover it for ourselves.”

The 2014 Renaissance Anthology will include the Top Winners, Longlist stories and a few extra entries, chosen for their excellence. It will be launched in the fall of 2014.  Stay tuned for more details!


WCDR Short Story Contest Short List Announced!

Sarah Selecky has chosen five stories for her short list in the WCDR’s 2014 short story contest.

The short listed entries are:

Before and After                Corrie Adams
Allergies Stephanie             Phil Dwyer (WCDR Member)
Black As Sin                    Anne MacLachlan (WCDR Member)
The Night Traveller             Jennifer Sutton
Pearl Earbobs                   Gwen Tuinman (WCDR Member)

The prize winning stories will be announced this coming Saturday (June 14) at our RoundTable meeting.

Also at the RoundTable, we will announce the winner of our 2014 anthology cover contest.

Sign up today to make sure you’ll be there to hear the results announced and the prizes awarded.


Register Now

LONGLIST for the WCDR Short Story Contest announced!

LONGLIST for the WCDR Short Story Contest announced!

WCDR is pleased to confirm the longlist for the WCDR Short Story Contest for 2014.  The following entries will be published in our Renaissance Anthology 2014. The shortlist of the top 5 stories will be announced on June 9.

Short Story Contest 2014: Long list

Story Author
Engineered magic: A fairy tale Ann Dulhanty
The Event Paige Winkle
Closing Circle Deepam Wadds
Before and After Corrie Adams
Going Fearward Heidi Croot
Seeing Signs Stacey Paterson
Bitter Vision Kate Arms-Roberts
The Soft One Deepam Wadds
Boxed In Dorothea Helms
Hide Jessica Moore
The Night Traveller Jennifer Sutton
Pura Vida Esther Griffin
The Eagle’s Vigilance Margaret Alexander
Allergies Stéphanie Phil Dwyer
Black as Sin Anne MacLachlan
Pearl Earbob Gwen Tuinman


Congratulations to the authors whose stories made it onto the longlist, and thank you to all those who entered.  You are all winners to us!

Please note that all entries were submitted via the Submittable online submission management system, with administration managed confidentially by our contest admin team, Dawn Riddoch and Brittany LeClerc, then blind judged personally by Sarah Selecky.

The WCDR was pleased to announce the longlist at our May RoundTable, and will be announcing the three top stories, including the $1,000 first prize entry at our June RoundTable on June 14.  We hope to see you there!

Congratulations to all our long listed authors!
Sally Moore
President, WCDR


U25 Young Writers: Are You Working on Your Story for the Contest?

On March 8, 2014, writers 25 and under left the U25 RoundTable with a swag bag that contained all the information for the WCDR U25 Writing Contest sponsored by Inkslingers. Write a short story (600-800 words) for the chance to win $100 cash and the chance to see your writing in print!

We hope U25 inspired our guests to pen their own stories, and the contest judges are looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

The judges would like to encourage the U25 young writers to enter the contest, with entries due by June 1st–so there’s lots of time left! Also, please note that confirmation numbers are not needed to submit entries! Follow the rest of the submission guidelines, and all inquiries are welcome. Simply contact webmaster@wcdr.org or support@wcdr.org

For more information about our sponsor, Inkslingers, and the contest judges, please visit this past news post.

WCDR U25 Writing Contest sponsored by Inkslingers!

We are thrilled to announce our latest sponsor for the upcoming U25 Panel, Inkslingers!

Inkslingers will be sponsoring the WCDR U25 Writing Contest!

Young writers from Grade 8 to age 25 who attend the special RoundTable meeting next month, the U25 Panel, will be eligible to enter the contest. There will be two categories, one for Grade 8 to 16 years old, and another for 17 years old to 25 years old. Contest guidelines will be included in each young writer swag bag, along with a confirmation number which will be required to submit entries to the contest.

Why is this so exciting?

Winners in both categories will win a cash prize of $100! On top of that, winners will see their stories published in the WCDR’s newsletter, The Word Weaver. What does this mean? Your story could be in print! You could earn yourself a paid publishing credit!

Depending on the number of entries the judging committee will receive, an honourable mention in each category may be awarded—so the more of you enter, the better!



About Inkslingers

Inkslingers is the name for the many ways that Susan Lynn Reynolds and James Dewar (both Past Presidents of the WCDR) contribute to the success of any writers who wish to develop their skills. Whether it’s workshops, retreats, mentorships, self-publishing guidance, or any other form of assistance, James and Sue make a difference. James Dewar and Susan Lynn Reynolds have more than 25 years of teaching experience between them.

What Inkslingers has to say about U25 and the contest:

Inkslingers is dedicated to helping writers develop a lifelong love of the craft. We offer workshops, retreats, mentoring, editing and publishing services to assist writers at every level of expertise. We are thrilled to support the WCDR U25 Writing Contest. You’re never too young to enjoy the thrill of publication.

Thank you Inkslingers!



Who is judging the contest?

Susan Croft obtained a BA (Hons) in English and history from Queen’s University in 2010, and a law degree from the same institution in 2013.  Over the course of her long education, she was an editor for Ultraviolet Magazine; the liaison officer for the University of Aberdeen Storytelling Society; the senior student editor for The Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal; and the co-editor-in-chief of The Lamp: A Creative Writing Journal for Graduate and Professional Students, which she founded in 2010.  Since winning her first writing contest in grade 12, she has received a number of literary awards and scholarships, and her work has appeared—usually under the pen name G.L. Morgan—in a variety of publications, including Ars Medica, New Shoots, and the Word Weaver.  When not writing, Susan can be found reading, rock climbing, or trying (again) to teach herself Welsh.


M-E Girard is writer of contemporary fiction—mostly young adult fiction, usually queer fiction, and always about girls. She has completed her first Young Adult novel (a finalist in the 2010 Young Adult Novel Discovery Contest), and has many more novel-length stories in the works. M-E was a fellow of the 2013 Lambda Literary Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices, and is represented by Linda Epstein of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. M-E is a new-ish member of the WCDR but can be found everywhere, including all over this website, as well as on the WCDR literary blog, Reading As Writers, and facilitating its online critique group, RAW Critters. M-E is all over social media, and always trying to make blogging a more regular thing.


Jessica Moore is a PhD candidate in English Literature at Queen’s University, with a specialization in object theory, American hard-boiled detective fiction, and, more broadly, genre fiction. She is Editor-in-Chief of The Lamp, an international literary journal for graduate and professional students, and a writer herself, who strongly believes in the need to cultivate and realize the literary merit of commercial fiction.




Register for U25 now!


Short Fiction Renaissance 2014 Cover Contest!

Design the cover for the WCDR Short Fiction Anthology and win!

Every year, the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR) publishes an anthology of creative writing, composed of the most promising entries from its Short Story Contest.  As in previous years, the Anthology committee is holding a Cover Contest that is open to artists of all media.  The winner will be awarded Cdn$250, have his or her work published on the front cover of the 2014 anthology, and receive a contributor’s copy.

Click HERE to submit!


Entry Rules:

Please read the entry rules of this contest (including closing dates and submission guidelines) carefully. By entering this contest, you agree to the rules that follow, which form a binding agreement between you and the WCDR. Failure to adhere to the rules may result in your entry being disqualified. In the event of your entry being disqualified, your submission fee will not be refunded.

• You must be 18 years of age or older to enter the WCDR Anthology Cover Contest.

• By entering the contest, you certify that you are the copyright holder for the art in question and have the legal right to dispose of the work.

•  Judging is blind. Entries should not identify the contestant. You will identify yourself on a separate form when you submit your artwork using the Submittable electronic submission system. Any contestant who identifies themselves on their entry will automatically be disqualified.

•  Submission to the contest is via the Submittable online submission system only. If you are unable to use Submittable because of a disability, please contact accessibility@wcdr.org for alternate arrangements. There is no restriction on the size of the entry, but it must be able to be scaled to 5.75ins (14.5cm) x  8.75ins (22.2cm).  No file format is preferred, although .ckmy works best for e-books and .rgb works best for print.

•  The Contest closes at midnight on Saturday, May 31, 2014.

•  International entries are welcome.

•  An entry consists of one piece of artwork. The entry fee is Cdn$5. Contestants may enter as many times as they like, but each entry attracts the same entry fee.

• Entries received after the contest has officially closed will be ineligible. The winner will be contacted directly, either by email or by telephone.

• The winner will be announced at the WCDR’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday, June 14, 2014 (and online that same day, after the AGM).

• The submission fee is non-refundable.

• By entering this contest you agree to grant WCDR (and its sponsors) first publication rights to the entry. This right is automatically waived if your entry is not selected as the winning entry.

All submissions will be judged by the Anthology Committee, and the winner will be announced at the WCDR RoundTable meeting on Saturday June 14, 2014, at the Ajax Convention Centre.  The winner will receive their prize at this time; if the winner is not local, his or her prize can be sent by mail.


See below for past winners:

WCDR Short Story Contest [with Sarah Selecky]: Get Writing!

The details for the new WCDR Short Story Contest [with Sarah Selecky] have been released! Please visit the contest page of this website for the contest guidelines.

Need inspiration? Consider signing up for Sarah Selecky’s writing prompts.

Why writing prompts? Just in case you were wondering how prompts can benefit your writing, check out this blog on the Seven Reasons to Use Writing Prompts.

The contest deadline is March 23, 2014—so get writing!