Submissions are accepted on a regular basis, year-round.
Can include, short stories, essays, poetry and prose.
Must not exceed 3,000 words.
Must be written by a current ESA student, or alumni.
Submissions are accepted:

Saturday, 6 January 2018

The Toronto Star Short Story Contest open again!

From yesterday's online edition of the paper...
  • This year’s contest runs until 5 p.m. on Feb. 28.
  • The winner will receive $5,000 and a creative writing course from The Humber School for Writers.
  • The second-place winner will take home a $2,000 prize, while third place will be awarded $1,000.
  • The winner can choose a 30-week creative writing correspondence program, valued at $3,000, at Humber, or a week-long summer workshop, worth $1,000, at the college’s Lakeshore campus in Toronto.
  • Stories can be about any topic the entrant chooses, as long as it’s original, unpublished, and amounts to less than 2,500 words. Entries are limited to one per person.
  • Submissions will be judged by a panel of the Humber School for Writers and narrowed down to a short list. The three winners will then be selected from that list by city librarian Vickery Bowles, award-winning author and journalist Kamal Al-Solaylee, Toronto Star books editor Deborah Dundas, and the Star’s former theatre critic Richard Ouzounian.

FULL DETAILS available here. 
  • You must be 16 years old to enter.
  • If you're not 16 this year, plan ahead for next year or the year after.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Creative Writing Support for Young Writers

If you are looking for support to help you take your writing to the next level, consider these options:

Toronto Public Library Writer in Residence
  • Ayelet Tsabari is Toronto Public Library's Winter/Spring Writer in Residence. Writers of memoir, fiction or creative nonfiction are invited to submit manuscripts for review and feedback. 
Toronto Public Library Young Voices Programming
  • Dates for the upcoming Winter/Spring session are as follows: Tue Jan 09, Tue Jan 23, Tue Feb 13, Tue Feb 27, Tue Mar 13, Tue Mar 27, Tue Apr 10, Tue Apr 24
  • If Poetry is your speed, mind what promises to be a fabulous workshop session with Lee Maracle during March Break.  Details here.
Story Planet

Friday, 15 December 2017

just breathe by Logan Markou-Heppell

“This is Ryan. He was spending too much time outdoors and is now hospitalized and is fighting for his life. Inhaling too much outside air could lead to serious lung problems and many other diseases. Always wear a mask outside. Protect yourself.” 

The same old commercial I hear every day. I’m sitting on my couch just watching everything that's going down. Making me feel worse. All you hear on Television these days is, breathe with protection, be careful, join the pollination crew, it's a mess. You can't go outside, you can't breathe normally. 

I often imagine if I were born a long time ago how life would be. I watch all these documentaries that teach you how life was way back when people had the choice to actually go outside whenever they wanted. Maybe if I lived that long ago I would see a bee. That would be amazing. 

I like learning about these extinct creatures called Bees. Albert Einstein hundreds of years ago ago once said, “if the Bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” Which is not true because here I am, living. 

With the thought of bees still in my head, I get up to go into the kitchen. My Google assistant Alexa 10.5 turns on the lights, and opens the fridge. Apparently before the bees faced extinction, there were way more foods than there are now. But now it's dull, tasting like nothing.
As I'm walking back to the couch I feel my feet vibrating a little. I shake it off like it was nothing and continue walking. No, wait… the floor is vibrating… I suddenly went into panic. I bolt to the underground room, meant for these types of emergencies. 

With every frantic step I took, I could feel the ground getting shakier and shakier, I get to the cold metal door, open it, get in. close the door, and frantically climb down the ladder, my shaking hands barely grabbing onto the cold bars. I finally get to the ground. It is cold and dry down here. I sit myself in the corner, wondering if the people I love are safe. 

I grab my iphone X20 and pull up the security cameras. I screamed. I could not believe what I saw...


Submitted to the First Page student writing challenge.The challenge? We asked students to give us a glimpse of the great Canadian novel of the year 2167. They wrote the first page of a book set 150 years in the future, with the protagonist facing an issue that's topical today and set the scene for how it's all playing out in a century and a half.How will the world leaders of today impact the world of tomorrow? Who will be the biggest name in pop culture in the future? How will climate change impact the protagonist's life, where he or she lives, the struggles he or she is facing? (Oh, and speaking of he/she — does gender even exist in 150 years?)The book could be from any literary genre, from mystery or thriller to literary fiction, from adventure or romance to satire or sci-fi.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Senelis By: Erika Vytas

When the Germans came,
they dragged me out of hiding with my mother,
Escorted with the sound of machine guns around us
We were marched to the market square
And as the masses stood,
I smelled the smoke,
I watched my city burn,
My helpless despair floating up into the sky
With the ashes.
I let myself be herded
With everyone else
To a churchyard
And stood there for the night,
In the muffled morning light
When they separated the Jews
The soldiers let us go home.
What home.
My mother and I
Found scorched foundations
Where our house stood.
Just yesterday.
Grateful for a small miracle,
We took the surviving piglets,
And started walking.
Fly filled soup
Now tasted so good.
The image of Jewish men,
In lines down the road,
Who were digging in the ditches
Who were making their own graves
Is forever in my mind.
And we walked
Until we came to the farm
But sometimes when I stand still
I remember.

The Persona Poem By: Madison Teas

I was born in 1929
In Moldava nad Bodvou Slovakia
Tragedy struck in 1944
I was 15 years old
We were shoved into cattle cars
Made to stand for what felt like a lifetime
My mother,
My baby sister
All taken from me
Two cousins were left
We marched,
13 days,
Without stopping
A death march,
From Auschwitz to Mauthausen
Sergeant Johnnie Steven
One of the many who helped
May 6 1945
I heard the planes
Then a cannon came crashing in
I was free
16 years old

And all alone in the world

Persona Poem By: Hannah Rossi

Entry Number One
Something that's worth fighting for.
The haunting smell of springtime taunts me.
I miss that smell.
How fresh it was,
How free it made me feel.
But now,
Everything's changed.
My surroundings are different.
The streets are no longer laughing,
They're screaming.
The darkness is surrounding me.
The blackness of the small crawl space swallows me whole.
Fear of being caught.
Fear of death.
The sound of gunshots ring in my ears.
I'm alone,
But I’m not.
I am lucky.
Lucky that I can still imagine the sweet smell of freedom.
The light of the sun kissing my cheeks.
Life seems so far away.
Seems so unhappy.
I've already lost what I've been fighting for.
There is no freedom,
No hope.
The world I used to love is full of murder.
Innocent people being slaughtered.


By: Elysse Shirley

when I am happy
I feel so light
I fear that I may float away
so I breathe deeply
hoping the air in my lungs
will be enough
to keep me on the ground

quite often
I find myself wondering
what it would be like if
I just stopped.
I also wonder
what mighty courage
that would take


I wonder if anybody would miss me
or if I’d just continue as a ghost of a memory
as a foreign feeling in their spine when someone mentions my name
or if I’d just become a question
  • if I dropped off planet earth


are you okay?
what’s wrong?
why won’t you tell me?
and then they’re gone.
  • what they say


always lurking
always watching
constantly searching
for you to lose
  • what they do


always present and creeping
mouths with broken switches
minds with broken glitches
never here, but always leaving
  • how they are


water droplets fall softly
floating down your cheeks
they were crafted perfectly
derived from the corners from your mind
mined from the corners of your eyes
noiselessly being swept away
by a shirt sleeve
or tissues quiet like clouds
  • tears like helium balloons