Established in 1976, the First Novel Award program has launched the careers of some of Canada’s most beloved novelists. Previous winners include Michael Ondaatje, Joan Barfoot, Joy Kogawa, W. P. Kinsella, Nino Ricci, Rohinton Mistry, Michael Redhill, Mona Awad, Katherena Vermette, Casey Plett, Michelle Good, and last year’s winner, Pik-Shuen Fung.
Canadian writers aged 13-17 can submit their best original piece of short fiction under 3000 words to the Amazon Canada First Novel Award: Youth Short Story Category. The winner will receive $5,000 and the five finalists will each receive $500. This could open doors to your next chapter as a writer.
How to Apply
Entrants for the Youth Short Story Category must be young authors aged 13 through 17 (a
“Youth Author”), a Youth Author’s parent or legal guardian, or the publisher of a Youth Author’s short story (each, an “entrant”). Entrants in the Youth Short Story Category must comply with all eligibility requirements below:
1. Youth Authors must be between the ages of 13 and 7 as of the submission deadline of
February 5, 2023.
2. Youth Authors must be Canadian citizens (regardless of residency) or permanent
residents of Canada;
3. The submission must be a single, original piece of fictional work under 3,000 words (a
4. The submission must be written by a single author;
5. The submission must be available in English, whether written originally in English or
originally written in French, but translated into English;
6. The submission may be published or unpublished. If published, it must have first been
published between January 1 and December 31, 2022;
7. Only one entry per or on behalf of any Youth Author is allowed;
8. Written consent from the Youth Author’s parent or legal guardian must be submitted along with the Youth Author’s submission.
To enter the Competition, the Youth Author, their parent or legal guardian, or publisher, must submit a fully completed submission form, available at https://thewalrus.ca/amazonfirstnovelaward/, for the short story they wish to enter for consideration.
To complete the submission, the Youth Short Story Category entrant must attach a Word (.doc) copy of the short story to the digital submission form, labeling the document using the format “Youth Short Story Category/Author Name/Short Story Title”. Only completed submission forms, which include a signed parental consent, and have a Word version of the short story attached will be considered.
Submissions for the Youth Short Story Category must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. (EST) on February 5, 2023. It is recommended that short stories be submitted for consideration as early as possible to allow adequate time for judging.
1. All eligible short stories submitted (each, a “Youth Short Story Submission”) will be judged by one (1) judge, selected by the Competition Administrator. The judge will select a shortlist of six (6) Youth Short Story Submissions as finalists in the Competition. The final number of Youth Short Story Finalists selected will be at the judge’s sole discretion.
2. Each Youth Short Story Finalist will be notified on or before April 28, 2023. Amazon will publicly announce the Youth Short Story Finalists no later than May 9, 2023.
3. A panel of four (4) judges, selected by the Competition Administrator, will review the selected Youth Short Story Submissions of the Youth Short Story Finalists on the basis of the literary qualities of the short stories and select the Youth Short Story Finalist having received the highest review as the Award winner. The Youth Short Story Winner will be announced verbally at the Award Ceremony.
Only one short story may be submitted per YouthAuthor.
Only one submission form may be submitted per short story and, in the event that multiple submissions are received for a short story, only the first submission received will be considered.
Late or incomplete submissions will not be considered.
Copies of the short story submitted will not be returned.