Power of the Pen Creative Writing Contest

Power of the Pen Creative Writing Contest logo with girl writing in a small notebook

The 30th Power of the Pen writing competition invites writers ages 12-18 (age as of December 31, 2024) to submit original poetry and short stories in English, French or both languages. . Prizes are for 1st- and 2nd-place in seven age groups (12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18) in poetry and short story categories. Digital submissions are encouraged.


Participants can enter poems and short stories in English and French:  

  • English - Please submit one poem, short story or both per person in the English category. 

  • French - Please submit one poem, short story or both in the French category.  


A published writer, teacher or reviewer judges entries in each category for originality, style, general presentation, spelling and grammar. There are 1st and 2nd-place winners in the seven age categories (12-18) for poetry and short story in English and French.  

First and second-place entries qualify qualify for the Hamilton Association for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art Maitland Banting Silver Quill and Young Poet awards. The winner in each category receives $250.  

*French entries are not included in the HAALSA prize selection.  

First-prize winners in each age category receive $100 and 2nd prize winners receive $25. All award winners receive a certificate and a copy of the Power of the Pen publication.  

How to Enter:  

This year's competition opens May 1st, 2024, and closes September 30, 2024. Submit your work via the official entry form. Notification goes out to winners in December.  

For more information, please email mnichols@hpl.ca.  

Note to Teachers:  

If you are submitting a short story or poem on behalf of a student, please ensure a completed official entry form accompanies each written submission.