Ugh! I forgot to return my author's release before the deadline. Is it too late?

It depends on how late it is. We recommend you send us the author's release and follow up with an email to inquire.

What counts and doesn't count in the word and line limit?

Titles, your name, and blank lines/spaces don't count. Little words in the poem or story do count.

I don't want to include a biography with my entry; can I send one later?

We would prefer you send one with your entry or wait and add one after you receive the proof sheet.

I am a wonderful artist. Can I include an illustration to be published?

No, they won't be considered during judging or included in the final publication. You will only be judged on words, including for concrete poems (words alone should form the image).

Will I retain my copyright?

Yes, you are giving us permission to publish it first, while you retain your copyright and may publish it as you wish after the publication is released.

I worked so hard! Why wasn't my work accepted?

Due to the volume of entries, we are not able to tell you the reason your work was not selected. Beyond subjective grading by our judges, there are a few common reasons, which you can consider in case they apply to your entry:
- longer than the word/line limit;
- nonfiction/essay and/or uses names of real people;
- incomplete entry form;
- no [Canada Post] mailing address provided;
- not appropriate for the intended audience (i.e. picture book or adults writing for children rather than peers);
- theme is very common, making it more competitive to be selected (e.g. suicide, self-harm, waking from a dream, Remembrance Day, Halloween)
- gratuitous sexuality, violence, or vulgarity;
- fanfiction or characters/material that is not original; and
- referencing work or other material that has not been properly cited.



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What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is when you copy words or ideas from another person/source and present them as your own.

It is a serious offense. Before you submit work to us (and definitely before you sign and return an author's release), you should be sure you understand what plagiarism is and how to properly cite any words and ideas that are not your own original creation. If you are ever unsure, please ask a teacher or seek out another trusted source (links to additional resources below).

What are the consequences of plagiarism?

If you have commited an act of plagiarism, you have likely also commited an act of copyright infringement, which is illegal.

At worst, you (and your parents, if you are under eighteen) could be sued by those you have stolen from. If you have had the work published as your own, you could also be sued by the publisher for misrepresenting the work as your own.

If you are a student, you could be suspended or expelled, and a note of this offense could go on your permanent record. This black mark may prevent you from getting into the college/university of your choice and, depending on the extent of your plagiarism (i.e. online postings, publications, etc.), could be found by future employers.

How do I avoid plagiarism?

Use your own ideas or properly cite/give credit to the true creator of anything you have borrowed.

What may I borrow?

You may borrow a quote (or two) from another work or borrow a basic story premise (i.e. abducted by aliens). You may also be inspired by something else you've seen or read (i.e. you view a piece of art or a photograph and imagine an entire story from this image).

You may NOT borrow character names (e.g. Spider-Man, Pokémon, Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer, or any such characters from books/movies/video games, etc.) or imagined places (Tolkien's Middle-earth, Star Wars' Death Star, etc.). You may not re-write another's movie/book/video/video game even if you paraphrase or change a few details.

How do I properly cite/give credit for something I have borrowed?

If you have borrowed a line or two from another source (e.g. your character quotes a couple of lines from a favourite song or poem), you can write that into the story (e.g. She began singing Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" at the top of her lungs: "I came in like a wrecking ball.") . . . OR you can add a footnote (e.g. She began singing, "I came in like a wrecking ball."1); you would then put the footnote below your story, as follows: 1 Quote from Miley Cyrus's song "Wrecking Ball."

Let's say you read Romeo and Juliet and are inspired to write about a pair of teens in love, whose families do not wish them to be together, and they both end up dying in the end due to a series of unfortunate events. Then, below your title, you could add an inspiration: "Inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet." All character names, settings, backstories, events, scenes, the way they die, etc. should be entirely of your own creation. You are crediting the basic concept but writing it in your own original way. If you simply write about a pair of teens in love, you do not need to add an inspiration. (We understand credit may not always be necessary when something is in the public domain or the copyright has expired, but to be safe, you should give credit anyway.)

Where can I read more to fully understand plagiarism?

There are great resources out there. Here are a few:

Plagiarism.org's "What Is Plagiarism?""

Simon Fraser University's "Avoiding plagiarism"

(Before you view this last link, please note we don't permit any fanfiction) Kimberley Jackson's "Nowadays everything is plagiarized, right?

Update (July 8, 2020): We were made aware of a plagiarized entry in our most recent 9-12 poetry collection (Festival). This is very disappointing, and we are sorry we were not able to catch it prior to publication. We have removed the poem for future printings, and the student's parents and teacher have been notified.