Talented Young Writers

A bug has been spreading through the community of Guelph’s teens this year. I’m not referring to H1N1 but to the Writing Bug. There were three times as many submissions to GPL’s 2009 teen writing contest as there were in 2008.

This year was the second year I had the pleasure of judging stories for the GPL contest. Among the fascinating characters I met this year:

  • a blind teenage girl who goes to a party and discovers she has fallen in love with a boy who has been a friend for years
  • a teenager in a poor village who makes the tough choice to forego her education so she can support her family
  • an abused teen who finds a way out of her own pain by reaching out to someone she has hurt.

Pictured here, thanks to Michael Foley, father of one of the contestants are Jennifer Foley, me, Erin Mullen, and Mike Leslie.

Mike Leslie, who was another of the contest judges, is the managing Editor of What If? – Canada’s Creative Magazine for Teens.

If you’re a teen writer or artist, or if you know someone who is, check it out.

Congratulations to Jennifer and Erin, as well as Elizabeth Nash, Emilia Main, and Mary-Margaret Annab whose stories all ranked among the judges’ favourites. (Writers Ken Oppel and Jane Lewis also acted as judges.) I wish all the other young writers who entered the contest all the best as they continue to pursue their interest in writing.


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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson

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