Collins Writing Contest

A colourful village at the edge of the ocean

31st Annual Collins Writing Contest: Seaside

The entry deadline for the 2019 Collins Writing Contest has passed. Thank you to all our entrants; please keep an eye on this page and our social media channels for an announcement of the winners in late March.

Important Dates

Thursday, November 1, 2018 Print entry forms will be available at GPPL
Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 9:00 pm Entry Deadline
Friday, March 22, 2019 GPPL staff will start notifying winners
Saturday, June 15, 2019 Awards Ceremony at GPPL

Contest Rules

  1. Authors must reside in the City or County of Grande Prairie, Saddle Hills, or the MD of Greenview to be eligible.
  2. Authors may submit one entry per year.
  3. Stories must be previously unpublished.
  4. Entries must be typed in a minimum 12-point font and double-spaced.  Handwritten entries will not be accepted.
  5. The maximum length of a story is 2000 words (with no minimum).
  6. The author's name, address, phone number, and word count must be included on the entry form and stapled to the front of the entry.  The author's name MUST NOT appear anywhere on the story itself.
  7. Contest entries must be submitted in print form; e-mailed entries will not be accepted.
  8. Authors should save a digital copy of their story.  Winning authors must later submit their story in a Microsoft Word-readable format (.doc, .docx, .odt, .rtf) to be published in the anthology.
  9. It is the responsibility of authors to ensure their stories are submitted in compliance with these rules.
  10. GPPL staff members are not responsible for catching errors upon story submission.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why can't I submit a handwritten story?
    • Stories must be readable for our judges, as they could be reading hundreds of entries.
    • Authors must have a digital copy of their story to submit if their story is chosen as one of the contest winners.
  • Do I really have to double-space my story?
    • Yes. Stories must be readable for our judges, as they could be reading hundreds of entries.
  • Can I type my child's story?
    • Yes, you may type your child's story, but you may not correct the grammar or plot points while transcribing it. You may, however, correct your child’s spelling.
  • Can I transcribe the story told to me by my dyslexic child?
    • Yes, but you may not correct the grammar nor any plot points while transcribing it.
    • You may help your child edit the story by reading sections back to them and transcribing their changes, but the editing process must be directed by the child.
  • Can I work with someone else to write my story?
    • GPPL expects stories to be the work of a single author.
  • Can I enter a one-word story?
    • Yes, but GPPL does not recommend taking this approach if you intend to have a reasonable chance of winning the contest.
  • How do I count my story’s words? Do I exclude one- and two-letter words?
    • Please use the word count supplied by your word processing program.
  • Why can't I put my name on my story?
    • All stories will be judged anonymously to ensure fairness.
    • For that same reason, characters in a story may not share the author’s name.
  • What does "previously unpublished" mean?
    • Previously unpublished means that your story has not been shared with the public.
    • If your story has already appeared in print form (in a book, magazine, etc.) or has been posted online where it can be read by the public, it is a previously published work.
  • Can I submit a story I have self-published?
    • Self-published works do not meet the above criteria for previously unpublished works, and may not be submitted.
  • Can I re-submit a story I wrote for the Collins Writing Contest in a previous year?
    • Stories that have been submitted in whole or part in a previous year’s contest may not be re-entered.
  • Can my story include characters from a show I like?
    • Entries must be original work and include original characters, settings, and plots.
  • Can I e-mail you my story?
    • GPPL requires print copies to distribute to contest judges, and it is not practical for our staff members to print hundreds of contest entries. Please submit a printout of your story along with a completed entry form to the Children's Information Desk on the second floor of GPPL.
  • I typed my story in Google Docs. Can I just send you the link to enter the contest or to submit my winning story?
    • GPPL requires print copies to distribute to contest judges, and winners must submit their stories in a format that prevents future changes by the author once submitted.
    • Unfortunately, a story contained in Google Docs does not meet either of those requirements.
  • I wrote my story in Pages on my Mac -- can you accept that file if I win?
    • Microsoft Word cannot open .pages files. Please save your story as a .doc, .docx, .odt, or .rtf file to ensure you are able to submit the file if you are chosen as a winner.
  • A staff member quickly flipped through my story when I submitted it -- that means my entry is okay, right?
    • GPPL staff members cannot ensure every story complies with the full set of contest rules at the time of accepting entries. Authors must ensure they have followed the contest rules when preparing their submission.
  • Something came up -- can I submit my story late?
    • The entry deadline is firm; GPPL encourages authors to plan to submit their story well in advance of the entry deadline.
  • I live outside of Grande Prairie and plan to mail my entry to you. Does the same deadline apply to the postmark on my entry?
    • GPPL must receive the story by Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 9:00 pm, regardless of the postmark date.
    • Authors submitting a story by mail are encouraged to do so well in advance of the entry deadline to ensure we receive it in time.
  • I made a mistake -- can I re-submit my story?
    • We will not accept re-submissions and replacement stories because GPPL staff members cannot guarantee the revised version was written by the author of the original story.
  • I had my students all write entries for the contest. Can I submit them together?
    • Yes, provided that...
      • Your students gave permission for their stories to be entered,
      • Each story is accompanied by a completed entry form with the student’s contact information, not your own, and
      • The individual entries all comply with the full rules of the Collins Writing Contest.
  • How are winners contacted?
    • GPPL staff members will contact winners by phone, then by e-mail if necessary.
  • When and where will the winners be announced?
    • GPPL will announce winners on this page and through GPPL's social media channels after the winners have been contacted in March 2019.
    • Please do not contact GPPL to ask if you have won.


If you have any questions that are not answered on this page, please e-mail Jacob Fehr at