TORONTO – January 5, 2018 – Exactly 40 years ago this week the Toronto Star launched its first short story contest.
At the time organizers had little idea of how many people might enter – or how long the contest might last. They reasoned that if only a handful of aspiring writers bothered to see if they had what it takes to be a published author, then the contest could easily be scrapped the next year.
To their delight, though, hundreds of people – from professional authors to those with little or no writing experience – entered the contest.
Today, 40 years later, the Toronto Star Short Story Contest has grown to the point where it is now the biggest contest of its kind in Canada and one of the largest in North America, attracting approximately 2,000 entries each year.
Starting Saturday, January 6, the Star is launching its latest contest, providing writers the opportunity to see their story published in Canada’s largest newspaper and to study with some of the top creative writing teachers in the country.
The 2018 Short Story Contest is open to anyone 16 years of age or older who lives in Ontario. The annual contest is co-sponsored by the Toronto Public Library and the Humber School for Writers.
All submissions must be received by 5 p.m., Wednesday, February 28, 2017.
The first-place winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize plus a creative writing course from The Humber School for Writers. The winner can choose either a 30-week creative writing correspondence program at Humber, which has an approximate value of $3,000, or a week-long summer workshop at Humber’s Lakeshore campus in Toronto, which has an approximate value of $1,000.
In addition, the second-place winner will receive a cash prize of $2,000 and the third-place winner will get $1,000.
Entrants can write on any topic they want. Stories must be original, previously unpublished and no longer than 2,500 words. Entries are limited to one per person. There is no fee to enter the contest.
The Toronto Public Library has been a partner with the Star in presenting the contest for the last nine years. This is the seventh straight year that the Humber School for Writers has also been a contest partner.
“The Toronto Star Short Story Contest is always an exciting library partnership where we can see with our own eyes our local writing talent,” said Vickery Bowles, City Librarian of the Toronto Public Library. “The stories we read each year move us, make us laugh and open us up to all kinds of new worlds.”
A Humber School for Writers’ panel will read all of the entries and narrow the submissions to a short list of 25-30 stories. The winners will be selected from the short list by a panel of distinguished judges, including Bowles, award-winning author and journalist Kamal Al-Solaylee, Toronto Star books editor Deborah Dundas and theatre critic and author Richard Ouzounian.
Winners will be announced in April and their stories will be published in full in the Toronto Star. For complete contest rules, please visit www.thestar.com/shortstory
About the Toronto Star:
The Toronto Star, founded in 1892, is read by approximately 3.0 million readers a week in print and online (thestar.com). The Toronto Star is a division of Star Media Group, which includes Toronto.com, Torstar Syndication Services and the Kit, a fashion and beauty publication. Star Media Group also includes the Metro free daily newspapers in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Halifax, and the jointly-owned Chinese language newspaper Sing Tao. Star Media Group is a division of Toronto Star Newspapers Limited, which is a subsidiary of Torstar Corporation.
About Toronto Public Library:
Toronto Public Library is one of the world’s busiest urban public library systems. Every year, 19 million people visit our branches in neighbourhoods across the city and borrow 32 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit our website at torontopubliclibrary.ca or call Answerline at 416-393-7131. To get the most current updates on what’s happening at the library, follow us on Twitter @torontolibrary.