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Showcase your creative writing skills!

2021 Photo PromptContest Terms

Contest opens July 1st, 2021 and ends September 30th at 11:59pm.  By submitting an entry, each contestant agrees to the rules of the contest and states that they are a youth, aged 12-18 years of age, who is either an Oakville resident or Oakville Public Library cardholder.

Contest Details

Excercise your creative writing skills! Write a short story or poem that connects to this year’s image.

Submitted works will be judged on how well it represents this years image (shown to the right, © Dave Hook 2016-2021. Used with permission). 

Why Enter?

  1. Opportunity for youth to increase and develop their literacy in creative writing.

  2. Gives youth an opportunity to engage with the community and contribute to the library.

  3. Gain creative writing experience with the opportunity to have their work critiqued by published authors.

Short Stories

Short stories can be up to 1,500 words. No illustrations or drawings are allowed in the short stories category. Entries must be typed in size 12 font, double spaced, with numbered pages and submitted online as a Word or PDF document. Your name must not appear anywhere on your work.


Poems can up to 25 lines. Write your poem in any form (sonnet, ode, haiku, etc). No illustrations or drawings are allowed in the poems category. Entries must be typed in size 12 font, and submitted online as a Word or PDF document. Your name must not appear anywhere on your work.


  • Short Story 12-14yrs
  • Short Story 15-18yrs
  • Poem 12-14yrs
  • Poem 15-18yrs


Per category: 

  • First place - $50 Indigo Gift Card

  • Second Place - $20 Indigo Gift Card

  • Third place - ARC Prize Pack


Entries to the contest are judged on originality and creativity, connection to the provided image, continuity, interest, and technical aspects (grammar, spelling, vocabulary.)

Entries will be randomly assigned to one of three judges. All entries are judged on a common rubric.

Rules for Entrants

  • Participants must be registered in an Oakville school, and be aged 12-18 years. Absolutely no exceptions.
  • You must have your own Oakville Public Library card, in your own name (not your parents’). Library cards are free and can be made at any OPL branch.
  • You can submit up to one (1) short story and one (1) poem. Please don't submit more than one item per category, or you will be disqualified from the contest. 
  • All entries must be your own original work. Please do not adapt an already existing literary work by changing it slightly.
  • Your work must not have appeared anywhere previously in print or online
  • We have received questions about whether mature themes can be addressed in entries. We welcome the honest exploration of issues that matter to teens, but reserve the right to decide if overly explicit situations or gratuitous violence is not suitable for the 12-18 audience.
  • Entries must meet the criteria stated above (e.g., word/line count, font size, page numbers, online submission).
  • Your name must not appear anywhere on the entry itself (not on pages, or in the file name). Your name will be submitted in the entry form only. 
  • Entries will not be returned, so please keep a copy of your work for yourself.
  • Submissions from immediate family members of OPL staff, board members and volunteers cannot be accepted due to the library’s Contests and Lotteries Policy.