Indigenous Writing & Illustration Contest

The contest is now closed. Thank you for your entries! Winners will be announced in January 2018.

Second Story Press is holding its second contest for contemporary writing for young readers that reflects the modern experiences and perspectives of Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) peoples. This year, we are also opening the contest to Indigenous illustrators to submit their artwork.

Indigenous writers and illustrators are invited to submit their original, previously unpublished manuscripts or artwork by November 15, 2017** (deadline has been extended!). The winners of the contest—at least one writer and one illustrator—will be offered a publishing contract from Second Story Press.

To be eligible, entrants must identify as an Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and/or Inuit) person; be 18 years of age or older; be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada;  and be the sole creator and owner of the rights to the submitted work(s).

Indigenous Writing Contest

Indigenous writers are invited to submit their original, previously unpublished manuscripts by November 15, 2017. The winner(s) of the contest will be offered a publishing contract from Second Story Press. The jury is particularly interested in stories that are contemporary, as well as stories that have an urban setting.

Submissions must:

  • Be written for an audience of young readers (between ages 4 to 18).
  • Be manuscripts of either fiction (chapter books and novels), non-fiction, or picture books. We will not accept poetry, plays, short stories or short story collections.
  • Be primarily written in English, or provide an English translation.
  • Be previously unpublished and not currently under consideration by another publisher.

What to submit:

  • Please submit up to three works consisting of either a complete manuscript or a complete detailed outline with a significant number of chapter samples (at least five).
  • If submitting a picture book manuscript, you do not need to provide illustrations.
  • Please note that we do not publish stories that rhyme; stories of folklore, legends, or mythology; or stories with anthropomorphized (talking) animals. 

Indigenous Illustration Contest

Indigenous artists and illustrators are invited to submit a portfolio of their original artwork by November 15, 2017. Based on the submitted portfolios, the jury will then select and contact individual artists to complete an instructed set of illustrations to demonstrate their ability as a picture book or cover art illustrator.

The winner(s) of the contest will be offered a publishing contract from Second Story Press to illustrate at least one future project. The jury is particularly interested in seeing work that translates well for a young audience.

What to submit:

  • Please submit a portfolio with a minimum of five or up to 10 pieces of artwork that reflect your style, skill, and strengths as an illustrator or visual artist.
  • Please note that the vast majority of our illustrated picture books feature stories where people, often children, are the main characters; special attention should be made to demonstrate your ability to develop and consistently illustrate characters.



Email: contest [@]

Submit Online

Submissions for both the writing and illustration contests can be done for free online via Submittable. Online submissions are preferred. 

If you have any difficulty submitting online, or if you would prefer to submit by email, contact:
contest [@]


Submit by Mail

If you would prefer to submit by mail, you must include a submission form with your manuscript(s) or artwork. Click on the red buttons below to download the submission form PDFs.

Please be sure to keep a copy of your manuscript(s) or artwork as we cannot be held responsible for your only copy. If you would like us to acknowledge receipt of your submission, be sure to include an e-mail address on your submission form. Submissions will not be returned, unless specifically requested by e-mail.

Send submissions to:
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401
Toronto, ON M5V 2M5
Attn: Indigenous Writing & Illustration Contest

Our Inaugural Contest Winners:

In May 2015, Second Story's first ever Aboriginal Writing Contest selected two winners: Susan Currie's The Mask That Sang, which was released in September 2016, and Melanie Florence's Stolen Words, to be released in September 2017. Read our press release for the winners of our first contest.

The Mask That Sang
Quick View
Susan Currie

Susan Currie

Stolen Words
Quick View
Melanie Florence

Melanie Florence