The Front Page Student Writing Challenge: Past Winners and Finalists

The First Page is a national writing competition for grades 7 to 12 students in Canada. The competition has been organized every year since 2017.

Students are invited to write the first page of a novel, imagining how today’s issues and trends – from climate change to cryptocurrency – played out 150 years into the future.

Over 2,000 students participate in the award each year, from which shortlists of 10 are selected in each of two categories: Grades 7-9 and Grades 10-12.

Former judges include YA writers Erin Bow, Cherie Dimaline, Kelley Armstrong, and David A. Robertson.

Questions? Send an email to [email protected] and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Below, find an archive of all the winners and finalists since 2017.

2020: grade 7 to 9

Sophie McGowan, 12, won the Grade 7-9 category of the 2020 First Page Student Writing Challenge. (Submitted by Sophie McGowan)

Winner: Pollinator by Sophie McGowan, 12, Burnaby, BC

“I love it when a simple concept has such complexity beneath the surface. Pollinator is at the same time evocative, poetic and succinct. And thematically and structurally, this story took a different approach that was ironic and meaningful, ”said award judge David A. Robertson.

“I loved the whimsical tone and richness of the imagery; contrasting a spot of yellow pollen against the black stripes in the center of the drones was particularly effective.”


2020: grade 10 to 12

Caris Simmons, 17, won the Grade 10-12 category of the 2020 First Page Student Writing Challenge. (Submitted by Caris Simmons)

Winner: Hunt 1% by Caris Simmons, 17, from Calgary

“In writing, punctuality is important, but difficult to grasp. Hunt 1% is a sophisticated meditation on the division of classes through literal separation; one class above, the other below, ”said award judge David A. Robertson.

“But as with any good story, it goes deeper than that, also tackling an age division, starkly contrasting not only the ‘haves’ and the have-nots, but the right of a generation against the ‘grain’ of a. other.”


2019: grade 7 to 9

14-year-old Juliana Narváez Gutierrez won the grade 7-9 category for the 2019 Front Page Pupils Writing Challenge. (Submitted by Juliana Narváez Gutierrez)

Winner: No choice by Juliana Narváez Gutierrez, 14, Greenfield Park, Que.

“Genre fiction has a tradition of slow burning, where a seemingly everyday scene takes on increasingly unsettling weight as it progresses, culminating in a final and frightening twist. Science fiction pushes us as well. looking at ideas and issues that we may not have considered before, ”said award judge Kelley Armstrong.

No choice accomplishes both, the impact made even more effective by her deceptively cheerful narrative voice. “


  • Children of nine by Cheyenne Gawley, 14, West Kelowna, BC
  • The Lizard King by Rhiannon Krauthaker, 14, from Winnipeg
  • The city of masks by Annabel Li, 13, North Vancouver, BC
  • The first one by Victor Li, 13, of Mississauga, Ont.
  • Shadow of green by Sebastian Romero, 12, from Calgary
  • The eye by Adam Schneider, 14, Calgary
  • To breathe by Sapphira Skuter, 13, from Victoria
  • Reasonable paranoia by Ava Swanson, 14, Prince George, BC
  • The thing in the cacti by Leyao Xiao, 14, from Toronto

2019: grade 10 to 12

Leonardo Mete, 15, won the Grade 10 to 12 category for the 2019 First Page Pupils Writing Challenge. (Submitted by Leonardo Mete)

Winner: Below zero, above thirty-two by Leonardo Mete, 15, Kamloops, BC

“The best problem-oriented science fiction takes these issues obliquely, presenting them for the reader to experience and interpret,” said Justice Kelley Armstrong.

Below zero, above thirty-two does it with a very well-written and evocative scene that reserves its final punch at the end. “


  • unfortunate by Lilith Brodt, 15, Coquitlam, BC
  • Rebellion by Alex Chen, 14, Vancouver
  • The duration of the conversation by Sobin Lim, 17, Coquitlam, BC
  • Blue age by Lily Liu, 17, from Toronto
  • Press esc. to leave by Anjali Rao, 17, Aurora, Ont.
  • Biodome E231 by Schuyler Siewe, 16, Calgary
  • Freedom from tears by Lizzie Slogotski, 15, from Victoria
  • Running to Mars by Sumayya Taher, 14, Edmonton
  • LOV3 ERROR by Victoria Thacker, 17, from Ottawa

2018: grade 7 to 9

Thirteen-year-old Stella Xia won the Grade 7-9 category for the 2018 First Page Student Writing Challenge. (Submitted by Stella Xia)

Winner: Taxidermized by Stella Xia, 13, of Mississauga, Ont.

“This front page shows a knack for metaphor and living description,” said the award judge Darling Dimaline.

“We are brought to a world where the last tree has been carved from a grave and the young people share their disappointment with the robots. I was moved by the development of the stage and the structure and I can’t wait to see this. that this young writer is going to create now. “


2018: grade 10 to 12

16-year-old Peter Ola Paul won the Grade 10 to 12 category for the 2018 First Page Students Writing Challenge. (Submitted by Peter Ola Paul)

Winner: Greater or equal to by Peter Ola Paul, 16, Winnipeg, Man.

“This entry is cinematic, it’s the reach,” said the award judge Darling Dimaline.

“With a few lines and a captivating narrative dialogue, the author draws you into a world as immediate and visceral as it is unique. It is quite an accomplishment to bring readers this far with so few words. is happening Next! “


2017: Grade 7 to 9

Sari Warshawsky is the 2017 winner of the Writing Challenge for first page students in the grade 7-9 category. (Courtesy of Sari Warshawsky)

Winner: Nameless by Sari Warshawsky, 13, from Montreal, Que.

Nameless works on its own terms, but it could also be read as a scathing criticism of the ubiquitous world of social media enveloping today’s youth. It hurt my heart for kids today and it made me think, ”Justice Erin Bow said.


2017: grade 10 to 12

Abby Robitaille is the 2017 winner of The First Page Student Writing Challenge in the Grade 10 to 12 category. (Courtesy of Abby Robitaille)

Winner: The greatest good by Abby Robitaille of Oakville, Ontario.

“I have chosen The greatest good because it’s so much fun. If you read teenage fiction, you’ve seen it before: the crowds of nervous teenagers waiting for the start of a terrible lawsuit or competition. But here it gradually appears that the children are waiting to see who is going to be chosen as the apprentice of the evil dictator, ”said Judge Erin Bow.


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