Cloverdale Library will host a free teen writing workshop on Wednesday, Dec. 19. (Gift Habeshaw / Unsplash)

Teenage creative writers sought for Okanagan awards

$200 prizes up for grabs in young writers’ contest

A new contest aims to showcase the next generation of talented creatives throughout the Okanagan valley.

The 2022 Okanagan Young Writers’ Awards (OYWA) is a new literary competition founded to promote excellence in writing at the high school and early college level. The contest is open to youth ages 14-19 attending school or university.

The OYWAs are providing a $200 cash prize for each of the two major categories: fiction (a short story or one-act play) and poetry (a group of three poems).

The competition is now open until Nov. 31.

Selected entries will be featured in a Best of the Okanagan Young Writers’ Awards collection, published in print and online by Okanagan Publishing House. The Trophy Den in Kelowna is supplying medallions for the top three submissions in each category. And the Okanagan Regional Library is hosting a story/poetry reading at their newly renovated Mission branch on Jan. 15.

The OYWA judging panel features some of the region’s finest. Kerry Gilbert, of Okanagan College Vernon campus, is a talented poet who has received multiple awards for their published work. Jeremy Beaulne, of Okanagan College Penticton campus, has written and directed plays and sketches for theatre and television. Jeremy Lanaway, of Okanagan College Vernon campus, is a regular contributor to international magazines in addition to their teaching work. Jadon Dick, of Okanagan Publishing House, is editor-in-chief of the local trade publishing company based in Kelowna. Rounding out the judging panel is Robert Humphries, a published poet who lives in Kelowna and recently released their own collection Fractured Thoughts.

There is no submission cost for the OWYA, an intentional step by the Awards committee in order to increase accessibility to the contest. Finalists will be announced Dec. 9 and winners on Dec. 16.

“We are excited to share the news about this incredible event, which we hope will promote excellence in writing at the high school and early college level,” said Dick, OYWA chair. “Through this competition we hope to recognize outstanding writing achievement by the region’s youth.”

To enter, visit OkanaganYoungWriters.ca.

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