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January 23, 2018

Ready for your drumroll?

Last fall, as part of Canada 150th birthday celebrations, the CBC asked students from coast to coast to coast to submit the first pate of a novel set 150 years from now.  They got thousands of entries, and narrowed them down to just twenty -- ten from students in grades 7 - 9, and ten from students in grade 10 - 12.  See my last entry for the complete list.  

(I was so happy with this list, incidentally:  it's got students from nearly every provience and territory; it's got Anglophones and Francophones writing in English, and other ESL writers of several stripes.  It's got indigenous voices and young people of color on it.  And it's got non-traditional learners -- adults returning to school to lay new foundations for themselves. It was all judged blind so this is a happy coincidence -- but so worth celebrating!)  

Anyway, after it was down to twenty it was down to me.  I spent a long time with these words, and I am thrilled to fi...

January 17, 2018

Last fall, CBC Books asked students from coast to coast to give us a glimpse of the great Canadian novel of the year 2167, presenting how current-day trends and issues have evolved in 150 years. Over 2,400 young writers wrote the first page of that novel.  A dedicated team at CBC books narrowed it down, and then it was my happy job to read the best of them.  Next Monday we will announce the two winners.

But in the meantime, here are the shortlisted young writers:

I don't expect everyone will pick the same winners that I will -- each story has something special about it, a spark -- but the nature of that spark varies.   There are elegiac stories and action-packed stories.   There are stories driven by amazing characters, and stories that are pure plot.  There are stories of ideas and stories of emotion.  There are science fiction standards told in new voices, and premises you've never seen before.  They are, truly, with your time....

January 9, 2018

So all this week I've been reading entries for CBC First Page Student Writing Challenge, in which writers in grades 7 - 12 imagine the year 2167. There were more than 2000 entries!

Bad news: we seem to be for a variety of apocalypses

 Good news: Canada's young writers are smart, passionate, visionary -- and TALENTED.  It is going to be so so hard to pick the winners.    

November 9, 2017

I am thrilled to be judging the coolest Canada 150 project out here, the CBC Books First Page Student Writing Challenge.  

Here's the idea: Canadians in grades 7 - 12 write the first page (that is, 300 to 400 words) of a novel set 150 years from now, in the great year 2167.  Take something that worries you or amazes you, and project it 150 years into the future.  Send it in to the CBC, here.  There's a category for grades 7 - 9, and another for grades 10 -12.  Win prizes for you and your school library, and of course Canada 150 flavoured GLORY.  Deadline:  November 30 at 6:00pm ET.

Since today is the day the challenge opens, I am spending my entire afternoon on CBC Radio, talking up the challenge on afternoon shows coast to coast to coast. 12 interviews in 4 hours. I take this picture in case I die.

ETA:  One of my 12 interviews, the one from CBC Yukon, is available via soundcloud, here:  

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