Google Search
Find the Shakespeare in you: Writing competition invites students from all disciplines

The U of T Scarborough writing centre offers a creative writing competition that gives students the opportunity to prove that they are creative writers as well as academic writers.

The program, now in its sixth year, began with a group of student writers wanting to workshop their creative pieces. Kristen Guest, the former coordinator for the writing centre, raised the profile of the group by approaching the director of teaching and learning services for two prizes; one for best short story and one for best prose piece.

According to Nancy Johnston, who is the writing specialist at the centre and one of the competition’s judges, the aim of the competition is to celebrate the work of promising and developing writers.

“Students from all disciplines are welcome to enter the competition,” Johnston said. “In past years, as many as 150 students from different programs have entered.”

That number is double the original amount of submissions from 2002.

Johnston added that while judges have changed each year according to their availability, the mandate is to have a representative from the writing centre on the panel, along with faculty from the humanities or English departments or a writer in residence. New is the addition of a student judge. The student this year is Phil Cox. Cox is also editor of the 2008 Scarborough Fair, an annual publication celebrating student writing and art.

Cox approached Johnston about the possibility of Scarborough Fair co-sponsoring the contest with the writing centre. This means that this year’s winners will also be considered for publication in next year’s edition of Scarborough Fair.

The student editor sees this competition as a first step to greater collaboration with the writing centre.

 “The centre provides an incredible service to U of T Scarborough students that will benefit them long after graduation, and is the type of impact we strive to achieve with Scarborough Fair ,” Cox said.

The judges are looking for a wide range of style, fresh and creative ideas, skill in developing stories or ideas, and strengths in the use of language.

“We look for complex prose and interesting use of poetic form,” Johnston said. “Overall, we like to see polished writing. The winners last year took risks in their writing and showed understanding of the possibilities and conventions of the genre.”

Cox encourages students to stay true to themselves. “Show us what’s important to you,” he said. “If you didn’t feel it when you wrote it, we probably won’t feel it when we read it.

Students have a 3,000 word limit for short story submissions and a 1,000 word limit for prose (poetry) submissions. Students can submit course material but it needs to be creative writing, poetry or fiction. The deadline for submissions is April 4. The competition does not accept e-mail submissions. Pieces may be delivered in person or sent by regular mail to:

U of T Scarborough Creative Writing Competition

c /o the Writing Centre, AC 210

1265 Military Trail

Toronto ON M1C 1A4

For more information on guidelines visit:

More information about the Scarborough Fair can be found at


Aurora Herrera is a fourth-year student in the joint journalism program offered by U of T Scarborough and Centennial College and currently working as an intern in the office of marketing and communications.

© University of Toronto Scarborough