Deadline looms in Writing Contest

Authors have until May 15 to enter the Saanich Peninsula Community Writing Contest

Sidney North Saanich Library Manager Sharon Walker

Non-fiction is leading the way.

Entries in the 2014 Saanich Peninsula Community Writing Contest are pouring in at the Sidney North Saanich Library and the non-fiction category has been getting the most response so far.

Charlene Bleay, a member of the library-based Writers’ Group and liaison to the Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula, says it has been fun to see the process from both sides — that of a writer and from the perspective of an event organizer.

“We are getting, on average, one entry per day,” she continued, adding authors can submit their work online as well.

Entries in three categories — poetry, non-fiction and fiction — must come from authors who are previously unpublished or self-published only. They must be residents of Central Saanich, North Saanich or Sidney and 19 years of age or older. There is a maximum of two entries per person.

Poetry is limited to 500 words; prose to 2,000 words. Suggested topics include: tall tales, romantic decay, and journeys. The contest is also open to any topic of interest.

The deadline to have them in is May 15 — at the library’s closing time.

Bleay said it was surprising to see so many non-fiction entries.

“I think people want to tell their own story,” she said. “Many of these are excerpts from people’s lives.”

Sharon Walker, Manager of the Sidney North Saanich branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library, added she has spoken to people who have been busy putting together some poetry submissions. Some, she said, were written a while ago and this contest has sparked interest in their authors. Walker said the contest has really brought people, authors, out of the woodwork.

“This is for anyone who has some writing that they want to show,” said Walker. “I hope it’s a spark for people to get writing.”

“It’s an avenue for people to experience their joy,” added Bleay. “My joy comes in seeing other people’s submissions.”

Walker added she expects there will be a variety of submissions on a wide array of topics, showcasing the creativity of Peninsula writers.

A panel of judges, consisting of writers, editors and educators, will review the entries. Six prizes will be awarded, two in each category. They include top prizes of $100 gift certificates from Tanner’s Books and honourable mention awards from Island Blue, Monk Office and Tanner’s Books.

The winners will be announced during a special event at the library on May 29 at 6:30 p.m. Judges will name the winners and, should they desire, read some of their own work as well.

Walker said she hopes the contest will encourage people to write all year long and expand local interest in the library-based Writers’ Group. The group has been meeting regularly for two years. Bleay joined them last fall and she says it’s up to members to keep it going. They meet Thursdays at the library at 6:30 p.m. and have critique sessions, writing workshops and more. The next one is May 8 (Thursday) with Margaret Thompson.

The author of seven books, Thompson is a past president of the Federation of B.C. Writers and will discuss getting through your first draft.

To find our more about the 2014 Saanich Peninsula Community Writing Contest, including the full set of rules, visit (under programs and events), drop by the Sidney North Saanich Library, call the library at 250-656-0944 or email