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Congratulations to Kaitlyn Gardiner and Celestial Santiago for their 2014 Alpha Textbooks Short Story Contest win!

Kaitlyn Holding up Prize 2014

Kaitlyn, middle school winner

In September 2014 we launched our inaugural short story contest. The contest was open to all Ontario students in middle school and high school. Two prizes of an iPad mini were up for grabs, one for the middle school category and one for the high school category.

We would like to congratulate Celestial Santiago, grade 12 student at St. Edmund Campion Secondary School in Brampton, and Kaitlyn Gardiner, grade seven student at St. Julia’s CES of Mississauga, who both won the prize. Both students are from the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board – a chance coincidence.

We brought back our short story contest after a long hiatus, and we’re glad we did. Inspired by our history of community building and educational initiatives, we hoped that the contest would promote the importance of literary skills and reading.

Over the summer our team worked day and night, contacting school boards and independent schools to share the contest information. Much to our delight, we received over a hundred submissions, and some really great stories.

Our panel of five volunteer judges, Ontario teachers, read the stories anonymously. From the initial batch of stories they created a shortlist.

The final selections were close; the judges expressed that it was hard to choose between the stories on the shortlist. Winners were selected by the most number of nominations followed by the rank of their nomination.

All runners-up and honourable mentions are available on the contest webpage.

Feedback from the students and parents was great. Students loved the opportunity to try their hand at the art of writing, and many felt inspired to continue to write more.

Since Alpha Textbooks values reading as an important part of learning, we want to encourage our communities to engage with literature in every way possible. The challenge of writing stories is both thrilling and important to cognitive development. We look forward to hosting the contest for many more years.


Short Story Shortlist Announced

SHORTLISTWe are pleased to announce the 2014 Alpha Textbooks Short Story Contest shortlist.

This summer, Alpha Textbooks launched its first annual short story contest for middle and high school students in all schools across Ontario. Two prizes of an iPad mini are up for grabs, one for high school students, one for middle school students.

We received submissions from students all over the province, as north as Sudbury, as east as Ottawa, and as southwest as Hamilton and the Niagara region.

To preserve the integrity of the anonymous judging process, only the titles of the shortlisted stories can be released at this time.

High School Shortlist (alphabetical order):

  • Best Worst Day Ever
  • Bus Rides
  • Change for the Better
  • Grade Twelves’s Moonstone
  • I Rescued by the God of Dwarves
  • It Takes One to Know One
  • Life Without A Safety Net
  • Moving Fast and Looking Ahead
  • My Worst Day of School
  • Nightmare’s Anarchy
  • Sinister Smiles
  • The Senior and The Sophomore


Middle School Shortlist (alphabetical):

  • Act of Remembrance
  • Late
  • Mr. Me
  • My First Day of School
  • The Big Change
  • Two Worlds Apart
  • Umbracula Castle
  • Wow, What a Day!

We brought back our short story contest in response to a growing concern about literacy in Ontario. We want to encourage kids to be creative and see literature as a celebratory and rewarding activity.

“We have always been big advocates of the language arts. They are an integral part of learning,” said Alpha president, Howard Cohen. “The abilities to write well and think creatively are such important life skills. That’s why we are encouraging kids to put the ‘pen to paper.’”

For more information on the contest, visit


2014 Short Story Judges Have Arrived

Judge CollageGreat news!

The 2014 Alpha Textbooks Short Story Contest judges are finalized.

We have a room full of English and creative writing teachers, who teach secondary students and youth across the GTA.

This year’s list (in alphabetical order) includes: Randy Boyagoda (English, Ryerson), Danielle Ganley (English, Holy Trinity School), Alan MacInnis (English, Trafalgar Castle), Jenny Sampirisi (English, creative writing, Ryerson), and Patricia Westerhof (St. Clement’s School).

For more information on the judges, check out the contest website here.

Big thanks to all the teachers who offered their help.

If you are interested in participating next year, drop us a line and we’ll put your name and info on file, so we can send the call for teachers directly to you.

What is it?

The 2014 Alpha Textbooks Short Story Contest is open to all middle (grades 7 -8) and high school (grades 9-12) students who love writing stories and want to enter their work in a contest to win an iPad mini!


The contest closes on October 31. Winners will be selected in November, and notified within a few weeks. Honourable mentions will be posted for those who came close.

Check out the contest website for more info on contest theme and how to enter.

Help spread the word: Short Story Contest for Ontario Students!


Do you know any crafty, talented and word-oriented middle or high school students?

Let them know that they can explore their talent and also enter for a chance to win an iPad mini.

Alpha Textbooks is hosting its first annual short story contest. Visit the contest website here.


Be a judge in the 2014 Short Story Contest – Calling all Teachers

UPDATE – August 5, 2014 — The contest website is now live. You can find information about the contest, registration process, info for teachers + more!

Check it out at


Alpha Textbooks is bringing back its annual short story contest, for youth across Ontario.

Special to 2014, we’ve added a middle school category. That means we will be running two competitions, one for high schoolers and another for the up-and-coming teens in middle school.

So what that really means is that some lucky youth in middle school and high school will win an iPad mini, donated by Alpha Textbooks. ComingSoonWebPage-Alpha Textbooks 2014

Right now, we’re looking for teachers who would like to participate as a short story judge. We also ask permission to promote their participation on the contest website, in addition to requesting that they kindly accept a modest gift of store credit as a thank-you.

For more details about the contest, or information on your role as a judge, view this PDF  – Call For Teachers – Alpha Short Story Contest 2014 (UPDATED August 5, 2014) – and please share it with other teachers!


We support reading and writing, and we look forward to launching the contest soon!