Martyn Godfrey Young Writers Award

We know there are a lot of awesome young writers in Alberta.

We think they deserve a little extra recognition, and the Martyn Godfrey Award is just the thing! This is an annual, juried short story contest open to all Albertan students in grades 4 through 9. Entries can be sent in from December 1 to March 31 each year.

Are there prizes?

You bet! Three fabulous writers from each grade will be selected to win a collection of books, a certificate, and a place in the Winners’ Circle: an exclusive, online writing workshop with a professionally published author.

How To Enter

Easy, just email us your story with the cover page! There is no membership or sign-up required and there is no fee to participate. Entrants must be
enrolled in grade 4-9 in Alberta at the time of entry. Homeschoolers are eligible and welcome to enter.

Check in the tabs below for the required cover page and all of the other rules and guidelines you need to know.

The first page of every story MUST be a title page with the following information. Entries without a cover page will not be accepted.

● First and Last Name (as registered at school):
● Preferred First and Last Name (if different):
● City:
● Home/Parent/Guardian Phone Number:
● Email (parent or guardian or teacher email is okay if you don’t have your own):
● School Name:
● Grade:
● Title of your story:
● Word Count:

For registration, we require student first and name as it matches their school enrollment, but we will always obtain permission before using student names publicly and confirm which name to use.

Please email if you would like to receive the cover page as a Word Document that can be filled in.

  1. We accept submissions between December 1 and March 31. For the 2024 award, all submissions must be received by 11:59pm on Sunday, March 31, 2024 by email to If sending by email is not possible, please contact us to make alternate arrangements.
  2. Judging takes place beginning on April 1 with a goal to be finished by the end of April. Depending on the number of stories received, judging may be completed a little earlier or a little later.
  3. As soon as the judges have selected the winners, YABS will begin contacting the winners with the good news and to receive permission from the parents/guardians to post the stories and announce the winners’ names. Our goal is to have the official announcement made and the stories posted on our website within 5 days of the judging being completed.
  4. The Winners’ Circle writing workshops will be scheduled each year for a date towards the end of May.
  1. We’re repeating this one because it’s really important: the first page of every story MUST be a title page with: first and last name, home/parent/guardian phone number, email address, school name, current grade, story title, and word count. Entries without a complete cover page cannot be accepted.
  2. DO NOT put your name on the story itself! We know this goes against everything your teachers have told you, but the stories are judged anonymously so the jury isn’t supposed to know anything about you. Your personal details should appear ONLY on the cover page. Don’t worry, the office staff will make sure we know which story goes with which cover page
  3. Submissions sent through Google Docs must have permissions enabled for If we can’t open your story, we can’t get it to the jury.
  4. Word processing documents (Word, Google Docs, Pages) are strongly preferred because they are easier to make ready for the judges. Please do not send PDFs unless absolutely necessary.
  5. Recommended short story length is 500-2500 words. Maximum short story length is 5000 words; stories exceeding 5000 words will not be submitted for judging.
  6. Each entry must be wholly original, unpublished, and not submitted elsewhere for publication or performance. Submitted to teachers for class is okay!
  7. Students may choose whatever theme or genre they wish.
  8. Each submission must be the creative and original work of a single individual (ie. work may not be co-authored with other students) and must be a complete story (ie. no first chapter of a novel entries).
  9. Sequels to a story written the previous year may be submitted but the story must be able to stand on its own as if the reader did not read the previous entry.
  10. This is not a poetry contest. However, short stories in verse, ballads, or epic poems may be eligible so long as a complete story is told. Modern examples of this style are “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson and “Karma” by Cathy Ostlere. Classic examples are “Paradise Lost” by John Milton, “Illiad” by Homer.
  11. Short stories must be typed in a clear, legible, black font and double spaced. Recommended fonts are 12-14 point Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica.
  12. If there are circumstances in which typing the story is impossible, please contact the office to discuss accommodations.
  13. Using spellcheck and other digital proofreading tools is acceptable and encouraged. A level of review assistance from adults that would be acceptable for a class writing assignment is also okay — when in doubt, if it would be okay with your teacher, it’s okay for your MGA entry.
  14. There is no limit to how many stories an entrant may submit, but each story must have its own cover page with all of the required information and only one per student may be recognized as winner.
  1. The jury varies each year, but is typically made up of teachers, librarians, and authors.
  2. All entries in this competition will be judged anonymously, on merit alone. This means the jury doesn’t know anything about the writer except their grade and the content of the story.
  3. Entries are judged on the overall quality of the story, creativity, and originality, but grade level appropriate grammar, spelling, composition, and writing mechanics may also be taken into consideration.
  4. Only one story by any given student will be recognized as a winner even if multiple have been submitted, but we will tell you if the jury loved more than one!
  5. The decision of the judges is final.
  1. Winners will receive a certificate, a curated selection of books by YABS authors, and an invitation to our exclusive Winners’ Circle virtual writing workshop.
  2. Winners will be asked for a mailing address to send their book prize and certificate to. This could be home, parent/guardian workplace, or school/teacher (with their permission).
  3. All contestants agree that the Young Alberta Book Society may print the winning entries, with full acknowledgement of their creators, in its newsletter, on its website, and in any other organizational publications.
  4. YABS understands and respects the privacy concerns around disclosing identifying information of minors. We require permission from a parent/guardian to share winners’ full names. If permission cannot be obtained or if we are requested to do so, we will omit last names, use initials only, use a student’s preferred name, etc.
  5. Winners will be notified after judging and announced on the YABS Facebook, Instagram, and website as soon as we are able to contact them and their parents/guardians.
  6. Prizes must be accepted as awarded and may not be redeemed for cash value.

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the 2024 Martyn Godfrey Award. Congratulations to all and keep writing!

2024 Elementary Winners

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 6

2024 Junior High Winners

Grade 7

Grade 8

Grade 9

2023 Elementary Winners

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 6

2023 Junior High Winners

Grade 7

Grade 8

Grade 9

2022 Winners

Grade 4 Winners

Grade 5 Winners

Grade 6 Winners

Grade 7 Winners

Grade 8 Winners

Grade 9 Winners

2021 Martyn Godfrey Award Winners

  • Best Grade 4: Lendel Torrance of Edmonton for The Child Stealer
  • Best Grade 5: Aneesha Sharma of Edmonton for New Girl
  • Best Grade 6: Keon Chow of Calgary for Perfections Edge: The Ecorlius Enforcer
  • Best Elementary: Noemi Milne of Edmonton for Bravery
  • Best Grade 7: Sophia Salamon of Edmonton for The Councilwoman
  • Best Grade 8: Addison Reed of Redwater for The Enchanted Cirque
  • Best Grade 9: Fatima Sabir of Calgary for A Dream
  • Best Junior High: Hannah Peet of Edmonton for Janna Elliot

2020 Martyn Godfrey Young Writers Award Winners

  • Best Grade 4: Kimaya Satavalekar of Calgary for “The Hunters”
  • Best Grade 5: Kaylene Lugay of Edmonton for “Dare to Make a Difference”
  • Best Grade 6: Zachary Buchan of Edmonton for “A Fight for Survival”
  • Best Elementary: Matilda Barron of Edmonton for “Back In Time”
  • Best Grade 7: Linnea Price of Edmonton for “Cecily”
  • Best Grade 8: Lilyann Saunders of Sundre for “A Golden Snowflake”
  • Best Grade 9: Tumi Fabiyi of Calgary for “Hello, My Name Is ____”
  • Best Junior High: Madison W. of Calgary for “The Dog That I Hated to Love”

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Access Copyright Foundation Logo

We gratefully acknowledge the support of
the Access Copyright Foundation.

Martyn Godfrey Young Writers Award logo

Who was Martyn Godfrey?

Martyn Godfrey (1949-2000) was born in England and raised in Toronto. Initially a school teacher in Ontario and Alberta, he became a full-time writer for young adult and juvenile fiction in 1985. He had more than 40 books published, and he toured with the Young Alberta Book Society for many years. One of the things he enjoyed most about his career was laughing over the creative and hilarious letters he received from kids. It was his joy in reading those letters that inspired us to create this award in his honour.

Have a Question?

Give us a call or send us an email and we’ll be happy to help!