Do you have aspiring science fiction writers in your classroom? The Canadian Space Agency has an out-of-this-world short story contest for your students.
Canadians over the age of nine years old are invited to write an original, space-themed children's story. A selection of the best stories will be read by astronaut David Saint-Jacques from aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Submissions can be created by a classroom, a group or individuals.
This event is meant to raise awareness of Expedition 58/59, which will see Saint-Jacques and crewmates Oleg Kononenko (Roscosmos) and Anne C. McClain (NASA) depart for the ISS on December 20.
Here are the contest rules:
Write an out-of-this-world space-themed story for children aged 3 to 8.
All stories must be original and must not have been previously published. Stories can be written by one author or a team of authors, at home or in the classroom. Each author or team is allowed one entry.
Here are some key words to inspire you: space, planets, astronauts, International Space Station, rockets, Moon, Sun, stars, galaxies, solar system.
The period for submitting a story is from to . All stories must be received by the Canadian Space Agency, on its website, no later than .
The contest is open to all Canadians aged 9 and up.
The contest is divided into three (3) age categories.
- 9 to 12 years old;
- 13 to 15 years old;
- 16 years old and over.
Approval of parents or legal guardian is required for all participants under the age of majority (18 years old in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan; and 19 years old in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, and Yukon).
All stories must fall within a minimum and maximum word count according to age category.
- 9 to 12 years old: 200-400 words
- 13 to 15 years old: 400-700 words
- 16 years old and over: 700-1,000 words
All stories must be formatted as follows:
- The file must be a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx);
- The file name must include the title of your story and your age category (e.g. "Title_of_my_story – 9-12.doc").
Participants are allowed to add a maximum of five (5) original images and/or drawings to accompany their story. The file format must be .jpg or .jpeg.
Stories can only be submitted online. You must fill out a form when you submit your story. You will receive a confirmation email.
In order to be eligible, submissions must include the following:
- First and last names;
- Phone number;
- Email address (your email address or that of your parents / legal guardian if you are under the age of majority);
- Age category.
This information will be used to contact the winners.
All submissions and accompanying personal information will be destroyed in June 2021.
About Robert J. Ballantyne
Robert J.Ballantyne is a teacher-in-training at the University of Ottawa. In a former life, he was a journalist and producer/director at the CBC on a number of news programs including the fifth estate, Marketplace and The National. He also worked at the Toronto Star and freelanced at other publications.