PPL Writing Contest

Congratulations to the 2023 Writing Contest Winners!

The 2023 Writing Contest ran throughout November and we received 60 wonderful submissions! After much deliberation, the winners and honourable mentions were selected. Read their work below!

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First Place:


by Rio Murphy

Rio Murphy loves Sci-fi and Horror stories, but nothing too scary. Her grandkids love stories too. “But not the scary ones!" She recently finished the "Writing Project Series" at the Pickering Central Library and had five poems accepted for the 2023 anthology! A senior, she is up early writing every morning with a group called "Breakfast Sprints" online, on Discord. She joins every writer’s group possible now she has the time—excited to pursue a lifelong desire to write and to learn to write better. Her secret ambition is to someday read at a “poetry slam”.

Second Place:

The Empty

by Myeisha Dyer

Myeisha Dyer is a student and stereotypical cat-lover who takes out too many library books at once and hopes to become a published author one day.





Third Place:

Lil Miss Nursey

by Nic Nelson

Nic Nelson is a published poet, burgeoning storyteller, and avid reader who lives in Pickering with her husband and young son. She was born in Hamilton Ontario, and spent sixteen of her formative years living in Nassau, Bahamas. Bahamian culture, history, and people provide a significant source of inspiration for her stories and are one of the primary lenses through which she makes sense of the world and recognizes her place in it. In this respect, she abides by her grandmother’s advice: Don’ forget where ya come from!


First Place:

Conversation With a Bird

by Asma Ameen Majeed

Asma Ameen Majeed is a lover of words, cats, and dark rooms, either found trying to string words into coherent sentences, petting one of their two cats, Sage and Saffron, or just thinking. In the summertime, Asma can sometimes be found in their backyard whistling, in conversation with the birds. They do not often write poetry.


Second Place:

Red-winged Blackbird

by Raegen Montaque

Raegen Montaque is a Durham-based poet, writer, and visual artist who worked as an editor and proofreader for HLR Spotlight, and co-produced Humber’s BCPW 2022-2023 Evergreen anthology. Raegen’s love of writing began in 2016 with slam poetry and they have been enamoured with poetry and the written word ever since. Raegen’s favourite books are the ones that make them want to cry, scream or throw the book across the room in embarrassment or surprise. You can find Raegen trying to find the perfect word for a poem, finishing a project, or re-reading a sentence for the seventh time.


Third Place:

Doctor Doctor

by Elle-Mai Saar

Elle-Mai Saar is a lover of animals, chocolate, and the supernatural. In the summertime, you can find her up north soaking up the rays by the river and spending quality time with family and friends by a campfire. In her downtime, she enjoys binge-watching her favourite TV shows or movie series with her playful kitty, Whistler.

2023 Honourable Mentions

By the Way

by Isobel Dalzell

Isobel Dalzell is a high school student, born and raised in Pickering. She enjoys studying history and English.


After the Movers

by Drew Henderson

Drew Henderson is an 87-year-old great-grandfather who likes to paint, write and walk. (Not so far these days, unfortunately).

Feed The Horde

by Shawn Roberts

Shawn Roberts is a poet and artist based out of Ajax, Ontario. Through his art and writing he explores the ever increasing madness of a technological world poisoned by social media while trying to draw attention to the beauty it still holds.


Peace Pickle

by Ariesha Mais

Ariesha Mais is a short story writer and poet. She started writing at eight years old and doesn't plan on stopping. When she isn't writing, she enjoys baking, jogging, and falling into random research rabbit holes.

It's never to early to start writing! Look out for our 2024 Writing Contest in November and check out the submission guidelines below. 

2024 Submission Guidelines:


  • You may submit only ONE (1) poem for consideration.
  • Please do not submit anything longer than 100 lines.


  • You may submit ONE (1) prose piece for consideration.
  • Please do not submit anything longer than five (5) pages.
  • Prose can be fiction or creative non-fiction. Please Note that we cannot accept journalistic pieces.

You may submit one piece in each category (one poem and one short story). Please submit your work as a word document (.doc or .docx) in a legible font (Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri etc.).

Please include a brief third-person biography (100 words maximum) along with your submission; feel free to include any information you’d like to be shared!

By submitting to the Pickering Public Library’s Writing Contest, you consent to have your work temporarily featured on our website and featured on our social media sites. All writers retain the rights to their work, accepted or otherwise.

We will not accept any work that in any way inflicts harm upon marginalized groups. Do not submit work that is racist, homophobic, misogynistic, ableist, ageist, or transphobic, it will be rejected immediately.

2022 Winners


30 Days

by Lindy Nikolaou

Lindy Nikolaou is a teacher, lives in Pickering and enjoys many hobbies: Writing, reading, gardening and walking along Lake Ontario. Lindy's favourite meal is a hotdog while listening to the Bee Gees.

Forest Creature

by Carly Midgley

Carly Midgley is a writer and freelance editor with a soft spot for fairy tales and sister stories. She holds a BA in English literature from Trent University, where she was the 2014 recipient of the Timothy Findley Creative Writing Prize. When not writing, Carly can be found petting her two cats, drinking a lot of tea, and overanalyzing books and video games. For more information or to contact her, visit carlymidgley.com.



by Charlie Wascher

Charlie Wascher is an artist and full-time Canadian. Charlie has an avid interest in novels and writing. This is the first poem Charlie has ever written, based on anxiety and recovery.


The grangle wangle

by Audrey Kovacs

Audrey Kovacs is a huge Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fan! Audrey loves classic literature but has a huge soft spot for old comics, especially DC comics!) and loves nonsense poems.

2022 Honourable Mentions

Word's Edge

by Danyel Bratu

Danyel Bratu is an alien spy from the star system of Alpha Centauri, collecting information on the human race to relay back to his home planet. When he isn't being 100% spy-y, he enjoys drawing and writing.

The Rhyming Dilemma

by Drew Henderson

Drew Henderson is 86-year-old great-grandfather who likes to write, paint and watch soccer. What else does an 86-year-old need?

Fear Cost You

by Bethany Brown

Bethany Brown loves writing poetry because it offers a space to play with language. She does freelance writing and editing because they involve applying the mechanics of writing she finds so fascinating. For more of her work, see @thewriterwiredmind on Instagram.

My Name Is

by Abir Dabbour

Abir Dabbour is 23 years old and was born in Egypt, then moved to Canada with her parents in 2000 as a young child. Abir is usually a visual artist and painter moreso than a writer. However, Abir's love of literature inspired this freeform expression of a very personal and complex issue.

Walk in Deaf Shoes

by Farishta Normohamad

Farishta Normohamad is Deaf. Farishta's sign name is a “F” handshape along the side of my face, flipped to show her smile. This is Farishta's first English poem. The challenge was inspiring. Farishta's goal is to make an impact promoting accessibility and to recognize accommodations. Farishta's poem is about her Deaf identity and experience overall and her struggles still today.


by Victoria Dwight

Victoria Dwight is a Pickering native. After moving away for two decades, she has recently returned and is rediscovering the city through adult eyes. She works as an Education Director and American Sign Language Interpreter and has a love for all things related to language.

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