Surrey Libraries Announces Winners of 2019 Young Adult Writing Contest

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Surrey Libraries is pleased to announce and congratulate the winners of the 2019 Surrey Libraries’ Young Adult Writing Contest. The winners were acknowledged at an Awards Gala on Wednesday, October 16 at City Hall Council Chambers.

The Young Adult Writing Contest is an annual writing competition for youth aged 12-18. Since launching the contest in 1987, Surrey Libraries has received over  6,500 entries from aspiring young writers across Surrey. The contest is free to enter and young writers submit entries to one of the four contest categories: short stories, poems, comics, and a new random category for other types of writing such as essays and screenplays.

“With more than 300 entries this year, our judges were challenged to select the winning entries,” explains Kelly Lau, Youth Services Librarian and contest coordinator. “We were so impressed by the diversity, creativity and fearlessness demonstrated by all the young writers who submitted their works. The future of writing is in good hands.”

Alyana Amadeo who placed in both the junior short story and the junior poetry categories said, “I think the competition is cool. I think it can motivate young people to write and inspire people to start writing – especially the poetry and comics, even if you don’t like writing.”

This popular program is organized by the dynamic youth library staff at Surrey Libraries - City Centre branch and is made possible through the generous support of the program’s champion sponsors: Khalsa Credit Union, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and The Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature.

First time entrant, Meshal Asghar, who received an honourable mention for her short story said, “The process was straight forward and easy. I really enjoyed it. I started getting into writing a lot more in my senior year of high school and writing a story for my provincial exam. Since I worked really hard on it for the provincial exam, I thought I would submit it for the competition. I wasn’t sure that I was going to get an award at all but it was really exciting and I’m really thankful.”

An anthology of the winners’ work will be available online or to check out from any Surrey Libraries branch. Anthologies can also be purchased for $8.00 for a limited time at the City Centre branch.


First Prize: If You Think Your Dog's A Handful by Sofia Lemay

Second Prize: The Girl in the Mirror by Alyana Amadeo

Third Prize: The Bird Missing Its Wings by Adella Teja

Honourable Mention: Submerged by Carmen Campbell


First Prize: Exposure by Linda Bian

Second Prize: How a First-Grader Became a Grim Reaper by Shirley Chen

Third Prize: An Old Friend by Alyra Ryan

Honourable Mention: Free by Meshal Asghar

JUNIOR POETRY (ages 12-14)

First Prize: The Calm Before the Storm by Tehya Benedict

Second Prize: Worldly Matters by R.K.

Third Prize: The Beyond by Ashley Wang

Honourable Mention: My Friend Strength by Alyana Amadeo

SENIOR POETRY (ages 15-18)

First Prize: Thuja Plicata by Shaheen Virk

Second Prize:  Cricketsong of Youth by Rena Su

Third Prize: Bleach by Sally Jiao

Honourable Mention: D Cage by Nikita Sharma

Honourable Mention: Thrift Store Dresses by Kinga Plucinska


First Prize: Drawn Out by Jaden Lee

Second Prize: Of Elves and Men by Athena Little

Third Prize: Sisters by Cynthia Wang

Honourable Mention: Missing. In. Action. by Nazaha Muntafi


First Prize: My Last Year on Earth (Screenplay for short film) by Sophie Lang

Second Prize: An Open Letter to Open Letters (Creative non-fiction essay) by Rena Su

Third Prize: Gender Dysphoria (Essay) by Colin Dong

Honourable Mention: Bottled Water: The Impacts of Water Commodification (Research Essay) by Joshua Lee

For inquiries/interview requests:

Kelly Lau, Youth Services Librarian & Project Coordinator

Phone: 604-598-7436

Seline Kutan, Director of Marketing & Communications

Phone: 604-598-7323

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