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Call for Judges: Power of the Pen

The 28th Annual Power of the Pen is Hamilton Public Library’s long-standing competition for teens. Teens ages 12-18 from Hamilton and surrounding areas can submit poems and short stories (in English and/or French) to receive feedback from writing professionals. First and Second-place entries are entered to win the Hamilton Association for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art’s (HAALSA) Maitland Banting Silver Quill Award or Poetry Award.

As adults, past winners have used their writing skills to inform, inspire, entertain and persuade in careers as journalists, authors, artists, lawyers, politicians, teachers and more.

This year, we have the following Volunteer Judge opportunities available:

  • Poetry and Short Story categories for ages 12-15: local English teachers.
  • Poetry and Short Story categories for ages 16-18: Children and YA authors Canada-wide.
  • French Poetry and Short Story categories for ages 12-18: Francophone writers and educators Canada-wide.

Volunteer Judges can expect to receive an electronic package of entries in October 2022 and will have one month to review, provide brief feedback, award 1st and 2nd place winners and any (optional) Honourable Mentions. Specific details will be available with the package, including best practices for providing feedback on youth writing. Volunteer Judges receive a $25 gift certificate to a local independent bookstore as a token of their time and efforts.

In recruiting for this Volunteer team, HPL welcomes the unique contributions one brings in: education, opinions, culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran’s status, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation and beliefs. Hamilton Public Library is an equal opportunity employer and strives to build balanced teams.

Learn more information about the annual writing competition:

If you have any questions or interested in the Volunteer Judge roles and/or providing feedback, support and encouragement to teen writers, please contact Carly Bedford at and Patrick Fazari at