Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

The Writing Contest

Jane was walking down the road to her school, she could hear the cats fighting over garbage and homeless people singing in a sweet voice. She lived in a rough neighbourhood, at night she could hear gunshots and screams. When Jane arrived at school she rushed to the bathroom hoping no one had spotted her, but someone had.


“Janie where are you, are you still wearing those ugly brown pants?” Eleanor said. Jane start- ed to cry, her parents couldn’t afford the fancy clothes that Eleanor wore. The bell rang and Eleanor left, running to be first in line.


When Jane entered the classroom she ran to her desk at the front, she smiled they had en- glish today, Jane loved english but she especially liked writing.


“ Ok, settle down children.” said their teacher, ”I’m going to hand out this form to see if our class can take part of a writing competition.” Jane’s mouth opened up, “A writing competition?” she thought.
“ You have to return this form by tomorrow.” the teacher said.


At the end of the day Jane raced home to get her parents to sign the form. When she arrived home Jane finished all of her homework and started to make dinner. Jane didn’t have to make dinner but she always liked to help around the house when she could. Her parents always got home at 4:00 so she had one hour to make everything nice so that they’d sign the paper. When Jane finished pre- paring dinner she started brainstorming ideas for a story. A girl gets lost in the forest or a wolf get loose in a city and a boy becomes best friends with it. Finally, Jane’s parents came home first she im- presses them with her dinner then shows them her clean room. Eventually Jane asked them about it, “No,’’ her mother replied, Jane ran upstairs to her room.


The next day Jane woke up in a bad mood, when Jane got to school she scurried under the stairs. This time she was lucky and nobody saw her suddenly the bell rang. Jane walked slowly to her classroom, then started to run, they had english today! At the start of the class their teacher asked them to had in their forms. Every single child in the class handed in theirs except Jane, when the teacher’s back was turned
Eleanor said,”Janie where’s your form?”, they all snickered, “My parents thought it was an excellent idea since I’m the best writer they know. They also said that I’d win the contest for sure.” Then the teacher turned around and asked about Jane’s form.


“ I forgot it at home, I didn’t have a great sleep last night.”Jane replied
“ Okay” the teacher said in a stern voice,” But make sure to bring it tomorrow. Okay now children take out your pencil and start writing,’’ the teacher said.

Jane was lost in thought,” How was she supposed to get her parents to sign the form.”


When Jane got home she sat down on the worn out chair and put together a plan to enter herself in the contest. So she started to write in her notebook, she didn’t stop until her parents got home. The next morning Jane was up against the wall at school editing her story. Until Eleanor and her gang walked up to Jane, Eleanor grabbed the notebook out of Jane’s hands and ripped it up into bits.


“Hey, what was that for!” yelled Jane.


She tried to pick up all the bits and pieces, but it was no use, they were scattered around the play structure. Her plan was ruined, but Jane wasn’t going to give up, she gathered up all the pieces of paper and shoved them in her backpack. When Jane got home she emptied out her bag and started to piece them together. When Jane’s parents got home they saw 5 taped together pieces of paper and their daughter on the floor.
“What are you doing here honey?”said Jane’s mom.


“Someone ripped up my story, so I’m piecing it back together.” said Jane. Jane’s parents saw that Jane really wanted to write her story, and that she will never give up.


“Me and your mother decided that you can join the contest but don’t lose to anyone,” said Jane’s father, they all grinned.


A few months later, after every child in the country submitted their story, Jane came first for her province, with an amazing cash prize Jane’s family moved out of their house, into a much better and safer neighborhood. Sadly they move into the house right next Eleanor’s.