Skip to Content

All locations are open today from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.


All locations are open today from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.


All locations are open today from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.


All locations are open today from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.


All locations are open today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


All locations are open today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


All locations are closed today.


2024 Dorothy Shoemaker Awards Contest

The Dorothy Shoemaker Awards celebrates literacy in all its forms.

The 2024 contest is open to individuals 16-25 years of age and living within Waterloo Region. Entry is FREE, with $2,750 in prize money available to be won.

1st Prize: $1500

2nd Prize: $750

3rd Prize: $500

The 2024 contest opens Monday, June 3, 2024 at 12 p.m. Entries must be submitted via an online application form.


The contest is open to young writers born between 2008 and 1999 (16 and 25 years old by December 31, 2024). Only residents of Waterloo Region are eligible.

Please review the contest rules and guidelines before entering.

Rules and Guidelines

Please read carefully:

  • The 2024 contest opens Monday, June 3, 2024 at 12 p.m. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, July 31, 2024. The number of entries we can accept is limited, so enter early.
  • Participants may enter one (1) piece of prose writing with a maximum word count of 1500.
  • Entries that are plagiarized or employ ChatGPT/AI will be disqualified.
  • The judge’s decisions are final. There will be no correspondence between the judge and the entrants regarding any submissions.
    Winning prose entries will be posted online.
  • By entering the contest, the author/creator is granting permission for their piece to be used by Kitchener Public Library for publication and/or promotional purposes.
  • Winners can expect to be notified by email in mid-September 2024.
  • Professional writers are not eligible.

Prose Submission Details

Proper formatting is required. Entries must be submitted using the following parameters:

Font type: Times New Roman

Size: 12

Spacing: 1.5

Maximum word count: 1500 (Entries that exceed the word count will be disqualified)

Note: Do not include your name or any identifying information anywhere within the submission.

Submission Guidelines

  • Entries will be accepted online only.
  • Entries must be submitted as PDF.

The following information is required for the online application form:



Phone Number



Title of Piece

Word Count

Note: Proof of age and/or address may be requested before confirming winning entries.

Plagiarism Policy 

All finalists and winning entries will be checked using a plagiarism checker before contacting the winner. If an entry is found to have been plagiarized, the following will occur: 

  • The entry will be immediately disqualified. 
  • The author will be contacted by Kitchener Public Library

ChatGPT/AI Policy 

  • The contest judge reserves the right to disqualify any works they believe to be ChatGPT or AI generated.
  • We recognize that ChatGPT/AI can be useful for finding information and we encourage you to be clear about how you used an AI tool.
  • For example, acknowledge the use of AI in a note in your submission: “I used ChatGPT to come up with the plot for this story.” 
  • Entries that do not conform to the contest rules as outlined above, or are incomplete, will not be considered.

For more information, visit our FAQ page.

Enter the Dorothy Shoemaker Awards


2024 Dorothy Shoemaker Awards Judge

Catherine Bush is the author of five novels, including Blaze Island (2020), a Globe & Mail Best Book and Hamilton Reads 2021 pick, and The Rules of Engagement (2000), a New York Times Notable Book and a Globe & Mail and L.A. Times Best Book of the Year. Her books have been shortlisted for the Trillium and City of Toronto Book Awards in Canada and a new story collection will be published in 2025. Bush was a 2019 Fiction Meets Science Fellow at the HWK in Delmenhorst, Germany, and is currently the 2024 Writer-in-Residence Landhaus Fellow at the Rachel Carson Centre for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Guelph, lives in Toronto and in an old schoolhouse in Eastern Ontario, and can be found online at

Catherine Bush

photo credit: Arden Wray


About the Dorothy Shoemaker Awards

The Awards began in 1967 as a Centennial project, created by Dorothy Shoemaker, Kitchener Public Library's Chief Librarian from 1944 to 1971.

In 1996, when government funding for the awards was eliminated, Ms. Shoemaker made a significant personal donation to ensure the awards would continue. In 2000, Ms. Shoemaker passed away at the age of 94. However, her legacy of support for aspiring writers continues today through her ongoing endowment.

WRCF logo

Kitchener Public Library thanks the Waterloo Region Community Foundation for their ongoing financial support of this long-running contest.