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The Uncommon Quest is now closed. Meet 2019 Winners Now!

The Uncommon Quest is a writing competition for authors of novels for children and teens.

Common Deer Press seeks to expand the minds of young readers through uncommon and exceptionally well-written books. We are also committed to discovering and publishing new and emerging talent. The Uncommon Quest is an annual writing competition that strives to give a voice to this new and emerging talent pool as well as already known authors. As the judging is anonymous, the opportunities are equal. 

The purpose of Support the Uncommon Quest is to develop and expand the program - our goal is to make it an internationally recognized writing competition for books for children and teens. 

  • First prize is a publishing contract with an additional $10,000* cash prize.

  • Second prize is a publishing contract with an additional $7,500 cash prize.

  • Third prize is a publishing contract with an additional $5,000 cash prize.


Entries must be original and not have been submitted elsewhere, accepted for publication, or previously published, including in online magazines or other online publications.

Word count restrictions: We strongly suggest that any manuscript for a middle grade audience be no longer than 45,000 words and for a young adult novel, no longer than 70,000 words.

*Prizes will be paid in Canadian dollars or the equivalent in local currency if a winning entrant lives in another country.


WHEN: The Uncommon Quest is currently closed to new submissions.


WHO: At the moment it is open only to Canadians resident in Canada or abroad. However, we hope the results of our Kickstarter campaign allow us to expand the competition internationally. Common Deer Press directors and employees are not eligible.

WHAT: All entries must be original works.


HOW: While the competition is active, send your entry to


Entries can only be submitted online and must contain the words "Uncommon Quest" and the name of your novel in the subject line. Submit as many manuscripts as you wish. You will receive an email confirming your submission has been received.

How to format and submit entries:

Complete and eligible submissions for Uncommon Quest must include the following:


  1. A cover letter as a separate document

  2. Your complete manuscript.


(Please keep a copy of your complete online submission for your records.)


Prepare your manuscript:


Your unpublished manuscript, containing no personal information, must be formatted as follows:


  1. Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF format;

  2. Use 12 pt. font, Times New Roman or Arial, double-spaced on a 8.5 x 11 page, with at least a one inch margin on all sides;

  3. Each page must be numbered in sequence and each page must include the title of the story in the header or footer;

  4. The filename should include the title of your piece (e.g. MY NOVEL.docx).  Please do not submit files that are labelled ‘my manuscript’ or other generic titles.


Prepare your cover letter (for office use):


  1. Include your name, permanent address (not summer home or cottage), phone number, and e-mail;

  2. Include the title of the manuscript;

  3. Provide a one-paragraph biographical note of the entrant, including mention of any previous writing credits, if applicable;

  4. Attach your cover letter into your entry email as a separate Word document.


Your complete entry must be received no later than the March 31, 2020 deadline.


Common Deer Press will not accept applications that are incomplete, formatted improperly, or submitted past the deadline. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Siobhan Bothwell prior to submitting your manuscript.


Please note that due to limited resources, we are unable to provide technical assistance such as formatting or attaching documents to email. If you require this kind of assistance, please speak to a friend or family member, or contact your local library branch.



Attach your manuscript and cover letter to an email and send to


Prizes will be awarded (or not) at the discretion of the judges. Judges will provide brief comments for the first, second, and third-place winner.

Prize Announcements

We will notify all winners in late June. Manuscripts will not be returned.​

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