You are here


Frequently Asked Questions

When were the Dorothy Shoemaker Literary Awards launched?
The Awards began in 1967 as a Centennial project of the Kitchener Public Library and are named for Miss Dorothy Shoemaker, the former Chief Librarian, who was an ardent supporter of aspiring writers throughout her career.
How many entries are received?
In the past we have received up to 1,500 submissions. The number of actual participants is lower, since some contestants submit more than one entry.
Is there any age restriction?
Is there any geographical restriction?
Yes, this contest is open to residents of Southwestern Ontario only.
Are my entries judged anonymously?
Yes, your entry is judged by its excellence, not your past achievements, current fame, or relationship to anyone involved with the contest.
Are my entries judged separately from one another if I enter more than one?
Can a contestant win more than one prize in a year?
How many entries may I submit?
One prose, and up to two poems, per entrant. Entries are accepted in date order. If more than the maximum number are submitted, the ones received first are entered.
Who is considered a professional writer?
For the purpose of this contest, a professional writer is anyone who derives more than 50% of their income from writing.
May I submit a paper copy?
No, using the online submission form is the only acceptable way to enter the contest.
How should I submit entries with complex formatting (e.g., italics, centered text)?
By uploading a Microsoft Word document, your formatting should be maintained.
May I include illustrations or photos with my entry?
May I enter a submission written by someone who has died?
No. The authors of all submissions must be living.
May I submit an entry for an age category that I am not currently in?
No, your work must be entered in the age category for which you are currently eligible.
May I submit my entry simultaneously to you and to other contests and publishers?
May I submit a work that has been published elsewhere or won an award?
Yes, all such work is acceptable, provided you own the online publication rights. Work that has been entered in previous Dorothy Shoemaker Contests is also acceptable, provided you did not win a cash prize.
Will you return my entry after the contest?
No. Please keep a copy of your work.
What format is acceptable for publication in The Changing Image?
All entries must conform to submission guidelines. The library may edit for grammar, spelling or punctuation, and will alter winning pieces for font and spacing to maintain a consistent look for The Changing Image publication.
What are the submission guidelines?
Font type & style: Arial 12
Spacing: Double
Alignment: Left (no indentations)
Style guide: Single space at the end of sentences
Limit: Maximum 1,500 words
Font size & type: Arial 12
Alignment: Author's choice
Style guide: Author's choice
Limit: Maximum 55 lines
Will I keep the copyright to my work?
Yes. You keep the copyright to your submission. If your entry wins any cash prize or honourable mention, you agree to give both Kitchener Public Library and the Dorothy Shoemaker Literary Awards a non-exclusive licence to publish your work in The Changing Image, and possibly online. You retain all other rights. You are free, for example, to publish your work in print or online elsewhere, and to enter it into other contests.
Do you forward any contestant information to third parties?
No. Kitchener Public Library does not release contest entrant information to third parties. Information is used only to contact you in relation to this contest.

Collection of information for the Dorothy Shoemaker Literary Awards is subject to the provisions of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Privacy Act. The Library will not divulge this information to outside parties unless required to do so by law.
How can I find out more?
To learn more, visit our Rules & Guidelines page. You may also email us at