Congratulations to our 2022 winners!


ENTRY INFO: The theme for Youthwords 2022 is Emerge.

Short story submissions: maximum 1000 words

Poetry submissions: 2 poems per person, maximum 20 lines each

Submissions must be anonymous. Include a separate cover page of the following:

  • the title of your entry
  • your name, address, phone number, and email address
  • your date of birth
  • your grade

DEADLINE: Sunday, October 23rd, 2022.

PRIZES: Short Story First Place: $150
Short Story Runner Up: $75
Poetry First Place: $150
Poetry Runner Up: $75

SUBMIT: Send your submission by email to

MORE INFO: Finalists are invited to the Wordstock Sudbury Literary Festival on November 3rd, 2022 at the Holiday Inn. First-Place winners will have their pieces published in the Sudbury Star as well as the Wordstock Sudbury Literary Festival website.

Sarah Selecky and Short Story First Place winner Charlie Pappin

Sponsored by:

The Sudbury Star



Gabriella Melcher

The Glass Jar

The jar sat empty. It used to be filled with life and energy but now it’s dull and well, nothing. It just sits there collecting dust as the days go by. There used to be butterflies, bees, a meadow and uncontrollable storms. The butterflies were joyous and fun, the bee’s were anxious and busy, and the meadow was quiet and peaceful. But the storm was scary, It would rage and destroy the others. It took a long time after a storm to build up the others again, but they always came back.

Since I could remember the jar was always changing. I’ve had it since I was born. I used to open the jar, I would dance with the butterflies, and keep busy with the bees. I would lay in the meadow watching the swaying of the trees. I never let the storm out though, maybe I should’ve, maybe the jar would still be filled.

As I got older the people around me stopped dancing with the butterflies, they looked at them like annoying pests and swatted them away. So I kept them hidden, same with the bees. The only one I could let out was the meadow, but without the butterflies and the bees it wasn’t the same. So, I hid the meadow away too. The storms would grow, they were aggressive and uncontrollable. I tried to hide them and keep them to myself but the more I did the stronger they got. And the stronger they got the more they would grow. Until one day when there was no more meadow and no more butterflies or bees. Just the storm roaring, drowning me, pulling me in deeper and deeper. I was tired and missed the calm, so I broke the jar. I tried to put it back together with glue and tape but the cracks never went away. Now the jar just sits broken and empty.

The truth is that jar was me, filled with life, excitement, and emotions, but now broken, scarred, and numb. I miss the joy of the butterflies, the anxiousness and stress of the buzzing bees, the quiet in the meadow and most of all I miss the anger and overwhelming power of the storm. All I want is to feel again and the numbness to go away but I’m so tired. I’m tired of people glaring when I was happy and telling me to smile when I wasn’t. I contained my anger, excitement, my joy and sadness to please others, so I wouldn’t be deemed crazy or annoying by people who didn’t care about me. I broke myself for others and now that’s a part of me I can’t get back, at least not to how it was.


Norah Bolestridge

Naraca Confinement Project #22

You go by the Fool. That’s what your jumpsuit and everything of yours says. Even if you slightly remember going by something else, that’s what you go by.

It’s the same with the others too, even with their different titles. You all wish you could remember your names, yet, all you can remember was the time you wished you had back.


“Naraca Confinement Project #22, NCP#22 for short. Report #1. This is Agent Delphi assigned to the project. Nothing we haven’t seen before right now.”


Somehow, you all fell into a type of normalcy. The Lounge area was sometimes empty, sometimes occupied with the whiteboard displayings things like the pronouns the Lovers is using and what dinner somebody is going to make.

Some inhabit certain places most of the time. You often pass Strength in the training room, and despite her muscles you notice her struggling. You remember her mentioning using something to help her and those things caused her to make a lot of bad decisions.

(flashes of the time the Hanged Man told her he used to sell those things flashed through your mind. you remember the look in her eyes before softening. you saw two people trying to repent.)

Some other times, you saw the Sun and the Empress in the kitchen.

(you have memories of walking into him breaking down, his sweet demeanour that was slowly turning sour gone. he kept crying and crying that it was an accident, that they knew it was but wanted somebody to blame, that he couldn’t believe his friend would betray him like that. he refuses to go around fire.

you remember the Empress talking about how cold winter was, and she had to make sure the younger ones survived. she said she shouldn’t have gone places she shouldn’t, but she was desperate. she doesn’t mind handling the fire. she likes its warmth.)


“Agent Delphi, NCP#22, Report #15. There’s new evidence that the Sun was innocent of his crimes, similar to how the Fool was innocent.”


The Emperor and the Chariot have some sort of friendship and fear constricts you.

(you sometimes saw the wild gleam in the Chariot’s eyes as he kept stabbing and stabbing a dummy. the Emperor’s speeches went through your head sometimes, spoken like a true politician to amass power.)

As you walk out of your small and plain room, you notice them going into the Hermit’s.

(you remember the Hermit talking about the peace and knowledge she gained with the help of her followers, and knows they will get all of you out of your prison.)

If those three joined forces, you know they’d be able to make the most trustworthy saint into the Devil in the views of others.

So you tell them you need to show them something important.

That should keep their attention.


“Agent Delphi, NCP#22, Report #27. Nothing to note.”


The Lovers had barely said a word the last few days, and it concerns you.

When you all first arrived, disoriented and confused, the Lovers had used her charisma to be a bit of a leader. But she’s been getting quieter and quieter recently. And due to that, you now sat across from her.

There’s silence that persists and persists and you aren’t sure how to start but then the Lovers speaks up.

“Am I a bad person?”

She explains that she had done things, things that broke hearts and bank accounts and she wants to know if what she realized was correct.

The words telling her she’s correct are on your tongue, yet you’re unable to say a word.

You don’t see a bad person, but somebody questioning their decisions and seeing themself for who they truly are, with the potential to change.

You open your mouth but three others enter and you realize something you could do.

You suppose an alliance between a certain few of you would be terrifying, but an alliance between all of you would be devastating.

“I have something to show you guys.”


“Agent Delphi, NCP#22, Report #39. As per usual, there has been peace within the #22 win-”

“Everybody to your stations!”

“Wait is that- AH!”

“Ah, so it’s time.”


Your eyes flickered around at the chaos around you, some no doubt the work of the Chariot, and the tied-up employees, guarded by the Empress and the Sun.

Yet, in that chaos was a woman doing paperwork.

“Good to see you again in person Delphi,” you tell her, her chair spinning around instantly at the sound of your voice.

“You could’ve at least told me that you were going to do that so soon,” she replied coldly.

You roll your eyes, the sound of the Emperor giving a speech to one of the other groups audible. “You should’ve expected this. You knew that I showed the others what was in my room.”

Delphi sighed. “At least the rest is according to plan.”


The Lovers runs in, donning a wild grin.

“Update. Strength wrangled up the rest of the security, and the Hanged Man found the locations of the other facilities.”

“Good. Get the Hanged Man to release all he can to the media of what they’re doing, especially on how innocent people have been taken. That will ensure at least some success.”

You weren’t the only Fool around. Others were in your position, others who were innocent, but some didn’t survive when fights broke out. Some with families who wanted revenge and had the work ethic to get it.

“I guess we should find the others,” Delphi’s gaze matched her small smile as she held out her hand. “Shall we?”

“We shall.”

You are no longer the Fool, but the Magician. You used your willpower and determination to get out of your situation, and now you’ve combined that with the inner wisdom and the intuition of the High Priestess. And even if many of you will go back to a place of confinement, you’ve got one last goal.



Aliana Zuliani


Hide. hide your dreams and hopes

In a world where the monsters will eat you alive, if you show them there’s something worth their time

Contain your ambition and desires inside

The monsters hunt the dreamers who dare to defy

Keep yourself locked away, hidden far beneath the cracks

Hide your heart from those who see it as a target to attack,

All the things that make you unique, are another avenue for them to crack

open and find what they truly desire

It is your hopes and dreams that fuel their fire

To fill the voids where their hearts should be

push it down keep it hidden and unseen

Cause if they attack, no one will hear your screams

listen to my warning and heed my advice

In a world full of monsters, the dreamers have to hide


Dezaray Debassige

“Confinement Free Verse”

Containment means to keep something harmful contained but what if what is meant to be kept contained gets realised?

What if what was meant to be contained was your heart?

It can be extremely harmful to not only others but yourself as well.

Now imagine that it got out.

Then, imagine someone else got a hold of it.

That is unexplainably dangerous.

Now you have to trust that person to keep it contained.

But what if it breaks?

What if it shatters into a million pieces like a thin layer of glass?

What if that thing you had to contain was the only thing of yourself that felt whole and now it just broke?

And what if you feel like the only way it can be fixed is by the thing that broke it in the first place?

I will ask you once more now, what if that thing was your heart?