Parents and teachers, do you have a budding Jack London in your midst? Kids in Grades 1-7 are invited to enter the Yukon Quest Short Story Competition.

The contest is divided into two categories with children in Grades 1-3 and Grades 4-7 will be judged separately, and one winner chosen from each category.

The winners will receive a Yukon Quest gift bag valued at approximately $175, have their story displayed at the Yukon Quest Office and offered the chance to read their story on-air on CBC radio.

Winning stories are selected by judges from the Yukon Literacy Coalition.

The judges will also select one runner up from each category.

“We go through and read all the stories as a group… and then break them down until we decide, as a group, who the winners are. It’s always a difficult choice to make as we have some wonderfully creative stories to choose from,” says Stephanie Parker, a family literacy specialist with the Yukon Literacy Coalition and organizer for the contest.

While judges take spelling, grammar and story structure into account when selecting the winner, they are more interested in “originality and creativity, character and plot development and other basic story writing techniques,” she adds.

The contest has been running since 2012. Last year, the Yukon Literacy Coalition received 40 entries, considerably more than in other years, says Parker. Entries are open not only to Yukoners, but students from all over the world and the runner-up story from the Grade 1-3 category was from Australia last year.

Last year, the winning stories were “The Challenges of the Yukon Quest,” by Huxley Briggs in the Grade 1-3 category and“Cat Mushes to Yukon Quest Win!” by Rachel Cowx in the Grade 4-7 category.

The contest is a partnership between the Yukon Quest and the Yukon Literacy Coalition.

“It’s great to see two organizations, who operate in quite separate worlds in our community come together… Everyone in the Yukon gets excited about the Quest and the writing contest offers yet another way to be a part of it, and enjoy the race along with building and expanding on the imaginations and literacy foundations of our children,” says Parker.

Stories need be about the Yukon Quest, be 700 words or less and submitted by Feb 20. Stories can be submitted in person at the Yukon Literacy Coalition offices, emailed to Yukon.Literacy.Coalition@northwestel.net or mailed to Yukon Quest Story Competition,Yukon Literacy Coalition 100 Main Street, Suite #207, Whitehorse, YT, Y1A 2A8.

For more information go to www.YukonQuest.com/events.