TORONTO – Eight novice writers have been awarded prizes in The Word Guild’s "God Uses Ink" writing Contest for 2011. These winners represent a group of emerging writers ready to augment the already large number of award-winning Canadian writers who work from a Christian worldview.

Each year The Word Guild, a Canadian association of writers and editors who are Christian, recognizes the talents of aspiring writers who have never been published. Awards are given in three age groups – 14 to 19, 20 to 39 and 40-plus.

"Entries in the God Uses Ink competition, youth and young adult categories, were solid and interesting," commented judge Violet Nesdoly. "I wouldn’t be surprised soon to see some of the winners’ names in the by-lines of published pieces."

Dorene Meyer, judge for the 40-plus category adds, "Once again, we received a wonderful selection of entries,approaching our theme from a variety of perspectives and literary genres. There are so many great new authors out there; it is always difficult to choose the winning pieces. I hope to see you all at Write! Canada."

Shandra Shanmugam of Toronto placed first in the 14 to 19 year-old category. Darren Redekop of Winnipeg won in the 20 to 39 year-old category and Pat Schmidsrauter of Hamilton, Ontario, took top honours in the 40-plus category.

Shelley Rottenberg of Burlington, Ontario, earned second place in the 14 to 19 category. Karen de Blieck of Brantford, Ontario, and Paul Tucker of Toronto took second place in the 20 to 39 and 40-plus categories respectively.

Third place finishes went to Danica Lalich of Ajax, Ontario, in the 20 to 29 category and Eileen Pasishnek of Calgary in the 40-plus category.

The first prize in each division – free registration to Write! Canada, Canada’s largest Christian writers’ conference – is worth over $400. Second prize is a $100 gift certificate for The Word Guild and third prize is a $50 gift certificate for The Word Guild, both of which may be used toward national or regional conference registration or membership.

This year’s motivating topic, "Changing the World with Words," also serves as the theme for the 27th annual Write! Canada conference, to be held from June 16 to 18, 2011, in Guelph, Ontario. Entries could be submitted in fiction, non-fiction, article or poetry genres. The contest received 25 submissions.

Following is the list of winners:

Ages 14-19
First prize: free registration to Write! Canada
Shandra Shanmugam of Toronto for "Forgive me, father, for I have sinned"

Second price: $100 gift certificate
Shelley Rottenberg of Burlington, Ontario, for "The Power of His Word"

Ages 20-39
First prize: free registration to Write! Canada
Darren Redekop of Winnipeg for "The Jailer’s Songbird"

Second prize: $100 gift certificate
Karen deBlieck of Brantford, Ontario, for "Monsoon"

Third prize: $50 gift certificate
Danica Lalich of Ajax, Ontario, for "The Living Water"

Ages 40-plus
First prize: free registration to Write! Canada
Pat Schmidsrauter of Hamilton, Ontario, for "Changing the World with God’s Words"

Second prize: $100 gift certificate
Paul Tucker of Toronto for "The Crooked Tree"

Third prize: $50 gift certificate
Eileen Pasishnek of Calgary for "God’s Treasure Chest"

The contest is sponsored by The Word Guild, whose membership consists of nearly 400 writers and editors across Canada who write from a Christian perspective and publish work in a variety of genres. For more information, go to

Media: For more information email Julie-Anne Brace, God Uses Ink Contest Administrator, at writecanada[at]rogers[dot]com

The Word Guild created the God Uses Ink contest in 2002 to provide encouragement and concrete help for novice writers. Independent judges who are experienced writers evaluate the entries and provide written critiques to help entrants improve their writing. Prizes are awarded only if manuscripts meet specific criteria of excellence.