Hilary Weston Writers' Trust
Student Nonfiction Writing Contest

Winner: $2,500; Second: $500; Third: $250 


While we enjoyed reading entries from across Canada, we are no longer administering a contest for highschol writers. Please use our signup form if you would like to receive information about any future Writers' Trust highschool writing contests. Don't forget to read our past winners below.

2015 Winner

Nico Branham “Outside the Window, a Billion Stars Are Moving Past Me at the Speed of Light” 2015 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Student Nonfiction Contest Winner Templeton High School, Vancouver British Columbia

Nico Branham 
Templeton Secondary School
Vancouver, BC

“Outside the Window, a Billion Stars Are Moving Past Me at the Speed of Light”

Jury Citation

Nico Branham’s essay “Outside the Window, a Billion Stars Are Moving Past Me at the Speed of Light” impresses with its contemporary tone, creative structure, and its unabashed erotic and intellectual honesty. Its original use of language enlightens the author’s contrast between feeling trapped in real life, with everything under-reaching its potential, and longing for a scripted life of adventure, sensuality, and freedom.

About the Author

Nico Branham is an eighteen year old filmmaker from Vancouver. She will be starting a degree in Motion Picture Arts in September. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and watching coming-of-age movies. Her favourite writer is Lev Grossman. 

Second Place

Second Prize

Alexandra Sweny
Aurora High School, Aurora, ON
"What It's Like to Live With Someone With Depression"


Jury Citation
This intimate portrait uses stark, concrete details to convey what it is like to live with a family member in mental anguish. Alexandra Sweny’s lyrical observations in “What It’s Like to Live with Someone with Depression” say so much about the silence, loneliness, guilty dread, and hope that afflict children when someone they love suffers depression. It is a brave piece told in a daring style.

Third Place

Third Prize

Janice Esguerra 
Templeton Secondary School, Vancouver, BC



Jury Citation
In the unadorned language and simple, flawless sentences of “Open-Eyed,” Janice Esguerra manages to convey both the distress of an aunt's interrupted life and the insensitive worldview of a child too young to know better, too young to understand the difference she might have made. Clarity of mind, generosity of spirit, and outward curiosity distinguish this thoughtful, empathetic, and lingering piece.

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