Sable In Words 2020 – Writing Contest for Youth


This contest ended on March 13th, and the winners have been announced.

Sable In Words 2020 – Winners

Thank you to all who entered!


The Sable Island Institute is offering prizes for creative prose about Sable Island

If you live in Nova Scotia and your age is 12 to 14 years, or 15 to 17 years, and Sable Island interests you, you could be one of four winners.

Prizes will go to two writers in each age category. Youth 12-14 will each win $100.00; youth 15-17 will each win $200.00. All winners will receive two books about Sable Island, a set of Sable Island note cards, and membership in the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

What aspect of Sable Island interests you?
Here are some examples of subjects that might inspire your writing

  • History, shipwrecks and the island’s reputation as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”.
  • The lifesaving station and the people who worked there, and the children who grew up on the island.
  • The seasons, fog, storms, windswept dunes and old abandoned buildings half-buried by wind-blown sand.
  • Archaeologists who search for the island’s history under the sand.
  • The scientists and students who study Sable’s plants and animals, or the artists who paint, write, and sing about the island.
  • The bands of wild horses, or the thousands of seabirds that nest on the island.
  • The life and the long-distance travels of the Ipswich Sparrow, a little bird that nests only on Sable Island, nowhere else in the world.
  • All the grey seals that gather on the beach for pupping season.
  • Orchids, cranberries, and wild roses.
  • The sounds—the roar of the surf, voices of seals in the night, the eerie calls of the storm-petrels, or the rattling and rustling of grasses in the wind.
  • Things that wash up on the beach—shells, feathers, jellyfish, crabs, notes-in-bottles, and more unusual items such as small model boats and wooden carvings of animals.
  • Or even the plastic garbage pollution in the ocean that washes up on the beach.

And there’s so much more, so many different subjects to explore!


This website, the Sable Island Institute’s, provides a wide range of information—and 100s of images—about Sable’s people, wildlife, and activities.

Other helpful websites are:

Wikipedia Sable Island
Parks Canada

And some interesting library books:

Bruce Armstrong’s Sable Island (2010)
Lyall Campbell’s Sable Island Shipwrecks (1994)
Johanna Bertin’s Sable Island, Tales of Tragedy and Survival from the Graveyard of the Atlantic (2006)


Group 12-14 years: 500 – 1000 words
Group 15-17 years: 1500 – 2500 words

Prose may be fiction (story) or non-fiction (essay). Work will be judged for research excellence, writing style, and imaginative connection to Sable Island.


Submit your work in a Word or Google document to

The deadline for submission is Friday, March 13, 2020.


Winners will be announced on April 24, 2020.
The winning writing will be posted on the Sable Island Institute website.

Questions may be sent to Sable Island –

We are looking forward to reading your stories!

 See the winning entries in last year’s writing contest


Abandoned buildings at the Old Main Station in the early 1960s (photo provided by the family of Sid Forward).

East Light tower, no longer operational, but still standing on a high dune along the north side of the island.

Seals resting on the beach with huge waves crashing ashore.

A family band of Sable Island horses resting at the shore of a brackish pond.

Grey Seals gathered at the edge of the water along the north beach.

Great Black-backed Gulls paddling in shallow floodwater on the south beach.

A Common Tern with one of its chicks, nesting in patch of bayberry and wild rose.

Horses grazing after a heavy snowfall, with the Sable Island Station (2011) in the background.

Sable Island horses relaxing and snoozing in the warm sunshine of a calm winter day.

A stand of Seaside Goldenrod—abundant on Sable Island and an important food source for the island’s bees.

Please visit other pages and posts in this website for more photographs and information about Sable Island.



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