News room: 5 Great Writing Competitions for Youngsters

5 Great Writing Competitions for Youngsters  by Jessica Barrah

If you’re looking for activities to keep your children occupied through the summer holidays, here are some competitions for young writers that they might like to enter! If these spark their imaginations, we will update you with more later in the year.

1. Young Writers Summer Competition

Details: What does summer mean to you? Share what you love or loathe about this time of year, or even a favourite summer memory in a poem. The Young Writers website has competitions to enter this poetry competition via schools, or as an individual. For more details about entering, click here.
Entry Fee: Free
Deadline: 25th August 2017
Prizes: Selected poets will have their work published and also be in with a chance of winning a Kindle Fire, with a selection of books for two runner-ups.

2. The Canterbury Tales Writing Competition

Details: A writing competition for original work inspired by the writing of Geoffrey Chaucer, open to school students around the UK, including home-schooled children. If the child is at school, their teacher/form tutor should also sign the entry form, as the prizes include money for the school as well as the student. For home-schooled children the prize is just for the student. There are three different age group categories. Choose one of the three options below:
a) Write a poem about a journey.
b) Write a short “beast fable” (like the Nun’s Priest’s Tale) which explores an important issue through animal characters.
c) Write a General Prologue entry for an imaginary pilgrim, based upon a modern day occupation. For example, “The Nurse”, “The Investment Banker” or “The Politician”.
The entries can be in verse or prose, and should be maximum 500 words.
Entry Fee: Free
Deadline: 31 January 2018
Prizes: There are various cash prizes for different age groups. For example, the first prize in the Junior section is £300 for the winning student, and £1000 for the school. Please see the website for more details.

3. The Young Walter Scott Prize

Details: Write a piece of creative writing of between 800 and 2000 words, inspired by any aspect of the past – an actual historical event, place or person. It just has to be set in a time before you were born – a time recognisably different from the present. You can write prose stories, poetry or drama. These can also be in the form of diaries, letters of reportage – whatever you think is best. Entries will be judged in two categories – 11 to 15 yrs and 16 to 19 yrs. All the details, and prize rules, are on the ‘How To Enter’ page.
Entry Fee: Free
Deadline: 31st October 2017
Prizes: The winners of each category will be offered a travel and research grant to further explore historical places in the UK, and an invitation to the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland, in June 2018, to receive their prizes from the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch. Two runners-up in each category receive a £100 book token, and all four winning stories are published in a special YWSP anthology book.

4. NUHA Blogging Prize

Details: An international blogging competition from the NUHA foundation established ‘as a platform to debate issues of education and development, and to provide an opportunity for authors to be published and to develop their self-confidence’. You will be judged on the quality of your argument and the originality of your ideas, rather than the quality of your English (if you are a non-English speaker) There are three age categories: Adult, Youth and Young Writer. Each category has a different writing task, so look that up on the website. Entries will be posted on the website, and family and friends can vote and comment on your writing.
Entry Fee: Free
Deadline: 15th October 2017
Prizes: Young Writers Prize of up to US$ 250 for those born between 2003 and 2007
Youth Prize of up to US$ 1000 for those born between 1999 and 2002

5. Small But Mighty Writers

Details: A writing competition open to international entries, with writing on any subject you fancy. For fiction there is a maximum word count of 1000 words. For poetry, there is a maximum of 15 lines. To submit an entry, use the form on the website, or send your work to and include your name, age, and a contact email address.There are two age categories, 7-11, and 12-15 years.
Entry Fee: Free
Deadline: 1st October
Prizes: Winner: A writing box filled with supplies, a certificate, and your entry published on the winners page on the website.
Two runners up: A small prize, a certificate, and an honourable mention on the winners page.

Good writing and good luck to any young people who enter these contests, and do let us know how you get on!

Further reading:

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Written by
Jessica Barrah
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Writing, Contests, Competitions, Young, Children, Kids, Teenagers, Short stories, Poems, and Blogs