Young Writers

Got the writing bug?

Discover competitions and opportunities that you might like to get involved with.

If there are any other competitions that aren’t listed here that we should know about, please send them to us at


The latest opportunities 


With acclaimed poets Liz Berry and Michael Symmons Roberts at the helm as judges, Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is once again on the search for the world’s most exciting new poets aged 11-17.

Last year the Award recieved entries from 7,603 young poets from a total 78 countries. All poems must be in english and be the original work of the author and not have been previously published or won another competition. 

Deadline: Friday 31 July 2015

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Founded in 2006 to mark the centenary of the former Poet Laureate John Betjeman’s birth, the Betjeman Poetry Prize attracts around 3,000 entries per year from across the UK. The competition aims to foster creativity in young people whilst discovering and encouraging the next generation of British poets. We also procure funding to send as many professional poets as we can to visit pupils in schools.

The winning poet receives £1000 (£500 for the poet and £500 for their school or local library). Further prizes for the runners up and highly commended entrants. All prize winners are invited to an awards ceremony at St Pancras station, on National Poetry Day, 8th October 2015, where they will meet the judges and read their poems out loud.

Deadline: Friday 31 July 2015

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Changing hearts and minds is the theme of our very first writing competition for young people aged between 14 and 17. We want you to compose a short story or poem which explores this theme in relation to the lives of LGBT people in the UK. You may want to write about the challenges still faced by the LGBT community or maybe you'd like to explore how society can help to improve the experiences of LGBT people.

Winners receive: One person in each category will win 150 pounds of book tokens and will have their poem or short story published on The Guardian Children's Books website for everyone to see! Two runners up in each category will win 50 pounds of book tokens.

Deadline: Sunday 09 August 2015

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All forms of the language are equally acceptable, from the classical cadences of the sixteenth-century Makars and MacDiarmid's literary Scots, to the Doric of the north-east, the everyday speech of Burns country and the south-west, the distinctive voices of the Northern Isles, and, not least, the witty, irreverent, demotic of Scotland's cities."

There is no theme this year. The poems (up to three from each entrant) can be in any form, from sonnet to free verse, with a 30-line maximum.

Entries, printed on A4 paper with name and contact details on the back, should be sent to Lesley Duncan, c/o The Herald, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB, to arrive before September 1.

Contestants in the junior categories should add their age and the name of their school. Entries may be emailed to with the same information included.

Deadline: Tuesday 01 September 2015

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The poem can be about anything to do with light. It can be about the sun or the stars, about a fire, a candle, a firefly, a light bulb or maybe even a lamppost.

Before you begin, have a think about where light comes from, what it can do, how it makes you feel and the ways it can be useful. You may want to look at some pictures and photographs to help you.

The poems can be short or long, funny or serious. They can come in the form of a shape poem, a riddle, a list poem, a personification poem or something else - it’s up to you!

Your poem doesn’t have to rhyme. It’s more important to choose your words carefully and include interesting ideas that will make your poems really shine out.

Deadline: Monday 30 November 2015

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Write a final scene for your own imagined version of Brave New World. This should NOT be a dramatised scene of the book’s actual ending. Instead it should be a scene (no more than FIVE minutes) created from your own imagination that takes place either BEFORE or AFTER or as an ALTERNATIVE to the book’s existing conclusion.

This Creative Project is open to aspiring writers of all ages.

All submissions will be published online here. The overall best ten submissions – as judged by writer Dawn King and producer Jenny King – will be invited to take part in a very special, one-day, playwriting workshop*, led by renowned writer and actor Nigel Planer

PLUS, if you submit before 7 September 2015, you may ALSO be in the running to have your scene given a professional rehearsed reading on stage at one of the show’s eight touring venues.

Deadline: Thursday 31 December 2015

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Scottish Book Trust Young Writers Awards

The awards are currently closed for applications. You can find out more information about them here.


Annual Competitions

The Pushkin Prizes

If you're S1 or S2 you could attend, along with 9 other young writers, a five-day creative writing course at the Arvon Foundation Writers’ Centre near Inverness.


Monthly Competitions

Txt Lit
Write a 160 character microstory on your mobile phone and then text it in. It costs £1 to text a story though, so choose your words very very carefully!
Closing date: The last day of every month.


Other Writing Opportunities

500 Words - BBC Radio 2

Have you written a super fantastic short story? Do you want to enter the Chris Evans Breakfast Show's 500 WORDS competition? Brilliant! If you're aged 13 and under (as of 30 May 2014) and have a cracking story to share, enter to win BBC Radio 2's 500 Words contest. Winners will receive piles of books for themselves and their schools and will have their stories read by celebrities at the grand final. Find out more and enter here.

Fleur Hitchcock's Story Adventure

Hot Key Books has launched ‘Fleur Hitchcock’s Story Adventure’, a free interactive writing project running between 21 January and 13 May 2013 aimed at children aged 7-11 years, to help author Fleur Hitchcock write the sequel to SHRUNK!, The Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week. 

Creative Enterprise Fund
Want to get into the creative industries? Do you have an enterprising idea or project? The Creative Enterprise Fund can offer awards of up to £200 for individuals or £750 for groups of three of more young people, where two thirds of any group are aged between 15-22.

World’s longest poem

Help poet Gez Walsh create the world’s longest poem!

Kids on the Net
Submit your writing and it may go up on the website

You Write On

YouWriteOn's premise is simple: members upload opening chapters or short stories and the YouWriteOn system randomly assigns these to another member to review. 

Other Writing Opportunities

Everybody Writes

Scribble: Traverse Theatre

The Scottish Poetry Library

Writer’s Forum Magazine


Writing Tips

Hot Key's writing tips

John Green on getting ideas

Jonathan Strachan's tips for writing a short story

Sally Nicholls on writing


Book-related websites for young writers

Booktrust Teenagers

Cuckoo Quarterly

Fiction Folio

Guardian Teen Books

Reading Matters

Reading Rants

Teen Reads

Teens Can Write Too

Young Adult Book Bloggers Directory