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 


Creative Scotland’s 'Nurturing Talent – Time to Shine Fund' aims to support young people aged 14-20. 

Are you interested in developing your skills in one of the following areas?

  • Drama
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Film
  • Visual Arts
  • Literature
  • Digital Arts

Sometimes creative talent needs a little bit of financial help to reach its full potential. Anyone aged 14-20, living in Scotland. Individuals can apply for up to £200 in funding while groups of two or more people can apply for up to £750. 

The next deadlines for applications in 2015 are: Sunday 18 October 2015; & Sunday 13 December 2015

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Poetry By Heart Scotland is a competition which gives students in S4-S6 the opportunity to learn poems by heart and say them aloud. Image of the wonderful 2014-15 finalists from Hutchesons Grammar, Bishopbriggs Academy and Crieff High with Liz Lochhead. 

Poetry By Heart Scotland has a pyramid structure: class heats are optional if you have lots of keen reciters but all participating schools have an official school competition. School competition winners participate in a regional heat (usually within the same local authority). The winners of all the regional heats take part in the grand finals early in 2016.  Minnesota Poetry Out Loud image by Nic McPhee.

Students have to memorise and perform two poems - one written before 1914 and one after 1914. One of the poems must be by a Scottish poet or a poet resident in Scotland. You can find the permitted competition poems free at or on this site at our Poetry By Heart Scotland pre-1914 and post-1914 tags. Why not choose one poem from each website?

Deadline: Schools Competition Friday 09 October 2015

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Get inspired by four fabulous images from the Special Collections Centre’s rare books and archives and send us your 500-word short story. The Children's and Adult competitions will be judged by prize-winning authors who will narrow the entries down to special commendations for each image and an overall competition winner for each age category. The winners will be announced during Book Week Scotland (23rd-29th November). All competition entries will be published on the Special Collections Centre website.

Children's competition (ages 8-13)

  • Prize: £10 book tokens plus a goodie bag kindly provided by Waterstones
  • Judge: Caroline Clough

Adult competition (ages 14+)

  • Prize: £50 book tokens
  • Judge: Wayne Price

DeadlineWednesday 28th October 2015 at 12:00

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The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition, the biggest children’s writing competition in the UK, is looking for a confident and passionate young judge with a demonstrable love of books to join the prestigious judging panel and help choose the winner. Entrants must submit a 1-3 minute video about the book they would most like to persuade others to read.

The winner of the young judge competition will have six weeks to read approximately five shortlisted titles before joining the other judges at an exclusive members club in London for a day of judging in spring 2016. The prize also includes: (i) travel and accommodation for the winner and their parent/guardian to the London judging day, (ii) four VIP passes to the Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2016 and (iii) a library of fifty Chicken House books. Four runners-up will also receive a library of fifty Chicken House books each.

Deadline: Friday 30 October 2015, at 17:30

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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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The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize invites entries from writers aged 16 or over (at the time of submission) of any nationality, living anywhere in the world. Short Stories, up to 4,000 words (not including the title) and poetry up to 50 lines (not including title or lines between stanzas) ar accepted. The theme is open.

Fee: £5.00 per entry

Deadline: Thursday 31 December 2015 at 00:00

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Who is your favourite character from English literature and why? 

 Whoever it is, if you’re a sixth-form student studying English Literature (including Scottish Highers), then you now have an opportunity to make your case. The prize this year is £500, a full set of Connell Guides and your essay published! Two runners up will receive a £100 gift card to spend at Connell Guides.

Deadline: Friday 19 February 2016

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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

Time to Shine Events
This national platform serves not only as a calendar of upcoming events for children and young people, but also highlights the breadth and depth of local, regional and national youth arts activity happening across Scotland.

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. 

More Writing Opportunities

Everybody Writes

Scribble: Traverse Theatre

The Scottish Poetry Library

Writer’s Forum Magazine


Writing Tips

Book Trust's writing tips for teens

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