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


What's Your Story


What’s Your Story? gives free creative writing support to any 13–19-year-old writers and illustrators in Scotland. We champion, showcase and encourage teenage creative efforts in literature, whatever form these efforts take. What’s Your Story? is run by Scottish Book Trust, and has been created with the help and advice of teen writers and illustrators.

Our online magazine has three themed issues per year. Submissions to each issue receive personal professional feedback from our editorial board and are considered for publication. We are proud to reflect Scotland’s teen creative scene by accepting any form of creative writing and illustration. Scripts, illustrations, comics, podcasts, videos, poetry, short stories and much more are accepted.

This is ongoing, join the story.

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The latest opportunities   


You’ve got the idea and the characters, but your story lacks flow and plausibility? A strong narative voice is essential in engaging the reader, but how does a writer find their unique voice? Come along to explore various techniques for finding the perfect narrative voice.

Deadline: Saturday 20 August 2016, 1:30pm - 3:30pm

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This winter Myths of the Near Future is calling all young writers, aged 16-25, to send writing that mocks convention. Writing that is proud, glorious and outrageous. We want stories and poems that challenge orthodoxies. We're told what not to eat, drink, enjoy or say. We want a Literature of rebellion. 

Poems - up to six entries
Flash fiction - up to six entries, up to 500 words
Short stories - up to 3000 words
Reviews - between 500-1000 words
Features - including interviews, opinions and political polemics, up to 1000 words 

Deadline: Thursday 01 September 2016 

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If the novel is like a panorama on life, should a short story be just a blink? Or can a snapshot capture whole worlds? You’ll be asked to bring along your favourite short story by a writer you admire, before we go on to look at where ideas come from, how you develop these, whose eyes you might tell your story through, and the techniques and perspectives you can use to give short fiction resonance and depth.

Free to all Highland residents aged 14 -25. 

Deadline: Saturday 3 September 2016, 1:30pm - 3:30pm

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To mark the anniversary of the creation of the vampire and the birth of Frankenstein, we challenge you to write your own ghost story for the chance to hear it brought to life by professional storytellers.  With Scotland’s rich history of folklore stirring the supernatural, it’s a natural fit to create some fresh tales for the tongue that will have your spine tingling.

Six winning stories will be told at the National Library of Scotland on Monday 31st October 2016, All Hallows’ Eve, as part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, when they will also be filmed.

Maximum Word Count: 1200 words

Please keep in mind that the stories should be written to be heard, rather than for private reading.

There is no age category for this competition, which is open to all – please do not submit your age with your story.

Deadline: Monday 05 September 2016 at 17:00

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This journalism workshop explains the basic skills needed to write for newspapers. There will be an opportunity to ask questions about journalism and find out about the latest opportunities in media training and careers.

Free to all Highland residents aged 14 – 25.

Deadline: Tuesday 06 September 2016, 4:00pm - 6:00pm

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A door opens, a door shuts. In between you have had a glimpse: a garden, a person, a rainstorm, a dragonfly, a heart, a city.’(Sylvia Plath.) How do we ‘glimpse’ our own lives, as if for the first time? Experience the thrill of the unknown, in our own backyard? Join tutors Caroline Bird & Karen Campbell to explore new ways of seeing, new ways of writing, and hidden doors.  Through group workshops and one-to-one sessions, the tutors will help you hone your writer’s eye, and experiment with how best to get your ideas on the page.

Free to all Highland residents aged 16 – 25.

Deadline: Monday 19 September - Saturday 24 September 2016, 5:00pm - 10:00am

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This workshop will provide an introduction to the principles of illustration. Mairi Hedderwick will demonstrate her particular methods and examples of other illustrator’s style and interpretation. Participants will gain the opportunity to discuss and experiment with materials and techniques. Please bring a piece of writing that you would like to illustrate: a poem, short story, favourite novel  or something you have written yourself. You’ll then have the chance to experiment with rough layouts before working towards final art.

Basic materials are provided ie paper/pencils/rubbers/ pens/ felt tips/watercolour/ poster paint. Participants can also bring their own particular favourite materials.

Free to all Highland residents aged 12 -25.

Deadline: Saturday 24 September 2016, 10:30am - 12:30pm

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Catriona will be reading from her series of dystopian novels for young adults, The Pretty Learning, and discussing the most effective techniques for writing stories of this kind. You’ll also get the chance to develop your own stories.

Bidh Catriona a’ leughadh bho na nobhailean aice, An t-Ionnsachadh Bòidheach, agus a’ bruidhinn mu na dòighean as eifigeach bhith cruthachadh nobhail de sheòrsa. Gheibhear cothrom obrachadh air na sgeulachdan agaibh pèin cuideachd.

Free to all Highland residents aged 12 -25.

Deadline: Tuesday 27 September 2016, 4:30pm - 6:30pm

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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.

Adult category (14+ years) judged by Wayne Price. Prize £50 book tokens
Children’s category (8-13 years) judged by Caroline Clough. First prize £10 book tokens plus a goodie bag kindly provided by Waterstones.

Deadline: Wednesday 26 October 2016 at 12:00

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Young writers with an interest in history are invited to submit entries to The Young Walter Scott Prize, the UK’s only creative writing prize dedicated to historical writing.

Your stories can be inspired by any aspect of the past – an actual historical event, place or person. They can be written in prose of any kind – stories or an extract from a longer work, diaries, letters or reportage. The work can be set at any time in history – as long as it is a period before its author was born, in a world recognisably different from the present.

Entries will be judged in two categories – 11 to 15 year-olds and 16 to 19 year-olds. The winners in each category will be published in a special YWSP anthology, and the two winners will be offered a travel grant of up to £500 each to enable them to visit an historic site of their choice anywhere in the UK.

Deadline: Sunday 30 October 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.


Writing Groups

Writers Inc. Monday 6-7:30 at Fountainbridge Library (13 - 18 years); Wednesdays 6-7:30 at Central Library (18 - 25 years); Craigmiller Library (13 - 18 years); and Kirkliston/South Queensferry Library (13 - 18 years). Email


Other Writing Opportunities

Fleur Hitchcock's Story Adventure
Hot Key Books has launched ‘Fleur Hitchcock’s Story Adventure’. This free, interactive writing project is aimed at children aged 7-11 years. Help author Fleur Hitchcock write the sequel to SHRUNK!, The Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week. 

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

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

Fiction Folio

Guardian Teen Books

Reading Rants

Teen Reads

Teens Can Write Too

Young Adult Book Bloggers Directory