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



StoryCon 2016

Are you a teenager living in Scotland? Check out your new free conference for writers, illustrators and creators, designed for teens, by teens.

StoryCon features workshops for 13–19-year-olds on comics-making, crafting imaginary creatures and realistic relationships for your stories, Gaelic creative writing, spoken word, and much more. StoryCon will also host panels on fanfiction, building a creative scene, and surviving as a writer. Come to be inspired, share ideas and come have a great time!

  • Sat 11 June & Sun 12 June
  • The Prince’s Trust: Wolfson Centre, Central Glasgow, G5 9JP View on map
  • Register between 10:00am and 10:30am, finish by 5:00pm
  • For 13-19 year olds at any stage of engagement with creative writing & illustration.

On both Saturday 11 and Sunday 12, we’ll be hosting a full day of workshops, panels and seminars including:

Comics-making, Surviving As a Writer, Gaelic Prose & Poetry, Vlogging, Fanfiction, Zine-making, Creating Imaginary Creatures, Spoken Word…

Deadline: Thursday 02 June 2016

Fee: Free, but with an initial £3 booking fee that will be returned

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The latest opportunities  


Go into the wild world without intention or expectation. See what happens. Like any wild thing, the poem will come to you, or it won’t. If a poem does grow out of your explorations, I’ll be very keen to read it. It might be a list poem, a sound poem, or a poem which you film. It might be written in the sand. It might be a series of poems as small as plant cells (almost!) that I need a magnifying glass to read. 

Prizes for winning poets will include publication on the Young Poets Network, a much-coveted Young Poets Network notebook, book tokens and other assorted poetry goodies. 

Some of the shortlisted poems will also be incorporated into the Calling Tree project, and read and performed in a special spoken word and music event on Friday 1st July. 

This competition will be judged by Jen Hadfield. It is open to poets up to the age of 25, from anywhere in the world. You can send a page poem written down, or a performance poem as a video or as an audio file. Send as many poems as you like.

Deadline: Sunday 29 May 2016

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We want to encourage Doric speakers of all ages to set pen to paper and help us to celebrate meadows and their amazing wildlife. The entries will be judged anonymously and first, second and third-place prizes awarded for each age-group category. The winners and first two runners up in each category will also be invited to perform their poems at the Meadows Celebration at Loch of Strathbeg on 2 July.

Entries for young writers competition are in 2 categories: 11 and under and 12 to 18 years.

Deadline: Monday 30 May 2016 at 00:00

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Are you aged 12-18 and a gamer? Want to help devise and develop a brand new game?

Craigmillar Library, in collaboration with Scottish Book Trust Reading Champion Claire Askew, are launching an ambitious new project. We're looking for game enthusiasts aged 12-18 to help us build our very own story-based game, which we'll launch during Book Week Scotland in November 2016.

We don't know yet what the game will look like: we don't know if it's a card game, a board game, a RPG… we want everything to be led by YOU. If you come along to our weekly Game Club*, you'll get to tell us what you think the game's story should be, what rules and mechanics it should use, and how and where it should be played.

Date of EventMonday, June 6 at 5:30 PM - 7 PM

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Where do story ideas come from? How does a writer use experience, observation and imagination to create a story? The world is heaving with inspiration for writers. This workshop will encourage experimentation with that abundance of material. 

Free to all Highland residents aged 12 -18.

Deadline: Wednesday 08 June 2016, 4:00pm - 5:30pm

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Poetry is all about making words memorable, and this workshop will offer ideas and tips for turning turn your poem into ‘a little machine for remembering itself’. Through discussion of examples and some fun exercises, John will provide you with the necessary tools and clockwork for building from scratch a poem that really works. Suitable for those new to writing, as well as those with some experience who are keen to improve their technique. 

Free to all Highland residents aged 14 – 25.

Deadline: Thursday 16 June 2016, 4:30pm - 5:30pm

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Is an original plot possible? Does a plot evolve in the writing, or must a writer begin with a clear plan? This session will investigate the importance of plot and its possibilities, and suggest different ways of telling stories.

Free to all Highland residents aged 12 -18.

Deadline: Wednesday 22 June 2016, 4:00pm - 5:30pm

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Through workshops and one-to-one tutorials, we’ll be here to help you test out techniques and approaches that will get you to your best, most imaginative writing. We’ll look at characters and dialogue, writing imagined and remembered scenes and scapes, and we’ll be talking about how to build (and use) images in what you’re writing.

Free to all Highland residents aged 14 -19.

Deadline: Monday 18 July - Saturday 23 July 2016, 5:00pm - 10:00am

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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.

The winning poet receives £1000 (£500 to the individual, £500 to their school/library). Further prizes for the runners up and highly commended entrants.

Deadline: Sunday 31 July 2016

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The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is for poems written by any young poet aged 11-17. Since it began 15 years ago the Award has kick-started the career of some of today’s most exciting new voices. It is the largest competition of its kind and is free to enter. 

Each year 100 winners (85 Commendations and 15 Overall Winners) are selected by a team of high profile judges. The winners receive their awards at an annual prize-giving event on National Poetry Day.

DeadlineSunday 31 July 2016

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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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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 03 September 2016, 1:30pm - 3:30pm

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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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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’, 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. 

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