story, science, technology and creativity

6 cool writing competitions for young writers (and more!)

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Fergus picks up writing tips from Dad

Fergus picks up writing tips from Dad

I love winning: ever since I was a tiny mite doing colouring-in contests, I’ve been a sucker for competitions, especially skills-based comps.

I’ve won a silver horseshoe (colouring-in), a tube of propolis toothpaste (colouring-in), and a stuffed kiwi (colouring-in). (Perhaps I should’ve turned professional?)

In the last couple of days I’ve been tweeting links to some ace writing competitions, for children and adults.

But tweets are easily missable, so here they are, all in a juicy list:

Young writers competitions

  • Finish what your favourite author started in the Usbourne writing competition and win a trip to London, free books, an author event, and free magazine subscriptions. Open to UK residents aged 14 or under.

Competitions for no-longer-young writers

  • Think you’re funny? Enter “The Sitcom Mission” and write a 15-minute comedy. No children, no animals. The top 16 scripts go through to a public knock-out final.


My theory is an old one: you’ve got to be in to win. Just by giving it a shot and sending in your writing, you get a chance to do and win all sorts of cool stuff.

I’ve had this philosophy a long time; it helped me score my first pay cheque as a writer (I think it was about 12 New Zealand dollars and I was about eight years old).

I wrote my first book, One Weekend with Killiecrankie, just so I could enter a competition. I didn’t even get shortlisted. But I didn’t give up.

Instead, I did some rewrites, then entered One Weekend into a Young and Emerging Writer competition.

Bingo! I won a week at Varuna House in New South Wales’ beautiful Blue Mountains, all expenses included. After a week working with Varuna’s Creative Director Peter Bishop and five other writers from around Australia, and months more work with my Varuna alumni mentor, Julia Lawrinson, I entered One Weekend into the same competition.

This time I was shortlisted, and won! The cheque was for a lot more than twelve dollars.

So what are you waiting for? Dig out your manuscripts, twiddle your pencils, scratch your heads and create some winning writing. See you on the shortlist!

Do you love writing? Are you searching for games, activities or cool Japan-related teaching resources? If your answer is YES, you should check out the resources section of my website. Have fun!

Author: cristyburne


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