You write – competitions

I’ve been meaning to start a new competition one of these days – to celebrate the new year by getting you guys to write a story. Or at least, the start of a story. It’s still a plan, but in the meantime, here are two (count ’em – two!) writing competitions by COOL PEOPLE, with COOL PRIZES that are really worth entering.

The first is by Liz Kessler, who’s an author I really like. I managed to get an advance copy of A Year Without Autumn, her last book, and I loved it. It has a very clever time travel element to it, some lovely characters and an aspect of the plot which will probably save lots of lives of readers and their friends and family. Literally. Really. It’s a life-saving book. And her new novel, North of Nowhere, is out next week.

Liz Kessler

The competition is run by the Guardian and you can find it here. You have to be 8-13, and you can win a digital camera and £100 worth of books for your school.

The second competition is one I’m enormously fond of. It’s the annual 500 Words competition, run by Radio 2, in association with the Hay Festival and the Telegraph. (What is it with national newspapers and cool writing competitions? I wonder if The Times runs one too. Oh yeah, it does …)


I like this comp for so many reasons. First of all, I was in Hay about three years ago when a flash Rolls Royce drove by and I was assured that Chris Evans, the Radio 2 DJ, was inside. He was visiting Hay for the first time and nobody knew what he would think of it.

Well, he loved it, just like I did. He loved it so much that he launched this competition for young writers, advertising it on his show, and last year it got over 30,000 entries. So go Chris. Woo! (The winners get their stories read out by celebs like David Walliams at Hay on Wye in the summer. But more than that, the shortlisted people will know their stories have been read by the likes of Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Frank Cotterell Boyce, Charlie Higson and Richard Hammond, who’s chairing the judges this year. How cool is that?)

I also like it because it’s 500 words, and that’s a fabulous number of words for a story. Difficult to squeeze it all in there, but wonderful if you can. Try it. You’ll see.

And finally, I like it because it’s for young writers, like Liz’s. As before, you have to be 13 or under (although there’s no lower age limit for this one).

So go on. Have a go. And if you’re too old for these ones, see what other competitions are out there. You never know what might happen.

After all, I entered a writing competition, and look where it got me.



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