Short Story and Poetry Competitions for Young People

512px-Hammer365_070_295_Pen_and_Print_(4425571355)Do you enjoy writing? Do you have stories and poems zipping around in your imagination, just waiting to burst onto paper? Have you ever dreamed of having a story or a poem published?

Why not have a go at entering a story or poetry competition? It is a lot of fun, and can also help to improve your writing skills.

There are lots of National and International story and poetry competitions available for you to take part in. Here are a few suggestions for budding writers and poets under 16 years of age.

BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words short story competition is open to anyone 13 years old or under – it’s a great competition to take part in, but you’ll need to write quickly as the closing date is 26th Feb 2015. You can investigate further at the following web address:

The Small but Mighty Big Easter Writing Competition is for children aged from 7 -15 years old who want to have a go at writing an Easter story. This competition closes on 1st April.
Details at:

The Inkhead Short Story Competition is for stories of 1000 words or under on one of the following themes: Dangerous Diana’s Downfall, The Spy At No. 10, Welcome to the Hacienda, Astronaut Adventure, or Who’s Laughing Now. The competition is open to 7-16 year olds, and closes on 1st April. Details at:

The 8th Annual Junior authors Short Story International Writing Contest is for stories on any subject written by people aged between 9 and 21 years old. Closing on the 30th June, the competition is broken down into a variety of age ranges. Details at:

Remember, when you enter any competition, to make sure you read all the rules. Check you have understood all the presentation guidelines, that you do not submit an entry that is too long or too short for the competition, and that you have entered the right story or poem to the correct place.

Good luck!

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Dr Kathryn Bates is a graduate of archaeology and history. She has excavated across the world as an archaeologist, and tutored medieval history at Leicester University. She joined the administrative team at Oxford Open Learning twelve years ago. Alongside her distance learning work, Dr Bates is a bestselling novelist, and an itinerant creative writing tutor for primary school children.

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