Find the answers to questions you may have about our creative writing competition

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1. Who can enter?
The competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man aged 16 or over. Unpublished writers will be judged in two categories 1) 16 to 25 year olds and 2) adults aged 26 and over

Anyone involved professionally in the competition (employees of The Children’s Society and the judging panel, and family members of both) cannot enter and we are only accepting entries from unpublished writers. 

A published writer is anyone who has previously written a novel published under a valid ISBN. The exceptions to this are for writer applicants who have either been published (i) as part of an anthology; (ii) by a not-for-profit publisher; (iii) over ten years ago; (iv) in an entirely different genre to the material being submitted; (v) via self-publishing; and/or (vi) published in digital/e-book format only.

What to enter

2. What should I write about?
We’re accepting fictional entries on the theme of 16 and 17 year olds. Check out inspiration and ideas on what to write about on this theme.

3. How long should the title of my story be?
Story titles should be short and memorable (max 10 words).

4. Is there a word limit?
Stories should be no longer than 2,000 words. Your story title is not included in the word count. There’s no minimum word count.

5. What genre(s) are eligible?
We’re considering fiction only. Fictional entries can be in any genre (eg romance, thriller, young adult) and written in any perspective (eg first person, third person).

6. Can I submit published work?
No, you cannot submit a story that has been published online or in print. This includes self-published writing or anyone with a publishing deal in place.

7. Can I submit work written by someone else?
No, your story must be your own original work.

If you’re a parent, teacher or otherwise entering stories written by young people on their behalf please email for advice.

8. Can stories be written in any language?
Stories must be written in English.

Submitting your story

9. How do I enter?
Fill in the online form with your contact details and story title, attaching your file to the form. Take care to enter the correct email as this is how we will be in touch with you about the competition.

10. When is the closing date?
We are accepting entries until the closing date of Friday 31 August 2018 at 5pm. Any stories received outside this period will not be eligible. Please allow yourself enough time to submit your story before the deadline.

11. Can I submit my story by post or email?
We’re only accepting stories submitted via the online form. This will close on Friday 31 August 2018 at 5pm.

12. Can I submit more than one story?
No, writers can submit one story only. We can’t accept second or later entries from the same person. We’re not accepting stories submitted in bulk or on behalf of someone else by agencies.

If you’re a parent, teacher or otherwise entering stories written by young people in bulk or on their behalf please email for advice.

13. Is there a cost to enter?
No, it is free to enter.

14. Can I change my story after it is submitted?
Once submitted, your story can’t be changed or replaced. Please think carefully before entering your story and make sure you upload the correct version.

15. How will my contact information be handled?
Please see our privacy policy for more details.


16. How will stories be assessed?
We will assess stories against these criteria:

1) fit with theme
2) story concept and premise
3) structure and pacing
4) style and tone

A panel of staff from the charity will assess all stories against the criteria and prepare a shortlist. The competition judges will then assess the shortlisted stories against the criteria to decide the winners and runners-up. Find out more information about the competition judges. The staff panel and judges will only receive a copy of your story and its title. The judges are unable to give feedback on individual stories or enter into individual correspondence. The judges’ decision is final.

17. What are the prizes?
We'll offer the winners in both categories (16-25; 26+) expert advice and feedback from a top literary agent and writing gifts. Young winners will receive exclusive advice and feedback with literary agency Darley Anderson and adult winners with David Higham Associates. The runners-up will receive a selection of writing gifts.

If selected, we will ask you to accept your prize within 30 days. We are unable to offer cash alternatives to prizes, and prizes are not transferable to another person.

18. When will winners be announced?
We will announce winners and runners up by 31 October 2018.


19. Where will my story be published if I am a winner or runner-up?
We will publish the stories selected as winners and runners-up on our website and social media channels. You retain copyright for your story and grant the charity a non-exclusive license to publish the story (in whole or in part) in print or online.

20. Will I be asked to take part in promotion?
The winners and runners-up will receive reasonable requests by the charity to take part in promotion, including in the media, to celebrate their achievement.

Register for competition tips and updates today

We hope that aspiring writers will take this opportunity to have their writing read and rewarded by writing experts.

For more information please read the competition terms and conditions.

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