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8 Writing Competitions for Children and Teenagers 2020

Home > Melbourne > Books and Writing | Competitions | Fun for Children | Literary | Lists | School Holidays
by Gayle Beveridge (subscribe)
Gayle is a retired accountant and a photography enthusiast living on Victoria's beautiful Bass Coast. Gayle is passionate about writing and keen to showcase Aussie culture to a global audience. Gayle loves her family, dogs, sunsets, and chocolate.
Published November 28th 2019
Nurture the Storyteller in Your Child

Is your child an imaginative storyteller? Prompting your budding author, enter competitions will help them to set goals and reach targets while challenging them to improve their writing skills. Get them started with the selections below which are just a few of the competitions offered throughout the year.

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Image by Raphaël Jeanneret from Pixabay

Your children should review the website for specific requirements, adhere to the formatting guidelines and check spelling and grammar before submission. Reading past winning entries will give an idea of what the judges are looking for. It is advisable to plan ahead and commence entries early to allow plenty of time for revision.

So what are you waiting for? You might have the next J K Rowling or John Marsden closeted away in that untidy bedroom. Encourage them to have a go.

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Photo in the Public Domain by 742680 via Pixabay

January to March

1. The Young Ada Awards Short Story Prize 2020 is part of the Williamstown Literary Festival. The awards are named after Ada Cambridge, an Australian writer in the 1800's. Ada wrote more than twenty-five works of fiction, three volumes of poetry and two autobiographical works. Ada came to Australia with her husband and lived in Williamston from 1893 to 1909.

Website: https://www.willylitfest.org.au/2019/10/12/announcing-the-ada-cambridge-writing-prizes-open-for-submissions/
Age Range: 14 to 18 years
Location Restriction: Must live, study or work in Melbourne's western suburbs. Refer to the submission guidelines for included suburbs.
Story Length: To 1,000 words.
Theme: Something that matters to them in their world, whether it is love, friendship, discoveries, injustice or loss.
Prize: $250
Entry Fees: Free
Deadline: 29th March 2020
Publication: Winning and short-listed stories will be published in an anthology.

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Image by Анастасия Гепп from Pixabay

2. FAW Tasmania 2020 Nairda Lyne Award. Run by the Fellowship of Australian Writers in Tasmania this annual competition for children between 8 and 12 years old.

Website: https://fawtas.org.au/competitions/
Age Range: 8 to 12 years
Story Length: to 1,000 words
Theme: Open
Prizes: $100 and winner's name inscribed on a plaque in the State Library Launceston Branch. Hobart Bookshop voucher for the best Tasmanian entry.
Entry Fees: $5.00
Deadline: 31st March 2020
Winners Published: No

April to June

3. The Laura Literary Awards are sponsored by The Flinders News and Rocky River 'Riters creative writers group. They offer The Flinders News Prose Award in a number of age ranges. The Rocky River 'Riters group was commenced by the Rocky River Health Services in 1994. Its purpose was to enable rural people to express themselves especially during the trying times caused by periods of drought and rural decline. Entries are not restricted to the rural community.

Website: https://rockyriverriters.club/competitions/
Age Range, Story Length and Prizes:

Junior Primary (5 to 8 years) – Up to 500 words for a $15 prize
Junior (9 to 12 years) – Up to 800 words for a $25 prize
Young Adult (13 – 18 years) – Up to 1,200 words for a prize of $50
Theme: Open
Entry Fees: No entry fee for student entries
Deadline: 9th April 2020
Winners Published: No


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Image by Wilmer López from Pixabay

4. The Flinders University Young Playwrights Award now in its 20th year is the State Theatre's major award to encourage new writing talent. Winners will be given professional guidance to develop their work.

Website: statetheatrecompany.com.au/flinders-young-playwright-award/
Age Range: Junior (High school students)
At the time of writing the 2020 details were yet to be published. Check the website towards the end of 2019. You can subscribe to their newsletter from there to be advised as information becomes available.

5. The 2020 John Marsden & Hachette Australia Prize for Young Writers is an annual prize across the categories of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Website: expressmedia.org.au/programs/john-marsden-prize/
Age Range: 12 to 18 years
Story Length: To be advised but usually to 3,000 words
Theme: Check the website in April 2020.
Prizes: (In 2019) $500 and a book pack of young adult titles.
Entry Fees: To be advised.
Deadline: Usually June.
Winners Published: On Express Media website.

July to September

6. The Boroondara Literary Awards which have been held since 1999 are jointly run by the Boroondara City Council and the Rotary Club of Balwyn. The awards aim to inspire creative talent particularly in young people and to promote an interest in books and writing.

Website: https://www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/about-council/awards/boroondara-literary-awards
At the time of writing details for the 2020 awards have not been released. As a guide, the 2019 details are shown.
Restriction: Residents of Boroondara Only
Age Range, Story Length and Prizes A Guide from 2019:
Junior (In school years 5 and 6) 300 to 500 words for prizes of 1st $300, 2nd $200 and 3rd $100.
Middle (in school years 7, 8 and 9) 500 to 900 words for prizes of 1st $450, 2nd $300 and 3rd $150.
Senior (in school years 10, 11 and 12 of children aged 15 to 18 years) 900 to 1300 words for prizes of 1st $600, 2nd $400 and 3rd $200.
Theme: Usually open
Entry Fees: To be Advised.
Deadline: Generally August.
Winners Published: In the Boroondara Literary Awards Anthology.

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Image by smackmark0 from Pixabay

7. The Heywire Competition is an annual competition run by the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The competition invites young people living in rural areas to submit something about a unique aspect of their life. In addition to text entries, Heywire also accepts videos, photo and audio. Tips for a great entry are displayed on the website.

Website: https://www.abc.net.au/heywire/competition/
Terms and Conditions: https://www.abc.net.au/heywire/about/terms-and-conditions/
Age Range: Australian residents aged 16- 22 who live outside metropolitan Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide or Perth.
Story Length: To 400 words. (2019)
Theme: To be announced.
Prizes: An all-expenses paid trip to the Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra
Entry Fees: Free
Deadline: Usually September
Winners Published: Produced for ABC Radio or the Heywire website.

Monthly

8. The Write the World Monthly Writing Competition is offered by the Write the World community for young writers with participants from around 120 countries. Budding writers will need to check the website for the monthly topic and genre. The competition is unique as it offers participants an opportunity for feedback before making their final submission.

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Photo in the Public Domain by Master Studio via Pixabay

Website: https://writetheworld.com/for_young_writers
Age Range: 13 to 18 years
Story Length: This can vary. Competitions can be for stories, album reviews, essays, poetry, sports writing or almost anything else.
Theme: Check the website for current and upcoming competitions.
Prizes: USD 1st $100, Runner up $50 and Best Peer Reviewer $50
Entry Fees: Free
Deadline: Competitions open at the beginning of the month with final submissions mid to late in the month.
Winners Published: On the blog.
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Why? Challenge your child's creativity
When: 2020
Where: In your favourite writing space
Cost: Entry Fees vary
Your Comment
A good list Gayle. I've passed it on to a friend with teenagers.
by betty (score: 2|526) 6 days ago
The grand kids will enjoy this list.
by Roger (score: 2|643) 6 days ago
The grand kids will enjoy this list.
by Roger (score: 2|643) 6 days ago
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