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10 Writing Competitions for Children and Teenagers 2018

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by Gayle Beveridge (subscribe)
Gayle is an accountant. Shh – don’t tell. She thinks she’s a writer. Check out her short stories and nano fiction at www.ficklefiction.com/
Published January 8th 2018
Challenge your Childs Creative Core

Is your child a storyteller? Are they an avid reader itching to be an author? There is no easy road to getting published but there are a variety of writing competitions designed to encourage creativity in our young and to reward achievement.

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(Photo in the Public Domain by Master Studio via Pixabay)

Prompting your budding writer enter competitions will help them to set goals and reach targets while challenging them to improve their writing skills.

The selections below are just a few of the competitions offered throughout the year. 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.

January to March

1. The Hope Short Story Competition is run by the Brotherhood of St. Lawrence. Writers are encouraged to write about people's resilience in the face of poverty and disadvantage. This year the competition's high profile judges are Cate Blanchett, Quentin Bryce and Kate Grenville.

Website: https://www.bsl.org.au/events/the-hope-prize/
Age Range: Emerging Writer Under 18 years category
Story Length: 2,000 to 5,000 words.
Theme: Must convey the experience of people facing hardship in their lives.
Prizes: $500.
Entry Fees: Free
Deadline: 31st January 2018.

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(Photo in the Public Domain by 742680 via Pixabay)

2. The Young Ada Awards – Short Story Prize 2018 is part of the Williamstown Literary Festival. The awards are named after Ada Cambridge, an Australian writer in the 1800's.

Website: https://willylitfest.org.au/home/program/writing-prizes/ada-cambridge-writing-prizes/
Age Range: 14 to 18 year from the Western Suburbs of Melbourne.
Story Length: To 1,000 words.
Theme: Open.
Prizes: $250
Entry Fees: Free
Deadline: 5th March 2018
Winners Published: Yes.

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 500 words for a $25 prize
Young Adult (13 – 18 years) – Up to 1,000 words for a prize of $50
Theme: Open
Entry Fees: Free
Deadline: 13th April 2018
Winners Published: No

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(Photo in the Public Domain by pan xiaozhen on Unsplash)

4. The Future Leaders Writing Prize 2018 is run by Future Leaders, a philanthropic organisation focussed on leadership and future which seeks to involve, inform and inspire our youth. The aim of the Future Leaders Writing Prize is to encourage expressions and creative writing. The organisation also supports awards in leadership, justice and photography.

Website: www.futureleaders.com.au/awards/Writing_Prize_2018.pdf
Age Range: Year 11 and 12 Students
Story Length: 800 to 1,000 words
Theme: Fiction or Non-Fiction on any topic.
Prizes: $1,000 (Shared if more than one winner)
Entry Fees: Free
Deadline: 31st May 2018
Winners Published: Yes

5. The Get Writing Prize 2018 is offered by the University of Southern Queensland for both poetry and short stories. The aim of the competition is to encourage a passion for writing.

Website: https://www.usq.edu.au/bela/school-of-arts-and-communication/get-writing-prize
Age Range: Year 7 to 9 students and year 10 to 12 students.
Prizes: Non-cash prizes including Express Media memberships, Writers Tool Kits and Mentoring Sessions.
Entry Fees: Free
Deadline: 15th June 2018.
Winners Published: Yes on the University of Southern Queensland website.

6. The Flinders University Young Playwrights Award now in its 18th 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)
Prizes: $500.
Deadline: 1st June 2018.

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(Photo in the Public Domain by Merio via Pixabay)

7. The 2018 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: Australian secondary school students
Story Length: To 3,000 words.
Theme: Check the website in April 2018.
Prizes: (In 2017) $500 and other non-cash prizes
Entry Fees: To be advised.
Deadline: Opens in 2018 in April 2018. The deadline has not yet been announced but was in June in 2017.
Winners Published: On Express Media website.

July to September

8. The Boroondara Literary Awards now in their 20th year 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
Age Range, Story Length and Prizes:
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 $6000, 2nd $400 and 3rd $200.
Theme: Open
Entry Fees: To be Advised.
Deadline: 31st August 2018.
Winners Published: In the Boroondara Literary Awards Anthology.

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(Photo in the Public Domain by Tiểu Bảo via Pixabay)

9. 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: www.abc.net.au/heywire/competition/
Age Range: Australian Residents aged 16 – 22 living in a rural area.
Story Length: To 400 words.
Theme: Life outside the major cities.
Prizes: An all-expenses paid trip to the Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra in February 2019.
Entry Fees: Free
Deadline: 16th September 2018.
Winners Published: Produced for ABC Radio or the Heywire website.

Monthly

10. 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 Nanthapong Songsil 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? Encourage kids to be creative
When: All year
Where: Anywhere
Cost: These competions and many others are free to enter
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Your Comment
Thanks for this Gayle - do you know if there is a list like this for adults?
by Olga Junek (score: 2|245) 102 days ago
Great article Gayle!
by Chloe Doyle (score: 3|1347) 102 days ago
It is a great idea to encourage young people to write stories. Some of the prizes are pretty good to.
by Roger (score: 2|594) 102 days ago
This would keep the kids busy for a while.
by betty (score: 2|486) 102 days ago
Great article, Gayle
by Gerii Caulfield (score: 2|386) 91 days ago
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