Young Writers

Got the writing bug?

Discover competitions and opportunities that you might like to get involved with.

If there are any other competitions that aren’t listed here that we should know about, please send them to us at



Open to all primary school age children in 3 age categories: P1-3, P4-5. P6-7.  This year’s them is ‘If I could travel in time….’

All stories must be no longer than 500 words and the entries should be posted in the competition entry box at Waterstones, Newton Mearns along with the £1 entry fee. All entrants will receive a bookmark. Prizes include book vouchers, books and the opportunity to have the story e-published. The competition is sponsored once again by The Avenue Newton Mearns and Waterstones Newton Mearns.

Deadline: Friday 3 March



Each year, the Live Deliberately Essay Contest invites youth ages 14-21 from around the world to respond to a selected quotation from Henry David Thoreau, reflecting on how his words and ideas are still alive and relevant in their lives and in the world. The 2016-2017 Contest will have three age groups: 14-16, 17-18, and 19-21. One winner will be identified in each age group and will receive a $250 cash prize, plus an autographed special edition of Walden.

Deadline: Wednesday 15 March

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The Red Chair is based on acclaimed Scottish performer Sarah Cameron’s original book, a surreal ballad that lies somewhere between a Grimm’s Tale, an absurdist ghost story and a parent’s guide on how not to bring up children. In this workshop, Sarah will cover several different starting points linked to The Red Chair, including using stories, poetry, dialect and a playful approach to language. It is suitable for all levels of experience, for anyone interested in language, writing and finding their own unique way to express their ideas and experiences. Free but booking essential. Suitable for 14+.

Workshop: Saturday 18 March, 13:00 – 14:30

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The acclaimed awards, created and sponsored by the award-winning musical WICKED in association with the National Literacy Trust, are delighted to announce that Strictly Come Dancing star, author, award-winning journalist and former Labour MP Ed Balls has joined the judging panel, alongside ITV News Arts Editor Nina Nannar and the acclaimed performance poet and writer Laura Dockrill. Author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon books, Cressida Cowell, returns as Head Judge for the third consecutive year, together with long-standing judges Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust and Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of WICKED.

The awardsare separated into six categories, for entrants between the ages of 5-25. They allow young people from across the UK and Ireland to enter a piece of writing on a theme or subject of their choice. Young people are free to submit entries written at home or at school, and teachers are encouraged to enter writing on behalf of their pupils.

Deadline: Monday 27 March

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The Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition is open to writers worldwide aged over 16 years, published and unpublished. Stories entered for the competition should be 1,500 words or less and can be on any topic.

A team of dedicated readers assists the selection process with Alexander McCall Smith making the final selection of the winner and the runners-up. Eligible entries will also be considered for the new Isobel Lodge Award for New Scottish Writing.

Deadline: Friday 31 March, 2017

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Submit to our What's Your Story Magazine! Locks, doors, mysteries, homes, computers, pianos, emotions, chains of islands, maps, music, cryptography – the word key unlocks worlds of potential. But what does it mean to you? Get creative, crack out your brilliant ideas, and send us your work exploring the theme of keys!

Deadline: Monday 24 April

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Judges Alice Levine, Holly Bourne and Nikesh Shukla want your short stories! The award is open to all young people aged 14 to 18, who live in the UK. All you have to do is create a story of up to 1000 words on any topic that shows real imagination and creativity. The winner will have their story broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and receive a personalised mentoring session with an author to help develop their writing skills and five shortlisted writers will be given a guided visit around BBC Radio 1 in Broadcasting House.

Deadline: 17.00, Friday 21 April

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The Edinburgh Robert Louis Stevenson Club and Edinburgh Napier University have for three years collaborated on running a competition which aims to inspire young writers in Scotland by asking them to produce a piece of creative writing which draws on the rich and rewarding legacy that Robert Louis Stevenson has left us in his works of fiction, poetry, travel writing and essays. Open to Fourth, Fifth and Sixth year pupils.

Deadline: Tuesday 25 April, 2017

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The Young Poets Network and The Poetry Society are asking young poets to create a new piece of work. Use the inspirational images provided to write a poem that encapsulates London, before, during or after the Great Fire. How will you evoke the sights, smells, and sounds that accompanied the devastation of the city? How could your poem recreate the emotions of somebody caught up in the chaos of the Great Fire? Open to young poets under the age of 25.

Deadline: Sunday 11 December

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This writing prize is open to young people aged 14 – 18 and while workshops will be being held across the country, you don’t have to attend one to take part! This year, the theme is Identity and the judges are looking for entries up to 1000 words long, in any format e.g. a journalistic report, an essay, a play script, a short story, a poem...

All entrants to the Orwell Youth Prize get the opportunity to receive personalised feedback on a first draft. 

Deadline for First Draft: Monday 1 May, 2017

Deadline for Final Draft: Monday 15 May, 2017

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Do you enjoy drawing, painting or writing? Are you a young person living in Scotland? If so, you may be eligible to enter a new wildlife art and writing competition. Entry is free and pupils in classes P4 to S6 (or home-schooled equivalent) from now until the summer of 2017 are eligible to enter. Winning entries will be used to help illustrate a new book called "Amazing animals, brilliant science!" which will show how DNA technology is being used to help protect Scottish wildlife.

Deadline: Friday 30 June, 2017

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Ongoing Opportunities



This is a chance for young people aged between 11-16 to suggest an idea for a story or report to BBC News - if you've got a great idea programmes like Radio 1's Newsbeat, CBBC Newsround and the Victoria Derbyshire Programme might come and make it with you and put it on the television or on the radio.

Whatever your story idea is they want to hear it - tell them why the subject matters to you and some suggestions about how you would like to tell it to a BBC audience .And don't forget the BBC tells stories in many different ways, including audio diaries, discussions, animation, video reports and short films which we share on their social media platforms.

Deadline: Ongoing

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Rife are looking for your ideas blogs, articles, videos, pictures and opinions. Rife magazine is yours and they want the content to come from you. It could be in any form you choose. Think about what young people 13-19 might be interested in and send the magazine a pitch.

Deadline: Ongoing

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Scottish Book Trust Young Writers Awards

The awards are currently closed for applications. You can find out more information about them here.

Annual Competitions

The Pushkin Prizes

If you're S1 or S2 you could attend, along with 9 other young writers, a five-day creative writing course at the Arvon Foundation Writers’ Centre near Inverness.


Monthly Competitions

Txt Lit
Write a 160 character microstory on your mobile phone and then text it in. It costs £1 to text a story though, so choose your words very very carefully!
Closing date: The last day of every month.

The John Byrne Award is a competition open to 16-19 year olds in Scotland supporting creative expression. Pick a set of values from their diagram, and craft a creative response to be uploaded to their online library. Creative writing & illustration welcomed. Each month, the best entry wins £100. All entries from the year are submitted to the annual John Byrne Award competition where the best entry wins £1000 and three runners-up win £500. All entries are eligible for all prizes and all entries will be considered for posting on the John Byrne Award social media pages.


Writing Groups

. Monday 6-7:30 at Fountainbridge Library (13 - 18 years); Wednesdays 6-7:30 at Central Library (18 - 25 years); Craigmiller Library (13 - 18 years); and Kirkliston/South Queensferry Library (13 - 18 years). Email


Other Writing Opportunities

Fleur Hitchcock's Story Adventure
Hot Key Books has launched ‘Fleur Hitchcock’s Story Adventure’. This free, interactive writing project is aimed at children aged 7-11 years. Help author Fleur Hitchcock write the sequel to SHRUNK!, The Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week. 

Kids on the Net
Submit your writing and it may go up on the website

Time to Shine Events
This national platform serves not only as a calendar of upcoming events for children and young people, but also highlights the breadth and depth of local, regional and national youth arts activity happening across Scotland.

You Write On
YouWriteOn's premise is simple: members upload opening chapters or short stories and the YouWriteOn system randomly assigns these to another member to review. 

More Writing Opportunities

Scribble: Traverse Theatre

The Scottish Poetry Library

Writer’s Forum Magazine


Writing Tips

Book Trust's writing tips for teens

Hot Key's writing tips

John Green on getting ideas

Jonathan Strachan's tips for writing a short story

Sally Nicholls on writing


Book-related websites for young writers

Booktrust Teenagers

Fiction Folio

Guardian Teen Books

Reading Rants

Teen Reads

Teens Can Write Too

Young Adult Book Bloggers Directory