Henrietta Branford Writing Competition 2021. For young people who enjoy writing stories!

 Full details 

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition is now open!

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition is an annual competition for young people which runs in conjunction with the prestigious Branford Boase Award (BBA).

The competition is open to anyone aged 19 or under. Each year there are hundreds of entries from all over the UK, often thanks to the encouragement of teachers and school librarians, who encourage children to take part.

Deadline is Sunday 23rd May 2021


See site for more details 

Starter Paragraph

Here’s the Starter paragraph for you to continue with your own fantastic story:

I’d never normally cut through the cemetery but I was running late. In trouble late. Shoelaces not tied properly late. I skirt around the corner and straight through the archway. A flock of birds shoots up and into the air shouting at me as I run along the old path, gravestones leaning at a funny angle, making me feel as if I’m being watched. It used to be a monastery once, Mum had told me, and I shiver as I think of creepy old monks in hooded robes.

The world suddenly turns upside down. Sky where the ground should be. I’m flat out on the path, sore-headed, knees scratched. I curse as I stumble back to my feet, see the shoelace that tripped me snaking on the ground as if it were alive. And that’s when I see it. Out of the corner of my eye. Right by the bottom of the nearest gravestone.

(The starter paragraph doesn’t count as part of your entry, as far as story length is concerned)

So what are you waiting for? Get writing!

Don’t forget your story doesn’t have to be creepy or involve ghosts! It’s your story – you can take it wherever you want to: a rocket to the moon, an adventure underground, lost treasure, a comedy misunderstanding or a million and one other things! The only limit is your imagination and I can’t wait to see what you write! Good luck and get writing!

Each story can be any length up to 1000 words, should have a title and connect to the starter paragraph.  All entrants must live in the UK and be under 19 years of age. Entries will be judged by Prue Goodwin, consultant and lecturer in literacy learning and children’s literature. She says:

‘We will be looking for writing which shows imagination and originality. Use the starter paragraph as a guide rather than a directive – and make sure the story is as engaging and entertaining as possible. We are looking for stories that keep the reader wanting to know what is going to happen from beginning to end, are imaginative and unpredictable (don’t go for the obvious), and are written with a genuine reader in mind  ’.

Six winners will be invited to attend the Branford Boase Award celebration party in London in July, circumstances allowing. There they will meet Liz Hyder, author of last year’s brilliant winning book, ‘Bearmouth’ and the other authors shortlisted for the 2021 award as well as editors, publishers, agents, and other professionals in this field. They will receive a copy of each of the books shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and be able to have their books signed.

Details and how to enter

The closing date for the competition is Sunday 23rd May 2021

Please send your stories to: anne.marley@tiscali.co.uk

Please mark your entries Henrietta Branford Writing Competition 2021 and be sure to include your name, address, contact details and age. You can give it a title as well. If you like.

Teachers, if you are collating children’s entries, please include your name, the name and address of your school and your contact details as well as the names and ages of the young authors.

If you can send it as a Word document, that would be great, but otherwise you can cut and paste it into your email to me. Please do not send as a PDF.

Good luck!



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