Saturday, 16 May 2015

National Young Writers' Awards

I picked up this leaflet at Sainsbury's checkout the other day.

The closing date for entry to the competition is Friday June 5th June, 2015, so there isn't long left to enter - but you can upload your story on-line, which might save a bit of time. It's open to any child under the age of 14, resident in the UK. The task is to write a story of up to 500 words on the theme, 'Strange Events and Peculiar Happenings.'

A school can also enter.

This is the competition that gave me my start as a writer, though it's wearing a slight disguise. When I entered, over five decades ago, it was sponsored by The Daily Mirror (before that newspaper was bought by Cap'n Bob and became just another trashy mag.)

Now the competition's sponsored by some outfit called Explore Learning - and the first prize they're offering is a trip to Disneyland, plus £500 worth of books for your school.

My first book, cover by Errol Le Cain
I won the competition two years running, at 15 and 16 - and then went on to win a contract with Faber at 16. For the competition, I won a cash prize of £50, which seemed a vast sum to me. (It wasn't, even then.)

Personally, I wouldn't have wanted anything like a trip to Disneyland or anywhere else, then or now. Give me the cash! - and I'll decide how and when I want to spend it. Quite probably in the Shetlands or Outer Hebrides. Then and now.

But to each their own.

I post about the competition here, in case there are any young writers reading this - or any parents, aunties, uncles or grandparents of  young writers who might want to pass on the entry form.

Health Warning: 

Winning this competition could result in a life as a professional writer. You may want to go and do something healthier and better paid instead.

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Joan Lennon said...

Shetland over Disneyland any day! And you really do have an amazing history!

madwippitt said...

Talent will out! :-) Twice times winner! Did they ban you from having a third go, so the others had a chance? (And yes, £50 WAS a fortune. A Kings Ransom in those days!)

Susan Price said...

Thsnk you, both.

Well, fifty quid was more than I'd ever seen, but it wasn't that much! In fact, one of my uncles = the one who came from a narrow-boat family and was always going to horse-fairs - cashed one of the cheques for me from the money in his jacket pockets, so he could take the cheque away and boast about it for a while.

And, of course they banned me! - No, you couldn't enter after 16.

madwippitt said...

Sorry, but I need to disagree there ... I won a story writing competition at the less tender age of 17 and only got a fiver out of it. And when I sold my first short story a couple of months later they paid me £10.50. Going rate in those days. So £50 ... well .. wealth beyond imagining! :-) Evidently proper Prodigies get paid better LOL:-)

Susan Price said...

I stand corrected, Mad. Obviously, I was always a grumpy so-and-so.

I'm impressed and respectful about the £10.50 you were paid, at 17, for a short story. My prize was a wealthy national newspaper boosting their readership by being seen to be sweet to the kiddies. - But yours was proper, grown-up earning out in the real world! I've never been any good at selling short stories.