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Our 2015 winner!

Congratulations to Alexander Boxall, age 12, from Eastbourne. You are the National Young Writer of 2015.

FIRST PRIZE £500 of books for your school and a family trip to Disneyland Paris! 

Congratulations to the 9 runners-up:

Robert Wilsea, age 11, from Alysham

Thomas Brady, age 14, from Cheltenham

Ted Fox, age 8, from Longbridge

Ashley Ellison, age 12, from Bradford on Avon

Shereena Witts-Williams, age 12, from Wembley

Oliver Laxton, age 8, from Grundisburgh

Haneen, age 11, from Ruislip

Amelia Halifax, age 7, from Burton-on-Trent

Juno Sharrock, age 13, Portland

Judged by best-selling author, Jonathan Meres, said:

"I know you’re probably all expecting me to say something about how incredibly high the standard of entries was and how impressed I’ve been with the quality of the writing. Because that’s the kind of stuff that judges always say. But I’m afraid that’s exactly what I am going to say. Well, I’m not afraid to say it. I’ve got to say it. Because it’s absolutely true. The standard of stories really has been exceptionally good, which on the one hand has made for some very entertaining reading for me, but on the other hand has made the task of choosing just one overall winner extremely difficult and frankly, almost impossible. But there can, as they say, only be one winner and so it gives me great pleasure to announce that 1st place in The National Young Writers Award 2015 goes to....That’s a wrap, by Alexander Boxall. Using some wonderfully descriptive and spine-tingling language, Alexander manages to convey a feeling of foreboding and suspense in a remarkably short space of time and still manages to pull off a cracking and most unexpected twist at the very end, that I doubt anyone will see coming. I certainly didn’t. So congratulations, Alexander. And well done to everyone else who entered, too. Whatever you do, keep on writing!”

That's a Wrap

by Alexander Boxall

Softly, silently, under cover of darkness, the gently lapping waters of the nearby, meandering stream, swelled. The level rapidly rising, its width, broadening. In blackened skies, only spears of moon beams pierced the gathering clouds. They bore witness to the rapidly increasing danger to those living in the isolated Mill cottage. Danny, his sister Hannah, dog Archie and their Mum had moved into their new home, a week earlier than planned. Mum said, she had made a helpful arrangement, we were too excited to ask what she meant. Semi-circular stone steps, which led to the front door, were hewn from the long since discarded Mill grinding stones. Double arched wooden front doors swung open on rusted, wrought iron, arrow shaped hinges. Beyond the mill house, were endless outbuildings. Some constructed from flint, others from wood. Most were in a seriously ramshackle or derelict state, now all held together by moss and a prayer! So much potential, thought Danny, to house all the pets he had longed to own. What better place for a budding Vet to start his menagerie of ducks, hens, lambs and ponies? This was their perfect ‘forever’ home. On a bright winter’s morning, the views from Danny’s window stretched over a rolling patchwork of farmland to the distant horizon. However, this night, as Danny closed his bedroom curtains, he could scarcely see the ground below there appeared a dark and unpredicted change in the weather. Jumping into bed, Danny pulled his duvet over his head, “a bad storm looming”, he thought as he snuggled down, eyes wide, ears listening hard. Rain and hail beat against the now rattling window panes. The aged wooden Mill wheel creaked and groaned and, after almost a century of turning, several loosened slats clattered loudly in the wild winds. Eventually, from staring into the blackness, his eyelids closed. Gusting, howling winds roared through every crevice of their house. Diagonally falling rain pounded the ground. Metal framed windows, long in need of repair, finally weakened by the relentless beating wind sent shards of glass across the room. Startled by the sound of breaking glass, Danny woke to his room filled with blue and white flashing lights. In panic, as he called for his mum, for Hannah, for anyone to help, he leapt from his bed, stumbling over his incomplete Lego models on the rug. His cries seemingly unheard, he peered through the broken window. A mix of rain and tears blurred his view. Above, a hovering helicopter turned away into the black night sky. Its bright searchlight diminished to a distant speck, its blue tail lights now barely visible. “and cut!”. The film crew gave a spontaneous round of applause. Hannah and Mum cheered, Archie bounded to smother his beloved friend in wet nosed kisses. “Brilliant job” boomed a commanding voice. It continued, “So glad your mum let us return to finish our filming Danny. We just needed that final rain scene. Hope you forgive us for not letting you in on our plan.”

Since launching seven years ago, tens of thousands of children have battled it out to be crowned the National Young Writer of the Year. Last year the competition attracted over 14,000 young writers from across the nation and this year’s theme of ‘Strange Events & Peculiar Happenings’ is anticipated to attract more entries than ever before.  Children are encouraged write no more than 500 words and tell stories inspired by their most peculiar dreams to strange events that they have seen on the news.

Previous judges of the creative writing competition have so far included some of the UK’s most prolific authors, like Cressida Cowell, Liz Pichon, Andy Cope and Alan Durant and this year’s judge is none other than author of the hugely popular The World of Norm series of books, Jonathan Meres. A former stand-up comedian, he has won a Time Out award for comedy and uses that comedic flair in his writing with great success, with The World of Norm being a best-selling, household favourite with children, teachers and parents up and down the country.



After great success last year, Explore Learning is excited to announce the 7th Annual National Young Writers’ Awards for children aged 5-14. This prestigious competition has been designed to inspire children to write creatively and to reward talented young authors across the UK. This year, the competition is being judged by Jonathan Meres, author of the immensely popular ‘The World of Norm’ series of children’s books.

To support children with their competition entries, Explore Learning will be offering all local schools and libraries free creative writing workshops.

Creative Writing Assemblies (Free)

This session is designed to fit within your scheduled assembly time but can be held at any time during the day. Each session is made up of activities designed to encourage pupils to think about descriptive writing and the ‘Stange Events & Peculiar Happenings’ theme. The sessions are flexible depending on your requirements, and can last from 15 minutes to 40 minutes.

Creative Writing Class Workshop (Free)

These 60 minutes writers' workshops are run with one class at a time and can be held in your classroom, or at our local centre. They are held after your morning break or after lunch periods. The workshop is suitable for years 3 - 6 and will focus on developing descriptive writing techniques and prepare the children to write a story of their own.

You are more than welcome to book an assembly with a larger group whilst also booking a workshop with one of your classes that you feel may particularly benefit from this more focused workshop.

To book in a Creative Writing assembly or workshop, please contact your nearest centre from the list below. Spaces are limited.




"The children really enjoyed it and were delighted to take their work home.  There was a good level of scaffolding involved that meant that even those with the poorest writing skills could still be involved."

V. Marsland, Head of Key Stage 1, Whitby Heath Primary School  


"The children were all highly motivated throughout the workshop.  This was because of the relevant nature of the task, an element of competition and good teaching."

Year 6 Teacher, Chidham Parochial Primary School