story writing competition
The Explore Learning Writers’ Awards
For the past twelve years, Explore Learning have been inspiring children to write, from the young authors in the making to those a little more reluctant.
The competition for 2020 has now ended, Greg James has his reading glasses on and will be judging our winner – keep an eye out on this page or on social media to find out more!
How to get involved
What is the competition about?
We’ve all been through a lot this year, but we’ve also all had an opportunity to spend more time together and find out more about ourselves as people. About what makes us magical.
We’re inviting children across the UK aged 4-14 to pen a 500-word story around the theme of ‘Hidden Talents’. Everybody has a talent, anyone can be a writer.
Deadline to enter – 28th October 2020
Our guest judge: Greg James!
Introducing legendary Radio DJ, presenter and children’s author
Greg James as the official judge!
Greg has co-written the incredible series – ‘Kid Normal’, a laugh-out loud adventure story of Murph Cooper, who comes to realise that he doesn’t need an extraordinary super power to be cool.
Greg understands that talents come in all different shapes and forms, so when we were looking for our 12th year Explore Learning Writers’ Awards judge, we couldn’t think of anybody better for this year’s theme, ‘Hidden Talents’.
“Hidden Talents is a brilliant theme for this year’s Explore Learning Writers Awards. Whenever I meet young readers, I love finding out what secret skills or knowledge they have. Our characters in the Kid Normal series are full of surprises and I’m always amazed at how wild and fearless our reader’s imaginations are too. My advice for this competition is to let your mind run wild, there’s no such thing as an idea that’s too silly or fantastical. Writing is one of the most enjoyable things you can do with your brain, so… have fun!”
– Greg James
We’re delighted to announce that this year’s theme is ‘Hidden Talents’.
Why have we chosen this theme?
- We see it as a way to bring out some positives from the experience of lockdown.
- Being at home more during the lockdown period, without the opportunity to attend school, meant that children from all over the UK were likely to have spent their time doing different things to normal, and may have found a hidden talent along the way!
- Perhaps you were encouraged to pick up a musical instrument, write a story or maybe you have just been getting better with household chores and helping out your family.
- We want to champion the fact that anybody could be sat on an amazing ability, they just perhaps haven’t uncovered it as of yet!
What are we looking for?
Whilst spelling, punctuation and grammar are of course important, Explore Learning Writers’ Awards were invented to encourage children from across the UK to be creative.
We want you to hang up those bugbears that come with trying to perfect a piece of writing, and instead let your imagination run wild. We’re not looking for the best spelling bee, or the most efficient proof-reader. We’re looking for storytelling talent, a narrative that grips us and for an incredible hidden talent to be discovered by your character!
Looking for writing inspiration?
Once your imagination kicks in, your creative flow will be unstoppable!
You might need to believe your friends and family when they tell you that you are great at something or think about things that you love doing or things that come naturally to you.
It’s time to unearth your hidden talent by trying new things! You may be surprised at what secret skills you possess. Maybe you can speak multiple languages or ride a unicycle!
Top tips to get started
Your story can either be fictionally about yourself, or you can create an inspirational character.
For example, you could tell us a story about a spaceman whose talent is baking cherry pies that grant wishes!
Create a mind map
with words or pictures
to show all the talents
that you have.
Think about what makes
a talent special and unique
to you or your character?
How could you use
this talent to create
Your chance to win a tech bundle worth over £2000
With the help of our guest judge Greg James, we will be selecting 1 winner from each group: KS1 (P2-3), KS2 (P4-7) and KS3 (S1-3). From these 3, we will select the overall winner of the Explore Learning Writers’ Awards.
Each Key Stage winner
An iPad – 10.2-inch, Wi-Fi, 32GB,
Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard for your iPad
PLUS £250 each towards their very own experience day
The Competition Winner of Explore
Learning Writers’ Awards will
An additional £750 towards an experience day of your choosing.
A 13-inch MacBook Pro
A surprise school appearance from a very special guest
PLUS £500 worth of books for your school!
All entries will also get a certificate to congratulate them on their participation, signed by Greg James himself!
Calling all teachers!
A chance to win £500 worth of books for your school!
We are inviting all schools to take part in the Explore Learning Writers’ Awards this year. Whilst we are currently unable to offer workshops due to Covid restrictions, we are continuing to offer the opportunity for one of your pupils to win £500 worth of books for your school plus a surprise virtual assembly hosted by a very special guest.
Why get involved?
- Great for inspiring even the most reluctant writers
- Gives your class an alternate way to express themselves through story writing
- A chance to share some positives after the challenging year they’ve faced so far.
How to get your school involved
All pupils have to do is enter their 500-word story online by the 28th October for a chance to win incredible prizes!
Don’t worry, we’ve got your school covered with all the resources you will need. And they’re completely FREE!
Meet our previous winners
2019 Winner – Farrah
Congratulations to a 9-year-old Farrah Lucas from Haslingfield Primary School was named the Explore Learning Writer of 2019!
The Haslingfield Primary School pupil was surprised in a school assembly by non other than TV star, author, dancer and singer, Alesha Dixon who judged the competition. Alesha and the team from Expore Learning presented her with first prize – a family trip to Disneyland Paris! Farrah’s school was also awarded £500 worth of books for all the students to enjoy. Farrah won The Explore Learning Writers’ Awards 2019 with her beautiful, emotional story titled ‘Masking the Problem’.
2018 Winner – Mia
Congratulations also to 8-year-old Mia Falatoori from Churchfields Junior School in London who was crowned the winner of our National Young Writers’ Awards 2018!
David Walliams, our 2018 judge, said, “I picked Mia’s story because it really made me laugh. I love funny stories and this is one of the funniest pieces of writing I have read in ages. The images that are painted in your head when you read it are hilarious – I only wish I had written it myself! I am sure this winning writer will be a big success and a wonderful writer for children one day if she wants to be!”
Mia penned a hilarious tale titled ‘The Mum with the Toxic Bum!’