About the Tower Hamlets Creative Writing Competition

The Schools Library Service is proud to have been running the Tower Hamlets Creative Writing Competition since 2011. Since then we have been able to expand it to primary schools and it has become a much anticipated event in the school calendar, made possible by continuing subscriptions to the Schools Library Services lending packages.

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Winners of the 2018 competition with judge Beverley Naidoo

This Spring term competition is open to pupils in all year groups. There are two categories – short story and poetry for each key stage, and the short story entries can be submitted as an illustrated work. In previous years we have liased with the Syrian Non-Violence Movement to allow children from Syrian schools to participate, bringing a global dimension to the competition.

More recently the competition has received support from the Arts Council, enabling us to run fully-funded writing workshops in schools – led by professional children’s authors and poets.

DSC_0015 croppedA well-known writer is recruited to judge the entries and present the prizes at a special award ceremony in June on the 30th floor of the Clifford Chance Building, Canary Wharf, and run a creative writing workshop for the winners. Previous judges have included Alan Gibbons, Pete Johnson, Kim Slater, Josh Lacey, Geraldine McCaughrean, Catherine Johnson, Sufiya Ahmed and Beverley Naidoo.

Why take part?

The aim of the competition is to raise standards in writing, encourage wider reading, and to encourage a love of writing as a lifelong activity. The competition themes encourage discussion and exploration of complex issues and ideas, and teachers have commented on how the writing process has engaged pupils of all levels – improving their self-confidence and their confidence in reading, writing and expressing themselves.


  • January : launch of the competition and announcement of the theme
  • Spring term : authors and poets work with children in schools (subject to funding)
  • March : Competition deadline at the end of March
  • May : Winners are informed
  • June : Prize-giving


Sign up via your school’s SLA Online portal (Tower Hamlets Schools). Contact the Schools Library Services for more information about this event.

  • Tel : 020 7364 6428
  • email : schoolslibraryservices@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Opening Times

Opening times

Term time Monday – Thursday: 9am to 5pm

Fridays and holidays: 9am to 4:30pm

Christmas holiday

23rd December to 1st January : CLOSED