Creative Writing Competition 2022

The Tower Hamlets Creative Writing Competition is an annual event for schools in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets for students aged six years to sixteen.

  • Pupils in years 1 to 11 may enter
  • Categories for short stories and poetry

It has been run by Tower Hamlets Schools Library Service since 2011 with the aims of promoting wider reading and literacy, and to encourage young people to express themselves through the written word. Research carried out during the 2020 competition showed that pupils participating in the competition and in the author workshops benefited by gaining confidence in their writing ability and developing greater insight into the issues raised by the competition themes

Prize-winners at Clifford Chance with authors Helen Dennis and Adam Baron who were the competition judges.

We’d like to thank Clifford Chance for being amazing hosts again for this event.

The Prize winners!

Below are the prize-winners, listed by category and prize

  • For corrections to names, please email jacob.turner@towerhamlets.gov.uk as soon as possible to ensure that the correct spellings are used on certificates and in the book. If prize-winners are moving schools in September, please get in touch to let us know where to post their book.
  • The prize-giving evening took place on Monday 20th June at Clifford Chance, Canary Wharf. Copies of ‘In this, our city’ will be sent to the prize-winners and schools in the autumn term 2022.
  • The judges’ decision is final and correspondence will not be entered into.
Category Pupil name Pupil school Prize
Year 1 and 2 Poetry Astrid Wiseman Stoate Globe Primary 1st and best in school
Year 1 and 2 Poetry Safa Zaouchi Osmani Primary 2nd
Year 1 and 2 Poetry Ameera Ibrahim Halley Primary 3rd and best in school
Year 1 and 2 Poetry Sajida Kazi Mayflower Primary Commended and best in school
Year 1 and 2 Short Story Thomas Wilson St Luke’s Primary 1st and best in school
Year 1 and 2 Short Story Roma Nijran Gatehouse Primary 2nd and best in school
Year 1 and 2 Short Story Mariam Gibran Hermitage Primary 3rd and best in school
Year 1 and 2 Short Story Ruby Goundar Globe Primary Commended
Year 1 and 2 Short Story Thurston Luff Globe Primary Commended
Year 1 and 2 Short Story Elleen Mohamed Osmani Primary Commended and best in school
Year 1 and 2 Short Story Amalia Haigh Wellington Primary Commended and best in school
Year 3 and 4 Poetry Benjamin De La Portilla Dominguez St John’s Primary 1st and best in school
Year 3 and 4 Poetry Tate Franks-Kennedy St Elizabeth’s Primary 2nd and best in school
Year 3 and 4 Poetry Marwah Bouhamouch Osmani Primary 3rd
Year 3 and 4 Short Story Samia Hajera Rahman Halley Primary 1st
Year 3 and 4 Short Story Shanaaz Shahin Bangabandhu Ptimary 2nd and best in school
Year 3 and 4 Short Story Yusra Anwar Mowlem Primary 3rd and best in school
Year 3 and 4 Short Story Tanisha Yasmin Blue Gate Fields Juniors Commended
Year 5 and 6 Poetry Rida Rahman Hermitage Primary 1st
Year 5 and 6 Poetry Jadid Muhtadi Rob Clara Grant Primary 2nd and best in school
Year 5 and 6 Poetry Ayyub Rabbani Osmani Primary 3rd
Year 5 and 6 Poetry Madiha Ali and Rufaida Ahmed Blue Gate Fields Juniors Commended
Year 5 and 6 Poetry Priyota Rahman Clara Grant Primary Commended
Year 5 and 6 Poetry Marihah Ali Virginia Primary Commended
Year 5 and 6 Poetry Amiya Ali Blue Gate Fields Juniors Commended and best in school
Year 5 and 6 Poetry Hayley Brown Cubitt Town Jnr Commended and best in school
Year 5 and 6 Poetry Tahiya Ahmed * Marner Primary Commended and best in school
Year 5 and 6 Poetry Eliza Komur St Paul’s with St Michael’s Commended and best in school
Year 5 and 6 Short Story Zayd Ruslan Khan Hermitage Primary 1st
Year 5 and 6 Short Story Fernando Garcia-Conde English Martyrs 2nd and best in school
Year 5 and 6 Short Story Aimée Oliveira Harbinger Primary 3rd and best in school
Year 5 and 6 Short Story Bobby Sykes English Martyrs Commended
Year 5 and 6 Short Story Valerie Bello St Elizabeth’s Primary Commended
Year 5 and 6 Short Story Edie Graves Columbia Primary Commended and best in school
Year 5 and 6 Short Story Maryam Rahman St Annes Primary Commended and best in school
Year 5 and 6 Short Story Harlie Barthran St Mary and Michael Commended and best in school
Year 5 and 6 Short Story Geetika Singh William Davis Primary Commended and best in school
Year 7 – 9 Poetry Nada Bouharrat Central Foundation Girls 1st and best in school
Year 7 – 9 Poetry Syeda Hussain Stepney All Saints 2nd
Year 7 – 9 Poetry Sohana Abbas Stepney All Saints 3rd and best in school
Year 7 – 9 Poetry Charles Dutnall Morpeth School Commended
Year 7 – 9 Poetry Sarah Yusra Stepney All Saints Commended
Year 7 – 9 Poetry Etta Dickens Morpeth School Commended and best in school
Year 7 – 9 Short Story Frida Greer Central Foundation Girls 1st
Year 7 – 9 Short Story Sohana Abbas Stepney All Saints 2nd and best in school
Year 7 – 9 Short Story Mahdiya Mahasin Central Foundation Girls 3rd
Year 7 – 9 Short Story Ameera Sultana Central Foundation Girls Commended
Year 7 – 9 Short Story Saara Hassan Central Foundation Girls Commended
Year 7 – 9 Short Story Zainab Ahmed Central Foundation Girls Commended
Year 10 and 11  Short Story Christiana ikpekhai Stepney All Saints 1st
Year 10 and 11  Short Story Sadiah Siddiqa Central Foundation Girls 2nd
Year 10 and 11  Short Story Samiha Ahmed Central Foundation Girls 3rd
Year 10 and 11 Poetry Rubaiyat Mahmud Central Foundation Girls 1st
Year 10 and 11 Poetry Sahira Khatun Central Foundation Girls 2nd
Year 10 and 11 Poetry Kamiraa Uddin Central Foundation Girls 3rd

Meet the judges!

Helen Dennis

Helen is the author of the ‘River of Ink‘ and ‘Secret Breakers‘ series of books. She is a writer of adventure stories aet in the real world and which link back to myths and mysteries of the past. Helen led a number of workshops for Tower Hamlets schools during the competition and was the judge for the years 1 – 4 categories and the year 5 and 6 poetry.

Adam Baron

Adam Baron is the author of five successful novels including ‘Boy Underwater‘ and ‘You Won’t Believe This‘ and has, in his time, been an actor, comedian, journalist and press officer at Channel 4 television (as well as things he’s too embarrassed to mention). He now runs the widely respected MA in Creative Writing at Kingston University London.

Adam was judge for the Year 5 and 6 Stories and the secondary school stories and poems.

How we use your information

Personal information will be used to identify competition entrants and be shared with Tower Hamlets Schools Library Services Staff and competition judges (Full name and school only). The following personal information will be published in the anthology of winning entries (competition winners only) : Full name, School. Supplied emails will not be shared with any 3rd party and will not be stored beyond the duration of this event.

By submitting your work for the 2022 Tower Hamlets Creative Writing Competition, you grant the Tower Hamlets Schools Library Services permission to publish this work in print and in electronic form. We reserve the right to edit any work (writing or illustration) for spelling, grammar or composition. Entrants retain full ownership over their submitted work. Entrants may request that any work or personal information published electronically (online or as an eBook) be removed or edited, and may request that any work or personal information published in print be removed or edited for subsequent imprints.
To request changes to any information provided, please email schoolslibraryservices@towerhamlets.gov.uk<br />

 

Register for the competition

This section is for schools only. Parents/ students do not need to register separately

In order to enter the competition, receive posters, entry forms and flyers, and take advantage of these free author workshops, schools need to:

  • enter the competition by “buying” it via SLAonline (Creative Writing Competition 2022. Just £40 to subscribing schools to cover administration)
  • email jacob.turner@towerhamlets.gov.uk letting us know who is to lead on running this event in your school.
  • use the form below to book your workshops

The grant also enables us to produce a book of the winning entries.

Author Workshops

Fully-funded writing workshops for schools

Please note, all of the available workshops for schools have now been allocated. 

We are thrilled to announce that Arts Council England has again awarded Tower Hamlets Schools Library Service with a grant to enhance our annual Creative Writing Competition with author-led creative writing workshops for schools, Idea Stores and home-educated children.

Information about the workshops

Important information

The author workshops are intended to provide practical creative writing skills to your pupils (and teachers!) including structuring a story and character creation. The workshops will relate to the theme of the competition but the skills learnt can be applied to other projects and lessons.

How will a visit to your school work?

It is our intention to arrange in-person author visits rather than virtual visits.

  • An author will be able to work with up to 2 groups of pupils during the time allocated to their visit.
    These 2 sessions will be up to 50 minutes each and run one after the other with a short break in between.
  • The school should suggest a date or (preferably) a range of dates during which you can host your visit. We will match you with an author based on your requirements and their availability.
  • Workshops should take place from January to March (world book day week is likely to be booked up very early on)
  • Each group of pupils can be up to the size of one class
  • Workshops can be for all ages from year 1 upwards
  • Groups can be of mixed ages, although there shouldn’t be too wide a gap between these ages in order to ensure age-appropriate content

Virtual Workshops (optional)

If required due to Covid restrictions, we can arrange virtual visits (indicate this on the booking form). These will need to be hosted using the school’s Zoom/ Teams/ etc account and moderated by a teacher or member of school staff.

Booking Form

All funded workshops have now been allocated.

Idea Stores 

We are working with the Tower Hamlets Idea Stores to provide five workshops in public libraries between January and March. Dates and times to be announced.

If you have any questions, please email jacob.turner@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Poetry Slam Link!

Schools can also combine this competition with a performance poetry event! Give your pupils a confidence boost with a two-day intensive poetry workshop in association with the Poetry Society. This will prepare them for a half-day Slam performance where they’ll compete with other schools for prizes!

For more information see our Junior Slam page. The Junior Slam requires a separate registration.

 


Information for entrants

The competition theme : ‘In this, our city’

The theme is all about identity, our identity within the places we live, and finding the stories all around us.

You can interpret the theme in any way you wish. We’ve collected some possible ideas below.

Story choices

  • What genre and style do you want to write in? Genres include Adventure, Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Horror, comic book
  • Will the story be illustrated? If so, how will the pictures contribute to the storytelling?
  • Who are the main characters and what are they doing in the story?
  • Because we don’t have long to get involved in your story – how do you make the reader interested in the characters or their situations?
  • If it’s a poem, what sort of poem is it? Is it in rhyme, a narrative poem? Is it meant to be read aloud?

 Ideas for working with the theme

Story ideas that could be associated with the theme
Books, stories and poems related to the theme to inspire you!

What are the judges looking for?

Stories

  • An original approach to the competition theme
  • Good story structure (a beginning, middle and end)
  • Engaging and interesting characters

Poetry

  • An original approach to the competition theme
  • The power and passion of the poem!
  • Creative use of wordplay and style
  • Use of poetic forms and structure

Both

  • Something that the reader will remember
  • The writer’s personality and voice

What are the judges NOT looking for?

  • Spelling/ handwriting (as long as the work can still be read!)
  • Craft skills. Please don’t send stapled/glued/folded/hand-made books. We scan in every entry to send to judge, so anything stapled, glued or sewn cannot be sent Spend the extra time writing or drawing!
  • Exact word count – don’t worry if it goes over a bit

Hints for writers

  • Short stories still need a beginning, middle and end, but they don’t always need a conclusion – they can leave the reader thinking…
  • Read some short stories or picture books to get an idea of how to compress your writing and storytelling into the word limit
  • Write a story or poem that you want to write and be famous for, not what you think your teachers would expect you to write in class!

 Hints for illustrators

  • Winning entries are published in standard paperback format (roughly 13cm x 20cm) so you should supply artwork suitable for this size and shape of page (vital if you’re drawing a comic book story).
  • Illustrators generally draw the original art at least twice the size of the final print (especially important for comics).
  • The paperback will be printed in black and white, so any colour art will be changed to grey
  • Don’t trace, copy other writer’s characters or use online images or stickers – this is plagiarism and disqualifies you
  • If you’re using speech bubbles, read a range of comics and look at how they fit around the artwork. Make sure you leave enough space and that you know what needs to be written in each panel before you draw them.
  • Make sure that any artwork adds something that the writing couldn’t do on its own.
Writing resource links

Rules

All entries must be received by the Schools Library Services by 5pm on Friday 1st April 2022

Prize Giving: Monday 20th June 2022

Content

  • Entries must be appropriate to the theme!
  • Entries should not be adaptations of, or sequels to other writers’ or poets’ original published work (such as stories, comic books, games or films), however alternative versions of fairy tales/myths and legends will be accepted.
  • Entries must not use existing characters from published work (e.g. Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, Dennis the Menace, Harry Potter), including illustrations.
  • All entries must be the entrant’s own work, including all illustrations. All work shortlisted for a prize will be thoroughly checked and plagiarised writing and artwork will be disqualified.

Boring but important

  • Entries can be co-operative efforts. Any prizes will be split equally between the named entrants.
  • Entries without entrant’s full name, school name and year group and competition category will not be eligible for judging.
  • Each page of printed work should have the entrant’s name written clearly on it
  • Entries must be written or typed on one side of the page only
  • Work should be in black or blue ink or text on white paper
  • No decorative fonts unless they directly contribute to the writing/storytelling
  • If you are illustrating your work, any colour artwork will be converted to black and white for the printed book
  • We will contact all winners via their school (or parents/carers if home schooled) in May.
  • Work will not be automatically returned to entrants but can be collected on request after the competition closes. The Schools Library Services can take no responsibility for lost or damaged work.

 

Privacy notice

Commended and winning entries to be published in eBook and print formats. By entering the competition, entrants are giving permission for their work (including their name and school) to be published and distributed in these formats, and all supplied information including name and contact details to be held by the Tower Hamlets Schools Library Services. Copyright on poems and stories will remain with the author(s). Supplied information, including names and contact details, of competition entrants who do not win prizes will not be stored beyond the duration of the event.

By submitting your work for the 2022 Tower Hamlets Creative Writing Competition, you grant the Tower Hamlets Schools Library Services permission to publish this work in print and in electronic form. We reserve the right to edit any work (writing or illustration) for spelling, grammar or composition. Entrants retain full ownership over their submitted work. Entrants may request that any work or personal information published electronically (online or as an eBook) be removed or edited.

To request changes to any information provided, please email schoolslibraryservices@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Opening Times

During the summer holiday, please telephone to arrange a visit.

Term time Monday – Thursday: 9am to 5pm

Fridays and holidays: 9am to 4:30pm