Creative Writing Competition 2023

The winners!

Well done to everyone who entered. This year’s guest judges – authors Manjeet Mann and William Hussey – joined us at the prize-giving ceremony and awarded prizes to the competition winners.
We’re in the process of planning our next events, so please let us know your feedback for the 2023 competition (form below).

List of prize-winners

Theme for 2023 : A Brighter Future ?

The theme for this year’s competition is A Brighter Future ?

  • Prompts and a booklist to support the theme and provide ideas for all year groups can be found at
  • Promotional posters and flyers with writing prompts will be sent to all participating schools
Entering the competition

The Competition

In 2023 there will be 5 age groups in the competition:

  • Group 1: Years 1 & 2
  • Group 2: Years 3 & 4
  • Group 3: Years 5 & 6
  • Group 4: Years 7 to 9
  • Group 5: Years 10 & 11

To enter

  • Write a short story up to 500 words (primary) and 750 words (secondary)
    • may also be an illustrated story or comic book
  • Write a poem or verse story up to 25 lines (primary) and 35 lines (secondary)
  • Poems and stories may exceed this word count/line limit by up to 100 words/5 lines
  • Poems and stories must follow the competition theme

Pupils may enter both the short story and poetry categories. The competition deadline is Friday 31st March 2023. Work must be submitted by this date.

Submitting work:

  • The competition is now closed!

    Good luck to everyone who entered. This year’s guest judges – authors Manjeet Mann and William Hussey will be reading the stories and poems over the next few weeks. Winners and their schools will be contacted in May and the list of winners will be posted on this website.

Register for the competition (Schools only)

Parents/ students entering via the Idea Stores do NOT need to register

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 2023. Just £40 to subscribing primary schools to cover administration)
  • email letting us know who is to lead on running this event in your school.
  • use the form below to book your free writing workshops!

The Arts Council grant also enables us to publish a book of the winning entries.

Author Workshops

Fully-funded writing workshops for schools

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

All of the author workshops have now been booked.

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.
  • An author or poet can also work with just 1 group for the visit duration as a more advanced workshop for older pupils – let us know in the additional details box in the booking form.
  • 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

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

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.

Author workshop booking form

Opening Times

Opening times

Please note that the PDC building is currently closed for access. The library will not be open during this time but staff can be reached via email or the web form.

We will update the website once the library re-opens which we expect to be from Monday 4th December.

Term time Monday – Thursday: 9am to 5pm

Fridays and holidays: 9am to 4:30pm