First Story National Writing Competition



Thank you so much to everyone who submitted entries. The winners will be announced on Monday 9th March as part of LSE’s Space for Thought Literary Festival.


The following is the original competition post: 

We’re inviting students from state schools across the country to submit 850 words or less of poetry or prose on the theme of ‘Home’ – what does home mean to them? Is it a place, a smell, a taste, a group of people?

This year we are delighted to offer the fantastic prize of a residential Arvon creative writing course for the winners. We also have an incredible opportunity for the winner, who will have their winning entry published online by The Sunday Times. We will also publish all 12 shortlisted pieces in a collected anthology, and hold a special prize-giving ceremony at LSE‘s Space for Thought Literary Festival in 2015.

The competition will be judged by five acclaimed writers: Anthony McGowan, Bernardine Evaristo, James Dawson, Kate Kingsley and Laura Dockrill.

The prizes:

  • An Arvon creative writing residential course for three winners (one in each Key Stage 3, 4 and 5) and three of their friends plus their teacher.
  • Winning entry published on The Sunday Times online.
  • All 12 shortlisted entries published in a collected anthology.
  • A prize-giving ceremony for all the shortlisted writers, their schools and the public at LSE in 2015 as part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival.
  • A teachers’ competition strand, with the winner gaining a place on the Arvon course.
  • The first 100 teachers to gather 50 entries within their school receive a £100 cash prize.

The details:

Teachers will run the first stage of the competition within schools, and then send 3 top entries to First Story before the deadline on Friday 5th December 2014. The first 100 teachers to get 50 entries within their school will be given £100, and £30 in book tokens will be given to every school to be awarded to the top three winners within each school.

Four stories from each key stage (KS3, 4 and 5, twelve stories in total) will be selected by First Story from the final entries submitted by each school, and then the five judges will pick a winner for each key stage. One winner overall will be selected, with the results announced in a prize ceremony at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) in early 2015 and the winning entry published on The Sunday Times online. The three key stage winners will each be offered a places on an Arvon residential writing course in March 2015. And on top of that, they get to invite 3 friends to come on the course too, and bring the teacher who entered their piece along with them.

Teachers can also enter themselves, in a separate contest: 4 top teacher pieces will be chosen, and a final winner, selected by the judges, will also get a place on the Arvon course.


All your questions about the competition are answered here.


Information pack – teachers interested in running the competition in their school can download information packs here, and students, please feel free to encourage your teachers!:
[First Story National Writing Competition Teachers’ Info Pack]

Downloadable poster – you can download and print the poster to put up around school here: [First Story National Writing Competition 2014 Poster].

Assembly presentation – we have created a short presentation for you to use in class or in assembly to launch the competition at your school. We hope it will help get your students excited, give them a bit more information and inspire them to get writing! You can find the presentation here.

Example poems and stories – for some examples to get you started, from our First Story students and other writers, see here.

Press release – First Story National Writing Competition 2014 Press Release

If you would like more information or have any questions, please email


Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.