National Young Writers Award

Author Cressida Cowell

Author Cressida Cowell

Budding young writers get their pens at the ready as this year’s National Young Writers’ Awards has launched. The competition, organised by Explore Learning is now in its fifth year and will be judged by best-selling author, Cressida Cowell, writer of the world famous How To Train Your Dragon series, which inspired the hugely successful DreamWorks movie.

Children aged 5 to 14 from all over the country will be invited to write a 500 word short story on this year’s theme – “Around the World”. The competition launches on Monday 15th April and the closing date is Monday 3rd June. It is absolutely free to enter via or picking up an entry form from your local Explore Learning centre and the winner will be awarded with their prize of a trip to Disneyland Paris for their whole family – and £500 worth of books for their school – presented by Cressida Cowell in June.

How To Train Your Dragon

How To Train Your Dragon

Cressida actually won a similar writing competition when she was nine years old and says that it inspired her to go on to become one of the UK’s best loved children’s authors.

Cressida says: “I’m delighted to be involved in this year’s National Young Writers’ Award. Writing in itself is quite intimidating so competitions like this give children confidence in themselves. When I won the writing competition I was just nine and it made me think, ‘I could do this one day’ and appreciate that I was actually quite good at it.”

She adds: “It is so important to encourage children to write stories and think creatively – especially when the time for children to write their own stories and explore their creativity in an uninhibited way is being squeezed under the national curriculum.”

“There are many jobs where writing is very important so if we can inspire children to love writing early on – and have confidence in themselves – they will be inspired to keep going and write their stories down. Children need to realise that all writers began somewhere and this could be the perfect opportunity to start!”

Explore Learning, who are organising the competition, provide English and maths tuition to children aged 5 to 14. They have 77 centres located across the UK and will be running free workshops with local libraries, schools and community groups to inspire children’s love of writing.

Carey Ann Dodah, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning says: “We’re very excited about this year’s National Young Writers’ Awards and anticipate it to be bigger than ever before. There will be regional winners selected and each child who enters will receive a certificate celebrating their efforts. Cressida and the team will be judging the entries on their creative approach, ingenuity and use of descriptive language – and of course taking into account age.

“Many children have a gift for writing and it’s so important to nurture this from an early age to build up confidence, and most importantly, enjoy it.”
Last year’s winner was seven year old Jamie Reger from Surrey who took first prize with his story, “The Black and White Bear”. You can read his story at

Currently over 20,000 children attend Explore Learning. Each session is tailored to a child’s needs and Explore tutors work with children in a very low ratio (the maximum ratio is 1:6), ensuring the right balance between individual support and independent learning.

Explore Learning will be running free workshops with local libraries, schools and community groups to inspire children’s love of writing and encourage them to get involved in the competition.
For more information about Explore Learning visit

Posted by Tracy Thomas


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