2022 Henrietta Branford Writing Competition

Posted on Friday, February 11, 2022
Category: Get Creative

2022 Henrietta Branford Writing Competition

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition is for young people who enjoy writing stories!  Finish a story started by Branford Boase Award winner Struan Murray.

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition, the annual competition for young people which runs in conjunction with the Branford Boase Award, for debut writers, is now open and entrants have until Sunday 22 May to complete their stories.

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition aims to find and encourage writers of the future.  Anyone under the age of 19 can enter the competition.

Complete this story

Entrants are invited to finish this story begun by last year's Branford Boase Award winner, author of thrilling fantasy adventure Orphans of the Tide, Struan Murray:

Dad's gone out for the night and I'm alone at home for the first time. I should be doing homework, but I've got the television on, staring out the window into the garden. The moon paints the swaying oak tree silver, a cat stalks mice from its branches. There's fireworks crackling up on the hill; green, red, purple.

It happens all at once. The television stalls, paused on the newsreader. The oak stops swaying, the cat is frozen mid-pounce. A firework hangs in the sky. I stand up, search about, feel my heart race. I look out the window, and I spot it, beyond the bushes.

Something is moving in the garden.

Tips for entrants

Competition judge Prue Goodwin has this special advice for young entrants:  "After you have read the starter passage, take some time to think. This writing is not a piece of schoolwork, it won't be marked by the judges, just read to be enjoyed as a good story.

"Read the starter again. Don't go for the obvious. Remember, you are in charge of choosing how you carry on with your story. Your imagination can go in any direction you want. Try to make the final version as original as possible.

"The 'starter' is there to help you get going, so use it to take your ideas wherever you want. Ask yourself, 'Will my story grab a judge's attention? Make them laugh or cry?' Do you want to entertain, provoke or scare your readers? Your story can be exciting, funny, moving, adventurous, frightening - whatever you want. Enjoy writing, and good luck!"


Each story should be no longer than 1000 words, should have a title and connect to the starter paragraph. All entrants must live in the UK and be under 19 years of age.

The winners will receive signed copies of each of the books shortlisted for the 2022 Branford Boase Award.

Full details are available on the website: www.branfordboaseaward.org.uk

The Branford Boase Award recognises a debut children's author and their editor and was set up in memory of the outstanding children's writer Henrietta Branford and the gifted editor, Wendy Boase, editorial director of Walker Books. They both died of cancer in 1999.