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2020 Henrietta Branford Writing Competition


The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition, the annual competition for young people which runs in conjunction with the Branford Boase Award, is now open.

One of the most prestigious of UK children’s book prizes, 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.

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition aims to find and encourage writers of the future, something Henrietta Branford was always keen to do.

Anyone under the age of 19 can enter the competition.

Entrants are invited to finish this story begun by last year’s winner, author of I Am Thunder and 2020 World Book Day author Muhammad Khan:

My heart is a firecracker, my legs like twin rockets. I’m late for school and running faster than I ever have in my entire life. Fears of getting slapped with a detention (and Mum going mental) spur me on. Breathlessly, I propel myself through the school gates, surprised that nobody is on gate duty. Weird. Guess I must be later than I thought…

Sneaking in through a fire exit, I nip along corridors as silent as a ghost, glancing through the zoetrope of open doors. Every single classroom stands as empty as tomb. Where is everyone? Just as I begin to panic, I hear an eerie sound.

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. Entries will be judged by Prue Goodwin, consultant and lecturer in literacy learning and children’s literature. She says: ‘We will be looking for writing which shows imagination and originality. Use the starter paragraph as a guide rather than a directive – and make sure the story is as engaging and entertaining as possible.’

Six winners will be invited to attend the Branford Boase Award celebration party in London in July. There they will meet Muhammad Khan and the authors shortlisted for the 2020 award as well as editors, publishers, agents, and other professionals in this field. They will receive a copy of each of the books shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and be able to have their books signed.

The closing date for the competition is Friday 24th April 2020.

The photo shows last year’s competition winners (Rachel Byrne aged 13 years, Rosa Johnson aged 11 years, Sonya Mendias aged 12 years, Libby Mercer aged 12 years, Vranda Radia aged 12 years, Ben Robotham aged 11 years) with the 2018 Branford Boase Award winner Mitch Johnson.

Full details are available on the website: