We are delighted to announce PeCAN's Young Writers Competition! The winner will be announced at Petersfield Eco Fair on Sunday 14th July 2024, with prizes and publication in local print and radio.

You can choose between Fiction and Non-Fiction categories, but please ensure your entry is submitted to us by midnight on Sunday 23rd June.

Please read the terms and conditions of the competition and submit your entry on the form below.

Non Fiction

'Ten Minutes in Nature'

A piece of no more than 250 words that makes the reader long to share in your experience. Use all your senses to describe a special place - as wide as the South Downs or as close up as a bumble bee on a wildflower. Do say on the form if you have any photos or pictures, giving permission for PeCAN to use them if appropriate.

 

Fiction

'Green Flash Fiction'

A story of no more than 400 words - where climate, sustainability, rewilding, recycling are PART of the world, but not the WHOLE story. It could be one of the characters, the location, a theme. Have fun with this. Maybe it’s your best dramatic moment where nature or eco themes are featured: just be sure to make this clear. Perhaps a couple fall in love digging their allotment, or a child makes a grandparent’s tree special...

General Rules

  1. There will be TWO age categories: 7-11 years and 12-16 years. There will be a winner and runner-up in both Fiction and Non-Fiction categories.
  2. Entries must be online only [to be sent anonymously to judges] and the form can be found below.
    NOTE: if a parent or guardian does not fill in the entry form they must still tick the box to signal approval of the entry and use of any images
  3. The deadline is MIDNIGHT on SUNDAY 23rd JUNE - later entries will not be considered.
  4. ONE entry is allowed per category (Fiction / Non-Fiction) but you may enter one piece in each.
  5. Winners will be announced at the Eco Fair in the Children’s Tent, with prizes of a £25 book token for the winners and £10 for the runners-up, in each age category. One Tree Books are kindly sponsoring the Fiction prize with PeCAN supporting the Non-Fiction element, presented on the day by Head Judge Suzie Wilde with comments from the judges if they can’t attend.
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Non-Fiction Judge - Roger Morgan-Grenville

Roger Morgan-Grenville is a writer and campaigner on nature and regeneration. He helps run the charity Curlew Action, and in 2022 he walked 1,000 miles across Britain to meet the people restoring our nature. His latest book, The Return of the Grey Partridge: Restoring Nature on the South Downs was published in April.

Roger’s advice is: Be yourself. Be honest. Write what you genuinely care about.

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Fiction Judge - Barbara Henderson

Barbara Henderson is the award-winning author of eleven books. Her historical and eco-fiction is widely studied in schools and has won several prizes, including two Young Quills Awards from the Historical Association. She has just completed a year as Forth Bridge Writer in Residence. Barbara is based in Inverness in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland where she teaches Drama. She loves to help connect young people with the natural world, and with the past – her two chief obsessions!

Barbara’s advice is: Play with different ideas – your first thought is rarely the most interesting one. Choose interesting characters, or an unusual setting. Surprise me and take me to a viewpoint or place I didn’t know that I wanted to know about.

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Head Judge - Suzie Wilde

Author of Viking Trilogy and Guardian Book of the Month The Book of Bera, Suzie has an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing and now edits and teaches writing for all ages and genres. She presents Talking Books with Tim O’Kelly of One Tree Books for Shine Radio Petersfield and is a trustee of PeCAN with special interest in regenerative farming, soil and earthworms! She is usually walking the South Downs with two Labradors.

A Few Writing Tips

  1. Write freely and make sure to get everything you want to say down.
  2. Only then edit. Even in non-fiction, avoid unnecessary introductions and lengthy endings. Good writing is like a party: arrive late, leave early.
  3. One adjective is enough.
  4. If there’s speech, make it obvious who’s saying what, possibly with an action. We tend not to speak in full sentences, so it’s a good way to shorten length and make it more intense.
  5. Show, don't tell. It draws readers in, to have to decide what’s going on. Here’s an example: ‘I touched Nan’s initial, that she had cut in the oak tree’s bark when she was my age. And kept pressing, until I drew blood' is better than: ‘I cut myself on Nan’s initial and felt sad about her age/getting old/passing of time.’

How to Enter

Complete the form below with your name, contact details, parent's permission, then upload a computer file with your entry in it (a photo is OK if you have handwritten your piece).

If there are any problems with your entry, please email [email protected] to let us know.

We look forward to reading your entries.

Writing Competition Entry Form

Please upload a computer file with your story in it. We can accept PDF, DOC or JPG files.
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