The competition was conceived by international bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE and The Sunday Times and aims to find the next generation of young female writers in the UK. It was launched in March and asked girls to write a short, fictional story with a central theme of ‘family’.
Research by the National Literacy Trust recently highlighted a sharp drop-off in creative writing among teenagers. The competition was set up in direct response to this, to reward storytelling and imaginative fiction and to encourage teenage girls to keep writing.
Hundreds of entries were received as part of the competition.
A panel of judges, including Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE, The Sunday Times Editorial Director Eleanor Mills, Lynne Drew, Publishing Director, HarperCollins and Fiona Evans, National Literacy Trust, judged each story on its overall quality of writing; originality, imagination and creativity; sentence structure and language; and the writer’s ability to tell a story, capture the reader and hold their attention.
The girls’ stories – along with six other finalists recognised by the judges – will be published in a free ebook called and will appeal to girls aged 11-16-years-old. The ebook will be published on Friday 24 November 2017.
The winners, runners-up and finalists will also be invited to take part in an exclusive writing master class at News UK London headquarters, hosted by HarperCollins and in partnership with Barbara Taylor Bradford and Sunday Times Editorial Director Eleanor Mills, in order to further develop their skills.
As well as writing her much-loved books, Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE is an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust, an independent UK charity that transforms lives through literacy, and is passionate about empowering girls to write and let their voices be heard through their stories.
She says: “As a girl who got her first story published at the age of ten, I know how wonderful it is to be recognised for your writing talents at a young age. I feel very passionate about encouraging this next generation of girls to get their voices heard through their writing and am delighted to help inspire a new generation of female writers and readers.
“I was really impressed with this year’s entries. I was reading stories that had been written by very clever, young women who displayed their talent, imagination, and command of the English language."
Eleanor Mills, Editorial Director, The Sunday Times, adds: “I was thrilled and surprised by the quality of the entries, the imagination they showed and the deep understanding and exploration of the family brief from so many different points of view."