For the last few months, other than writing short stories (The Life Maze will be published in the April edition of Writers’ Forum), I have been secretly working on a new project − a Writing for Children competition called Searchlight Awards.
I felt that a competition was needed in this space, as I often end up writing adult short stories because of the lack of short fiction competitions/publishing opportunities for children’s writers. There is no equivalent of the Bridport Prize for us.
So, I thought I’d create a competition that fulfilled my own wish-list:
Regular. The awards will be spread throughout the year.
Fair. Stories will be read blind by well-qualified and experienced writers.
Amazing Judges. Our judges will be the absolute best, highly respected and influential in the industry.
Prizes that make a difference. Our prizes will reflect our desire to help emerging writers achieve their literary dreams.
Initially, we will run three competitions: Best Bedtime Story (submissions open 10th May, close 16th August), Best Novel Opening for Children or YA (submissions open 20th August, close 22nd November) and Best Short Story for Children or YA (submissions open 1st December, close 1st March 2022).
I’m delighted to share with you that our first amazing judge for the Best Bedtime Story will be Finbar Hawkins, children’s author and Creative Director and Producer at Aardman Animations. (Wow, if only I could enter a story myself!)
We have an equally impressive judge for the Best Novel Opening. More about her later.
At the moment, the Searchlight Awards’ website is still under development and advertising hasn’t yet begun so my author blog is the only place you’ll hear about the competition for now. You are one of the first to know about it! I’ll blog again when we are close to going live. In the meantime, do start writing a bedtime story (up to 500 words). Whether you’re published, unpublished, never written before or a storyteller to your children… we can’t wait to read your story!
Illustration by Catherine Redgate. All rights reserved.