It’s a great time to be a creative kid in Australia with the announcement of a new national writing competition for primary and high school students. Sponsored by Dymocks Tutoring, the Beyond Words Writing Competition is free to enter and has an open theme, meaning educators can integrate it into creative writing units across the curriculum.
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Head of English at Dymocks Tutoring and an award-winning writer herself, Josephine Sarvaas says: “One of our goals with this writing competition is to give students a tangible goal to write towards. The reason it’s open theme is that we wanted them to be able to write about the topics, tropes and genres that they love most.”
A point of difference for the competition is that it will be judged on two key things: craft and execution and ideas and originality.
“Entries will be judged equally based on both technical command of language but also students’ ideas and passion. We are looking for unique ideas told with “heart” and want to reward students who might be incredibly creative and passionate about writing but aren’t necessarily at the top of their class in English.” Josephine Sarvaas
With a prize pool of $15,500, the competition is one of the largest prize pools for youth in the country.
The overall winner will be awarded $5,000, a runner-up $2,000 and eight shortlisted writers $500 each. There are also special prizes for a regional winner, a Greater Western Sydney Winner, a First Nations Winner and an EAL/D Winner of $1,000 each and a Youth prize of $500 (aged 13 and under).
“We wanted to create a prize pool and competition structure comparable to adult creative writing competitions,” Josephine said. “From personal experience, it was having my writing validated by winning flash fiction competitions that gave me the confidence to begin submitting my work to literary magazines and anthologies. I’m hoping this competition can be a first step to encourage students to begin finding an audience for their stories.”
Entries are now open and close on 31st May 2023. Stories must be between 500 and 1,500 words and the competition is open to all Australian school children in Years 1 to 12.
“Creative writing should be one of the most fun and accessible topics we teach in English, and the skills students learn in this area develop their ability to write in other forms. However, it’s also one of the hardest things to teach and it’s impossible to learn just from reading theory – to improve, students need to continually practice and experiment. That’s why it’s important for them to be passionate and interested in the topics and genres they’re writing about.”
For more information and to enter visit: https://beyondwords.dymockstutoring.edu.au