Stop Press (12 August): 2023 Winners Announced
See the Full List of Winners Here

Read All the Winning and Commended Entries Here

About the 2023 Competition

Young voices for nature need to be heard.

Each year, Hen Harrier Action hosts a competition to find the UK’s best Young Wild Writers. This year’s competition was launched on Skydancer Day by author Gill Lewis, and the theme for 2023 is Animal Survival.

The closing date for entries is midnight on the 10th July, with the winners in each category announced on the 12th August.

Do you know anyone between the ages of five and 16 who loves writing and nature?

Please tell them about the competition and encourage them to enter. There are three categories:
– Young 6-8 Years
– Junior 9-12 Years
– Senior 13-16 Years

The prizes for 2023 include RSPB Puffin binoculars, £50 book tokens and other goodies, and are featured on our website.

Last year, we were delighted that the overall competition winner, Emily Hunt, could join us at Hen Harrier Fest in Cheshire and read her prose on the stage – to great applause. She joined Megan McCubbin and Indy Kiemel Greene again at Skydancer Day on the 7th May to launch this year’s competition, and to reveal that the overall winning entry will also earn an online school visit from acclaimed children’s author, vet and wildlife champion Gill Lewis.

As  Gill said when announcing the winners last year “Words have the power to change hearts and minds; they inform, engage, enrage and empower people. Young voices calling for change need to be heard. The future ecologists, town planners, politicians, and scientists must have the natural world at the core of all their decision making”.

Entrants can write stories, poems, articles, prose or letters up to 500 words but they must be related in some way to ‘Animal Survival’.


The Rules

  Word count: up to 500 words (excluding title)

  Subject: Animal Survival

  Writing Style: Any writing style (e.g. letter, prose, poem, story)

  No illustrations please: accompanying illustrations will not be considered

  Judging criteria: Originality, underlying ideas, how the writer engages and communicates, fresh views on a subject; entries will not be judged on spelling and grammar

  One entry per person only

  Entries must be the original work of the entrant and must not have been entered in or won any other writing competition

  Deadline for submissions: midnight on 10th July 2023

  Winners announcement: 12th August 2023

  Late entries will not be considered

  The judges’ decisions are final

  Entrants shall be not less than, or no more or less than, their age categories on the 12th August 2023. For example, if an entrant turns 9 years old on the 12th August, they should enter the Junior (9-12) category


  Overall winner: RSPB Puffin Binoculars, £50 book voucher and online author visit to the winner’s school*

  Winner of each age category: £50 book voucher

  (*If the entrant is home-schooled, then an alternative online tutorial will be offered)

Poster with Young Wild Writer Competition details
Teachers - download the poster for your school below

Download the Competition Poster for Your School or Youth Group Here

We welcome support from schools, and we’d be delighted to receive entries from Primary, Junior and Secondary schoolchildren, aged 6-16 years.

Along with individual prizes for students, the overall winner will earn an online author visit to their school by children’s author Gill Lewis.

For Teachers:

Why not download our competition entry poster to print and post on your school or classroom notice board?

Read 2022's Winning Entries

Young Category: 5-8 years old
Winner – Sky Kwok – Age 8 
Swallow’s Journey Above the Earth
The judges loved Sky’s acrostic poem. There is the simplicity of observation and wonder within the rhythm of the words. It made the judges want to stop and look up and consider the swallows’ journeys.

Junior Category: 9-12 years

Winner – Henry Gill – Age 11

We Run

The judges loved Henry’s piece of writing about wolves. Henry effectively uses all the wolfs’ senses to help us imagine what it is to be a wolf and understand the threats they face from humans. The short sentence structure built the tension, as we ran with the wolves, stopping and listening, stopping and watching.

Writing that helps us build empathy with animals helps to change the narrative around
animals, especially those, like wolves, that have been demonised in literature.

Senior Category: 13-16 years
Winner Emily Hunt – Age 15
To the Roost
The judges were incredibly impressed with Emily’s lyrical piece of writing about Jackdaws. Corvids are often demonised, and many seen as vermin. But Emily’s prose helps us to see the world from the jackdaw’s perspective – a real bird’s eye view. We feel we are an individual jackdaw as well as part of the flock. The writing achieved a sense of movement, of being swept along on the rollercoaster ride of the swoops and turns and the ‘rotating mandala’ of flight. The writing explores the theme of journey through the life of a jackdaw and also their physical journey; ‘learn navigation by hawthorn and ash, the slight twists of the book.’
Hen Harrier Action was delighted that Emily could join us at the Wild Justice Hen Harrier Fest on the 24th August 2022 to read her prose on the stage to great applause, and again on the Skydancer Day 2023 live broadcast in May, with Megan and Indy.
Emily is certainly a writer to watch for the future. You can find more about her, and her writing here – Twitter @em_nature. And blog

There’s more inspiration on our YouTube channel.

Watch as Gill Lewis launches the competition live with Megan McCubbin and Indy Kiemel Greene on Skydancer Day:

And discover how one young writer’s winning entry – My Patch of Green, by Neha Narne – helped save a much-loved allotment from the developer’s bulldozers.

Hurry, Entries Must Be Submitted by Midnight on the 10th of July 2023

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