Young Writer

A 1,000-word short fiction competition for creative writers and storytellers.

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What should I write about

Your story can be about anything you like, but it must include a set of elements that will be revealed to you once you've registered. These could be a title, theme, scene, character name, or something completely different! For examples from previous years, please see our previous winners at the bottom of this page.

Your story should be no more than 1,000 words and must be a completely original work of fiction.

How to enter

  1. Register using the button below, and select “Young Writer 2020” as the competition.
  2. Write your entry, making sure that you include all the elements emailed to you after registration.
  3. Submit your entry via email before the deadline of midnight on 31 July 2020.


Young Writer 2020 is for people aged between 16 and 18. Applicants should be currently studying at a school or college in the UK. For a full list of entry criteria, please see our terms and conditions.


Once the closing date for submissions has passed, all entries will be read by our judging panel and a shortlist drawn up. From this shortlist, we will select one winner and two runners up. The chair of the judging panel is Dr Tom Lee and the judging panel will be made up of post-graduate students from our leading Department of English and Comparative Literature.


All shortlisted entries will win a small prize. Two runners-up will receive £50 each. The winner of Young Writer 2020 will receive £1,000 and an invitation to the prestigious Goldsmiths Prize ceremony.

Previous Winners

Winning story - 2017

Young Writer Prize 2017 winner Miranda Barrett accepting her award

The first ever Goldsmiths Young Writer Prize was awarded to Miranda Barrett!

Her entry tells the story of Charlotte and Ben, close companions from childhood, driving across the country in the hope of finding safety amongst a rapidly unravelling world.

The elemenets that had to be included were:

  • Title: Saviour
  • Line of dialogue: What are you doing in here?
  • Location: A broken-down train
  • Action: A character drops a set of keys 

She said:

“I’m delighted to have won this competition and am very proud the judges liked my submission. It came as an extremely pleasant surprise to find out I had won. Writing opportunities for young people – especially older teenagers – are limited outside of school so I am very grateful to Goldsmiths for creating this prize.”

Dr Thomas Lee, a Goldsmiths postdoctoral tutor and member of the judging panel, said:

“The panel were blown away by Miranda’s story. Her writing showed maturity beyond her years, and provided a compelling snapshot into the lives of two young people struggling to come to terms with a changing world.”

Read Miranda's winning story

Winning story - 2018

Sally Piper, winner of the Young Writer Prize 2018 at the awards ceremony with our Warden, Patrick Loughrey.

The winner of the 2018 Young Writer Prize was Sally Piper!

Sally's story follows Edna, a hotel owner forced out of her town just for being different. After many years, Edna finally plucks up the courage to go back - unsure of the welcome that awaits her.

The elements that had to be included were:

  • Title: One Day
  • Line of dialogue: What happened to you?
  • Character Action: A character throws an object in a river

Read Sally's winning story

Winning Story - 2019

Young Writer Prize Winner 2019 Photo

The winner of our 2019 Goldsmiths Young Writer Prize winner was Jack Probert!

Above is Jack receiving his trophy from Professor Frances Corner OBE, the Warden of Goldsmiths, at the Goldsmiths Prize ceremony. Jack won for a story that the judging panel felt:

"...stood out for its ambition and accomplishment.  Multiple layers and voices mix fairytale and realism together to create a narrative of power, skill and feeling, all within the very challenging limit of 1000 words."

The elements that had to be included in this years' entries to the Goldsmiths Young Writer Prize were:

  • Title: This Is The Night
  • Line of dialogue: "Can we stop for a minute?"
  • Object: a ladder

Read Jack's winning entry