The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition, the annual competition for young people which runs in conjunction with the Branford Boase Award, is now open. The competition aims to find and encourage writers of the future, something author Henrietta Branford was always keen to do. Anyone under the age of 19 can enter the competition.

This year, entrants are invited to write a story, poem or song lyrics. This year’s competition is inspired by 2023 Branford Boase Award winner Christine Pillainayagam’s book, Ellie Pillai is Brown and this line in particular: ‘I think you have presence, something special about you. Something different’.

This funny, heartfelt, true-to-life, coming-of-age page-turner fizzes with emotional energy and the power of music and here at LoveReading4Kids we all absolutely adored it. A beautiful, funny ode to finding the strength to sing up and stand out, Ellie Pillai is Brown is sure to chime with readers who also feel they don’t quite fit in, with QR codes peppered through the book bringing Ellie’s songs to life, and adding extra depth to the experience.

This year's writing competition invites entrants to write a short story, or a poem, or a set of song lyrics about a character who has ‘presence’, and something special and different about them.

Six winners will receive signed copies of each of the books shortlisted for the 2023 Branford Boase Award. Their stories, poems or song lyrics will be published on the Branford Boase Award website. The closing date is Friday 31st May 2024.

Chairing the Award is Prue Goodwin, consultant and lecturer in literacy learning and children’s literature. Prue says ‘Remember, this writing is not a piece of schoolwork, it won’t be marked by the judges, just read to be enjoyed. Try to make the final version as original as possible. The theme is there to help you get going, so use it to take your ideas wherever you want. Enjoy writing, and good luck!’

Full entry instructions, terms and conditions are available here.

About the Branford Boase Award

Now in its 25th year, the Branford Boase Award recognises a debut children’s author and their editor and was set up in memory of children’s writer Henrietta Branford and her editor, Wendy Boase, Editorial Director of Walker Books. They both died of cancer in 1999. The Branford Boase Award is delivered in partnership with the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) and supported by Walker Books. Full details are available on the website: