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The Usborne Young Writer's Award 2010

Write a story with a real author, and win great prizes for you and your school.

Write a story with a real author, and win prizes for you and your school.

A host of fabulous fiction from Usborne


We received thousands of fantastic entries for the Usborne Young Writers' Award 2010. The competition is now closed and you can read the winning stories on this website - or on the free Usborne Young Writers' Award iPhone app.

The winners

We are delighted to announce the winners of Usborne Young Writers' Award 2010.

Anne-Marie Conway's story starter:
Arenike Adebajo (aged 14)

Sophie McKenzie's story starter:
Abigail Burn (aged 8)

Diana Kimpton's story starter:
Iona Stuart (aged 12)

Keith Brumpton's story starter:
Daniel Telford (aged 11)

Steve Skidmore & Steve Barlow's story starter:
Skye Humbert (aged 12)

Read the winning stories or download the free Young Writers' Award iPhone app.

What is the Usborne Young Writers' Award?

It’s an opportunity to write a story with a real author. Five authors write "story starters" and want your help finishing them. There are great prizes, and it's easy to enter.

Great prizes

The five winning entries for the Young Writers' Award 2010 will each win:

  • Your winning story published as an iphone App.
  • A trip to Usborne in London to meet all 5 authors and find out how a book is made.
  • £100 worth of FREE Usborne books.
  • Meet the author who started your story at an event in your school.
  • A year’s FREE subscription to Young Writer magazine.
  • A year’s FREE subscription to


We would like to thank all of the supporters of The Usborne Young Writers' Award:

Supporters of the Usborne Young Writers Award Young writer Write Away Reading Zone The Daily Telegraph Bath Festival of Children's Literature Edinburgh International Book Festival The Federation of Children's Book Groups The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival The Times Cheltenham Festivals - Literature 09 Starlit The Guardian Hay Festival Sleepydog

Terms and conditions

It's important that you and your parents or guardian read the Usborne Young Writers' Award Terms and Conditions before submitting your story.

  • The competition is open to children resident in the UK and who are aged 14 or under on the closing date of the competition (Wednesday 20th October 2010).
  • Children of employees of Usborne Publishing or Usborne Books at Home or anyone professionally associated with this competition are not eligible to enter.
  • All entries must arrive at Usborne Publishing, either by post or by email, by Wednesday 20th October 2010. Only one entry per person is allowed.
  • Entries that are incomplete, illegible, corrupted or fail to arrive by the closing date of Wednesday 20th October 2010 will not be entered in the competition. Proof of posting or sending is not proof of receipt.
  • Please keep a copy of your story as entries can not be returned.
  • Winners will be notified on or before Tuesday 24th November 2010 and must acknowledge receipt of the notification by Thursday 26th November.
  • The judges will choose five winners and each winner will receive the set of five prizes.
  • The author events must take place before 17th December 2010 at each of the winners’ schools. Exact dates will be arranged by Usborne Publishing in consultation with the winner's school and the author.
  • The trip to Usborne House will take place on Thursday 2nd December 2010. If a winner cannot make this date they will forfeit this part of the prize with no compensation.
  • All winners must be accompanied to the prize day at Usborne House by a parent or guardian. Usborne Publishing will pay 50% of the travel expenses for each winner and one parent or guardian travelling from outside the M25, up to a maximum payment to each winner of £100, on production of receipts or tickets.
  • The free subscriptions to Young Writer magazine and Reading Zone are subject to the terms and conditions of those organisations.
  • The five winners may each choose £100 worth of free Usborne books but Usborne Publishing retains the right to substitute titles (of equal or greater value) at its discretion.
  • As a condition of entry, winners agree to take part in reasonable post-event publicity and to the use of their names, photographs and entries in such publicity.
  • Winners' names and entries will be displayed on the Usborne Websites.
  • No correspondence will be entered into. The judges' decision is final.
  • By entering the competition each entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  • The Competition is organized by Usborne Publishing Limited, Usborne House,  83-85 Saffron Hill, London EC1N 8RT.
Read the winning stories Check out top writing tips and videos from our 5 authors Download our guidance for teachers Choose your favourite story starter from our authors

Story starters

Here's a taster of each author's story starter. To view or print out a complete story starter, click on the links.

Sophie McKenzie

Sophie McKenzie

Sid was in trouble. It wasn’t the first time. But this time it wasn’t fair. ...But then it wasn’t fair that Sid was the only person in the house who could see the monster.

Download Sophie McKenzie's story starter.

Steve Skidmore & Steve Barlow

Steve Skidmore & Steve Barlow

I set off for home. I’d hardly gone a hundred metres when a silver Bentley Continental stopped right beside me and the passenger door swung open. A voice from inside said, “Get in.”

Download the 2 Steves story starter.

Diana Kimpton

Diana Kimpton

Spike gasped for air as he forced himself to run even faster. He knew he couldn’t keep up that pace for long. But he had to keep going. He couldn’t stop out here in the open − he was too visible.

Download Diana Kimpton's story starter.

Keith Brumpton

Keith Brumpton

There were four of us in the band and three of us were dead... So when our manager, Steve, announced we were going on tour, to say we were surprised would be putting it mildly.

Download Keith Brumpton's story starter.

Anne-Marie Conway

Anne-Marie Conway

Three things happened the summer I turned twelve. My Dad won a whole load of money on the lottery, Steve Barker knocked me off my bike so hard I broke my nose - and my big sister Sophie went missing.

Download Anne-Marie Conway's story starter.

Check out top writing tips and videos from our 5 authors Read the winning entries at the end of November

Writing tips

Our authors have each come up with some top tips that may help as you write your story.

Time Train to the Blitz by Sophie McKenzie

Sophie McKenzie

Sophie wrote Time Train to The Blitz because her parents lived through it. See her top writing tips.



Return to the Lost World by Steve Skidmore & Steve Barlow

Steve Skidmore & Steve Barlow

The 2 Steves wrote Return to the Lost World... discover their top tips for writers.



Diana Kimpton Amy Wild Page

Diana Kimpton

Diana writes Amy Wild, Animal Talker and The Pony-Mad Princess. Discover her tips for young writers.



Keith Brumpton Dino FC BOOK 1

Keith Brumpton

Keith created the Dino FC series, find out his number 1 tip... and what not to do!



Anne-Marie Conway

Anne-Marie Conway

Anne-Marie is the author of the Star Makers Club Series. Find out what she takes with her everywhere.

Choose your favourite story starter from our authors Download our guidance for teachers Read the winning entries at the end of November

Winners' stories

Well done to Arenike, Abigail, Daniel, Iona and Skye, winners of the 2010 Usborne Young Writers' Award. Click on the links to read their winning entries - or download all the winning stories on the free Young Writers' Award iPhone app.

  • Anne-Marie Conway and Arenike Adebajo's story
  • “What I loved most about Arenike’s entry was the way she’d taken the story into the future so that it was all happening five years later. I also thought her use of imagery, especially the way she described colours, was stunning. A clear winner for me.”
    Anne-Marie Conway

  • Sophie McKenzie and Abigail Burn's story
  • “Abigail's story stood out for me because of its originality. Her writing was full of lovely imaginative details and managed to be both funny and moving. Very impressive!” Sophie McKenzie

  • Keith Brumpton and Daniel Telford's story
  • “I really liked Daniel's story. It was genuinely funny, the characters came to life (even though they were zombies!) and I loved the ending which resolved the story with a jokey twist. Endings are always quite difficult in short stories but this one rounded things off nicely.” Keith Brumpton

  • Diana Kimpton and Iona Stuart's story
  • “I loved the way Iona took my story in a direction I hadn't expected. She created clearly defined characters with a minimum of description and handled the changes in viewpoint really well.” Diana Kimpton

  • Steve Barlow, Steve Skidmore and Skye Humbert's story
  • “When we read Skye’s story we immediately knew that she was the winner! What we loved was the way she built up the story – it kept us guessing right through to the end with it’s lovely twist and ‘what will happen next?’ cliffhanger. Great stuff!” Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore


Here are the winners from last year's competition. Well done Anna, Zackary, Anita, Toby and Isaac.

  • Ann Bryant and Anna Hawkes-Cumming's story
  • “What a fab story - a lovely mix of imaginative fantasy and well observed reality. Pacing a short story is so tricky but Anna got it just right. Clever girl!” Ann Bryant

  • Leila Rasheed and Zackary Faulkner's story
  • "Zackary Faulkner’s Flight in Time is my winner. I particularly like the fact that he developed the ideas that were set up in the story starter: that there were ‘different stories’ running alongside each other and that the story is moving from one time to another." Leila Rasheed

  • Graham Marks and Anita Jiang's story
  • “I was really taken by the voices, the different points of view and the ‘slice of life’ feeling in Anita’s story – she’s a real talent.” Graham Marks

  • Sue Mongredien and Toby Smith's story
  • "I chose this story because it was really imaginative, well-written and packed full of great ideas and action. Well done, Toby!" Sue Mongredien

  • Malcolm Rose and Isaac Robinson's story
  • “Isaac introduced a twist that I was hoping for. It was the twist I would have used if I had written this story to a conclusion. High marks for originality! In his short offering, Isaac manages to convince with a character who is obsessive, self-centred, funny and ultimately quite mad. A well planned story and a spine-shiveringly good conclusion.”
    Malcolm Rose


Thank you to all our brilliant entrants from 2009 and 2010.

Choose your favourite story starter from our authors Check out top writing tips and videos from our 5 authors

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