Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature is thrilled to reveal the twelve winners and eight highly commended entries of the inaugural MyVoice competition – singled out from over 180 entries as the most exciting and creative stories on social justice.

By age category and alphabetical order, the MyVoice Winners are:

10 – 13 Category

Snowflakes by Emily Royston

A Different Story by Maria Sibi

Language Barriers by Tsvetina Todorova

14 – 16 Category

Broken Record by Freyja Hollington

When I wake up, I dread the feeling inside of me by Chinenye Okolo

The Soul of Heteropa by Abby Stafford

17 – 19 Category

Bathrooms are my comfort blanket by Rhianna Greensmith

Your Black is Beautiful by Nasua Iyamah-Arbouin

I Would Give Molly a Voice by Hollie Jevons Saunders

20 – 25 Category

To Be Seen by Teo Eve

Paper Skin by Charlie-Dawn Sadler

I want to change the world but by Laura Stanley

Highly Commended:

Earth was utterly polluted by Haroon Altaf (10-13)

We are so polite by Raquel Booysen (20-25)

Just a Short Walk by Sophie Cummins (20-25)

Unnatural Love by Alicia Ebanks-Babb (14-16)

Because I am by Thabiso Hadebe (17-19)

I wake up, alone and in pain by Ruth Emma Harding (14-16)

Wanderlust in a Broken Planet by Eleanor Jacobson (17-19)

A Muddied Welcome by Ayana Sen Handley (10-13)

MyVoice was judged by a panel of four established and celebrated writers – Bali RaiKim SlaterBecky Cullen and Georgina Wilding – alongside a City of Literature Young AmbassadorDanica.

The winning entries are incredibly strong and diverse. In the same way that young people have been challenging authority by striking from school and taking to the streets for climate action, these young authors aim to inspire and provoke their audience by tackling injustices including domestic violence, racism and body image.

The winning and highly commended works will be published in a new anthology titled Speak Up: An Anthology of Young Voices, published by Big White Shed.

Director of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, Sandeep Mahal, says: “I am overwhelmed by the incredible breadth of issues and talent on display. Stories of climate change and politics, oppression and misogyny reflect a city that has a rich history of embracing diversity and standing up for women’s rights. A city that champions freedom of expression and social action. We are a proud, pioneering leader in the race to be the UK’s first carbon neutral city. I am delighted and honoured to be showcasing young people’s creativity in this new anthology.

Copies of Speak Up: An Anthology of Young Voices will be distributed to the schools of all winning students, as well as becoming available from local libraries.

We will celebrate the featured writers and their thought-provoking work at Nottingham Council House on Friday 20th March 2020. The event intersperses prize-giving ceremonies with exciting performances as well as conversations with up-and-coming authors. The competition judges will also attend the event to announce winners in different categories and to present the prizes to the winners.

Derek Owusu will be in conversation with Crystal Mahey-Morgan to discuss his recent novel That Reminds Me, published by Stormzy’s Penguin Random House imprint, #Merky Books, and to inspire the young winners about their future as writers. There will also be star performances by local singer-songwriter Jerub and grime-influenced poet Debris Stevenson whose show ‘Poet in Da Corner’ comes to Nottingham Playhouse next month.

Tickets to Celebrating MyVoice are now available to the public. You can buy your ticket here:

MyVoice is supported by Arts Council England and Nottingham Hospitals Charity. Further information can be found at