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FHow to enter & more info the MyVoice Writing Competition

MyVoice is a new city-wide Creative Writing Competition for young people between 10-25. We’re asking you to write about what is important to you. Tell us how you’d change the world by inspiring us with your own short story, poem, article, scene, podcast or film, so we can imagine it with you.

Do you want to speak out about social injustice?

Do you want to inspire people to change the world around them, before it’s too late

Do you want to tell people how to stay safe on our streets?

Tell us what it’s like to be you, or create a character who can. Show us what it’s like to walk down your street, so we can put ourselves in your shoes. We’re asking you to help us understand what it’s like to be young and alive. We’re asking you to help us build a better world with words. Enthral and entertain us with your original poems, stories, prose, scripts, films or podcasts. Our judging panel of award-winning writers will be looking for words which weave a spell on an audience, exciting narrative threads and characters that come to life.

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Prizes

All winners will:

  • receive UNESCO City of Literature goodie bag and a range of merchandise;
  • a £30 Waterstones’ voucher;
  • be published in the MyVoice anthology;
  • and a golden ticket to the MyVoice launch event on 20th March 2020.

There will be three winners and two highly commended winners for each category...

10-13 years category
will also win...

  • £100 worth of books for the winners' school library;
  • A creative writing workshop for the winners’ class

14-16 years category
will also win...

  • £100 worth of books for the winners' school library;
  • A bursary to attend a creative writing short course at Nottingham Trent University in the summer of 2020

17-19 years category
will also win...

  • A writing masterclass with a professional author;
  • Tickets to a Nottingham Playhouse production

20-25 years category
will also win...

  • A writing masterclass with a professional author;
  • Work experience opportunity at Nottingham City of Literature, shadowing Project Officer, Richard Bromhall

A further 8 highly-commended winners will receive a £20 Waterstones’ voucher.


All finalists’ entries get printed in the MyVoice anthology for which there will be a launch event in March 2020. All winners will be invited to attend. All winners will also be expected to take part in a series of promotional events between 10th February and 31st March 2020.


Schools’ prizes

The 2 schools that submit the most entries will also win a creative writing workshop with a professional author.


How to apply

Here’s how it works! Just click through the form and attach your file to submit your entry.


Meet our star judges

Bali Rai

Bali Rai has written over 40 novels about teenagers and children, including (Un)arranged Marriage (2001), Rani and Sukh (2004), Killing Honour (2011). Bali’s work has appeared on the GCSE curriculum as a set-text, has featured on BBC1’s Rebel Writers show, and is a Costa Book Award Judge for 2019. His latest book is Now or Never – A Dunkirk Story.

Becky Cullen

Becky Cullen is a Research Fellow and Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, host of Totally Wired poetry at Wired Café Bar, and the winner of the 2018 Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet competition.

Georgina 1

Georgina Wilding is a poet and learning designer born and bred in Nottingham. She is also the Young Poet Laureate for Nottingham 2017/18.

Kim Slater Author 200X200

​Kim Slater is a full-time author, writing in two genres - Young Adult fiction (as Kim Slater) and Adult Crime (as KL Slater). Kim Slater gets her literary inspiration from everyday life and has an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.


Rules

  • Entrants must be aged between 10 and 25 years old on or before 13th January 2020.
  • 500-word limit (not including the title words), or 2 A4 pages of script, or 10-40 lines of poetry, or up to 3 minutes of film, radio, or podcast.
  • Entries can appear in any of the following forms: poetry, story, article, script, film, radio, or podcast.
  • All written entries must be submitted in a Microsoft Word document on the website. Please use Arial or Times New Roman 12pt. PDF files will not be accepted.
  • Film, radio, or podcast entries will need to be submitted as a YouTube, Vimeo, or SoundCloud link on the website.
  • Entries not submitted in these formats may not be accepted.
  • Submitted work must be original and your own ideas.
  • Judges will look for originality, narrative and characterisation, and ability to excite, enthral and explore.
  • Personal details, including name, age, and postcode, must be included on the application. Please also ensure the email address you provide is correct, so we can get let you know the outcome of our decision. If we cannot contact you, we may not be able to consider your application.
  • The MyVoice competition is open to Nottingham and Nottinghamshire residents only.

You can also download the full Terms and Conditions here.


FAQs

What is MyVoice?

MyVoice is the Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature Creative Writing Competition for children and young people aged 10-25 living in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

What are we looking for?

We want to know what it’s like to be young and alive in Nottingham today. We’re asking you to enthral and entertain us with your original and exciting poems, stories, prose, scripts, films or podcasts. Our judging panel of award-winning writers will be looking for words that cast a spell on an audience, contain strong narrative threads, and feature characters that come to life on the page.

We’re asking you to write about what is important to you. We’re interested in social justice, and how young people would like to change the world around them. Inspire us by writing about what the world would be like if you were in charge, or write a short story, poem or play so we can imagine it with you. Can you tell us what it’s like to be you, or create a character who can? Can your poem, video or podcast show us what it’s like to walk down your street, so we can put ourselves in your shoes?

You could choose to dramatise a social injustice, inspire others to action or raise awareness of youth violence.

Is there a word limit? Is the title included in the word limit?

There is a 500-word limit for prose, 2 A4 pages of script, 10-40 lines of poetry, or up to 3 minutes of film, radio, or podcast. The title is not included in the word limit, but the title should be no longer than 15 words.

Can an adult correct the spelling of a child’s story?

Yes! Please correct spelling if the misspelled word distorts the meaning. However, please don’t edit the children’s work. Stories are marked on their creative use of language, and it’s important we can hear the child’s voice, but literacy levels shouldn’t stop anyone entering. You may scribe for your child, as long as none of the words used are changed.

I made a mistake on my submission form. What can I do?

You can only submit once so ensure that you’re happy with your work before entering.

When does the competition open?

The competition opens on Thursday 26th September 2019.

When is the deadline?

The deadline for the MyVoice competition is 13th January 2020 at 4pm. Entries submitted after this time will not be considered.

Who is judging the prize?

The judging panel is made up of award-winning novelists, poets, and young people, who will select winners based on the judgment criteria outlined in the RULES on the MyVoice page:

The judges for this competition are: Bali Rai (Novelist); Kim Slater (Novelist); Georgina Wilding (Poet and Publisher); Becky Cullen (Poet and Arts Consultant).

When will I hear if I have been successful or not?

The Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature team will produce a shortlist after the competition closes on Monday 13th January 2020. Judges will meet on Thursday 30th January 2020 and decide the winners. We expect to inform all entrants by 10th February 2020.

How do I submit an entry?

You can submit your entry online (Hyperlink?).

Can I submit more than one entry?

No. If you submit more than one entry, the first submission will only be considered.

Can I submit my entry in another language?

No. All entries must be in English.

Who can enter?

My Voice has four entry categories: 10-13 years, 14-16 years, 17-19 years, and 20-25 years.

Entrants related to staff at Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature will not be considered for this prize. You must also have a Nottingham or Nottinghamshire postcode to be considered.

Will my entry be returned to me?

Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature cannot guarantee to return a copy of your work. Please ensure you retain a copy when you enter.

Is there anything I cannot submit?

All submissions should be examples of creative work and should be original. Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature reserves the right to refuse entries that contain defamatory, obscene, offensive, or any other unsuitable material.

Will I maintain rights over the work?

Yes. Entrants maintain the rights to any work produced and submitted but grant Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature a perpetual non-exclusive royalty-free licence to publish, broadcast (across all media) and post the entry online and on any other platforms yet to be envisaged. This licence will be deemed to include all the necessary rights and permissions to enable such used by Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature to fulfil the prizes and to complete the administration of this competition. Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature may at its sole discretion edit, adapt, abridge or translate the entry for these purposes.

What will I have to do if I am a winner?

All winners must take part in promotional events and their work will be published in an anthology. Their work may also be published online.


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