The Big Hoot Writing Competition

BH Writing Comp Graphic

The Big Hoot Short Story Writing Competition

Calling writers of all ages: help our big and little hoots take flight into new stories for children!

Competition in partnership with the English Department at University of Suffolk

We’re looking for original stories for children inspired by The Big Hoot Art Trail

Have you seen some of the bright owls popping up around town?

Any ideas about what they get up to when nobody is watching…midnight fun outside the Corn Exchange?

Secret missions in Christchurch Park? Epic battles with seagulls?

Or, for that matter, where did these owls come from?

And how did they end up so bright?

Maybe you want to follow a particular owl and their story. Perhaps you’ve got a story about a fox and the mad thing it sees an owl do one night. Or maybe you’ve got an epic adventure about an owl that makes its way through several stops on the trail…we’re open to all stories that will appeal to children around primary school age.

Enter and you could win one of the owl-tastic prizes we have for each of the age categories and overall.

BH Writing Comp Graphic
What we’re looking for:
  • Your story can be inspired by an individual owl or the trail in general.
  • It can be from any perspective you like – one of the owls on the trail, another animal, a child watching the sculpture – make the story your own!
  • We’re looking for stories that would appeal to children around primary school age but you can pitch for an older or younger audience within those parameters.
  • Narrative poems are welcomed (with or without rhyme!).
  • Use your imagination – we’re looking for original stories inspired by The Big Hoot that take flight in fresh and exciting directions.
Judging & prizes:

We have some owl-tastic prizes lined up for the overall winner and for each age category.

All shortlisted entrants will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony and reading at the University of Suffolk later in September, where we will announce our competition winners! The results will also be published on our website and social media channels.

The panel of judges will decide the winner and the decision of the judges is final.

The entries will be judged by:

Big Hoot Writing
Sophie Green - author

Sophie is a Suffolk based author and librarian who writes children’s fiction and short stories. Her first novel, The Last Giant, was shortlisted for the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition in 2011 and her second, Potkin and Stubbs, was published in March 2019.

Andrew Marsh - Dial Lane Books

Andrew has a great love of reading, and also of books themselves.  He opened Dial Lane Books in Ipswich with a vision to offer an alternative to online and large chain bookshops in terms of giving smaller publishers and up-and-coming authors a platform; to looking at alternatives to the mainstream and to giving both adults and children somewhere to come and enjoy my love of books and of reading.

Entry details

There are four categories for entrants.

Age is determined by the age of the entrant on 1 June 2022.

  • 5-8 years (up to 500 words)
  • 9-12 years (up to 500 words)
  • 13-17 (up to 1,000 words)
  • 18+ (up to 1,000 words)

Stories from all age groups should be suitable for a young audience

Deadline for entries: Monday 15 August 2022 at midday
Entry donation

There is not charge for school entries for pupils.

We would encourage a suggested entry fee of £5 per entry to support the work of St Elizabeth Hospice. £5 could pay for a home cooked meal for a patient on our in-patient unit at the hospice.

Text to donate: HOOTSTORY to 70085 to donate £5.

(Texts will cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message, and you’ll be opting into hearing more from us. If you would like to donate but don’t wish to hear more from us, please text HOOTSTORYNOINFO instead.)  

Additional rules:
  • Your story should not exceed the maximum word length for your category. There is no minimum length for entries.
  • Entries should have a title (not included as part of the world count).
  • Entries must be typed in a standard font (Arial, Times New Roman), 12-point size, with 1.5 or double line spacing.
  • Entries must be written in English.
  • Entries must be submitted with a Word document.
  • Only one entry per person is permitted.
  • Entries must be the original work of the author and not include existing characters from published work.

Submit your story:

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