Spread the Word : Young Writers : Go get your Booker Prize

Young Writers Courses & Awards

At what age you stop being ‘young’ is more or less your own affair though the opportunities for ‘young writers’ tend to tail off after the age of 25. That said below is info for those aged up to 30.

Below you will find a fantastic round up of all the courses and awards for young writers.


Ages Under 11

Not much available for this age group that isn’t education focused. The wonderful Ministry of Stories, co-run by Spread the Word’s former Writer Development Manager Ben Payne, is a little beacon in the dark.

Discover Children’s Story Centre, East London The UK’s first hands-on creative literacy centre for children aged 0-11 years and their families, carers and teachers.

Ministry of Stories (for 8 – 18 year olds) run drop in writing sessions from 3.30-6.30pm on Thursdays or 10am-12pm on Saturdays. There you’ll find mentors waiting to help you one-to-one with your writing, whether it’s homework, a story, poem, personal statement, CV or job application.

Words For Life, National Literacy Trust gives you an idea of what communication milestones your baby and child might reach as they grow. There are ideas for fun activities you can do together to help your children develop their skills.


Ages 11- 16

A lot of poetry opportunities if you’re in this age group.

Ministry of Stories (8 – 18 year olds) See above.

Roundhouse If you’re aged 11-25 and looking to develop your creative skills or learn new ones, they’ve got the opportunities for you. You’ll work with professionals, use industry-standard kit and meet like-minded people in a laid-back, creative environment. Emerging Artist membership is exclusively for 13-25 year olds. For just £15 a year, benefits include:

  • Hire of the Roundhouse Studios facilities at special rates
  • Priority booking/advance notice
  • Exclusive news updates by email

Emerging Artist membership is subject to proof of age and address. You’ll need to attend a brief induction session when you will collect your membership pack. To find out more call us on 020 7424 8477 or have a chat next time you’re at the Roundhouse.

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is recognised as the key award for young writers aged between 11 and 17 years. With entries from a staggering 7,200 young people in 2011 from across the UK and worldwide, it is the largest competition of its kind and its importance is widely attested. Overall Winners from the 15 to 17 age category attend a week-long intensive residential Arvon course where they develop their creative writing skills alongside fellow poets. Winners aged 11-14 group benefit from poetry residencies at their school followed by distance mentoring.

Barbican Young Poets offers 20 budding young writers aged 14-24 the chance to create, craft and perform poetry and spoken word in a group setting. It is a chance for young people to create, craft and perform poetry and spoken word. Led by internationally renowned poet and performer Jacob Sam-La Rose, this is more than just another poetry workshop – it’s a community of emerging poets, designed to push creative abilities to new heights, build up confidence and encourage participants to give and receive real feedback.

Barbican Young Filmakers are a group of 10 young people aged 15-25. They meet in the holiday periods to receive training from professional filmmakers and make and screen their films for festivals and special events. If you are aged 15-25 and want to get involved in the film making process, work with professionals and find out more about training and working in the industry, whilst also getting the opportunity to screen your work in one of our cinemas, then get in touch at creative.learning@barbican.org.uk


Ages 17 – 25

Royal Court’s – Young Writers Programme is a 12 week Introduction to Playwriting group which runs three times a year and is led by resident Writers Tutor, Leo Butler. Sessions take place one evening a week (7 – 9.30pm) at the Royal Court. This group is open to anyone aged 18-25 and costs £100 or £50 concessions. Weekly workshops involve writing exercises, group discussion, reading plays, seeing plays as well as tips, tools and advice from the Writers Tutor and invited guest playwrights and directors. At the end of the 12 weeks, you will be offered detailed feedback on your play.

Ideastap support creative people through opportunities, funding, arts jobs and career advice. There are many creative opportunities and an online community to be found on their website with many initiatives that are specifically for those aged 16-30.

Keats House Poets Group of young and emerging poets (16-30) who hold monthly open mic and performances at Keats House Museum. There is a forum attached which has occasional meeting. The forum is by invitation.

Roundhouse (see above)


26 – 30

Ideastap (see above)

The Eric Gregory Awards, for a collection by poets under the age of 30, were founded in 1960 by the late Dr Eric Gregory for the encouragement of young poets. Awards are given annually, with prize money totalling up to £24,000. The author must ordinarily be resident in the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland. The author must be under the age of 30 at 31 March. The work submitted may be a published or unpublished volume of poetry, drama-poems or belles-lettres