I was writing a reply to a comment on my post about The Branford Boase Award, and then realised it deserved a space all of its own. So here it is.
The ‘other half’ of the award is The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition, which encourages children and young people in their writing. It is open to anyone under the age of 19. You can read all about it here, although the 2014 competition is not yet underway.
I started writing stories as soon as I learned to use a pen – (I blogged about it here) – but had no idea what to do with them or who to send them to, or even that anyone in the big wide world might be interested in them. So I am all for events and publications and awards which show youngsters that their writing is exciting and valued. And which can inspire them and help them to be even better writers. Because writing is such a brilliant thing to do.
Only one teacher in my entire school life encouraged me – when I was 6 – and no one hinted that trying to be A Writer was possible, or even (crazy idea!) a career option. Perhaps I shouldn’t blame them. As the years went by I became more quiet and secretive about what I’d written, but then it’s a vicious circle: no validation, no confidence.
I know that there is much more information available to would-be writers now, and more opportunities for learning and sharing, whether or not your teachers or parents are clued up about it. The internet has really opened up the world for writers of all ages.