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Winners in our short story writing competition will have their own story published into a book!

Toni Hetherington, August 18, 2019 7:45PM Kids News

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Kids News Short Story writing competition, supported by HarperCollins media_cameraKids News Short Story writing competition, supported by HarperCollins

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Reading level: green

NOTE: This competition is now ClOSED

It’s Book Week and kids all over Australia can celebrate by conjuring up their own story for the Kids News short story competition. is giving budding authors have the chance to win an iPad, HarperCollins book pack and have their own story published as a book for 10 family members and friends.

The competition, proudly supported by HarperCollins, is open to Australian students from Prep to Year 8 with categories for children 10 and under and 11 and over.

This year’s Book Week theme is Reading is My Secret Power.

Twenty years on from the publication of the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter costumes are expected to again be popular at Book Week parades.

Book Week’s official costume sponsor Spotlight has sold more than $1 million worth of Harry Potter costumes in the past 12 months, with more than 4000 sold last week alone in the build-up to Book Week.

“It is easily our biggest selling costume for Book Week,” a Spotlight spokesperson said.

The Kids News short story competition, proudly supported by HarperCollins, is now open and runs until October 31.

Book Week - Harry Potter media_cameraStephen Tsembas uses Harry Potter as inspiration to conjure up his own story for the Kids News Short Story writing competition at the State Library Victoria. Picture: Jason Edwards

Write a short story on any topic of your choice or use the Story Starters ideas list below for inspiration.

For entrants aged 11 years and over, your short story must be between 500 and 1000 words. For entrants aged 10 and under, your short story must be between 250 and 750 words.

Get your parent or guardian to sign the Permission to Publish and Consent Form HERE.

Then take the form to your teacher and ask them to email both the signed form and your short story to with the subject Short Story Competition before October 31.

Inspirational idea media_cameraA schoolboy has a bright idea for his story.

If you are having trouble deciding what to write about, one of these story starter ideas might help. Feel free to use them.

Entrants 10 and under
Setting 1: It was the most amazing garden you could possibly imagine. Even though it was in a hot dry city, somehow the most beautiful blossoms, luscious leaves and fabulous fruit trees were all there before you. Enclosed behind a high wall, there was no way you could have expected to find THIS on the other side of the rickety wooden door.

Setting 2: It’s the smell that greets you first — the smell of sugar is almost overpowering. Instantly you imagine the amazing lollies that are being conjured within. But, you can’t see a thing with all the steam from the big vats of coloured sugar being boiled and twisted and turned around you.

Character 1: Stuart was the happiest dog you’d ever come across! Catching a ball — tail wag! Dog food — tail wag! A delivery driver at the door — a BARK and a tail wag! There was one thing, however, that made Stuart unhappy, Katie, the cat from next door.

Character 2: You noticed her sitting on the bench in the park. Not much older than you, it was her bright red t-shirt and fluro green shorts that first caught your eye. Then she looked up at you, and as her sapphire blue eyes caught yours, she grinned and waved.

Key Event: The wind was so strong, it was all I could do to stay on my feet. In the distance, I could see that the waves were crashing into the beach so hard that both sand and water were flying into the air. This storm was terrifying, and I could see nowhere to shelter.

media_cameraWriting your own story requires imagination and creativity. Picture: iStock

Entrants 11 and above
Setting 1: It was a school, like any other. There was the smell of sweat and disinfectant; the desks and the tables; the whiteboards and data projectors. But something wasn’t quite right … I realised it was the noise, or should I say the complete absence of sound? Have you ever been in a completely silent school? It was the creepiest thing imaginable, particularly when the classrooms were full of children … totally silent children.

Setting 2: Everything you can see is shiny — silver, gold, gleaming white and glossy black. It’s almost hard to look at because the hot overhead lights are bouncing off so many reflective surfaces. The few people you can see look like they’ve come from the future in their uniforms of matching matt black pants and jumpers. Even the headsets they’re wearing look like something from a Sci Fi movie.

Character 1: Mr Hantos was an enigma at school. With a name like that, he should have been the butt of a thousand jokes. Instead, he was everyone’s favourite teacher. As a science teacher, he managed to hold even the worst students entranced when he explained the intricacies of DNA, the importance of scientific method, or the laws of thermodynamics. Maybe it was the funny stories he told about his menagerie of animals, or the way that every shirt he wore had stains on it, or maybe it was the way he told the worst jokes you’d heard in your life. Whatever it was, Mr Hantos was loved by everyone.

Character 2: It was her stillness in the midst of the whirl of activity that is the beach in January that caught your attention. She wasn’t sleeping under her brightly striped umbrella, but she was still — apart from her eyes. They watched everything: the small children enjoying the sand; the old people snoozing on their towels; the teenagers taking selfies. She seemed particularly pre-occupied by a young couple who were reading great big thick books, a couple of towels over from hers.

Key Event: It was so loud I could feel the noise rather than hear it. My heartbeat was overwhelmed by the vibrations that pulsed through my body, and I closed my eyes which felt as though they were being buffeted by a strong wind. I knew now why we had been warned never to come here, but it was too late …

Competition Terms and Conditions
Kids News Short Story Writing Competition opens at 9.00am on 19 August 2019 and closes at 5.00pm on 31 October 2019.

Open to students from Preparatory to Year 8 only and studying at an Australian school. Limited to one entry per student.

Winners to be decided by a judging panel the week beginning November 4. Chance plays no part in determining the prize winners.

Winners’ names to be published on or before 30 November 2019 on the and www.teachershub websites. Total prize pool valued at $ $4376.

The Promoter is HarperCollins Publishers Australia Pty Ltd.

For how to enter and full terms and conditions, visit


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