Writing Inspiration, Competitions & Awards for Children

Child holding certificate

We try to keep this page updated regularly, but please check the links for the latest competition details. We add any new competitions we come across to the Brain Bunny Facebook page, so please feel free to follow us there for the latest news.


Fabo Story

FABO is a free writing contest for kids – they give you the first paragraph, you decide what happens next! There’ll be a new story to write every fortnight. Submit your story before the closing date and you could win a prize. Visit Website

Young Authors Challenge

A short story competition for primary and intermediate aged children living in Auckland or Northland. Visit website

Poetry Box:

Poetry Box is a New Zealand poetry page for children, teachers, parents, and writers and readers of children’s poetry. Poetry Box host several poetry competitions for children, closing at different times throughout the year. Visit website

NZ Poetry Society Competition:

The New Zealand Poetry Society offer youth competitions for both free verse and haiku. All sections close at the end of May annually. Visit website

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition

For young writers aged 18 and under who are citizens or residents of a commonwealth country. Entrants are divided into junior and senior categories and essays for both divisions must be written on one of the given topics. Visit website.

Sunday Star Times Short Story Award:

Secondary school students may enter short stories of up to 3000 words in length into the Secondary Schools Division of the Sunday Star Times Short Story Award. A first prize of $1000 and a work experience day at Random House Publishing is offered. Closes in November annually. Visit Website.

One Teen Story

One Teen Story publishes 4 stories a year and accepts submissions from teen writers ages 13-19. For they’re contest they’re asking writers ages 13-19 to enter their original, unpublished fiction. They are interested in great short stories of any genre—literary, fantasy, sci-fi, love stories, horror, etc. Visit Website

Places to Submit Writing


Toitoi publish material from 5-13 year olds with an original and authentic voice that other young people can connect to and be inspired by and that reflects the cultures and experiences of life in New Zealand. Visit website


Re-Draft offers writers aged 13-19 the chance to be published. Submissions of short stories and poetry will be considered. Submissions close on September 20th annually. Entry form can be copied out of the back of the previous year’s edition of Re-Draft which is available at local or school libraries. Visit website

Write On

Write On is a twice yearly magazine full of poems and stories by writers aged 8-19. Contributors must subscribe to the magazine. Visit website

Porirua Library Junior Journal

A collection of junior book and event reviews, creative submissions, and outlooks on literary life from Porirua kids and kids-at-heart. Visit Website

Polyphony H.S.

Polyphony H.S. is a international student-run literary magazine for high school writers and editors. Submissions of poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction are accepted from students aged 14-18 internationally, and every student who submits gets extensive feedback on their work. Visit website

Festivals and Inspiration

Storylines Festival

The Storylines Festival is held in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Northland and Auckland in August annually. The festival gives children (and adults!) a chance to meet their literary heroes – authors, illustrators, storytellers or book characters.
Each year, Storylines also run several writing and illustration competitions for children. Visit website

The School for Young Writers

The School for Young Writers offers classes in for children in Christchurch, and distance learning options. Visit Website.