Literary competition

The 15th Elmbridge Literary Competition 2019/20 is now open for entries! Do you know a budding writer? A young rhymer? The competition is open to all ages, from 5 years+.

This year’s theme is ‘New World’, which is particularly fitting as we will be commemorating the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower in 2020.

If you could step into a brand-new world, what would it look like? Whether you want to write about your first day at school, the start of a new job, or a strange landscape of the imagination, the Elmbridge Literary Competition is looking for short stories and poems that explore new worlds. We will be looking for original ideas, strong descriptions and exciting plot-lines.

The age categories are:

  • Ages 5-7 Little Rhymes and Stories

  • Ages 8-10/11 (Junior School) Poems and Stories

  • Ages 11-13 Poems and Stories

  • Ages 14-18 Poems and Stories

  • Ages 19 plus Poems and Stories

Entry for adults is £5 with under 18s free. There is a cash prize for adult winning entries and book tokens for children. The Competition will once again run in partnership with publishers Sampson Low, who will publish the winning entries as a Chapbook. Small and affordable forms of literature, Chapbooks historically were sold on the streets, and covered a range of subjects from fairy tales and ghost stories to news of politics, crime or disaster.

The 2020 competition will also include a new adult category: the Elmbridge prize for the best story or poem in the adult category submitted by an Elmbridge resident.

Cllr Janet Turner, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, said, “This competition is the highlight of the literary calendar in Elmbridge. The talent that exists in the Borough for imaginative poems and stories is amazing and the afternoon reading of the winning entries is an event not to be missed.”

Cllr Barry Cheyne, Chairman of the RC Sherriff Trust, said, “What is more exciting than stepping into a completely new world, whether depicted in fantasy literature or in an historical novel? I am hoping many budding writers of all ages will be taken by this inspiring theme to write wonderful stories and poems inviting us into their own imaginary world”.

The competition closes on 7 February 2020. Entries will be judged by a panel of local authors, the Director of the RC Sherriff Trust and the Arts Development Officer at Elmbridge Borough Council.

Public readings and prize giving: Saturday 21 March 2020 at Riverhouse Arts Centre, Walton-on-Thames.

Full details, terms and conditions are available on the RC Sherriff Trust website and on our culture webpages or by contacting 01932 229996 or emailing or

Date published: 11 October 2019

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