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LSE Creative Writing Competition for London Schools Off the Edge: What's on the Other Side?




The LSE Literary Festival 2010: Off the Edge will be all about pushing boundaries, discovering new territories and exploring new ideas- and this is what we want you to do in your creative writing. Show us what's on the other side- it could be a horror story, a mystery, or a fantasy, a journey of discovery, or a gripping drama- let your imagination run wild!

What's on the other side of a locked door, a wall, a mirror?
What's on the other side of a moment in time: a first kiss, a birth, an accident?
What's on the other side of the world, of the universe?

To take this challenge you will need to:

  • Decide on a format for your piece of creative writing, e.g. short story, play or screenplay.
  • In whatever format, write no more than 1,500 words.
  • Check with your teacher when you will need to hand in your entry by.


  • This competition is open to all pupils in Years 8, 9 and 10 currently studying at London state schools.
  • This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival: Off the Edge, which will be taking place from Thursday 11 to Saturday 13 Feburary 2010 (www.lse.ac.uk/spaceforthought)
  • Each school is welcome to submit up to three pieces of work, of no more than 1,500 words in length.
  • Pupils can work on their submission entirely in their own time or as part of classroom/ homework tasks.
  • To assist you and your pupils, we have enclosed some information on the judging criteria.
  • Entries must be accompanied by a completed pro-forma: Download Proforma (Word).
  • Your top 3 entries should be submitted any time up to Friday 8 January- any entries submitted after this date will not be considered.
  • Winning entries will be selected in each Year Group
  • Your contact for this competition is Elly Hobson who is available on e.hobson@lse.ac.uk or 0207 955 7645. Please direct any questions or concerns to Elly between the hours of 9am-5:30pm.


Winners will be selected by a panel of judges chaired by Peter Florence, Hay Festival Director.


The main prize will be a writing workshop with award-winning author William Fiennes, courtesy of the Royal Society of Literature, who will provide feedback on the winning writers' work. William Fiennes is the bestselling author of The Snow Geese and The Music Room He is Director and co-founder of the charity First Story, which supports creativity and literacy in secondary schools.

Winning writers will also receive £50 in book tokens, a set of signed books from our expert authors and the chance to be published on the Spinebreakers website, www.spinebreakers.co.uk, the site for book-loving teenagers by book-loving teenagers.


There will be a fabulous prize-giving event on Thursday 11 February 2009 from 5-6.30pm, where the winners will be announced. All competition entrants will be invited to an exclusive reception following the event.

The prize-giving itself will be preceded by a discussion on 'The Future of Teen Fiction' chaired by Hay Festival Director Peter Florence, with the award-winning authors Patrick Ness, Alex Scarrow and Mark Walden as well as Rebecca Clee, one of the Spinebreakers editors.

Patrick NessPatrick Ness book Alex ScarrowScarrow book

Patrick Ness' first book for teenagers, The Knife of Never Letting Go, won the 2008 BookTrust Teenage Prize.  The sequel The Ask and the Answer was published this year, with the final book in the trilogy due to be published in 2010.


Alex Scarrow used to be a rock guitarist, then he became a graphic artist, then he decided to be a computer games designer. Finally, he grew up and became an author. He has written a number of successful adult thrillers, but it's young adult fiction that has

allowed him to really have fun with the ideas and concepts he was playing around with when designing games.

Mark WaldenHIVE Dreadnought Spinebreakers

Mark Walden spent ten years working as a video games designer and producer. His debut novel, H.I.V.E, is a comedy-thriller set in an elite school where children are trained to be supervillains.

Rebecca Clee, Spinebreakers editor. 

The prize giving event will be free to attend for everyone, not just those entering the competition and there will be chance to ask questions and put forward your point of view. Full details of the event, and how to request tickets, will be available online from December 2009.  Copies of all our authors' books will be available to purchase on the night, and they will be signing copies, so remember to bring your pocket money with you.  For more information, please contact events@lse.ac.uk.

Here are some photos from last year's Prize Giving event:

Student prizewinners

 Literary Week