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Arvon Totleigh Barton Short Story Competition

For young people aged 7-18 who attend a state school in Devon:

If you think you can tell an exciting story using only 500 words, we would love to hear from you!


UPDATE: The winners of the competition will be announced by Emma Carroll at Hatherleigh Festival on Saturday 22 July.

The shortlisted schools are:

Clyst vale Community College

Exeter College

Torquay Boys Grammar

Okehampton College

South Molton Community College

Holsworthy Community College

Great Torrington School

Beer C of E Primary

Woodwater Academy

Newton Abbot College

Ilsham Acadamy

Feniton Primary School

High Bickington Primary School

Exminster Community Primary School

Georgeham Primary School

Okehampton Primary School


What is the Arvon Totleigh Barton Short Story Competition?

The Totleigh Barton Short Story Competition is a 500 word writing competition set up to celebrate the creativity of young writers in the Devon region. Stories will be judged by acclaimed writers Michael Morpurgo, Emma Carroll and Yemisi Turner-Blake and the winners and runners-up will win prizes for themselves and their schools, as well as having their stories published on our website and being invited to read their work aloud at the Hatherleigh Festival in July 2017.

Closing Date: 26th May 2017

Who is the competition for?

Young people aged 7-18 who attend a state school in Devon.

Details of the competition:

The competition is free to enter and there is no set theme, only a word count of a maximum of 500 words. The competition opens on 23rd February and closes on 26th May 2017.  The winner will be announced at the Hatherleigh Festival on Saturday 22nd July 2017.

The competition is split into three age groups: 7 to 10 years; 11 to 14 years and 15 to 18 years.

The short stories should not exceed 500 words in length and must be entirely fictional.  There will be a winner and a runner-up in each age group to be awarded book tokens, and a visit from an Arvon writing tutor to the winners’ schools.  All winning entries will be published on the Arvon website.

How to Enter

Download and complete this entry form and email it to

See here for competition terms and conditions.

The Judges

Michael Morpurgo
Emma Carroll
Yemisi Turner-Blake


Individual prizes

  First prize in each category
£50 of book tokens
Story published on the Arvon website
Opportunity to read story aloud at Hatherleigh Festival 2017

  Runners up
£25 of book tokens
Story published on the Arvon website
Opportunity to read story aloud at Hatherleigh Festival 2017

School prizes

 First prize in each category
A workshop or talk from an Arvon tutor at the school to be arranged between the school and Eliza Squire, the Interim Centre Director at  Totleigh Barton.

Please note that if you enter as an individual, rather than through your school, your school will not benefit if you win.

About the Hatherleigh Festival

Hatherleigh Festival is a volunteer-run Arts festival that aims to run mostly free and low cost events to engage the local community in art.  It is four miles away from Totleigh Barton. The main events are performed by professional artists but the festival also provides a platform for local artists, businesses, community groups, performers etc. to exhibit and perform their work.

Why Arvon is running this competition

Eighteen months ago, the team at Totleigh Barton, our centre in Devon, had an ambition to run a writing competition for state school children in the region, as a means of celebrating creativity, in contrast to the current National Curriculum for English at primary and secondary level which places little value on creative writing. After setting up a gift shop to fund the competition, which our course participants have generously supported, we are now happy to run our first ever Arvon Totleigh Barton Short Story Competition.