Short Sharp Story Writing Competition for Teens

Congratulations to the winners!

Kata Brown’s ‘Surveillance’ and Hunter Meek’s ‘Unlovable’ won the senior and junior categories respectively. They each win a free term of creative writing lessons from the School for Young Writers in Christchurch.

Both winners are from Kāpiti College, which also wins a class set of Like Nobody’s Watching for the most impressive participation.

The shortlisted entrants were:

Cathleen Anderson, Ashburton College

Benjamin Carson, Kāpiti College

Holly Carson, Paremata School

Thomas Hewett, Tawa College

Muneerah Makarani, Tawa College

Peyton Morete, Kāpiti College

Here’s the Judge’s Report, from L.J. Ritchie: 

What a stellar set of entries! The junior entries impressed me with their inventive use of language and willingness to engage with difficult subject matter.

The winning entry, ‘Unlovable’, possessed both these qualities, but also demonstrated a sense of when to hold back – the plain and frank language of the early paragraphs gave the strong, poetic language of the second half an even greater impact.

The senior entries also made clever use of language, and stood out particularly for their intelligent endings. The final sentence of each entry made me look at what had come before it in a new light. The winning entry, ‘Surveillance’, impressed me with its evocative language and rhythmic flow, building to an insightful final sentence.

It has been a pleasure to read so many well-crafted stories, and I wish all the entrants all the best in their future writing.

Congratulations again to the winners and everyone who participated, from everyone at Escalator Press.



About Escalator Press:

Escalator Press is an imprint set up by the Whitireia Creative Writing Programme, and publishes work by new and established writers associated with Whitireia.

The Writing Programme, founded in 1993, is a major contributor to New Zealand writing, with more than 220 publications from graduates as diverse as Alison Wong, Tusiata Avia and Mandy Hager.

With production and marketing by the Whitireia Publishing Programme – New Zealand’s highly regarded training course for the publishing industry – Escalator Press is built on traditional publishing values, whether in print or digital media, while developing its own distinctive model.


About L.J. Ritchie: 

L.J. Ritchie is a Wellington-based author of young adult fiction. He has a vocational background in education and the arts, and co-hosts local film podcast Never Repeats.

His interest in surveillance culture was sparked during his undergraduate study, and developed further during his teacher training when he observed how various forms of surveillance encouraged conformity in schools.

He completed the Whitireia Creative Writing Programme in 2013, and Like Nobody’s Watching is his debut novel.


About the School for Young Writers:

Since 1993 the School for Young Writers has offered children and young adults (ages 7-19) opportunities to go further with their writing than is usually possible in normal school time. In particular, we’ve encouraged students to understand how writing communicates with readers, and we’ve always been keen to publish students’ work in our bi-annual magazine Write On.

For 17 years the School for Young Writers has provided an opportunity for teenagers to display their talents in the national Re-Draft competition, judged annually by James Norcliffe and Tessa Duder. Publication is the prize, and the best entries are published in real books that can be kept for all time. Entry is free, and the winners receive a free copy. The 2017 entry form can be photocopied from the back of The Dog Upstairs, the 16th book in the Re-Draft series. The 2017 deadline for entries is 1st September.