Life at Association of State Girls' Schools Life at Association of State Girls' Schools Life at Association of State Girls' Schools Life at Association of State Girls' Schools Life at Association of State Girls' Schools Life at Association of State Girls' Schools
Leading girls'

The Write Stuff 2015


 For immediate release

Future female fiction writers recognised for their literary talents by Barbara Taylor Bradford and The Sunday Times

Girls will see their work published in The Write Stuff 2015 ebook

International bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE and The Sunday Times have discovered the next generation of young female writers in 2015 Britain.

The Write Stuff short story competition - aimed at girls aged 11-18 and who live in the UK – was launched in March 2015 and asked girls to write a short, fictional story with a central theme of ‘friendship’.

Hundreds of entries were received as part of the competition. A panel of judges, including Barbara Taylor Bradford and The Sunday Times Editorial Director Eleanor Mills, judged each story on its overall quality of writing; originality, imagination and creativity; sentence structure and language; and the writer’s ability to tell a story, capture the reader and hold their attention. The winners and runners-up are:

11-13 category:


Age (at time of entry)


Story title



Anna Symonds



Fading Hopes

Fortismere School


A clever, quirky story with a twist that is even nicely incorporated in the title.


Jui Zaveri



Glass Friendships

The Henrietta Barnett School


A young writer has the imagination to attempt a canine role and captures some poignancy.


Minna Gillett




The Henrietta Barnett School


A novel and concise format that uses dictionary definitions as a starting point to travel to a demonstration 'friendship' set within the ordinary context of a school day.

14-16 category



Age (at time of entry)


Story title



Tera Birchall



Sugar Glass

Liverpool Life Sciences UTC


This has tenderness and the ability to induce mood and has beautiful entity as a composition. Also demonstrates a feel for scene-setting and an expressive way with language: 'I learnt my lesson like a fly smacking into a windshield'.


Ella Boston



Floss Spider

St Mary’s Cambridge


This writer has used nature as a mirror to create a thoughtful, well written story with depth and a visual dimension.



Richmond Jones



The Setting Dawn

King Edward VI High School for Girls


A mystical, unreal London is developed here, helped by a sometimes mature and poetic use of language:  'The Thames begins to flow again, taking time with it.'

17-18 category



Age (at time of entry)


Story title



Sophie Claypole




King Edward VI Grammar School


Rather a lovely, measured and gentle gem of a story; careful, shaped, controlled and human.


Katherine Boulton



Malia and Aquia

Dr Challoners High School


A traditional fairy-tale format and a sense of 'story creation' all too rare in this category


Lucy Mercer



Gifted and Talented

Redland High School for Girls


A relatable story of teenage friendship – simplicity is the key to the assured writing style here.

The girls’ stories – along with 11 other finalists recognised by the judges – will be published in a free ebook called ‘Winners and Finalists of The Write Stuff 2015’ and will appeal to girls aged 11-18-years-old. The ebook will be published this Sunday (22 November 2015) and can be downloaded by clicking on the following link:

Short link

Long link

The three winning stories will also appear on The Write Stuff website .

The winners and runners-up will be invited to take part in an exclusive writing master class at News UK London headquarters hosted by HarperCollins and in partnership with Barbara Taylor Bradford in order to further develop their skills. This will take place in the first half of 2016.

As well as writing her much-loved books, Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE is an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust, an independent UK charity that transforms lives through literacy, and is passionate about empowering girls to write and let their voices be heard through their stories.  She says: “I felt it was very important  to reach out to girls and young women who want to share a story they have created and inspire a new generation of female writers and readers.

“I was very excited when I began to read the final stories in the writing competition.  The more I delved in to these very unique stories, the more thrilled I became.  I was reading stories that had been written by very clever, young women who displayed their talent, imagination, and command of the English language.  What a joy for me to know that out there so many young women are involved in reading and writing because, let’s face it, if you can’t read, you can’t write.

“I am delighted that I started this competition in partnership with The Sunday Times, with the support of my publishers HarperCollins and the National Literacy Trust, because it has given me great hope for the future.  I believe we have got an enormous amount of talented and dedicated girls out there. 

“One of the things that impressed me most was the thought, intelligence, and maturity which came to the fore in these stories. I want to say congratulations to everyone who entered, and I had a hard time selecting the winners because every story was so good.” 

Often described as the ‘First Lady of Female Fiction’ and ‘Queen of the Genre’, over 88 million books authored by Barbara Taylor Bradford have been sold to date.  They are published in over 40 languages and in more than 90 countries. Barbara’s books always feature women who drive to succeed in life, often overcoming adversities along the way. Her 30th novel, The Cavendon Women, is out now in paperback (RRP £7.99, HarperCollins).

Eleanor Mills, Editorial Director, The Sunday Times, adds: “I was thrilled and surprised by the quality of the entries, the imagination they showed and the deep understanding and exploration of the friendship brief from so many different points of view. The younger category was particularly strong. It's been a great pleasure and honour to be a judge on the competition with Barbara Taylor Bradford who has always been a heroine of mine; I grew up on A Woman of Substance and her other novels.  I hope that this competition has inspired another generation of girls to get writing.”

The competition has also been supported by National Literacy Trust, HarperCollins, The Girls’ Day School Trust, Association of State Girls’ Schools (ASGS), Girls School Association, teen story-sharing community Movellas and author Helena Coggan. 


For more information, pictures and interviews, please contact:

Maria Boyle, MB Communication Ltd, 0208 876 8444 / 0788 764 7855 , Twitter @mbcommsltd

Fast facts:

  • The competition was initiated following research by the National Literacy Trust of more than 16,395 girls revealing that only one in four girls aged 14 to 16 (22.9% ) see writing as cool, and almost half prefer watching TV to reading (46.9%).
  • The National Literacy Trust research also found that children who enjoy writing are six times more likely to write above the level expected for their age than young people  who don’t enjoy writing (46.3% vs. 7.3%). Yet, girls’ attitudes to reading and writing get worse as they grow older according to National Literacy Trust research[1].  While two-thirds of girls (65.2%) aged eight to 11 enjoy writing, this decreases to under half (46.9%) aged 14 to 16.  In fact, nearly twice as many girls aged 14 to 16 rarely or never write something that is not for school outside class compared to girls aged eight to 11 (23.1% vs. 13.3%). 

The Write Stuff 2015

More information about the competition can be found at the following website address: and follow The Write Stuff on Twitter @WriteStuffUK

The Write Stuff 2015 judging panel:

  • Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE (joint chair)
  • Eleanor Mills, The Sunday Times (joint chair)
  • Abigail Moss, Deputy Director of National Literacy Trust
  • Lynne Drew, publisher, HarperCollins
  • Helena Coggan, writer, aged 15. Her first novel, The Catalyst, was published in February 2015               
  • Miranda Stephenson, Movellas Ambassador, 14-years-old

 Barbara Taylor Bradford’s short story writing: top ten tips

 Write something you would want to read yourself.

  1. Before you start writing, know how your story is going to end. Think it all through.
  2. Try and make the first few paragraphs of your story gripping. Use hooks to grab the reader’s attention from the beginning.
  3. Wherever you can, use actions and speech to let readers know what’s happening. Show, don’t tell.
  4. In order to develop a living, breathing, multi-faceted character, it is important to know more about the character than you will use in the story. Perfect characters are not very interesting!
  5. Make every word count and don’t crowd the story with too many characters. You haven’t got the space.
  6. Plot: if you over-complicate it by including too many distractions, your story will be overloaded and underdeveloped.
  7. Remember to check your spelling and grammar. It makes a difference.
  8. Read your finished story out aloud – it will help you to spot mistakes.
  9. Ensure your short story has a proper resolution, an ending which will satisfy the reader.

Competition supporters

  • National Literacy Trust

National Literacy Trust is a national charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK. Its research and analysis make it the leading authority on literacy. National Literacy Trust runs projects in the poorest communities, campaign to make literacy a priority for politicians and parents, and support schools.

To find out more, donate or sign up for a free email newsletter visit: You can also find the National Literacy Trust on Facebook and Twitter ‪@Literacy_Trust  

  • The Sunday Times

The Sunday Times is one of the best-known titles in the world and the UK’s top-selling quality Sunday paper.  It has always been relied upon to challenge, provoke, entertain, inspire and inform readers. To keep them in the loop, in touch and on top of their game.  Always curious, never afraid, ever optimistic and open to changing direction when the right argument is made. The Sunday Times moves things forwards, sets the agenda and creates positive change.  From the corridors of power to the mean streets, the factory floor to the firing line, at home or abroad.  Wherever the scoop is, that’s where you’ll find the Sunday Times journalist.  Continuously seeking out the answers that make sense of the week past, the week to come and the world as a whole.  Follow us on Twitter @TheSundayTimes

  • HarperCollins UK

HARPERCOLLINS UK publishes a wide range of books, from cutting-edge contemporary fiction, to block-busting thrillers, from fantasy literature and children’s stories to enduring classics. It also publishes a great selection of non-fiction titles, including history, celebrity memoirs, biographies, popular science, dictionaries, maps, reference titles and education books, and its digital business is thriving. With nearly 200 years of history HarperCollins publishes some of the world’s foremost authors, from Nobel prize winners to worldwide bestsellers. In addition it publishes the works of Agatha Christie, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. It was the first major UK trade publisher to go carbon neutral in December 2007.  Follow us on @HarperFiction

  • The Girls’ Day School Trust

The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) is the UK’s leading group of independent girls’ schools, with nearly 4,000 staff and 20,000 students between the ages of three and 18. As a charity that owns and runs a network of 24 schools and two Academies in England and Wales, it reinvests all its income in its schools. Founded in 1872, the GDST has a long history of pioneering innovation in the education of girls. For more details about GDST schools, please go to and follow us on Twitter @GDST

  • Association of State Girls’ Schools (ASGS)

The ASGS is a leading advocate for girls’ education with a distinct commitment to the transformative power of all-girls schools.  The ASGS acts at the forefront of educational thought, collaborating and connecting globally with individuals, schools, and organisations dedicated to empowering girls to be influential contributors to the world.  The ASGS serves over 200 girls’ schools, 160,000 students and 18,000 educators since the early 20th century and consists of state schools, academies, denominational schools, all ability and selective. and follow us on Twitter @ASGS25

  • Girls School Association

The Girls’ Schools Association represents the heads of top performing day and boarding schools in the UK independent schools sector, which together educate approximately 85,000 girls. It has an international affiliate membership and is a member of the Independent Schools Council. The GSA encourages high standards of education for girls and promotes the benefits of being taught in a largely girls-only environment. It provides extensive professional development opportunities and encourages the sharing of best practice. and follow us on Twitter @GSAUK

  • Helena Coggan

Helena Coggan wrote the first draft of The Catalyst when she was 13, she was signed by Hodder & Stoughton at the age of 14. Now 15 and with her GCSEs yet to take, her debut novel, The Catalyst, was published in February 2015. Her ambitions up to this point had been somewhat linear – she had wanted to write stories since she was six, and before that, she wanted to live in one. She lives with her family in London and divides her time between writing and procrastinating, which her parents insist on calling ‘school’. The Catalyst has been described as ‘2015’s Divergent’ and Helena’s flair for writing has been recognised across the national press, with The Guardian commenting, ‘someone so young must be immensely talented to create this’.

  • Movellas

Movellas is a teen story-sharing community spanning a website ( and a range of apps. In a nutshell, teens can write and publish their own stories across the platform. Other teens read, comment and offer constructive criticism. The company has gone from strength to strength with over 300,000 active users a month and over 150,000 free stories to read. Users post 5,000 comments a day and there are 10,000 hours of daily engagement on the platform. Follow us on Twitter @Movellas

[1] National Literacy Trust annual survey of 32,026  children and young people aged 8 to 18 took part during November/December 2014. Of these, 16,395  were girls. The links to the survey can be found here:

Children’s and Young People’s Writing in 2014 and Children’s and Young People’s Reading in 2014.