Firsts writing competition

Our competition to win £250 has now closed.

Firsts is a new writing competition for students from years 7–13, set up by the University of Suffolk and Primadonna festival. The deadline for entries has now passed but you can still watch Ashley’s videos in which he shares his tips and expertise in Creative Writing.
Write 800 words on the theme of ‘new beginnings’ to be in with a chance of a cash prize and a one-to-one tutorial with award-winning author Ashley Hickson-Lovence. And if writing isn’t your thing, you can submit a poem or song lyrics (minimum five stanzas), a play, film or TV scene (minimum five pages) or a cartoon strip (minimum five pages) instead.
Entries to Firsts will not be judged on grammar or spelling but on their originality and raw potential. We’re looking for the best new writing talent – take a First step forward with us.
Entries close on 10 May 2024. Students from any secondary school in East Anglia are eligible to enter.
A shortlist of entries in two ages groups – years 7-9, and years 10-13 – will be put forward to a team of professional editors at HarperCollins who will select a winner in each category. Winning students will be awarded £250, a one-to-one creative writing tutorial with Ashley, and formal feedback on their writing from the HarperCollins team. They will also showcase their work at a special event at the 2024 Primadonna festival in July.
Watch Ashley offer some of his expert insight into writing great stories. Ashley was born in London in 1991 and is a former secondary school English teacher. He is currently completing his PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia and is a Lecturer of Creative Writing at the Arts University Bournemouth. In his spare time, using his experience as a football referee himself, he formally observes semi-professional referees for the FA. His debut novel, The 392, was released in April 2019.