The National Young Writers’ Awards has returned bigger and better than ever before as author, TV presenter and adventurer, Steve Backshall has been named judge for 2017.   The competition, organised by tuition provider, Explore Learning which has two centres in Leeds has been running for nine years and has inspired hundreds of thousands of children across the UK to put pen to paper and give writing a try.

This year’s theme is ‘The Future’ where children are encouraged to write a 500 word story set in 3017!  Whether that means we’re families living in space, robots ruling the world or new species of animal roaming the wild – Explore Learning want to hear from you! 

As well as being a TV presenter and adventurer, Steve Backshall is the author of The Falcon Chronicles, the best-selling adventure fiction series for children which follows eco-warriors Saker and Sinter around the globe as they fight to save endangered animals.  The series is made up of Tiger Wars, Ghosts of the Forest, Wilds of the Wolf and Shark Seas, released in October 2016.

Steve says: “I’m really excited to be the judge on this year’s National Young Writers’ Awards.  Writing was my first love and I think it’s so important for children to let their imaginations run wild and have a go at entering writing competitions like this!  You’re often told to write about what you know… so broaden your experience, learn as much as you can about the wild world in order to better protect it. I can’t wait to read the stories that the children come up with.  The theme of ‘the future’ gives us so much scope for the weird and wonderful.”

The competition runs from until Friday 5th May and children from all over the UK are encouraged to enter – from eager young authors to those a little more reluctant.  The winner will be surprised in a school assembly by Steve who will announce the National Young Writer of the Year and present them with a trophy, a trip to Disneyland Paris for their family and £500 worth of books for their school!  The top ten runners up will also win an engraved pen from National Stationery Week sponsors, Sheaffer! Whilst all regional winners will receive prize bundles with goodies from National Stationary Week partners, Nu notebooks, Mustard, edding, Maped Helix, Write Size, Manuscript and Stabilo.

It’s very easy to enter.  Children are invited to write a story set in 3017 in under 500 words and post it to NYWA, Explore Learning, 74 North Street, Guildford, GU1 4AW or online at’t forget to include your contact information so they can get in touch if your child wins!

Throughout the next two months Explore Learning will be providing some top writing tips from their creative writing team, previous winners, judges and best-selling authors via their website, social media and face to face. They will be running free workshops with local libraries, schools and community groups to inspire children’s love of writing.

For more information about the National Young Writers’ Awards visit or pop into your local centre at either Unit 9E, Crown Point Shopping Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1ET or 331 Harrogate Road, Moortown, Leeds, LS17 6QD.   


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