top of page





a) The Maidstone LitFest Children’s Writing Competition is open to children between the ages of 5 and 14.

b) To be eligible to enter, children must currently attend school in the Maidstone area (or be based in the Maidstone area if home-schooled).

c) The story must be the original work of the child.

d) Use of AI tools such as ChatGPT or Co-pilot is not permitted and will result in disqualification from the competition.

e) Each writer may submit only one story. If more than one story is submitted, only the first story received will be considered.

f) An adult is allowed to review the submission to ensure it does not contain any violence, explicit language or defamatory terms but they must not change or edit the story in any other way.

g) The winners and shortlisted writers agree to being a part of the publicity and promotion of the Maidstone literary festival before, during and after the festival. The festival is funded by Maidstone Borough Council and the publicity will include MBC communications channels, such as social media and e-newsletters, but will not be restricted to these channels and may include more media outlets. This will include photos of the children.

h) Shortlisted and winning writers must not announce the competition outcome before the official announcement by either Maidstone LitFest or Maidstone Borough Council. If they do, they will risk disqualification.


Individual entries

a) Parents/carers must make the entry on behalf of their child using the online entry form.

b) If you are unable to access the online entry form, please email us at

c) The entry form will ask for the parent’s/carer’s name and contact details.

d) We will also ask for the first name and key stage of the child who has written the story. These details will be used to enter the story into the right age category.

e) If the child’s story is shortlisted, the parent/carer will be contacted for additional details.

f) The personal data provided will be used for the purposes of administering the Award as outlined in the Privacy Notice (please see below).

g) Complete the entry form online at and upload the file.

h) The word limit is 750 words. There is no lower word limit but the entry needs to be a complete story.

i) The deadline is final and submissions must be received by 30 June 2024 at 5pm.

Class entries

Teachers submitting whole class entries should contact us at for more information.



a) All entries should be typed in Arial 12pt black font. (Where a child does not have access to a computer, please email us at for further advice.)

b) The document should be saved as a PDF file. When saving the document in Word, click File > Save As and select PDF from the dropdown menu.

c) Include the title of the story and the word count at the top of the first page.



a) The competition is grouped by age to ensure fairness for all entrants:

Key Stage 1 (school years 1 and 2)

Key Stage 2 (school years 3 to 6)

Key Stage 3 (school years 7 to 9)

b) A winner will be chosen in each age category, meaning there will be three winners overall.



a) All entries will be judged against the following criteria:

Quality of writing

Originality, imagination and creativity

Sentence structure and language

The writer’s ability to tell a story, capture the reader and hold their attention.

b) The competition is judged in two stages:

Stage 1: All entries will be read and judged anonymously by at least two readers. The best five stories in each age category will be selected to form a shortlist.

Stage 2: Shortlisted stories will be passed to the official judging panel who will select a winning story in each age category.

c) The judging panel will be announced in due course.

d) Judging will be fair and independent.

e) The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 



a) All entrants will receive a certificate and a VIP family ticket to our headline children’s author event where the winners will be announced. 

b) Shortlisted entries will have their story published on the Maidstone LitFest website and will be presented with a festival goody bag.

c) The winner in each category will have their story published on the Maidstone LitFest website and read out by a children’s author at the headline children’s event at the festival. Winners will also receive a festival goody bag and a £25 Waterstone’s voucher.


Shortlisted writers are encouraged to attend the headline children’s author event (award ceremony) during the festival week of 5–12 October 2024 (the date will be confirmed after the competition has closed).


Writers retain the copyright in their stories but grant the Maidstone LitFest and Maidstone Borough Council permission for all uses in all media including but not limited to public performance, public display, publishing, broadcasting, reproduction, newsprint, podcast, website and on any other platforms yet to be envisaged.





a) This privacy notice describes how we collect and use personal data about you during and after the competition, in accordance with data protection law.

b) Your personal data will be collected via an online form. You have the right to request for this data to be deleted at any point by contacting us at

c) Individuals who are shortlisted will be invited to participate in activities to promote and share their story.


a) We will use the personal data listed below to:

— administer the awards

— obtain the relevant permissions

— communicate with you on matters relating to the awards

— publish information about shortlisted entrants and their stories on our website

b) Shortlisted entrants’ names, ages and story titles may be published online on the Maidstone LitFest website and Maidstone Borough Council website.

c) Your personal data will not be shared with any other third parties unless required or permitted by the law.



The personal data of the successful author and, where applicable, their parent/guardian/teacher will be stored by the Maidstone LitFest for a period of two (2) years for regulatory and compliance purposes.

bottom of page