The 2023 competition has closed. The competition is re-opened each year during the month of May.

Call for entries to the nationwide Young Writers’ Competition - open to all school children in South Africa.  

Kingsmead College, a leading girls’ school in Johannesburg, is proud to announce that entries are open for the second KBF Young Writers’ Competition.  Celebrating the talents of young writers across our country, the competition is open to children aged 6 – 18. 

As last year, Imagnary House's Publishing Director, Brad Harris, will be one of the judges for this year's competition. 

Launched in 2022, the writing competition is aimed at building a writing and reading culture in the country.  This is more important than ever, with recent reports showing that South Africa’s youth are in a dire literacy crisis. The pandemic erased a decade of literacy work. According to the Background Report for the 2030 Reading Panel, released last week, only 18% of South Africa’s Grade 4’s can read for meaning.  Less than 50% of children in no-fee paying schools know the alphabet by Grade 2. Despite this ongoing literary crisis, there is no national reading plan and no progress on implementing vital interventions. 

In addition to tackling the literacy crisis from the early childhood development stage, it is crucial to encourage a love of reading and writing for enjoyment as well as meaning.  Initiatives that focus on literacy will play an increasingly important role in this pursuit.

The competition calls for aspiring young writers to submit their original short stories based on this year’s topic: courage.  “At the heart of storytelling is connection and communication. Through creative writing, children receive tools to make sense of life and process their experiences,” explains Corinne Rosmarin, curator of the Kingsmead Children’s and Teen Programmes. 

“We were heartened by the overwhelming response to our inaugural competition last year and hope to get even more entries this year. The competition is aimed at encouraging children to see value and enjoyment in literacy. By rewarding the winning entries in each category with cash prizes, book hampers and feedback from publishers, we hope to inspire a new generation of writers in South Africa.” 

“We are so thrilled by the success of last year’s competition and being able to run it again this year as an important part of the Kingsmead Book Fair and our commitment to the promotion of literacy and a love of reading,” says Alex Bouche, Director of Marketing at Kingsmead College.  “We look forward to reading the stories of even more talented writers this year and encourage all budding authors to enter!”

Winners will be announced at the Kingsmead Book Fair on Saturday 27 May 2023. This is Kingsmead College’s eleventh Book Fair in association with Standard Bank Wealth and Investment and Timberland. Over the years, the Kingsmead Book Fair has become a popular event on South Africa’s literary calendar with a packed programme of local and international authors.

The Kingsmead Book Fair is committed to connecting all age groups and cultures in the community. Their vision is to showcase the talents of international and South African authors through book readings, author panels and stimulating workshops.

The KBF Young Writers’ Competition closes at 20H00 on 31 March 2022. 

Entries can be found on the Kingsmead Book Fair website.

For more information on the 2030 Reading Panel, see here.

Queries can be sent to Corinne Rosmarin at

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