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:
The ebook will be published this Sunday (22 November 2015) and can be downloaded by clicking on the button
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.