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    Writing Competition 2021 - 2022

Competition Rules and Guidelines

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  • You must be between 11-14 years of age at the time of submission

  • Submissions must be:

    • In size 12 Times New Roman or Arial font with double spaced lines

    • A maximum of 250 words excluding the story starters and title 

  • All submissions must be original works 

  • All entries must be in English  

  • By entering into this competition, you are agreeing to the Terms & Conditions of this competition.

  • Your story should follow on from one of the 'story starter' sentences below

  • It does not have to be a full story with a beginning, middle and end

  • You should: 

    • Use your imagination to choose species that interest you and develop characters that excite you ​

    • Think about conservation and welfare issues facing the animal and come up with creative solutions 

    • These do not need to be accurate depictions of conservation or veterinary medicine, so have some fun!


We are proud to announce the Winners of Animal Aspiration's first ever writing competition who will be able to enjoy the amazing prizes generously donated by ZSL London Zoo! 

Click here to find out the Writing Competition Winners!

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Winners: if you have any queries about the competition or accessibility of prizes please email us at:

Story Starter 1

Nia swam rapidly towards her.

"Hey, Layla, come and look at this!" she called urgently.

"There's a creature down there, trapped on the reef."

Layla held her breath and followed her friend below the waves’

Click here to see a story starter 1 example!

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Story Starter 2

‘I found Maxie on the way home from school.

He scuttled up to me with a pleading look in his eyes…’

Click here to see a story starter 2 example!

Story Starter 3

‘Amena stopped in her tracks when she heard scurrying in the garden shed. She could see nothing when she peered through the window. Opening the door a crack to look inside she saw a frightened pointy face and a great bushy tail.'

Click here to see a story starter 3 example!

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Submission Information 

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  • All submissions must be submitted by BST 6pm on the 19th November 2021

  • One submission per person

  • Once submitted no alterations may be made to your entry

  • Make sure you keep a copy of your work as your entry will not be returned to you 

  • All entries must be submitted electronically 

  • All results will be announced on the Animal Aspirations' website and social media 
  • All winning submissions will be published on the Animal Aspirations' website with the name and age of the author

  • This competition will be judged anonymously so do not include your name anywhere on your story, however, do include your full name on the submission form

  • Click the image to go to the submission area! 


First Prize:

Junior Keeper for the Day experience at ZSL London Zoo!


Second & Third Prizes:

Entry to the zoo and a tour from London Zoo's head veterinary pathologist!

One adult ticket will be subsidised 50% per student if required


All winning entries will also be published on the Animal Aspirations' website and social media!!

Transport will also be subsidised if required so please contact us using the email at the top of the page if you have any concerns regarding this! 

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Ken Wilson-Max
Award-winning author, illustrator and publisher with 70 books published in multiple languages worldwide.
He is listed as one of the most important Children's Books creators by the African American Literature Book Club in the US
and amongst the 100 Breaking New Ground British writers and Illustrators of colour... 

Click their images to find out more about each of our judges!

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Jane Elson 
Award-winning author including two times winner of the Peters Book of the Year. She has been named one of the top 50 Neurodivergent Women by Women Beyond the Box and mentors Neurodiverse young people. She is an advocate for charities including Nacoa and All Dogs Matter...


Becky Cherriman
Prize-winning author and poet, widely printed in journals and anthologies. She runs creative writing groups and is a creative writing tutor and leader of the Lifelong Learning Centre Creative Writing Pathway at the University of Leeds... 


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Michelle Scally Clarke 
With 25 years as a professional freelance author, poet, playwright, actor and songwriter, as well as a creative writing facilitator Michelle has a multitude of work to her name including two books and albums, "I Am" and "She Is", published by Route Press, a film called "Jeans, Whose Genes?"she wrote and toured for the NHS and a poem for Space 2 based on the quote "we are only as blind as we want to be" by Maya Angelou in response to Black Life Matters... 


Thank you to ZSL London Zoo for such an exciting assortment of prizes, with special thanks to Dr Simon Spiro for giving up his time and expertise to give our runners up their very own tour of of London Zoo! 

Thank you to all of our incredibly talented judges, Ken Wilson-Max, Becky Cherriman, Michelle Scally-Clarke, and Jane Elson, for giving so much time and thought into deciding the most deserving winners! With gratitude to children's author Paul Dowswell, who not only provided help and advice throughout this competition but also wrote the three story starters that sparked so many wonderful ideas!

Thank you to the Animal Aspiration's Team that worked so hard to make this competition happen! 

Finally, thank you to those who entered the competition, for their thoughtful stories that were a pleasure to read! 

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