Write Your Own Historical Fiction Competition 2020

The Historical Association Historical Fiction Prize and the Joan Blyth Memorial Prize

Published: 9th January 2020

Get your Year 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 students to bring the past to life! 

Our historical fiction competition has gone from strength to strength and each year we are so impressed by the number and standard of entries we receive around such a wide range of historical periods and settings. You can take a look at some of our past entries here:

One of the key attributes of historical fiction is that it has a convincing setting in a past time and place. Students can set their stories in ANY* period or place in the past, so the story can fit in with and extend any historical topic you may be studying. Winning students will each receive a cash prize of £25 and an engraved Bath Aqua Blue glass paperweight. Schools will receive a year’s FREE subscription to the HA.

*While we encourage and accept stories from a wide variety of periods and settings, we recognise that some periods and topics carry sensitivities that do not lend themselves easily to fictionalised accounts.

  1. Across Years 5 and 6 there will be two prizes for the best individual story.

  2. Across Years 7, 8 and 9 there will be three prizes for the best individual story. Individual stories indicate a story written by an individual student who is part of a whole class or year group who are all writing historical stories.

  3. There is also a prize for the best fictional historical character in a convincing historical setting. Three prizes will be on offer here across all year groups.

What are the judges looking for?

Stories in each category are shortlisted by panels of student readers. The shortlist is then judged by our primary and secondary expert panels. Judges are looking for:

  • Historical accuracy – even down to the choice of names characters are given and any props additional to the historical setting
  • A riveting read with a good plot!
  • A convincing story - i.e. is it plausible that these events and/or this character could have existed at the time?
  • Use of historical knowledge to feed the plot, context and character
  • Effective use of historical vocabulary and literary conventions, including where dialogue is included in the story
  • Creative and interesting perspectives of story-telling. In the past we have received an entry telling the story of a siege from the perspective of the castle!

Entries must be received by Friday 29 May 2020.

If you are looking for inspiration, don’t forget to take a look at some of the books listed in our Young Quills historical fiction award. You can find past entries here.

Entry Rules

  1. Entries are free.
  2. Entry is open to all students in Years 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9 in the academic year 2019/20.
  3. Entry is limited to 3 entries per school. You may therefore wish to hold a class or school competition to decide upon which 3 entries to send.
  4. Entries may be word-processed or handwritten, but must be legible.
  5. Three copies of every individual entry submitted must be supplied if sending entries by post. For email entries, one copy is sufficient. All entries must be accompanied by the completed cover sheet (see note 7).
  6. The story may be illustrated.
  7. We regret that we will be unable to return entries, so please make additional copies before you send.
  8. Each entry must have a completed entry form attached which can be obtained from the Historical Association website.
  9. Entries must be received by 29 May 2020 and should be sent to ‘Write Your Own Historical Story Competition', The Historical Association, 59a Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4JH or emailed to enquiries@history.org.uk
  10. The results of the competition will be posted on the Historical Association website: www.history.org.uk 
  11. Prize winners will be notified in writing in July/September 2020 and will receive their prizes by post. If the entrant is leaving the school at the end of the academic year, please also supply a parental/carer contact so that we may get in touch about their award. Part of the award is a year’s free HA membership for the school. In the case that the child has left the school, the HA membership will go to the school they attended when they entered the competition and the individual prize will be forwarded to the child by the HA.