It’s another year of the annual Kingsmead Young Writers’ Competition and we can’t wait to read your entries!

Kingsmead College is a leading girls’ school in Johannesburg and three years ago they launched this nationwide competition to encourage a culture of reading and writing in South Africa.

Can all school children enter?

Yes! The writing competition aims to provide a platform for young writers’ skills and a space to explore different genres and styles with feedback from professional writers and publishers.

With more than 80% of children in Grade 4 not being able to read for meaning, there is an urgent need for reading and writing to be given more attention.

Steps to fix the literacy crisis

Dr Xolisa Guzula, an early literacy specialist at the University of Cape Town’s School of Education, has implored the Department of Basic Education to consider including rich learning experiences into their literacy strategy to help improve literacy levels in the country.

One of the strategies she suggests are for teachers to “dedicate time in each day to engage in shared writing sessions with learners on topics that they are interested in and that draw on a wide range of societal issues.”

She believes children need to develop an understanding of text structure; different genres; how stories start, develop and end; and the ingredients, method and mechanics of writing. “We need to make reading and writing part of daily life.”

Why not make this competition a class challenge?

And the topic is…

My Favourite Word.

Use your favourite word as a springboard for your story and let your imagination run wild.  Write the story you’d love to read.

Each age group has a different word count, ranging from: 6–7-year-olds, 8–9-year-olds, 10–12-year-olds, 13–15-year-olds and 16–18-year-olds.   Prizes for the winning entry in each age group include a cash prize, book voucher and feedback from the judges.

How is The Book Tree invovled?

As organiser of the competition, and owner of The Book Tree, Corinne Rosmarin is passionate about childrens’ literacy.

“We need to inspire a new generation of writers in South Africa.  We want children to aspire to be writers and to see them in the same light as rock stars and celebrities.  Writing is an awesome skill and creative views of the world are needed more than ever.”

A challenge for all schools

Alex Bouche, Director of Marketing at Kingsmead College, challenges all English teachers across the country to promote this competition within their classes. Let’s see how many entries we can get!

“It is with a love of reading and writing that we can change the trajectory of literacy among our youth. We look forward to receiving this year’s stories!”

Rules and entry form


The KBF Young Writers’ Competition closes at 6PM/18H00 on 1 April 2024. 

Entries can be found on the Kingsmead Book Fair website at

Queries can be sent here.  


Get in touch

We’d love to hear from you!

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