Children’s writing competition for ages 4 – 14

Explore Horizons Writers’ Awards


For several years, Explore Horizons has been inspiring children to write, from the young authors in the making to those a little more reluctant. Our Explore Horizons Writers’ Award is an annual, short-story writing competition which aims to discover the most talented young authors in North Texas

Our 2019 competition has now closed. The winners have been announced, head over to our blog to find out about our winners. 

How would you change the world?

Roll the dice to consider how you would make an impact on the world around you. Use this to build the foundation of your writing submission!

Roll Dice

What needs to change?

How can we change this?

Who can make a change?

Why does something need to change?

How do you feel about the current situation?

Where is this happening?

This year’s judge: Murray Richter

Murray Richter is an international award-winning author whose speciality is middle school humor. We are so proud to have Murray as our judge in the 2019 competition! Murray’s passion for the power of writing becomes apparent as soon as you meet him- he insists laughter is the best medicine and that reading has the power to transform lives.

Richter grew up in Whitney, Texas and graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Journalism. He once heard a really smart person say, “Readers are leaders,” and this has encouraged him to pursue writing as a profession. As a long-time member of the Society Of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Murray has found great pleasure in creating critique groups throughout Texas for writers to help other writers achieve their goals.

His own middle-grade novel, Lucky Rocks, prevailed after nine closely-contested rounds of judging to emerge the winner of the 2017 Gertrude Warner Book Awards for Middle-Grade Readers First in Category. According to Richter, “Inspiration for the book stemmed from the desire to pass on all the ‘smart things’ I’d learned over the years to my kids and all the children across the nation. As the story grew, I realized it also inspires children to enjoy the great outdoors and provides them with a reason to laugh. I believe children’s laughter is the coolest music in the world.”

When he’s not working on his next novel, Richter can be found reading a book by another author, playing a good joke on a friend, or fishing and hunting with friends and family, and teaching anyone who wants to learn how to throw a cast net.

Learn more about Murray at his website here.

Last year’s winner:Sreeja Surisetti, Nichols Elementary School


Huge congratulations to our fantastic winner Sreeja, who competed against hundreds of other students from schools and districts throughout Dallas/Fort Worth to take the top prize. Alongside all of the glory, Sreeja also won:

  • A Kindle Fire HD
  • A trophy, medal & certificate
  • $500 worth of books for her school
  • A professional illustration of her story

Here’s what Tani Lamb, last year’s judge had to say about the competition:“I had so much fun judging this competition and I’m inspired by the stories produced by these young writers. Everyday Heroes is a broad topic and can be taken down many different avenues. The creativity and the thoughtfulness that went into each of these stories was impressive and a great reminder of how writing should and can be fun. I hope parents and teachers will encourage their children to enter this contest next year.”

*Illustration by Frances Southgate

CLICK HERE TO READ SREEJA’S STORY

How do I get my school involved?


  Receive our free creative writing workshop

Starting in January 2019, we will be visiting elementary and middle schools across Dallas / Fort Worth to deliver engaging writing workshops and show students just how exciting writing can be. Our workshops are designed to develop creative writing skills, inspiring students to find pleasure in producing their own extended writing pieces, which will serve as the starting point for their contest entry!

      Inspired by the workshop, students write their short story

The 2019 short story theme is “A Chance to Change the World,” and students will use their story to explore how they might make the world a better place in a particular area. Whether your students need stretching beyond the state curriculum, are lacking in motivation, or are finding writing challenging, our creative writing challenge gives every student a chance to use their imagination!

  Win big if a student at your school is selected

One lucky student’s story, selected by contest judge and internationally acclaimed author Murray Richter, will win them a Kindle Fire HD and win their school $500 worth of books for their library! Also, their story will be published online and get a professionally illustrated cover!

Schedule A Free Workshop

How do we support writing?


Every week at Explore Horizons, we hold two specialist writing classes; Enhanced Writing for 3rd to 6th-grade students, and Advanced Writing and Study Skills for students in 6th grade and above.  These classes are designed to develop skills, confidence and motivation for writing.  We want to ensure that every student can not only succeed with the STAAR tests, and prepare for high school, but also to instill a passion for writing that will last them a lifetime.

We would love to invite any aspiring young authors to try an Enhanced Writing, or Advanced Writing and Study Skills class for FREE.  Just contact your nearest enrichment and tutoring center, or fill out a free assessment form online, to reserve your space.

enHANCED writing    ADVanced writing & study skills

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