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Evening Standard launch Stories Festival Competition

short festival competition logo
short festival competition logo

The Evening Standard in association with Netflix, launches its inaugural Stories Festival and competition to inspire a new generation of storytellers.

  • The Stories Festival will take place from 24-26 September at Picturehouse Central in London where the competition winners will be announced.
  • The festival line-up will include Jed Mercurio, Alice Oseman, Rabina Khan, Will Young, Rob Rinder, Ed Balls, Jack Guinness and Naoise Dolan.

  • The ‘What’s Your Story?’ competition aims to discover a new generation of voices.

  • It will be judged by panels drawn from across the creative industries.

Today the Evening Standard announces the first ever Stories Festival in association with Netflix.  It will celebrate a diverse range of talent; debut novelists, poets, screenwriters – sharing their stories, and their unique approach, to live audiences.  

The Stories Festival will be held from 24-26 September at Picturehouse Central in London. The line up will include Jed Mercurio (Creator of Line of Duty), Alice Oseman (Heartstopper), Rabina Khan (Lib Dem councillor and author of My Hair is Pink Under This Veil), Will Young (Singer and author of To be a gay man), and Naoise Dolan (debut author of Exciting Times). The Festival will also feature a showcase from Stormzy’s #Merky Books (Penguin Random House) imprint featuring fresh young writers and a “proof party” from Dialogue Books (Hachette), where some of their hottest new talent will be unveiled and the audience will go home with a proof copy of each book. Tickets go on sale in early July. 

The festival will give a new generation of voices from across the UK the chance to tell their stories and receive industry support, through an accompanying competition, ‘What’s Your Story’?

There are two categories: Young Adults (11-17) and Adults (18 and over). Entries should be up to 1000 words or, if submitted as a spoken entry on video, no longer than two minutes. The deadline for submissions is 11.59am on 30 June.

Judges include: Singer, songwriter, activist and author Will Young, Alexi Wheeler of Netflix and Phoebe Luckhurst, Features Editor of the Evening Standard and author of forthcoming debut novel The Lock In, for the Young Adult category, and Anne Mensah VP for Original Series Netflix and Katie Law, Evening Standard Books Editor in the Adult category, alongside Sam Parker editor-in-chief Penguin.co.uk and Bea Carvalho, head fiction buyer, Waterstones.

Prize winners will receive a writing mentorship, be published on standard.co.uk and have the opportunity to present their work at the Stories Festival in September. 

Anne Mensah, Vice President of Original Series at Netflix, said: “Stories inspire - they gift us the ability to imagine our own possibilities and understand the truth of others.  At Netflix, we believe that great stories can come from any country and be loved by the world.  Therefore it is the great storytellers here - the authors, the screenwriters, playwrights, journalists, artists and musicians - that make the UK a natural home for Netflix.  We're incredibly proud to support the Stories Festival and hope it will excite the next generation of young writers and provide entertainment and laughs for us all along the way.”

Emily Sheffield, Editor, Evening Standard "We at the Evening Standard are excited to be launching this inaugural storytelling festival and competition, a major creative collaboration with partner Netflix. We can't wait to hear your stories. I would encourage anyone who has ever wanted to write or tell their story to enter." 

Will Young, singer, songwriter, activist, author, radio presenter, DJ, performer and judge for the YA category said, "I really wanted to judge this category because at this age you can come up with such amazing, pure ideas. If you're unconfident and not sure what or how to write, try writing as if you're someone else and see how that feels. And then write as you again. It's not about ignoring who you are, it's about finding a voice and that will be a valid part of you."

The Stories Festival books partner is Waterstones. 

To enter the competition, storytellers can apply here