We are proud to present The Mistake, the anthology of the thirty two short-listed stories from the National Short Story Week Young Writer 2013-2014 competition. Each year, we invite pupils in years 7 and 8 to write a story based on a title which we provide. As in previous years, we were impressed by the range of imaginative ways in which the title was interpreted.
The Mistake reached Number 51 in the Amazon chart during National Short Story Week 2014, and was also Number 1 in the Crime, Thriller and Mystery Short Stories chart, and Number 2 in the Teenage and Young Adult Fiction, and Short Stories charts. The winning story was also published online in the Guardian‘s Children’s Books section. To date the anthology has raised over £1,500 for Teenage Cancer Trust, and made our young writers bestselling authors!
Our young writers have shown a considerable level of maturity in their writing skills and in the themes their stories address. There are tales about serious issues such as war, gambling and family breakdown, as well as journeys into fantasy which owe much to the dark traditions of fairy tales and folklore. But there are lighter moments too, and some poignant explorations of what it is like to be a young person growing up today. Whether making us think, shiver or smile, these young writers have all written highly accomplished tales.
Over the past four years, more than five hundred schools have taken part in the National Short Story Week Young Writer Competition, with many thousands of school children writing short stories. We hope to build on this success and involve even more schools from around the country when we launch the next competition in November 2015. In previous years we have found that there is often more than one gifted writer in the same school, a fact which the schools in question are rightly proud of. The latest competition was no exception. For instance, pupils from one school were inspired by the poem of the Lady of Shallot, and the three tales included in this anthology demonstrate the children’s inventiveness in showing how a story can be told from different points of view.
Praise for The Mistake:
Ali Smith: “A book full of life, intelligence and range – page after page of impressive and witty engagement with its theme. It’s a pleasure to read so many stories filled with promise and energy.”
Simon Brett: “The Mistake is a collection from National Short Story Week Young Writers, and it demonstrates great variety and diversity. The settings for the stories range from school playgrounds, via Brazil and Mount Everest, to the trenches of the First World War. The characters include teenage girls, ghosts, shape-shifters, murderers and the Lady of Shallot. As the book’s subtitle says, here are stories to make you think, shiver and smile‘. The one thing that wasn’t a mistake was producing this anthology.”
Jonathan Pinnock: “These anthologies get better with every passing year. A remarkable selection of stories from an exceptionally talented bunch of young writers.”
Chris Priestley: “Lovely writing, great cause. ‘The Mistake’ is a wonderful showcase for young writers.”
All the proceeds from this anthology will be donated to Teenage Cancer Trust. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the success of our young writers than to have their work available in print, and for that work to help young people and their families who are going through a challenging time in their lives. The writers can take pride in knowing that their stories will make a difference to other young people just like them.
Teenage Cancer Trust says: ‘ We are ever so grateful to be benefiting from this wonderful project. What an innovative way for young people to help other young people than by showcasing their talents.’
Teenage Cancer Trust vision is a future where young people’s lives don’t stop because they have cancer. We make sure they’re treated as young people first, cancer patients second and everything we do aims to improve their quality of life and chances of survival. Around seven young people aged between 13 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK. They need expert treatment and support from the moment they hear the word ‘cancer.’ For every one person Teenage Cancer Trust treats, there is another they can so this anthology will go a long way in helping them reach their goal of supporting EVERY young person with cancer.