More Than A Literary Festival

Short Story Writing Challenge

Dragonzilla's Short Story Writing Challenge 2021

David Ryan (8) and Josh Hansraj (9) emerged as the winners in the 5-8 and 9-12 categories respectively, out of over 100 entries submitted in the first stage of our second short story writing challenge, telling us about their Covid-19 experiences in Trinidad and Tobago.

In 2021, we partnered with Dragonzilla’s friends at the Tobago Library Services and NALIS, who helped us with the judging of the Challenge.

Twenty-one finalists were selected to go on to Phase 2, and they prepared the most wonderfully creative videos of themselves reading their original stories. The videos with the most likes at the end of the voting period are this year’s People’s Choice Award winners – Vishawn Gosyne, (8), and Ashmita Ramoutar, (11)! Hooray! You can see all the 2021 finalists’ videos on our Bocas Storytime YouTube Channel. 

2021 was the second year of the Short Story Writing Challenge, which allowed us to reach our young audience and encourage their creativity and love of writing when we couldn’t visit schools and communities across Trinidad and Tobago. The Challenge aimed to help young ones gain confidence in their literary skills and express themselves through writing and storytelling, especially while they were apart from schoolmates and friends during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The 2021 Challenge Finalists

Ages 5-8

1 David Ryan (WINNER)
2 Savion McIntosh
3 Nia Seerattansingh
4 Kirin Lee
5 Txelis-Aamara Ollivierre
6 Vishawn Gosyne
7 Christopher Straker
8 Luke Fridie
9 Adishri Samlal 
10 Rehan Amarali

Ages 9-12

1 Josh Hansraj (WINNER)
2 Zayne Martin
3 Ashmita Ramoutar
4 Victoria Andrews
5 Tsehai Ollivierre
6 Arissa Edwards
7 Shay Kheerai
8 Camron Bartholomew
9 Janiya Nedd
10 Laban John

Dragonzilla's Short Story Writing Challenge 2020

Twenty-two talented young writers were named as finalists in the 2020 Dragonzilla’s Short Story Writing Challenge! In the final phase of judging, eleven-year old Josse Franco and eight-year old Josh Hansraj topped their categories to win brand new laptops, courtesy the NGC Children’s Bocas Lit Fest!

“The Great Depression” by Josh Hansraj offers dramatic insights into his experience of the oppressive reign of “King Corona”, detailing its terrible effects on his daily life.  Josse Franco’s story “The Big Fight” is an imaginative account of a fight between a boy and the Covid-19 virus. Franco further impressed the judges with his video depicting a boxing match between the two.

At two separate prize-giving events held at the NALIS Port of Spain Children’s Library on Friday 11 December 2020, the 22 finalists learnt of their placing and were awarded for their effort and creativity from a range of  prizes, including tablets and laptops, courtesy the National Gas Company, our title sponsor.

In addition, People’s Choice Awards, provided by NALIS and determined by the number of social media likes and shares that counted as votes towards each video, were presented to Nivaan Ramjattan in the 5-8 age category for his 1,500 votes, and to Tahlia Ramsamooj in the 9-12 group for her 1,400 votes.

The 2020 Challenge Finalists

Bridgette Gopal Anasuriya Seeram Maharaj
Che Forbes Amara Stoute
Daniel Ryan Chelsea Guppy
Hannah Caesar Dharsan Ramroop
Josh Hansraj Josse Franco
Jolene Bridgelal Jean-Loius Brown
Naima Hannibal Risha  Maharaj
Nivaan Ramjattan Nenriki Lai Leung
Nia Seerattansingh Tahila Ramsamooj
Tasneem Ali Subira Charles
Viashnavi Ramroop 

Sriya Persad Maharaj

2021 Short Story Challenge Guidelines


  1. Participation in this challenge is FREE.
  2. The theme of the challenge is “My COVID experience in Trinidad and Tobago”.
  3. The deadline for the story submission is 14 June 2021.
  4. The challenge will be in two categories:
    • 5-8 years old
    • 9-12 years old
  5. The required length of the story is 300-400 words. Stories that do not fall within this range will not qualify.
  6. The story should be the original, unpublished (electronically or otherwise) contribution of the child who is participating in the competition.
  7. Parents/guardians must complete the registration form above and upload their children’s story.
  8. Stories should be typed in Microsoft Word, and use Times New Roman or Arial 12 point font. You may use italics or bold for effect, but do not use them frequently.
  9. Acceptable file formats include: doc, docx, and pdf.
  10. A compilation of stories will be posted to the Bocas Lit Fest and NALIS Facebook pages.
  11. A panel of acclaimed storytellers and authors will choose the top ten stories in each category, these entrants will move on to phase two of the challenge.
  12. Top stories will be chosen based on originality, language and style of writing. All participants will be notified once the top stories are chosen.


  1. The top ten entries in each age group will then be required to submit a video of the author reading their story. Creativity is strongly encouraged while filming your video.
  2. The story read on video must not differ in any way from the original story submitted in phase one of the challenge.
  3. The videos must be between 3-4 minutes long.
  4. Files are to be saved with your story’s title.
  5. Format for videos must be submitted in HD 720 or higher, and in mp4 format. The size must be under 5GBs.
  6. The deadline for video submission is 14 August 2021 at 4pm.
  7. Our panel of acclaimed storytellers and authors will then select winning stories in each category.
  8. Additionally, videos will be uploaded to the Tobago Library Services’ Facebook page and likes and shares will be tallied as votes for a people‘s choice winner in each age group. Votes for the People’s Choice award will be counted at midnight 27 August 2021, and votes after that time will not be accepted.
  9. Prizes include laptops, tablets, and smart devices!!
  10. The winners will be announced on 2 September 2021.
  11. Contact us at [email protected] with any queries.

2021 Terms & Conditions

  1. The challenge is open to children residing in Trinidad and Tobago only.
  2. All submissions must be made by the parent/guardian to the Bocas Lit Fest website link listed above.
  3. By submitting an entry to this challenge, you hereby fully transfer and assign all rights, including copyrights to the submitted story and video, and/or related material to the Bocas Lit Fest in perpetuity. All stories and videos entered will become the property of the Bocas Lit Fest. The submitted story and video must not be published (electronically or otherwise) in any other revision or adaptation without the permission of the Bocas Lit Fest.
  4. Drawings, photos, or any other graphics are not allowed.
  5. Only ONE entry is accepted per person.
  6. Children must enter their story according to their age group.
  7. Proof of age must be submitted to the Bocas Lit Fest on request for the winners to be recognised and the prizes to be honoured.
  8. Entries will only be accepted from the Bocas Lit Fest website. Email us at [email protected] if you experience issues with your submission.
  9. While it is encouraged that parents assist their children in the entering the competition, we expect parents to allow children to express themselves and write their own stories.
  10. The authors of the ten winning videos and stories must provide a signed photo/video release and consent form by the parent on the request of the Bocas Lit Fest.
  11. Any story that is fully or partially copied from any other source will not be accepted. Each entry will be subjected to a complete plagiarism check.
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