Dragonzilla’s back for another year of the Short Story Writing Challenge! Even though we can’t visit schools or communities across Trinidad and Tobago, we can still reach our young audience and encourage their creativity and love of writing. This is the second year of the writing challenge, and we’re happy to have the Tobago Library Services on board as partners for this writing competition for kids aged 5-8 and 9-12.

Send us your original tales! We want you to discover the joy of writing and gain confidence in your literary skills, especially while you remain apart from your schoolmates and friends. There are two stages to this challenge – a writing phase, and the opportunity to submit a video of yourself reading your story if you’re shortlisted. So get those creative juices going!

Eleven-year old Josse Franco and eight-year old Josh Hansraj topped their categories in 2020 Dragonzilla’s Short Story Writing Challenge, winning brand new laptops, courtesy the NGC Children’s Bocas Lit Fest.  They were chosen from among 22 finalists  – 11 in each age group, 5-8 and 9-12  – who advanced to the second round of the Challenge where they were granted creative license to submit videos of themselves presenting the stories they had written.

Over 100 children shared their 300-400 word story on the theme “My COVID experience in Trinidad and Tobago” in the first stage of the online Story Writing Challenge. The entire judging process was managed by NALIS, who put together an expert panel of educators, librarians and storytellers. 


Dragonzilla’s Short Story Writing Challenge Registration Form
Please fill out the registration form and submit your story below.
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    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 The story should be the original, unpublished (electronically or otherwise) contribution of the child who is participating in the competition.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 31 July 2021.
    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 pages 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 13 August 2021, and votes after that time will not be accepted.
    9. Prizes include laptops, tablets, and smart devices!!
    10. Winning videos will be announced on 23 August 2021.
    11. Contact us at storytelling@bocaslitfest.com 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 storytelling@bocaslitfest.com 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.

    The 2020 Challenge Winners

    The 2020 Challenge Finalists

    Ages 5-8

    • Bridgette Gopal
    • Che Forbes
    • Daniel Ryan
    • Hannah Caesar
    • Josh Hansraj
    • Jolene Bridgelal
    • Naima Hannibal
    • Nivaan Ramjattan
    • Nia Seerattansingh
    • Tasneem Ali
    • Viashnavi Ramroop

    Ages 9-12

    • Anasuriya Seeram Maharaj
    • Amara Stoute
    • Chelsea Guppy
    • Dharsan Ramroop
    • Josse Franco
    • Jean-Loius Brown
    • Risha  Maharaj
    • Nenriki Lai Leung
    • Tahila Ramsamooj
    • Subira Charles
    • Sriya Persad Maharaj
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