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My Secret Garden: A Writing Competition for Young People

This summer we are holding a writing competition for children, inspired by our exhibition celebrating Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved classic The Secret Garden!

Get creative with your writing over the summer holidays on the theme of My Secret Garden and send us your entries to be in with the chance of winning £100 worth of book vouchers! A winner and two runners-up will be selected from two categories: ages 5-11 and ages 12-16.

The competition is kindly sponsored by the Cecil family, and a companion to our ever-popular Mollie Salisbury Cup.

The Secret Garden interactive edition illustrated by Studio MinaLima, image courtesy of Studio MinaLima

How to enter

Entries can be written OR written and illustrated, maximum 800 words on the theme of ‘My Secret Garden’. Send entries to competition@gardenmuseum.org.uk stating your age alongside your entry.

Deadline for entries: 4 September 2022
Winners announced: 17 October 2022


Winner: £100 book voucher
Runners-up: £50 book voucher


Holly Webb

Holly Webb started writing eighteen years ago while working as an editor at a children’s publisher. She now writes full-time, and has written over a hundred and fifty books, which have been translated into thirty-five languages. Her most recent book is The Story of Greenriver.

Holly lives in Reading with her husband, three teenage children, and three demanding cats. Her website is www.holly-webb.com, and you can find her on Twitter @hollykatewebb and Instagram @hollywebbauthor.

Philip Womack

Philip Womack is the author of several critically acclaimed novels for children, including The Arrow of Apollo. His most recent, Wildlord, a gripping mystery about a boy uncovering the magical secrets of a Suffolk farm, is out now.

Francesca Dow

Francesca Dow is Managing Director at Penguin Random House Children’s, the leading and most successful children’s publisher in the UK, publisher of some of the best-loved children’s authors and brands – from Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit, to Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Roald Dahl’s The BFG and Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses. She is passionate about the transformative power of stories for children and the vital role they play in shaping children’s lives and opportunities. “Children’s books speak of hope. They show us what courage, truth, kindness look like. They help us understand the stories of others and step into each other’s shoes. They make us believe we can be and do anything, through our heroes. Children’s authors and illustrators have a soft power, and a magical one – because what could be more important than inspiring the next generation?”

Terms and conditions: the competition is open to individuals who will be aged between five and sixteen on 17th October 2022. To enter, send an original, unpublished piece of creative writing, written in English, on the theme of ‘My Secret Garden’, of up to 800 words to comeptition@gardenmuseum.org.uk. Please state your age alongside your entry.
The competition closes at midnight on 4th September 2022. Entries received after the closing date will not be considered. The winner will be selected by a panel of judges and will be based on literary merit, originality and readability.
Entrants will be deemed to have accepted these terms and to have agreed to be bound by them. We cannot provide feedback on individual entries.
The winners (one from each age category, 5-11 and 12-16) will receive a £100 book voucher prize. Four runners-up (two from each age category) will each receive a prize of a £50 book voucher.
This competition is not open to any employees of the Garden Museum, the promoter or their immediate families, the promoter’s advertising agency and sales-promotion consultancy, or anyone else connected with the creation and administration of the competition. Only one competition entry, fulfilling the eligibility requirements above, will be accepted per person. Once selected, only the winner(s) will be contacted personally by email, using the contact details provided upon entry.
Entry to the competition and acceptance of the prize constitutes permission to use any entrant’s name, image and any competition-entry photograph, for promotional and/or editorial purposes in any format in print and non-print media without additional consultation. It is assumed that you have the permission of your employer for any time off work that is required to claim the prize. The Garden Museum or the third party are not liable in any way to any winner who cannot attend. Winners will be notified by 17th October 2022.
By entering the competition and in consideration for the Garden Museum publishing your entry, you assign to the Garden Museum the entire worldwide copyright in your entry for all uses in all print and non-print media and formats, including but not limited to all rights to use your entry in any and all electronic and digital formats, and in any future medium hereafter developed for the full period of copyright therein, and all renewals and extensions thereof, any rental and lending rights and retransmission rights and all rights of a like nature wherever subsisting. The Garden Museum’s decision is final in every situation, including any not covered above, and no correspondence will be entered into in respect of the validity of any such decision. The Garden Museum shall be permitted to exclude or disqualify any entrant at any time at its sole discretion. The Garden Museum reserves the right to exclude late, incomplete or multiple registrations, or registrations made by third parties or agents. The Garden Museum does not accept any responsibility for late or lost entries. Proof of sending is not proof of receipt.
Once entered, entries cannot be returned or withdrawn. Spammers will be disqualified. Prizes must be taken as stated, although the Garden Museum reserves the right to change the prize in the event of unforeseen circumstances. By entering the competition, you agree to the terms of the Privacy Policy. In addition, the Garden Museum may pass your personal information to the promoters of the competition (where it is not the Garden Museum) and their data processors. However, we always demand that any such parties adhere to the same security procedures that we follow ourselves. The Garden Museum reserves the right to (i) cancel and/or withdraw this competition and/or (ii) amend these terms, at any time without notice. To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, in no event will the Garden Museum be liable, whether in contract, tort (including negligence), breach of statutory duty, or otherwise, for any loss, damage or injury arising under or in connection with this competition. These terms are governed by English law, and entrants agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts in relation to all matters arising under or in connection with these terms.
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