Guest blog – Young Wild Writer Competition for Hen Harrier Day 2020 – Gill Lewis

Gill Lewis writes: I’m really excited to have been given the chance to organise and announce the Young Wild Writer Competition for Hen Harrier Day 2020.

My books have covered various issues, such as the impacts of bear bile farming in Southeast Asia and coltan mining the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, but the research behind Sky Dancer opened my eyes to the extent of the illegal persecution of birds of prey here in Britain, and the wider impact of the environmental devastation associated with driven grouse; the killing of other creatures, burning of heather-dominated landscape, flooding downstream and loss of carbon from the damage to deep peat and bog habitats.

I feel very strongly that the hen harrier is a symbol, not only of the continued persecution and mismanagement of the landscape, but also one of hope for the future and what can be achieved through change.

Hen Harrier Days around the country have given people the opportunity to come together to celebrate the hen harrier and also raise awareness of its plight.

However, Covid-19 has put some of these ‘live’ events in 2020 in jeopardy. So, an online Hen Harrier Day will be happening on the 8th August 2020, to give continued support for Hen Harrier Days. The online Hen Harrier Day is going to be jam-packed with great presenters and speakers, and contributions from a diverse range of communities across the UK. It’s a wonderful opportunity to engage more people. There will be many ways for everyone to be involved; a challenge for early career nature presenters and there will be songs, street art challenges, and more.

Competition time!

So, I’m really excited to announce, that as part of online Hen Harrier Day, there is a writing competition for young writers to celebrate British wildlife. If you know of young people who love to be creative, then please let them know about this competition. We want to hear what they have to say.

A love of wildlife begins at home, or experiencing it for oneself, so this competition is asking entrants to write no more than 500 words about ANY British wildlife. It could be about an ant walking across a patio, an urban fox, a myriad of creatures in a rockpool, or a peregrine falcon. The entry can be written as a poem, a story, written prose…or any piece of writing, but it must refer to British wildlife.

There are three age groups (5-8, 9-12 and 13-16) for entry, and as one of the judges, I will be looking for originality, creativity, understanding of the chosen subject and the ability to engage the reader.


There are some brilliant prizes. The overall winning entry will be read out by one of the nation’s favourite storytellers, Michael Morpurgo, during online Hen Harrier Day. There will be the offer of an author visit by me, Gill Lewis, to the winner’s school. (An alternative might be offered if Covid restrictions are in place, or if the entrant is home-schooled, or lives in a very remote place). There will also be book bundle prizes with books from some best-loved children’s authors including, Karin Celestine, Nicola Davies, Anneliese Emmans Dean, Julia Green, Gill Lewis, Mimi Thebo, Piers Torday, Yuval Zommer and more.

Tell a young person you know to GO WILD with their writing.

For more information and how to enter – click here.

Gill Lewis is an award-winning children’s author who writes stories about humans and other animals, often with strong themes of social and environmental justice. Two of her books, Sky Dancer and Eagle Warrior, tackle the issue of raptor persecution associated with driven grouse shooting.