If you are a creative young writer in Year 3 – Year 10 in ACT or regional NSW, then Pens Against Poverty is a competition for you!

ENTRIES FOR 2020 NOW OPEN!

Our theme for 2020 is “Lost & Found” and is inspired by the book ‘the Lost Thing’ by Shaun Tan.
Entries close 5pm Friday 4th September 2020.


The power of the pen to change the world .

Pens Against Poverty is a unique writing competition. It was created especially for young writers here in ACT & PARTS OF REGIONAL NSW.

The Pens Against Poverty Competition is founded on the belief that :

  • Young People want to make a difference
  • Young People have a unique voice
  • Creative writing powers the imagination

The competition is coordinated by Canberra teacher, Kate Halcrow with Anglicare NSW South, NSW West & ACT. In 2020 we have also partnered with Samaritans who are hosting the competition in the Hunter Valley and Newcastle region.

We are actively supported by other community service organisations, including ACTCOSS, Marymead Red Cross, Uniting, Vinnies, Woden Community Service and the YWCA, and the event is an official activity of ANTI- POVERTY WEEK ACT.

The competition was conceived with the belief that students write more powerfully when given a genuine purpose and a real audience. The competition began in 2015 and each year renowned Australian author, Jackie French has been competition judge. Last year she reviewed entries from nearly 30 schools around the ACT.

Pens Against Poverty demonstrates the power of poetry and fiction to heighten empathy among readers and writers, through the imagination and shared experience. The writing of young people is often raw, honest and thoroughly fresh which is the most exciting part of the competition.