If you are a creative young writer in grades 3 -10 living in Canberra and southern NSW, then Pens Against Poverty is a competition for you!


The 2019 competition poems and stories theme is
‘Courage in Kindness’.

What is Pens Against Poverty?

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 Canberra. However, the competition has been extended to include schools in Southern 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, ACT and Southern NSW. We are actively supported by other Canberra-based community service organisations, including ACOSS ACT, 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.