Websites to get your creative thoughts flowing:

Writers always need ideas. To get you started in thinking, you could visit the Anti-Poverty Week website.

Teachers, we’ve thought of you too and many of the links below may give some ideas to get your students started.

Writing Tips from Jackie French

Andy Griffiths Tips on Writing

Sydney Story Factory Writing Tips

John Marsden’s Tips for Writing

Writing Resources forYoung Writers

The Literacy Shed

Wicked Young Writer Awards

For the Storywriters

Story Start

Story Generator

For the Poets

Poetry Help

Poetry Ideas

Poetry Writing Ideas by Writeshop

Poetry Writing for Kids

Using Technology to Help Students Start Writing Poetry

2019 Winner & Winning Entries

Congratulations to everyone who entered the Pens Against Poverty Writing Competition in 2019!

Read the winning entries below.

3/4 Poetry:

  • Winner: Frankie Gilchrist – Aranda Primary School
  • Highly Commended: Charlotte Prosser – Canberra Grammar School
    and Pepper Grenfell – Holy Family Primary School

3/4 Short Story:

  • Winner: Hugo Carpay – Canberra Grammar School
  • Highly Commended: Ananya Rai – Canberra Grammar School

5/6 Poetry:

  • Winner: Sophie Jolly – Canberra Grammar School
  • Highly Commended: Henry Hindmarsh – St Patricks Primary School, Gundagai
    and Sophie Longmore – St Jude’s Primary School

5/6 Short Story:

  • Winner: Maxwell Padmore – Trinity Grammar School
  • Highly Commended: Ammon Summers – Canberra Grammar School
    and Deakin Fisher – Canberra Grammar School

7/8 Poetry/ Short Story:

  • Winner: Reshmi Senanayake – Canberra Girls Grammar School
  • Highly Commended: Oscar Barry – Radford College

9/10 Poetry/ Short Story:

  • Winner: Ega Setiawan – Telopea Park School
  • Highly Commended: Oscar Gray Whitten – Harrison School
    and Isabella Foster – Merici College
  • Maxwell Padmore – Trinity Grammar School

Overall Junior Winner:

  • Maxwell Padmore – Trinity Grammar School

Overall Senior Winner:

  • Reshmi Senanayake – Canberra Girls Grammar School

Overall Schools Award:

  • Winner – Canberra Grammar School


Year 3/4 – Poetry

Name: Frankie Gilchrist
School: Aranda Primary School

Night time falls, not a sound is heard, as you think what it’s like for her.
The sky collapse on her head, starving from not being fed.
You snuggle up in your blanket, warm, tired and safe.
But he can only wish for the light, and until then he is unsafe.
As morning comes, you have a feast of food and drinks alike.
While she sets out to scavenge high and low, but falls short of sight.
Time blurring, as you get ready for school or work in brand new clothes.
While every second is pity for her in the dark, with rags she’s scared to show.
Her heart beating as fast as light.
As she cowers in total fright.
Why people forget and do not care we will never know.
But you can start the change let your courage flow!



Year 3/4 – Short Story 


Name: Hugo Carpay
School: Canberra Grammar School

The Glance

As I looked across the river I saw him, sitting there. Alone. When he asked for help it didn’t come, yet it didn’t seem to shock him. There had been many days where feet had walked past and eyes had turned away. He just sat there, looking at the murky green water with the same blank expression, but then he saw me.

He saw my kind glance, pulling him in and it gave him hope. Hope that he would have a meal, hope for shelter, hope for love and friendship. He took one look at me and he saw that I cared. Saw that I understood how terrible his life was.

To him it was like falling, but then growing wings.

And his hope made him happy, and that spread like a ripple. It spread to me and I felt a great sensation, an uplifting. And I thought to myself: How else can I help him?


Year 5/6 Poetry

Name: Sophie Jolly
School: Canberra Grammar School

Getting to School

I woke myself up
Because I don’t have an alarm clock
I dug in the dirty clothes basket,
Because I can’t wash my clothes
Brushed my hair in the dark,
Cause we don’t have electricity
Even got my little sister ready,
Cause my mother wasn’t there
Even got us to school on time,
To get us a delicious breakfast
When I got to class my teacher started to fuss,
Cause I ain’t got a pencil.


Year 5/6 – Poetry/Story


Name: Maxwell Padmore
School: Trinity Grammar School

The Holocaust: In The Eyes of The Hidden 


Name: Reshmi Senanayake
School: Canberra Girls Grammar School

I heard a prayer echo

I heard a prayer echo,
Simple and touching are how the words flow,
Like a melody falling from your lips into the souls of another,
A prayer joining us to be like sisters, like brothers.

I heard a prayer echo,
Different voices were singing on Easter Sunday until it was pierced by a foe,
In my beautiful beguiling country, Sri Lanka,
I witnessed something that crushed my heart,
How people could tarnish something so pure in this church and tear our harmonious prayer apart.

I no longer heard a prayer echo,
Instead I heard a ringing of evil disguised as cruel bombs exploding in a row,
I broke my leg when I was thrown onto the cold dusty floor now poisoned with the wrath of human menace: as I lay trapped under a piece of wood,
Yet it was the harrowing agony of the torturous screams, yelling for justice and tranquility, that hurt me more than a broken leg ever could.

I no longer heard a prayer echo,
Instead, a mother’s cry as her child’s spirit was carried to heaven,
the hope of humanity drifting away, the wind of death sweeping among the floors of the chapel out the window,
I tried to sing a prayer, but the light and innocence of a child ran away from me, and all that came out of my lips was a pathetic whisper, ever so distraught,
Now, I was alone inside the chapel, left in the dark space of a shattered world, while I watched how life and death, how good and evil fought.

I no longer heard a prayer echo,
Instead I heard a glorious sound of courage in kindness,
a sound I had never known, Where a man bravely ran into the chapel, risking his life, as he carried me out into a world of light,
I felt a belief in humanity rushing back to me as I never saw a future and hope so bright.

I hear a prayer echo,
As I stand in gratitude of the man who saved my life, his courage in kindness clearly being shown,
His act of selflessness reinforcing that goodness in the human soul can actually glow,
And Yes, indeed, now, I can hear a prayer echo. 


Year 9/10 – Poetry/Story


Name: Ega Setiawan
School: Telopea Park School

for nature was everything
but a phase to you.
You breathe in the scent of flowers as they spring,
an array of purples, pinks, reds, and blues
captured your percipient attention.
Why immerse yourself in perfume
when such natural scents was at your fingertips,
for no cost at all?

As the sun grew stronger,
you start to wallow in such warmth.
Yet you could not help but take refuge
in the cool and ceaseless water.
Oh how blessed you are to be on holiday!

There was always a longing within you,
a longing to sleep under the stars,
contentedly nestled on the green grass,
as the moon looks out for you.

There was always a longing within you,
To be at peace with the bitter cold,
as you hope that your tongue,
will manage to capture a snowflake.

Such hope,
such dreams,
were nothing but an illusion,
Curse your optimistic soul.

When you are cold,
You are just like a cocoon.
You let the fires roam freely,
Why let your teeth chatter
Your skin develop goosebumps
Your body hair rising up
When the orange flame beguiles you
To come closer, and embrace their warmth?

Your myopic eyesight, my darling
Is plagued with privilege.

You see those people outside?
They never leave their spot.
You think of how loyal they are,
Like guardians of nature,
Perhaps like a tree,
Their roots are so accustomed to that bench,
They never seem to leave.

How lucky they are
to have the sun protect them,
and the moon looking out for them
whilst the stars befriend them,


The extremities we face, my love
are nothing compared to theirs.
Their stomachs barely grumble anymore,
for there is no energy left for it
to even let out a minimal croak.

They are susceptible to violence,
slander, and mockery.
Very few can comprehend and respect
what they have gone through.

Curse the sun, the moon, and the stars,
they are nothing but bystanders
in such times of atrocity.

If hands could tell us stories upon stories,
you’d be surprised to know,
the despair,
the heartbreak,
and the tragedy they have faced,
that made their hands so calloused.

So next time you pass by one of those people,
please don’t hesitate to greet them,
we are all humans,
they live among us,
they are just like us.

Is that understood, dear?”

“Yes, mother.”


And so I watch her from afar with loving pride,
The silver coins she managed to scavenge
plummeted towards
the starving musician’s guitar case,
The boy’s empty beanie,
And the old lady’s frail hands.