My mother always said youth was wasted on the young. It’s a tired cliché, true, but how often do we all think exactly that when we see our children in gangs, hanging around street corners with their hoods up? I use the term our children in the broad sense, because mine are currently tucked up in bed, yet there is still a part of me that wonders, when they’re older, will they too loiter around those same street corners?

I heard a phrase the other day; ‘all our kids are crack addicts’. That was a first for me and I pondered the possibility of the narrator being Irish and that he meant craic, but then I realised it wasn’t the notion of fun and laughter our youths were addicted to, it was drugs. Or so he said.

I don’t know about you, but despite what I hear, when I see groups of young dancers on talent shows, I still get a feeling of the craic, knowing that they have spent hours rallying together to produce a piece of moving street art.  No crack for them; those kids are fighters, achievers, units of brothers and sisters proving to us -the pessimistic parents- that they want out of the culture our generation created for them.

I have an enviable role. I am a voluntary internet site moderator of a group called YoungWriters, which sits within the domain. There, along with a team of like-minded seasoned writers, I mentor a group of 400 youngsters who like to write fiction, non-fiction, fan fiction, musical scores and poetry.

Some of our members (age 12 to 21) come from backgrounds where the home-fires stopped burning long ago and who sometimes have to rely on internet access from their schools to get on-line. Others are more fortunate; they have a reliable media tool and a lot of them use it to lose themselves in a world of literary endeavours and to escape parental mismanagement. Of course there are well-heeled kids too, the ones who idle away their playtime creating stories of merit and personal value.

Their common interest is a desire to write, and it is that single ambition we at YoungWriters praise, placate and promote all our members across Britain and America -and everywhere else for that matter. No loitering on street corners for these youngsters. We offer morsels of our own experiences and snatches of knowledge we have learned of the craft, along with sturdy shoulders for the young to lean on as they search avenues where they may hone their creativity.

Like those dancers on the talent shows, our own young writers are looking for someone to take them by the hand and lead them, with just a little encouragement, up that literary path. So, if there are writers out there who thank the heavens they were raised in a home with an array of silver spoons in the drawer, and privileged with a top-notch education; spare a moment for the writers of the future; our inspired, cracking youth.

On the 1st June 2012, we launched a new initiative. It is the BookRix Young Writer of the Year Award with cash prizes valued at $800. 
The deadline for us accepting new entries is 17th August, so if you’re aged 12-21yrs and you’d like to take part, get your stories in before we close. From the 18th August we will be opening the thread for community voting.

The contest is free to enter, but you must sign up as a member of BookRix and the YoungWriters group.
It is an open-themed contest for a fiction or non-fiction, with a word limit of 3,000.

First place     -
$500 cash
Second place - $200 cash
Third place   - $100 cash

If you would like to know more about the initiative you can contact me at

Please post your entries here:
Remember you have to join BookRix first, but it only takes a minute to complete.

Good Luck

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