Pen to Print creative writing project

The purpose of the Pen to Print project is to build on the network of support for aspiring writers in Barking and Dagenham. It aims to identify local writing talent and provide opportunities to produce quality writing for publication. It does this through a series of workshops and masterclasses supported by established creative writing experts and authors.

The programme is funded for one year and has these elements:

The Book Challenge Toggle accordion

Our Pen to Print project is looking for budding authors to work with them with the aim of getting their work published.

The Book Challenge is a programme of support provided by established authors working with participants to create a book-length piece of creative writing. The work can be in any genre, fiction or non-fiction.

Support for writers will come in the form of monthly workshops and enhanced by master-classes and author talks in a wide range of genres. Sessions will be open everyone.

Submissions will be evaluated and the best, as judged by creative writing experts, will be allocated a mentor who for a year will guide them through the process of getting their work written and ready for publication.

Workshops, master-classes and author talks take place throughout the year and there will be scope to connect you to other opportunities  for the duration of the whole project and everyone will continue to be able to benefit from them.


First prize is a tablet PC.

All finalists have the opportunity to get their completed book published.

How to enter

Submit a detailed proposal for your creative work to or hand it in at your local library

Closing date for submissions is Friday 28 September 2018, 5pm. 

Book Challenge competition terms and conditions (PDF, 95.00 KB)

Mentoring support is due to start in January 2019. 

Poetry and short story competition Toggle accordion

The 2018 competition is closed and details for 2019 will appear here when available

If you enjoy writing short stories or poetry this is for you! 

Alongside The Book Challenge, we will be offering support  through the free creative writing classes with the aim of developing your work so it is suitable for publication in magazines and other media.

The best short stories and poetry produced during the project will be chosen for inclusion in an anthology for publication.


First prize is a tablet PC.

Michael Feld creative writing competition Toggle accordion

The 2018 competition is closed and details for 2019 will appear here when available.

Due to unforeseen circumstances the judging of this competition has been delayed and we will be notifying winners in September 2018.  The presentation of the prizes will be in October 2018. 

This is an annual competition for young people who are residents of the borough or pupils who attend a Barking and Dagenham primary school in Years 4 to 6, or a secondary school who are in Years 7 and 8.

The competition is held in memory of Michael Feld who owned a jeweller’s shop in Barking and did much to promote the prosperity of the town. He was a great supporter of libraries until his death in 2007 and was keen to encourage young people in all aspects of education. 

Categories and prizes

There are 2 categories in the competition and entries can be a poetry, fiction or non-fiction. 

The first category is for primary school pupils in Years 4 to 6 (age 8 to 11 years). The first prize is a Kindle Fire and a selection of books for their school. Four runners up win a £25 book token each.

The second category is for secondary school pupils in Years 7 to 9 (Age 11 to 14 years). The first prize is a Kindle Fire and books for their school. Four runners up a £25 book token each. 

Playwriting competition Toggle accordion

The 2018 competition is closed and details for 2019 will appear here when available

Write a one-act play

Are you a budding playwright? This year, as part of Pen to Print, we will be holding a new one-act play competition.

Shortlisted entries will be performed as part of an evening of rehearsed readings at the Broadway Theatre, Barking. The winning play to be announced on the night.

The winner will receive a tablet PC.

How to enter

For enquiries contact

ReadFest events Toggle accordion

Pen to Print courses and workshops Toggle accordion

The Pen to Print project includes a series of free courses and workshops on:

  • creative writing for beginners
  • creative writing advanced
  • poetry
  • playwriting
  • comic book writing

Pen to Print courses and workshops

Book free places online at Eventbrite 

Pen to Print  and the annual ReadFest are supported by funding through Arts Council, England with £180,000 per year over the next four years.

In addition to the main competition elements, there will be a series of ongoing author events and workshops during the Pen to Print scheme.

These events will be open to all residents and are aimed at inspiring and encouraging aspiring writers, as well as providing entertainment to the wider reading public.

The Pen to Print; Real People Real Stories Project has been made possible with funding from the Arts Council.