IACF 2021 Mystery Short Story Competition


Are you the next king or queen of crime? We want to know! Once again, the International Agatha Christie Festival invites young people and children living in Devon or attending school or college in the county, to enter a competition to find the most promising young mystery writers.

It’s free to enter

There are two categories: 9 to under 14 years old; and 14 to under 18 years old.

It’s easy to enter

We would like you to write a short story of up to 1,000 words about a mystery of some kind.

Send your entry by email to agathafestivalcompetition@gmail.com with your name and address, the name of the school or college you attend and your date of birth.


To find out how to enter, please click here.


We will give each of the two winners an Apple iPad Mini™. We will also give the winner in each category a copy of Howdunnit! A Masterclass in the Craft of Crime Writing, which includes advice from Agatha Christie, Martin Edwards and many other writers.

We are grateful for the generous support of our sponsors: PKF Francis Clark, HarperCollins UK and Wollens Solicitors Torquay.

Anthony Horowitz (Photograph – Jack Lawson)

The prizes will be presented by Anthony Horowitz, one of the most prolific writers in the UK, unique for working across so many media, juggling writing books, TV series, films, plays and journalism. Anthony has written over 60 books, including bestselling teen spy series Alex Rider, which has sold over 21 million copies worldwide, and has now been adapted into two major television series produced by Sony and Eleventh Hour Films. Anthony is responsible for creating and writing some of the UK’s most beloved and successful television series including BAFTA award winning series Foyle’s WarMidsomer Murders, and Poirot. Anthony’s award-winning book Magpie Murders is currently being filmed, and the sequel Moonflower Murders is optioned to follow. His new crime book series featuring the detective Hawthorne has three books so far with a fourth being written. In 2014 Anthony was awarded an OBE for his services to literature. He has been a patron to East Anglia Children’s Hospices and Kidscape since 2008, and in 2019 Anthony became a patron to Suffolk charity Home-Start.


Our wonderful judges are prize-winning author Sam Hepburn, blogger and crime fiction aficionado Jim Noy and Dee Lalljee who runs Crediton Community Bookshop. To find out more about them, please click here

What the Judges Are Looking For

  • your originality and imagination – you must create your own characters;
  • the quality of your writing and your use of language;
  • your ability to tell a story and how you hold the reader’s attention;
  • your clever plotting, how you lay clues for the reader and how the mystery is solved.

Deadline for Entries

The closing date is Sunday the 15th of August 2021.

We are grateful for the very kind support of our partners: Devon Arts In Schools Initiative Arts (DAISI); Doorstep Arts; Libraries Unlimited; LiteratureWorks; Onyx Media & Communications Ltd; Plymouth Council and Real Ideas.